Congressman Billy Long talks to a constituent who is wearing a blue coat last April. Long's head is bare visible over the shoulder of one of those guys who are not part of his entourage or his security detail. The other two guys are also not part of Billy's entourage or security detail. They just travel everywhere with Billy and block access to him as they are doing here. Billy said today in Forsyth "I'm a representative, I don't need an entourage or a security detail." Apparently these three members of Long's entourage/security detail didn't get the memo.
This message was delivered to the bus garage this past weekend:
It has come to my attention that Congressman Billy Long will be at the Taney County Courthouse Monday, June 6 at 9 AM.Frequent bus riders will recall last September Billy Long announced his business tour. Myself and two other voters attended the inaugural event. It would be the last time Long attempted to explain his political philosophy to anyone. (Actions speak louder than words).
He will be in the Commission Hearing Room and we need everyone that can attend to be there.
Our support is very important to the Congressman.
If you have questions or comments he will be there to answer them.
Please attend and bring a friend.
Since that time, Long has isolated himself from any real scrutiny by the press, mainstream or new media.
Last April, in an event billed as "free and open to the public" (which was only half right) Long stonewalled anyone who dared ask him a question that required more than talking points as an answer. (What's the difference between a duck)
Shortly after that event, Long announced that he was going to do no more live town hall meetings, instead he would focus on tele-townhalls (NO more live townhall meetings for Billy Long).
Billy would be at the Taney County Courthouse on Monday, June 6, 2011 at 9 AM, live and in person, to answer your questions or comments.
Since I have a summer home in Taney County (ok, so it a weekender cabin in Rockaway Beach-- it's one of the original Brookside Bungalows in Rockaway, from the 1920s. I go there to relax adn relax I do. I have no internet access there other than through my phone- so I don't post too much while I'm at the cabin, which may be old, but it's paid for) I decided to attend and perhaps get a chance to ask Billy a question.
Specifically I wanted to ask him, that in light of Eric Cantor's remarks on the Joplin tornado relief funds and Long's own votes AGAINST FEMA, NWS, First Responders, Emergency Readiness, etc (Billy Long voted to slash National Weather Service, etc) if he still felt that need to defund those programs. I never got a chance.
The meeting was actually a Taney County Commission meeting. Billy spoke about 15 minutes.
I left my notes at the cabin but I am able to reconstruct them from the live tweeting I did during the meeting. What I don't touch upon here, I will revisit when I get back to my notes.
About 16 people were present, most of them appeared to be county employees. There was one elderly couple present. Obviously the plea for Billy's supporters to show up didn't yield any results.
Billy talked about the Branson floods and how the Corps of Engineers didn't use common sense in flood control. He was concerned that 'they' blew up a levy and ruined Missouri farmland so as not to flood an Illinois town (Cairo) but flooded a Missouri town (Branson) so as not to flood farmland in Arkansas.*
Billy said the Corps listened to him (he suggested opening the flood gates to lower the lake levels when rain is forecast) but that their 'hands were tied'. He said this several times.
Long told the commissioners that he urged Governor Nixon to declare Branson and Taney County a disaster area a full week before Nixon did what Long told him to do. Long also said he was displeased with the Governor's stalling in declaring the area a disaster area. (I have Long's exact words written in my notes. While I did find evidence of Long being in Branson during the flooding - he went to a realtor's breakfast - I could find no evidence of him visiting the flooded areas. His tweets for that period are not, meaning if he is doing something that he thinks is going to make him look good, he tweets about it. No tweets from Branson during the flooding. Others noted Long's conspicuous lack of concern about the flooding. (Flooding in Seventh District prompted U.S. Representative Billy Long to issue a press release)Main Street, Rockaway Beach, MO, April 2011.
Observers of Long have noticed that frequently he will criticize someone or something, then praise it. For instance, he voted to repeal HCR but he told us there are a lot of things he likes about it. (Billy Long: "There's a lot of things about the healthcare bill that are good") Today, he criticized Governor Nixon but later praised him for his actions in Joplin.
Long also told the commissioners later that he "was on their (FEMA's) radar" because he was on their case for not setting up assistance in Branson sooner.
Long said that the day after the Joplin tornado, FEMA's head called him up and told him that FEMA was coming to Joplin. Long told the caller that FEMA was already there. (Again criticizing then praising...do you ever wonder what kind of relationship Billy had with his parents while he was growing up?)
While speaking about the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, Billy said, "Somebody high up is coming on Wednesday. They told me not to make it public." wtf? Does this guy hold a security clearance? What does this statement mean and why did he even say it? Is this another on of Billy's "I know something you don't know" moments? Maybe he needs a shirt?
Billy then waltzed right into this statement: "I'm a Representative, I don't need an entourage or a security detail."
Then Billy transitioned into talking about his agricultural adviser, who used to work for Billy at his auction house. Billy said that Bob Kollmeir was his agricultural adviser and 'goes to all the ag meetings'. I am not sure what 'going to all the ag meetings' or being Billy's 'agricultural adviser' entails, but as Bungalow Bill points out, Long and Kollmeir have an interesting if not potentially ethically challenged relationship. Has Billy Long Created an Ethics Problem with Auction House and Agriculture Adviser?
Lot's of sticky questions contained in that post that I will probably never get to ask Billy.
Billy started talking about flood gates and flood levels, roads and bridges (he must have read the morning paper).
When a commission member asked Billy what his position was on the transportation committee, it appeared Billy didn't understand the question. Finally, Billy's befuddled reply was, "I'm on it."
Then, she arrived.
(to be continued)
update 06/07/2011 The Springfield News Leader's Cliff Sain also reports on the meeting: Representative Long calls for review of Corps' policies on reservoirs.
*Long's statement, viewed in context of the Corps spokesperson's remarks in that article ("There is a White River plan and there is a Mississippi River plan," she said. "It's comparing apples to oranges.") are further indication that once again Billy and his staff didn't do due dillegence before making this statement. In plain English, Billy doesn't know what he is talking about... what with his simplistic solutions to complex problems. Sound bites. The congressman talks in sound bites-- full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.
I wonder if Billy likes strawberries?