Friday, November 11, 2005

LA politics on display

There's another broad-ranging article about Louisiana politics in another major national newspaper. Today it's The New York Times with an article titled "In Louisiana, Old Rivalries Resurfacing on Storm Aid." This article doesn't have the same negative undertones of yesterday's piece in the Washington Post, but it does hint at the hurdles facing Louisiana's efforts to move beyond the 2005 hurricane season:

New Orleans, with a far more concentrated black and Democratic population than the rest of the state, has long had more power in the Legislature than popularity.
More insights into business-as-usual in Louisiana:
But four days into the 17-day session, there are already signs that the old geographic differences are again bubbling to the surface. Representatives of rural areas to the north are trying to protect their programs from being slashed. Cities that have taken in large numbers of evacuees want money to deal with the overflow. And lawmakers from stricken southern regions are desperately trying to begin the rebuilding process.
At one point it looks like the article is headed toward a reference to the recent bond commission fiasco. But alas, it goes no further than this:
There has also been an outcry from northern legislators at the governor's decision not to spend any money from a discretionary fund long used to pay for pet projects of members, in part to help reduce a budget deficit approaching $1 billion. The deficit is largely the result of the evacuation from southern Louisiana.
The article ends on a high note, quoting state senator Robert Adley:
But Robert Adley, a Democratic state senator from the northwest town of Benton, said he believed that the hurricanes' devastation could still produce a consensus. "We all know there are three states in Louisiana: north, south and the Isle of Orleans," Mr. Adley said. "But we are a family, and families come together in the time of a crisis."
It's a nice sentiment, but so far there's little evidence suggesting this is going to happen anytime soon -- at least not before the end of the special session.