Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Must Read Jeremy Alford Article

Since most New Orleanians know Jeremy Alford from Gambit Weekly, it's easy to overlook the fact that he's a Baton Rouge-based freelance journalist whose columns are carried in newspapers around the state. For what I hope are obvious (but not obviously manipulative) reasons, I'll link to Lafayette's Independent Weekly for this post.

I hadn't yet read Alford's column when I wrote:
it was too much to hope that Rita and Katrina would help bring about a more united South Louisiana voting bloc as everybody from Lake Charles to Pearl River realized that they a common interest in rebuilding, coastal restoration and flood protection, but why anybody from Morgan city want to see the population shift to Baton Rouge made permanent? Dartez is crazy if she thinks that people with no interest in coastal restoration aren't going to try figure out a way to get their hands on the increased offshore revenue.

But Alford quotes a North Louisiana legislator:
"You always take the cream off the top for coastal restoration"

and writes that:
Another bill would slowly boost the annually-dedicated $25 million from mineral resources for coastal activities, siphoning some cash away from roads

I believe that most of the state's mineral revenue comes from coastal activity -- it would be helpful if South Louisiana could say that with one voice. Though Alford seems to believe that a simple north/south split exists in the legislature, that clearly is not the case.

Jeffrey points out that the bill by a Morgan City legislator to move LSU Medical School has been withdrawn, but the fact remains that legislators from Morgan city, Parks (near Breaux Bridge) and St. Tammany are sending threatening messages to the New Orleans delegation. We might as well just agree right now that, with the mineral revenue that comes from the south, North Louisiana will get roads and schools, while South Louisiana gets flood protection.

Of course, New Orleans hasn't exactly tried to build bridges. Last November, our globe-trotting mayor had more important things to do than listen to Jefferson Parish officials at a meeting to promote regional cooperation. I doubt he's making much more effort with the rest of the state.

At the risk of being labeled a racist, our local power structure is not looking to serve all of their constituents. They are looking to get reelected, line their pockets, feather their nests or move on to a bigger gig.
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