You can also look over the notes Joey took while watching by clicking here.
I’ve been watching the events of this past week unfold. I have tried to maintain some form of even keel when I pass along information about the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philandro Castile in Minnesota, and the act of domestic terrorism committed in Dallas as a peaceful demonstration was concluding just a few days ago. Each has its own unique circumstances, each has left people with horrific memories, devastating loss, and emotional damage that will take time to heal.
What I am about to say will upset many, but in my heart I know it is what must be stated for the record. First, now is not the time for the general public to attempt to become judge, jury, and executioner in any of these events. It doesn’t matter to me if you are an expert in criminology, a layman, or a civil rights legend. None of us have the proper, completed, and factual information needed to make a truly informed decision on what happened here. The only one that would be even slightly close to that point is the assassination of 5 law enforcement officers and the wounding of 7 more in Dallas. Even in that case, the initial crime scene will not be completely processed until the middle of next week at the earliest.
What is not needed here, and has not been needed in the other similar events like Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and Freddie Gray in Baltimore are uninformed people jumping to conclusions. It is poor leadership and could be considered a form of defamation making inflammatory statements before all the facts are in. This has happened in this week’s events with local, regional, statewide, and nationally elected officials. I saw one New Orleans area state representative within minutes of the 2nd video being distributed on social media in the Alton Sterling case state unequivocally that the policemen involved should be “thrown in jail now”! So no evidence, no trial, just a cry to punish without due process.
Another thing that is not needed right now is the politicians involved in each incident all the way up to the president himself attempting to use the horrific events of this past week to advance ANY political agenda. Seeing this happen repeatedly with the devastating events in Orlando just made my blood boil. Watching politicians line up after each of these horrific events to tout gun control, or police reforms, or attempts to divide people along racial or economic lines made me literally sick to my stomach.
What the people of Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas need now are leaders on every level to step up and show that they are more concerned with comforting those affected, assurances that the main priority will be finding the truth behind why the events happened, and that anyone that broke the law will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. It is time for the people that have been honored by being trusted with public office to lead. Each one of you that decided to push a political parties agenda, or that displaying your anger instead of calling for calm until all the evidence has been process have severely degraded the office you were entrusted with.
And the politicians aren’t the only ones that have besmirched the position they were entrusted with. While most of the clergy I have seen active during the fallout from these events have been tending to their flock, and trying to comfort the people that have been emotionally affected by what has happened, there are many “civic leaders” that claim to be focused on improving the community, but instead are on the front lines using the pain, fear and grief felt to drive a wedge through the heart of the places they claim to love.
I by no means advocate attempting to stop people from expressing their anger at what has happened here. Being able to freely express our displeasure with current events, the system, or the political process is a right guaranteed to us. With that said, it is one thing to demonstrate and express yourself, it is completely another to disrupt someone else’s freedoms to do it. Blocking roads (or the interstate), disrupting other people’s events is not the way to get your point heard. When you try to cause disruption you put your safety and the well being of others at risk. Attempting to get law enforcement to attack you is even more destructive, and could make you a convicted felon in the process. Say what you have to say. Make your point, but do it peacefully.
One of my part time jobs (I have several) is a board operator for a local station here in Southeast Louisiana. I’ve been honored to have the opportunity to work behind the scenes this week to help my station lead part of the public discussions of these events on the air. While we do get our share of the extremist that blame racism, police brutality, and hatred as the main catalyst in these events, there seems to be a much more consistent consensus as to a real cause.
To be honest, it seems to be the general consensus when I talk to friends, colleagues, and social media contacts as well, so there must be some validity to it. The main point that seems to return is that there seems to be a lack of respect by certain people for anything or anyone. This may not always be the case, but hear me out. There are a healthy amount of people in the current generation, and maybe even another generation back that expect to have everything come easy to them. They don’t seem to have the same drive to succeed, the same discipline that my generation, and preceding generations have. Many people I have heard discuss this, and many I have have conversations about it seem to blame it on a lack of proper parental structure at home growing up, as well as a lack of ability for parents to discipline children the way we were raised.
