Thursday, May 18, 2006

Reality Check

From Sunday's T/P (on the subject of Entergy New Orleans being absorbed by Entergy La.):

Packer said a merger would require at least two levels of approval. First, local residents would have to vote to transfer regulatory authority of Entergy New Orleans from the City Council to the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Entergy spent heavily to promote such a referendum in the 1980s, and it passed, but local officials forced another vote that ultimately allowed the council to retain control.

If local residents approved the switch, the merger then would have to be approved by the Public Service Commission, a tricky proposition for commissioners in other parts of the state who could be asked to pass along substantial rate increases to their constituents.

In tonight's debate, it sounded like both candidates thought that it only took an agreement between the city and Entergy. Landrieu should have gone way beyond agreeing with Nagin about the desirability of that option; he should have been all over the fact that it would take a mayor who can work with Baton Rouge, not a mayor who treats the rest of the state with disdain and disses the mayor of B.R.

Nagin's "everything is the state's fault and Mitch is the number two guy in the state routine" is actually a very good reason to vote for Landrieu. No matter how much money the federal government spends on reconstruction, most of it will end up going through Baton Rouge. We know that Nagin can't work with the governor. Even if Jindal is elected in 2007, he still doesn't seem to have anything resembling a legislative team and he's already alienated the rest of the state. If the city, doesn't play its hand well, the changes that the LRA makes to reflect the population shift to B.R. will end up being specifically designed to make that shift permanent. The mayor's own supporters admit that he's poor with details. Since he can't work with his own city council, I don't expect him to get along much better with the state legislature. Do we really want him watching out for, and representing, the city's interests when the state finally allocates reconstruction money?

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