“You can never be wrong” were the last words spoken to me before we launched Citizens for a New Louisiana way back in 2018. We had been looking for another organization that focused on local government transparency. If we found one in Louisiana, we would join them. If we found one in another state, we would duplicate their model. There was nothing. If we were going to do this, we’d have to build something from scratch… and so we did.
Since then, we’ve brought Louisiana more than just insightful and factual analysis of tax and spend priorities, ballot initiatives, local government policies, election integrity issues, and even comprehensive elected official scorecards for the House and Senate. Not a single time in these last four years has anyone successfully challenged the accuracy of our content. Thanks to this accuracy and success, we began to have influence in the legislature. Next thing you know, we have an office in Baton Rouge focused on state-wide issues.
Success draws copy-cats and we’re no exception. Several have been bold enough to just shuffle a few words in our name, spew platitudes, and then take credit for our work. So, here we are in the fourth-quarter of 2022. It’s prime fundraising season for every non-profit organization. Without any third-party verifiable proof, they’ll tell you how great they are and suggest you should be supporting them. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to tell you what our critics have to say. If that doesn’t convince you of our effectiveness, nothing will.
Gauging success through criticism
Who does that? When have you ever known any non-profit to ask for your support based upon the complaints of their strongest critics? It’s unheard of, right? This is one thing our copy-cats will never dare to copy. Why? Because no one is criticizing them. Let’s jump in.
About a week ago, Citizens for a New Louisiana made the cover of the Advocate, alongside another very appropriately titled cover story, “Draining the Swamp.” Writer Claire Taylor’s goal wasn’t to be complimentary. In fact, reading her entire article gives this writer the impression she really doesn’t like our success. Let that sink in – she doesn’t like our success.
Even the cover title is an unintended compliment. “Group aims for presence across state – Citizens for a New Louisiana promotes conservative values.” The digital edition title is similar. “Michael Lunsford, Citizens for New Louisiana, aim for a conservative presence across the state.” Oh, no! How dare us!
Thrilled with the article, I asked a puzzled Claire Taylor if we could reproduce it in its entirety in an email to our members. Her editor said no, but that I’m welcome to share the link instead.
What the Advocate had to say
Out of respect for their work and her editor’s request, here is the link to the live article on the Advocate’s website: Michael Lunsford, Citizens for New Louisiana, aim for a conservative presence across the state. However, if you don’t have a subscription the website won’t let you read it. Thankfully, the web archive has a copy that non-subscribers can read.
- Why doesn’t Lafayette have taxpayer funded drag shows for three-year-olds?
- Why doesn’t Lafayette have porn in the Public Library Children’s Section?
- Why isn’t the Vermilion river’s litter abatement crew lecturing us about systemic racism and police brutality?
Claire Taylor explains:
Citizens for a New Louisiana has been systematically placing conservatives on volunteer commissions such as the Lafayette Parish Library Board of Control and Bayou Vermilion District, where they now have majority control. [Woke] Directors at both tax-funded entities have resigned.
Her article gushes with compliments on our work, albeit in a back-handed sort of way. Here’s another:
Citizens for a New Louisiana already has an employee keeping an eye on the state capital and is helping residents of Livingston Parish fight to remove or relocate books they deem inappropriate from the children and teen sections of the public library, just as they did in Lafayette.
About those inappropriate materials
If you haven’t seen the inappropriate material, you can do so in a few of our articles. The NPR reporter who came to interview me even said, “wow, this isn’t the library I remember.” Then he proceeded to publish a negative article that misrepresents our work. Similarly, USA Today has lamented our success not just once but twice! NBC News did it, too. There’s another one published about us in the New York Times (tap the transcript button if you’d prefer not to listen.) The only reason anyone takes these articles seriously is because the woke press tells readers what to think. They don’t dare publish the material in question so readers can judge it for themselves. However, Americans deserve to have all of the facts to make their own determination. Here’s where you can see the material:
- Livingston Parish Library Update is not the strongest title. However, it includes links to photos of a book we found in the children’s section. Although “that librarian” showed up to defend “all books for all kids” before she sued us, this book and others like it have now been removed from the children’s section. Why? Because the library staff determined them to be inappropriate.