My eldest son Logan has a tight knit group of friends he hangs around with. Most of them are seniors in high school like him, and they spend time together both in and out of the school environment. Out of the near dozen people in this group, our son is the only one that is not from a split family home. More than 75% of them live with a grandparent because their parents are divorced and decided they could not properly raise their own children. The rest of the group have one parent (with the exception of one, the biological father) they live with and hardly ever see the other.
Logan runs into issues trying to spend time with them because we raise our kids with rules and guidelines. We must meet their friend’s guardian before they can visit their home (mainly to make sure the parent is OK with it, and of course to know someone responsible is there). He can’t stay overnight on a school night. He has to let us know if he’s going somewhere other than where he told us (just a short text). His friends constantly pick on him because they do what they want, when they want. Some of his friends, who are still minors, are out walking around on their own past midnight on a school night.
I gave that background because in my opinion the lack of parental control and concern shown by the parents of Logan’s friends is the cornerstone of that lack of respect for anyone, or anything that I mentioned earlier. They don’t show respect because they have never been shown the importance of it growing up. It becomes a huge gap that causes problems in work, in relationships, and in life for those who don’t grasp why it is so important. This missing cornerstone makes it much easier to have no concept that life is precious.
Is this the only issue causing these confrontations? No, of course not. What this becomes is a definable problem that political, clergy, and civic leaders can work together to find tangible paths to correct and improve. This is a common ground that we can all agree must be addressed to help make the next generation of leaders we need for our communities and our country to survive.
I keep hearing the slogan “No Justice, No Peace!” chanted all over the country. Who gets to decide what that justice becomes? Shouldn’t that be determined by gathering all the evidence available? Is it vital we are making sure the truth of what happened is found? To find the truth, to assure we truly find justice for the people that have had their lives destroyed by these tragic events, shouldn’t every leader be calling for calm and patience so there is no rush to judgement. Everyone’s goal should be to find the truth instead of allowing knee jerk reactions stoke the flames of hatred, division, and fear? We have to know that we are truly dispensing justice so we can all know the peace we are looking for.
I woke up on that Sunday morning to hear that there was a shooting in Orlando. It didn’t take long for me to gather up what little information was available in the few hours after the the shooter had been killed. The first thing that really struck me as odd was that within the first few hours of this massacre Islamic State was claiming responsibility for it. As I was telling my family gathered around the TV that this was unusual, the terrorism expert on the news coverage expressed the same sentiment.
First, no matter the murderer’s intentions, the senseless loss of 49 lives, the horror that the survivors of this madman’s actions along with the pain and suffering caused to the victim’s friends and family will have long lasting circumstances that go far beyond the initial pain and suffering. The first responders who rushed towards the danger, the people that helped get victims treatment, and the people that had to process the carnage will all have long lasting effects for years to come as well.
My thoughts and prayers have been with all these people. Many have a long road to go before they will find their new normal and are able to move on with their lives. The best thing we can do is show love, be supportive, and honor the lives of the people lost during this horrific act of terrorism. This is a time to come together as a country.
One of the things that flashed in my mind as I watched the live coverage was “Please don’t let this become a political football!” My fears were confirmed just hours later as the political lines began to be drawn by politicians who had shown up to be”briefed” on the scene. It quickly became an US of “This is a Radical Islamic Terrorism Problem” and a THEM of “This is a Gun Control Problem”. The presidential candidates quickly choose a side. Then President Obama showed up in Orlando and showed that the most important rule in politics is “never let a crisis go to waste” by turning his moment to be presidential into a “let’s do some gun control” political rant.
Personally, I don’t think either side is right. I believe we are now in a world where there are people that hate America, the freedoms we enjoy, and anyone that doesn’t believe how they believe. Those people have proven over the past few decades that every time we shut down one way for them to attack us, they find another creative way to get to us.
Some people don’t want to look at the way this hatred is instilled in some radicals from birth. This is not just with radical Muslims, but also look at the history of radical groups like the Branch Davidian, the Klu Klux Klan, among other groups both here in America and abroad. Hatred is a common bond in many mass murders. So in mental illness, which is also something no one seems to want to address.
