Life of Lee
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee this week will be autographing copies of his very authorized, campaign-funded biography: Wild About Harry: A Biography of Harry Lee.
President Bill Clinton wrote the foreword, at the request of the self-described 350-pound sheriff. Pre-publication jacket blurbs come from media personalities Walter Isaacson, Cokie Roberts and Judy Woodruff, as well as Lindy Boggs and Lee buddy Willie Nelson.
Lee is a longtime friend of the Lindy Boggs family, including daughter Cokie; Lee served as a driver and confidant to the late House Majority Whip Hale Boggs. Willie Nelson is another personal friend of the sheriff, who has joined the musician onstage at Jazz Fest.
The book was penned by longtime Lee campaign consultant Deno Seder, with a $50,000 advance from a campaign fund. The pair is unveiling the book at a press conference Monday, Dec. 10, at Children's Hospital (200 Henry Clay Ave.). The sheriff's favorite charity will receive "100 percent of all proceeds resulting from direct sales and all publisher's profits and author's royalties resulting from bookstore retail sales," according to a press release from publisher Dawn DeDeaux. The book is listed at $25 for hardbound editions.
Lee and Seder will sign copies that day from 11 a.m. to noon. On Tuesday, Dec. 11, Lee and Seder will hold a flurry of signings: from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Barnes and Noble (1601 West Bank Expwy.); from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at deVille Books (324 Carondelet St.); from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Border's Books (3131 Veterans Memorial Blvd.) -- the former site of the House of Lee, the sheriff's family restaurant. For more information call the Sheriff's Office at 363-5705.
'Maximus' Ad Exempt
New Orleans physician Brobson Lutz will not be required to file campaign finance reports for buying a full-page ad in Gambit Weekly (Aug. 14, 2001) that poked fun at Mayor Marc Morial two months before the Oct. 20 referendum on the mayor's quest for a third term.
In a written reply to Lutz attorney Dan Zimmerman's request for information, ethics board staff attorney Kathleen M. Allen said that the panel concluded the ad "was not made in support or opposition of the proposition election ... therefore, Dr. Lutz is not required to file campaign finance disclosure reports."
The ad depicted Morial dressed as a gladiator astride a horse, appearing to give an unseen crowd the "thumbs up" sign. The caption underneath the artwork read, "Maximus Me Morialius." Lutz, a former city health director and critic of the mayor since leaving city hall during Morial's administration, said he received an "unbelievable response" to the ad. "I got 50 to 60 new patients," he says.
Vassel Vies for Votes
Tommie Vassel lost a district race for Orleans Parish School Board in 1998. So what makes the certified public accountant think he can win a citywide election for City Council at-large on Feb. 2?
"My answer to that is that if the number of people -- citywide -- who told me they would have voted for me if they could have, I would have won the election," says Vassel, a former interim member to the District 7 School Board seat. In addition, Vassel says, the election was held two days after Hurricane Georges prompted the largest evacuation in the history of the Gulf Coast.
Vassel lost the School Board race to Elliott C. "Doc" Willard by 52 to 48 percent. Last week, Vassel announced his candidacy for one of two at-large seats on the City Council, joining incumbent council members Eddie Sapir and Oliver Thomas in the race. Vassel estimates the race will cost between $300,000 to $500,000; he had just less than $8,000 left from his 1998 campaign according to his campaign finance disclosure reports.
No Bull For Burl
Angola Warden Burl Cain is prohibited from purchasing surplus livestock sold by the state penitentiary at public auction as long as he's the head of the state prison, the Louisiana Board of Ethics ruled.
The ethics board issued the decision in response to Cain's request for an advisory opinion. Cain said the state Department of Corrections captain employed by the prison decides which livestock to surplus. But the Board told the warden the state ethics code "prohibits you from entering into any transaction which is under the supervision or jurisdiction of your agency."
A spokesperson for Cain could not be reached at press time.
Legislator of the Year
The Alliance for Good Government will host its 34th annual "Legislator of the Year" awards on Sunday (Dec. 16), honoring individual lawmakers from Orleans, St. Bernard, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. Among last year's winners were state Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans and Art Lentini, R-Kenner. Retired United States Ambassador Lindy Boggs will keynote the banquet at the International Room of the Fairmont Hotel. WWL-TV anchor Eric Paulsen will emcee. Tickets are $45. Call 837-5602 or 282-9968 for more information.