C. B. Forgotston
|C. B. Forgotston|
Charlton Bath Forgotston, Jr.|
January 19, 1945
Newellton, Tensas Parish
January 3, 2016 (aged 70)|
Hammond, Tangipahoa Parish
|Cause of death||Suicide by firearm|
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University Law Center|
Conservative political activist
|Spouse(s)||Ella Joy Adams|
|Parent(s)||Charlton Bath Forgotston, Sr. and Elsa de Vries Forgotston|
Charlton Bath Forgotston, Jr., known as C. B. Forgotston (January 19, 1945 – January 3, 2016), was an American attorney, political pundit and state government watchdog from Hammond in southeastern Louisiana. For seven years, he was the chief counsel of the Appropriations Committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was an outspoken fiscal conservative and critic of legalized gambling, unconstitutional legislation and political corruption.
Forgotston was born to Charlton Bath Forgotston (1913–1987) and Elsa de Vries (1918–2014) in Newellton, Louisiana. The senior Forgotston owned Newellton Electric Company and served for twenty years on the Newellton Town Council.
Forgotston, Jr. graduated in 1962 from the now defunct Newellton High School, which in 2006 became an elementary school. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In 1970, he received his juris doctor from LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center, also in Baton Rouge.
Forgotston then worked for thirteen years for the state legislature, the last seven as counsel of the Appropriations Committee under then chairman Kevin P. Reilly, Sr., of Baton Rouge. In 1973, Forgotston was a senior staff member of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention, which drafted the current state constitution, ratified subsequently by voters in the spring of 1974. Many prominent politicians were delegates to the convention, including future Governor Buddy Roemer and future Louisiana Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner James H. "Jim" Brown.
Forgotston was the director of the Taxation and Fiscal Policy Council, and was a lobbyist for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, an organization formed in the middle 1970s to challenge the power of organized labor. He was the treasurer and a consultant for the Louisiana Council for Fiscal Reform, a statewide tax-reform interest group. He has been quoted in the major newspapers and other print and electronic media across the United States, including the news magazine, 60 Minutes. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Politics of Loyola University in New Orleans. Forgotston had lectured at the law schools at Tulane and Loyola universities and at the Government Leadership Institute of the University of New Orleans. The Young Leadership Council of New Orleans selected him as "Role Model for Community Activism". Readers of Gambit Weekly named Forgotston "Best Community Activist" in the New Orleans area.
Forgotston and Jindal
Forgotston frequently appeared on radio talk shows. He had grown skeptical of the departing Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. Shortly after taking office in 2008, Jindal called a special legislative session to focus upon ethics reform. Forgotston declared that the session "accomplished nothing except it cost the taxpayers money."
On his website, Forgotston said that Louisiana should not "settle for last place on all the good lists and first place on all the bad lists." He notes that the state ranks last in population gain since 2000, even behind the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This rating cost Louisiana one of its seven seats in the United States House of Representatives following the United States 2010 census. "Where are the proactive efforts of the Jindal administration?" Forgotston asked.
In 2013, Forgotston opposed Jindal's proposal to end the Louisiana state income tax accompanied by an increase in sales taxes. At the time, Forgotston correctly predicted that Jindal's plan would fail to clear the legislature because of the higher sales taxes, the lack of needed Democratic support to offset Republican defectors, and the likelihood that the plan would not increase overall state revenues. After Jindal subsequently withdrew the plan because of the lack of public and legislative support, the Louisiana Republican Party issued a personal attack on Forgotston.
Forgotston also opposed Jindal's policy toward higher education. In "Talk about the South", Dayne Sherman coined the term "The Forgotston Equilibrium", described as an economic principle: Whenever public college and university tuition is increased, the governor and the state legislature cuts higher education funding by an equal or greater amount.
Opponent of gambling
Forgotston had often been a voice against the expansion of gambling in New Orleans. When Harrah's closed a large casino in 1995, Forgotston asked: "Why would you go to New Orleans, a historic city like we have, and go sit in some windowless casino? You want to go drive down St. Charles Avenue. You want to go to the French Quarter. This is an outdoor city. It would be like going to Aspen, and spending the whole time in a bar at a video poker machine."
Death and legacy
Forgotston remained engaged in the private practice of law until his death. He and his wife, Ella Joy "E. J." Adams (born March 1944), a former interior decorator originally from Kentwood in Tangipahoa Parish, moved there from New Orleans after being struck by Hurricane Katrina. He left her a note on the morning of January 3, 2016, while she was sleeping, with instruction about where she could find his body.
Forgotston's friend, Garey Forster, a Republican former state representative from New Orleans who was the state labor secretary under former Governor Murphy J. Foster, Jr., said, "I don’t know who will be the conscience of the stuff that’s going on. He had the guts to say what others wouldn’t say. And he always had his facts right. There are few souls like that.” Columnist James Gill called Forgotston "The king of the subversive bloggers." Forgotston joked, "I don’t just burn bridges, I blow them up."
Moon Griffon, on whose radio talk show Forgotston had been a regular guest, said that he hopes to preserve the Forgotston website for information for future users and researchers of Louisiana government.
In a message on the Forgotston website posted on January 12, 2016, E. J. Forgotston discusses her husband's clinical depression and the impossibility of finding the needed mix of medications in the last weeks of his life. She noted that his mother too had mental health issues which struck when C. B. was seven years of age. Elsa de Vries Forgotston had been in and out of institutions for most of her remaining life. E. J. Forgotston said that her husband feared that she would have had to care for him in his declining years. "He was not an unhappy person, as some people have suggested to me in recent days. No, he suffered from a mental illness that he could no longer control at the end," Mrs. Forgotston said.
- "C.B. Forgotston biographical sketch". forgotston.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- The Moon Griffon Show, January 11, 2016
- "Political blogger with 'guts to say what others wouldn't say' C.B. Forgotston dead at age 70". Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- "Elsa De Vries Forgotston". Findagrave.com. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- "Forgotston Seeks Alderman Post in Newellton", Tensas Gazette, July 22, 1976, p. 1
- "Classmates: C.B. Forgotston, Jr.". classmates.com. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Jim Beam (January 11, 2009). "Jindal Becomes Mileage Champion". American Press. Lake Charles. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- "C. B. Forgotston describes Jindal's Ethics Session: Basically it accomplished nothing except it cost the taxpayers money". PoliticsLA.com.
- "Holding Them Accountable". forgotston.com. January 21, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
- "Louisiana's Jindal details plan to end state income tax". yahoo.com. March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- The Moon Griffon Show, April 18, 2013.
- "Sage of Tangipahoa Parish speaks bravely". daynesherman.blogspot.com. August 11, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- Kevin Sack (December 31, 1995). "Travel Advisory: Correspondent's Report; New Orleans Ponders A Casino's Bankruptcy". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
- The Moon Griffon Show, January 4, 2016
- "Why?". forgotston.com. January 12, 2016. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.