Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Resolutions for 2006

My column this week in the Shreveport Times proposes resolutions for 2006. Link forthcoming.

2005 was a disastrous year for Louisiana. But 2006 will be a year of uncommon opportunity. Here are a few resolutions that might help convert Louisiana’s opportunity to reality: 1. Resolve to demand decisive leadership. Policy-by-commission isn’t it. 2. Resolve to question the state’s traditional media. Require that it cover the complete story and provide all the facts, regardless of whose political interests those facts might jeopardize. That should mean more investigative journalism and less reliance on reporting-by-press-release. 3. Resolve not to rely solely on the state’s entrenched media. Seek information from alternative sources including chambers of commerce, business associations, non-profit organizations, informal social networks, out-of-state media and the internet. 4. Resolve not to shy away from fact-based political debate. Lively discussion is healthy and leads to better overall results. (See Resolutions 1, 2 and 3). 5. Resolve to insist on meaningful ethics standards, increased transparency and elimination of sweetheart deals. Know that the only way to hold elected officials accountable is if you can get access to information in the first place. 6. Resolve to hold elected officials responsible. Ask hard questions. Keep track of promises made, votes cast, explanations provided and conflicts of interest along the way. If you don’t like what you see, run for office yourself or support someone who could do a better job. 7. Resolve to cut state bureaucracy. Be aware that constantly cutting health care and education to protect other interests is public policy suicide. 8. Resolve not to view the federal government as a source of hand-outs. The federal government isn’t the solution to the state’s problems. 9. Resolve to embrace ideas and expertise from beyond state borders. This means seeking best practices and fighting constant pressure to continue business as usual. Remember that business as usual is responsible for the current mess. 10. Resolve not to look backward for answers to Louisiana’s future. The people, politics and policies of the past have failed. 11. Resolve to stop laughing at Louisiana’s reputation for crooked, dishonest or incompetent leadership. No one else is amused. 12. Resolve not to be satisfied with barely-good-enough. Louisiana deserves far better than it has got. 13. Resolve to sacrifice short-term political benefit for long-term gain. A little visionary thinking is long overdue. 14. Resolve that 2006 will be the year Louisiana finally begins reaching its long-untapped potential.