Friday, October 21, 2005

"New day" not yet here

Further proof that Louisiana’s “new day” has yet to arrive: Yesterday’s state bond commission vote to conduct business as usual, funding 73 new projects. An article in today’s Times-Pic quotes Commissioner of Administration Jerry Luke LeBlanc in defense of the vote: “You cannot ignore the rest of the state when you deal with those parts of the state that are incapacitated.” But you can’t ignore the state's post-hurricane reality either. That the state bond commission’s priorities haven’t changed much since August 29 is obvious. And a common sense proposal to have each project considered independently on its merits failed to gain support. That's not evidence of a new post-Katrina sensitivity to the state's fragile economic standing and precarious national reputation. That's business as usual. Consider some of the 73 new projects the bond commission just signed off on: --$1 million for an equine center in Morehouse Parish --$975,000 for reservoir projects in Richland and Washington parishes --$300,000 for "recreational, picnic and multipurpose development" by the Avoyelles Port Commission -- $1.4 million to study a proposed cargo airport Behavior like this ensures the opinions of people like Idaho Senator Larry Craig persist. Behavior like this merely adds fuel to arguments that negative opinions of Louisiana politics remain founded on current reality instead of outdated misperceptions. It won't help the state's request for $250 billion in post-hurricane federal monies either.