Her claim to fame is, drum roll — She is the sister of sitting District Attorney in East Baton Rouge Parish Hillar Moore. Judy Moore Vendetto is a candidate for city court judge in Baton Rouge. On the surface, the way they have sold Moore on the people of Baton Rouge is, she’s been a lawyer and a clerk for 20 years. It’s such a canned campaign that she doesn’t even talk on her TV commercials. Her brother the district attorney does. It’s no secret I’m not a fan of nepotism, and don’t believe we should elect people solely off the family name. They should have a track record. Well, Moore Vendetto doesn’t have an impressive record. She’s been a clerk for a judge for 20 years and is related to the district attorney. If that’s what qualifies you for judge, then we are in trouble Baton Rouge.
Dr. King said in his letter from a Birmingham jail, “I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” Moore Vendetto is appealing as a moderate. She has a brother who is a democrat, and she is registered as a republican. Yet for 20 years, she worked as an aide to a judge who has been banned from his favorite watering hole for calling a black woman the “N” word. Here rest the issue, is she guilty of his sins, no. Yet conceivably, she could not work for this man for 20 years and not know his bias. She worked for him, and has used that as her experience. Well if her experience working for a racist judge is what she believes qualifies her to be a judge, I believe we should go in another direction.
In case you have been under a rock in Baton Rouge and don’t know the story that made national headlines. On a Friday night in February Baton Rouge resident, Kaneitra Johnson visited Sammy’s Grill with several classmates. While at the restaurant Johnson had a horrible incident she detailed in a telephone interview to us back then. She encountered Judge Mike Erwin who serves on the bench in the 19th JDC in East Baton Rouge.
According to Johnson there was a two hour wait for her party to be seated. The group decided to stand at the bar during the wait.
While at the bar, Johnson says they struck up a conversation with a Lyft driver who was seated at the bar.
“He was sitting and I was standing that entire time. He stepped away to the restroom so I sat in the seat until he got back, ” said Johnson. “When he got back I asked if he wanted to have his seat back and he said ‘No. I’m about to go any way.’ But before I leave I do need my jacket. “
Johnson says she and the driver share the seat until he leaves. “I’m halfway on the seat and the Lyft driver is on the other half of the seat. Then he asked for his jacket. All of a sudden I hear this older man behind me tell the Lyft driver, ‘You never give up your seat for a n*gger.”
Now I do not have any reason to believe that Moore Vendetto is a racist like her boss. I do however believe that she has worked 20 years for a racist, and in those 20 years both she and her brother Hillar Moore are aware of who Mike Erwin is and his views of black people. They say a drunk mind, speaks sober thoughts, and maybe the judge was drunk enough that night to speak his truth. The problem is, the moderate white who sits silent while discrimination and wrong is happening. I spent the better part of a month this year confirming the incident happened. In a separate investigation of his own, Rolfe McCollister publisher of The Baton Rouge Business Report reached the same conclusion and published an editorial about it. Erwin is still on the bench. How can we in our right mind elect a woman who was silent for years about who he is, and has continued to work for him since? Moore Vendetto was silent in her commercial, silent about Mike Erwin, will she be silent to injustice on the bench?
Dr. King said, it is the white moderate who was the greatest stumbling block for blacks in the fight for justice in America. Should we continue to make the same mistakes? I won’t. I’m voting for Chris Hester for City Court Judge on November 18th. I hope you will join me.