I believe some things can be tweaked that would keep certain people that shouldn’t have access to a gun from getting them. I don’t believe that the “No Fly, No Buy” talking point being touted by Democrats would be the right way to do that. The No Fly List has no due process to put people on it, the people on it aren’t notified when they are placed on it, nor is there a process in place to get removed from the list if you feel you are placed on it improperly. The list would have to be made public record. The appeal process to get off it would have to be created, which would mean putting someone on the list would have to be able to be legally defended by the party(s) that added them.
The other talking point the gun control crowd is trying to tout is “Universal Background Check” legislation. Again, this sounds easy and smart, but a ton of hurdles have to be overcome to make this a reality everyone can live with. Not all states report to the database used to perform gun sales background checks. Even the states that report do not report the same information. This means the informaiton in is inaccurate at best. Add to that the fact the department that does these checks is overwhelmed, and has a poor record of catching things that should raise flags on checks they are already required to perform.
Something needs to be done. While I agree that mass killings are never acceptable, now is the time to honor the dead. It is time to help the injured recover. It is time to thoroughly investigate the actions leading up to the event, and figure out sensible measures that can be taken to avoid a future attack.
Now is not the time to make rash decisions in hopes of gaining political momentum. Now is not the time to pass useless legislation that would have not stopped past events nor stop future attacks. It is appalling that anyone would try to use victims of a crime to further their cause or gain political momentum.
I’ve been busy trying to keep up with personal matters, as well as working through an accelerated class that squeezed 16 weeks of coursework into one month of daily torture. I am sure I passed the class, but don’t know my final grade just yet.
To to honest, another factor has been I am trying hard not to be a typical screaming, bitching talking head. I’ve watched in absolute befuddlement as both the Louisiana Legislature and the US Congress seemed to have lost their collective minds. The behavior being exhibited by politicians in the past few weeks has had me wandering down the halls mumbling things about hell and a hand basket.
I’ll be writing and producing a few commentaries in the next day or so. It has never been I don’t have anything to say, it’s that I don’t want to become a carbon copy of the other people.
Thanks for checking in on me. I’ve replied to everyone who I recieved email from. If you didn’t hear from me, you either got the wrong address for me, or your account is flagged as spam.
On this first day of Hurricane Season, I can’t help but cringe at the thought of the potential disaster that is now only a week away. Next Wednesday the regular legislative session will end, only to have a second special second session begin 30 minutes after the gavel drops to end the regular session.
As of this moment, the deficit for the new fiscal year that begins on July first is right around six hundred million dollars. As the special session draws closer, the battle lines are already being drawn. As is the case in our instant age, the first salvos of this fight are being launched on social media.
The Louisiana GOP’s Twitter page has taken aim at Governor John Bel Edwards with the statement “We need a governor who runs on a ‘no new tax’ platform to keep his word,” which of course discounts the depths of the hole our state is in and that there are few options to get us out of this jam.
Edwards is trying to get out ahead of the upcoming fight. He did an interview with the editorial board of The Advocate where he talked about the coming special session calling it “a mess”. He also said legislators should not stall action until the final hours of the special session as they did earlier this year. He said “Can they wait? Yeah. Should they wait? No.”
The House and Senate each passed a budget during the regular session. The Senate’s version went further in cutting funding for the state’s Charity Hospital System, Higher Education, the TOPS program, which is factually a second cut to higher education, and other state funded programs. The two bills would have to be reconciled in committee, approved by both houses of the legislature, and then sent to the governor before next Wednesday to avoid the special session. I don’t see them compromising to the point of making a reconciled bill, and even if it got that far, I don’t think the governor would sign it.
To get to a point where everything gets funded everyone will need to back down a step, be willing to work together to make the best possible plan. That means the GOP legislators will need to stop attempting to pin all the problems on our current governor. It means that they need to take a hard look at the programs that are taking revenue away from the state.
It means our Democrat governor and his party members in the legislature need to also take it down a notch. The must be willing to look at areas where cuts can be made without having a completely detrimental effect on the programs that many is our state rely on.
The bottom line to our elected representatives in Baton Rouge is that instead of spending most of the two and a half weeks of this special session slinging mud at each other, talking about what you refuse to do, and wasting tax payer money because you’re playing a game, get the work started now.
