...on the Way to the Capital. We found out that our Governor's Office may not be all that interested in our Government.

As our readers and visitors are well aware, for the past couple of weeks ultoday.com has been running a petition to amend the Louisiana Constitution, in order to fund education properly.  As a somewhat novel feature of that on-line petition, our programmers here in the office re-tooled the petition software so that each signatory's name and address would be eMailed to the appropriate elected officials:  to both US senators, to the citizen's congressman, to the governor's office, and to the relevant state senator and legislator.

We've gotten some good feedback from elected officials.  Most of them who have talked to us are glad to have support for the non-partisan issue of educating the future electorate.  Several elected officials have tried to respond to each constituent via eMail, not realizing that our system generated the eMails and their replies unfortunately came to us.  One congressman's office called to make sure that we understood that this was a state, not federal, matter.  We explained that we knew that, but we were aware that the congressional delegation can-- at times-- influence state politics.  The staffer from the congressman's office was very supportive, and urged us to keep sending the information.

In fact, of all the feedback we have gotten, just two people asked to be removed from the mailing list.  Which is interesting:  of the several hundred people to whom we are sending these eMails, only two of them, in effect, said they weren't interested in hearing from their constituents.

Problem is, they happen to be the only two people in Governor Bobby Jindal's office receiving the eMails.  We chose two people in his office who we thought-- apparently incorrectly-- would be most interested in the issue of education.

And since then, another strange thing has happened.   When we began this petition and eMail campaign, one very powerful elected official has been working with us to ensure that our eMails are 'white-listed' by the state's eMail servers, i.e., that they are always allowed through.  But since the two people with the governor's office asked to unsubscribe from our lists, eMails generated by the signatories have begun bouncing back to us.

We have tried to find out if someone even more powerful has ordered the eMails be blocked; and if so Who? and Why?  But so far, no luck.

It is very concerning.  Throughout state and federal government, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  The attitude has been, "We want to hear from our constituents, we don't hear from them enough."

But the Governor's office has asked us not to bother them, and could possibly be working to make sure that Louisiana constituents can't contact any of their elected officials.  Is Jindal's office saying, in effect, "We are not interested in what our constituents have to say?  We do not support the idea of participatory democracy?"  That seems a harsh analysis, but for the life of me I can't think of any other explanation.

We have removed the Governor's two staffers from the mailing list.  We are still working to ensure that our eMails to all other elected officials are allowed to go through.  But currently when someone adds their name to the list, all of their elected officials—save one—are sent a notification of their support for education.  Some of the eMails may still be getting through, we can't be sure.  But so far, all of the elected officials we have communicated with have told us they welcome the voter input.

All of them, apparently, except the most important one.

Please contact Governor Jindal's office directly and voice your opinion at 225.342.7015.  If no one answers, please leave a message; your comments will be transcribed for the Governor and his staff.

Photograph modified from a still in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" with Zero Mostel & Phil Silvers.