- CAUGHT: Livingston Library providing porn videos to kids explored a movie service offered for free (taxpayer funded) to library patrons. We identified four pornographic movies that any child with a library card could watch from home using the service. The article makes available links to screenshots of one movie. It only took a few days for the library to remove those titles. Again, because the library staff deemed them inappropriate.
Claire Taylor looked at one book while at my office. Even though she didn’t mention it in her article, she seemed equally surprised with the explicit, sexual nature of the “children’s book.” So, even the press knows that all of this poppycock about “censorship” is the furthest thing from the truth. The proof lies in the library’s own “anti-censorship” staff having removed the materials themselves. Despite the grand speeches denouncing censorship, every single inappropriate thing we pointed out is now gone.
More back-handed compliments
In her article, Claire includes several anti-compliments from hard-left political activists. Here are a few fun ones:
- “Stacking these boards like this is antithetical to the democratic process.” – Lynette Mejia. She is in the “supporters” of the library organization that shows up to nearly every board meeting to protest against the library. (Read that again.) Aside from not wanting Conservative Christians on the board, she also appears to support using your tax dollars to promote sexual lifestyles in the library. Carencro Library Manager Cara Chance decided to violate policy and promote those sexual lifestyle choices to anyone (including children) who wandered into her library branch. The board took issue with her insubordination which inspired Mejia to organize obnoxious protests at the library board meetings. These protests have been so heated that at least one woke activist was arrested.
- “They have done an effective job of pursuing their political interests.” – Andrew Duhon, who was in charge of LUS Fiber during violations of the fair competition act. He was also on the library board when they ignored our request to stop the drag show for three-year-olds. He did nothing. We stopped it anyway and then worked diligently over the next four years to replace the board.
- Kevin Blanchard was also mentioned. He’s currently in charge of LPTFA, a taxpayer funded slush-fund that builds $800 sq/ft “low-income” apartments in Lafayette. When Carlee failed to win the mayor’s race, Kevin found himself out of work. So LPTFA invented a $130,000 job for him. He probably blames our article, CGI and the rise of Carlee, for her loss (and his.) A few years ago I bumped into a director-level employee of Lafayette Consolidated Government. He told me that he used his unique access in the government’s systems to search for proof that the article was inaccurate. Not only could he not prove it wrong, he said, but all of his research on the matter actually proved it correct! He became a fan from that day forward.
- “That librarian,” Amanda Jones was also mentioned in the article. She sued us for defamation and had already lost in court once by the time the article published. Since then, she’s lost again. As a result of her lawsuit being declared frivolous, she’s personally liable for all of our attorney expenses, which are likely approaching the mid five-figures.
Scary “dark money”
The Advocate’s article, and the NY Times, both call us “dark money.” That often-repeated claim comes from the woke left, who years ago lodged an official complaint against us with the Louisiana Board of Ethics. After a complete review, the board determined the complaint to be without merit. That’s because no non-profit organization discloses its donors. Period. That includes Acadiana Center for the Arts, the Vermilionville Living History Museum Foundation, and Downtown Lafayette Unlimited. I know because we’ve asked all of them to disclose their donors. They have all refused. That last one, DLU, even spent donor money telling people to “vote yes” on a downtown property tax. Why doesn’t the press refer to them as “dark money?” Because woke political manipulators are immune from media criticism.
However, that language also tells like-minded supporters what they need to know. Just like ACA, VLHMF, and DLU, we don’t ever disclose donors or members. That’s great news for good conservative business owners who want to help, but don’t want to be dragged directly into the fight. It’s the reason one of our earliest slogans was, we take the heat so you don’t have to.
Read the article
As I’ve alluded to, the Advocate’s article is full of even more great back-handed compliments. The left-leaning reporter tells her readers just how very terrible our success has been. She interviewed some of Acadiana’s most notorious leftists, and our biggest critics. All of them are furious that woke policies are finally and successfully being challenged. Here are those article links one more time:
- Michael Lunsford, Citizens for New Louisiana, aim for a conservative presence across the state is the live article on the Advocate website. It’s been updated a few times since publishing, but without indicating what was updated.
- The Archive.org version of the same article is available if you don’t have a subscription to the Advocate. It’s also the closest thing to what appeared on the cover of the paper newspaper.