Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why I Disagree With Shane Landry

Don't get me wrong, I respect Shane Landry immensely -- he's one of two candidates I would have considered voting for had I lived in District B. But he has things slightly wrong when he suggests that Louisiana secede from the rest of the nation. Louisiana doesn't need to secede from the United States as much as south Louisiana needs to secede from the rest of Louisiana.

The state gets far more in tax revenues from New Orleans than New Orleans gets back from the state. The entire state is dependent on revenue from Port and offshore oil and gas activities that have left the southern part vulnerable to hurricanes. Now, to put it in redneck terms, the ingrates are really starting to show their ass*****:
Rep. Francis Thompson, a Democrat from Delhi in northeast Louisiana, complained that the state's insurer of last resort, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which took a major financial hit from Katrina and Rita, is now taking an unfair toll on citizens who were not in the path of hurricanes. "It's a bad plan when people in the north are paying a 15 percent fee or surcharge and they're not getting any benefit from it," Thompson said.

Sen. Joe McPherson, a Democrat from Woodworth in central Louisiana, made a similar argument when debating legislation that would allow the state-run insurer to buy reinsurance for future storms. McPherson said too many officials have been "pushing the envelope" on coastal protection, while his constituents are more concerned about roads. "Why should our area be subsidizing people in the coastal zone?" he asked.
(link: Gambit Weekly)

If secession's out of the question, I have a modest proposal of my own. Bring back the old Louisiana license plates that identify the vehicle by the letter of the state police troop and when you see an E, F, or G in the middle of an La. plate, just... Warning shots for A... for now.

More seriously, I still don't know who the mayor's legislative floor leaders are -- assuming the city has anything resembling a unified legislative delegation. Back in May, I wrote:
I would think that would be an opening for the city and the rest of the metropolitan area to start working together and for Greater New Orleans to start working with the rest of south Louisiana. When I heard the mayor mention Monroe, I wondered why the mayor wasn't on the phone with other S. La. mayors/parish presidents or why his legislative floor leaders weren't working with other S. La. legislators. Then I just wondered who his legislative floor leaders even were.

I don't expect a total change from the old North Louisiana, South Louisiana and New Orleans political dynamic that (supposedly) always defined La. politics. To the extent that there still is a three-way political divide in Louisiana, community of interest should lead to more of a two-way dynamic. Although it would be nice to see a North/South divide in Louisiana politics, I don't think it's going to happen, and I can't blame it entirely on the mayor. For one thing, there seems to be too much resentment in southwest Louisiana over the forgotten hurricane. But Media attention isn't money; Lafayette and New Orleans should be able to see their common enemy. Yes, enemy. If New Orleans and the rest of South Louisiana were ever going to start working together to secure their common interests, some leadership would have to come from New Orleans. Unfortunately, if our globetrotting mayor is too busy for leaders of the city's most populous neighbor, I doubt he'll find time for the rest of South Louisiana.

I think the threat of secession should be raised, by some, as something that our "reasonable" LA delegation can point to during negotiations. The rest of the nation needs to know about the radicalization and desperation of Post-Breach New Orleans and Ever-eroding South Louisiana.

I would love for one state Rep or Senator to raise the Secession issue and make national headlines. Sure, there would be a backlash, but it would be a way for our delegation to tell the "powers that be" that "We are serious, and if you deny us the help we need, you should be aware that this small localized secession movement could intensify and grow. We are doing all we can, but these folks view this fight as a fight for survival-- and I don't half blame them. So help us repair the Energy Coast and infrastructure in one of America's most strategic port cities."
There were two reasons why I brought up Shane Landry and secession in what should have been strictly a post about the need for teh New Orleans and the rest of S. Louisiana to realize that they have a common enemy in the parasites from the northern part of the state. The first was the obvious cheap one that I figured the title would get noticed, but I wouldn't have even thought about using it if I hadn't wanted to show any out-of-state of web surfers just how high the level of anger is. Finding a link that mentioned the applause Shane's idea got cinched it.

However, since federal aid flows through Baton Rouge, all the federal aid in the world won't do much good if N.O. and the rest of S. La. don't learn how to form a bloc, at least on some matters. I don't know where the leadership on that will come from. Judging by the mayor's snubbing of Jefferson Parish officials, I know where it won't come from.
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