Get the ball rolling. Gather a group of legislators you can work with, start working through what programs can be reduced, or cut and not be detrimental to the state or our citizens. Look at every tax credit, every special program that allows groups to pay a greatly reduced tax rate or nothing. Find the places where things can be tweaked to benefit the state coffers without destroying the state’s economy in the process.
I’m not sure if you see this, but this is something that bothers me. I may be a little sensitive to it being I am so close to graduating from The University of New Orleans, but our legislature is hitting higher education with a double whammy, but seem not to care what it will do to the future of this state.
The budget cuts to higher education by our state has been tremendous. It has caused issues, it has raised tuition, and it has effected the way schools are able to operate in our state. They are looking at doing it again when certain institutions have seriously considered bankruptcy protection because of the cuts to this point. The schools have been cut to bare bones already.
On top of the budget cuts to Higher Education funding, they are looking at both putting restrictions on, and underfunding the TOPS program. Reports state that over half of the student body at LSU rely on TOPS for their ability to go to school. I am sure other schools are at similar levels of TOPS students. If half of the already depleted number of students are now limited or unable to attend school because losing TOPS, what will that do to our schools that are already barely hanging on?
Talk to the people that represent you. Drop them an email, call them. The message must be a simple one. Fix the mess. Fix it Now. No more political pandering. No more giving the lobbyist what they want. Do what is best for the people of Louisiana.
I spent today getting ready for the last semester of my undergraduate degree at The University of New Orleans. I went buy my books. I got my first assignments turned in. That’s right, today was officially the first day of class, and both my classes had assignments due by midnight. College is not as easy as it was when I was a teenager.
I mention getting ready because tomorrow, Wednesday is the first day of the 2016 Hurricane Season. There have been several stories running about how public officials, the National Hurricane Center, Governor John Bel Edwards, and even President Barrack Obama have made pleas with people in hurricane zone to get prepared.
What exactly do they mean by prepare? There is the obvious. Do you have the materials stored and available to board up your house in the event an evacuation has been ordered for your area? You shouldn’t wait and hope for the best, because to be blunt, if you do, there will be no supplies available when you hit the lumberyard in the day or two before landfall.
Do you have at least a week or two supply of non-perishable food stored, including an ample supple of water for you and your family? This isn’t only in case you’re in the path of the storm and shelter in place. If you evacuate, you should take this with you to assure your family will have supplies no matter where you end up during an evacuation.
Do you have a plan for your pets? Not all hotels allow pets. You’re not going to want to leave them home with a few days’ supply of food and water, and how will they handle a multi hour ride in bumper to bumper traffic? This has to be thought out and prepared in advance.
You should have ample emergency cash on hand in the event that you start to head out and ATM or credit/debit machines do not work or the places you are able to find with supplies don’t take cards. It is something I’ve run into, and horror stories I’ve heard from multiple past experiences.
Now for the not so obvious. Where are you going? Do you have a plan if a storm is expected to hit your area. What about if it is tracking slightly west or east of your area? Is the plan to shelter with friends or relatives that live north of you, or does the plan change depending on where the storm is headed?
Is the plan to head out of the storm’s path and just keep going until you find an available hotel room? What happens if your home is in the direct path of the storm and you’re not allowed back for several weeks? How do you deal with another Katrina level of devastation?
Do you have all your important papers, including insurance policies, home inventory, pictures of your belongings, and your deeds/titles for your properties setup to take with you? It should all be ready to be loaded in your vehicle, and it should be a part of your plan.
Finally, do you have a plan for the amount of clothes you’re taking for the family, and will it all fit in the vehicle you’re going to have to take to leave town? It might sound crazy, but this can lead to fighting, delays in departure, and major headaches if you have your vehicle filled to the roof and need to change a flat tire, or grab the ice chest, which always seems to be loaded all the way up front.
As I’ve said, I have been there. I cooked for groups of people passing through Jonesboro, Arkansas where I was working after Katrina. I got to hear their stories of how they wish they had heeded the warnings to leave, or how they lost it all because they were not prepared to evacuate. With the season starting tomorrow, the time to start getting ready is now. Take it a little at a time, and before you know it you will have everything ready. Hopefully, it will not be needed, but better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have anything.
I worked today so I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to work on a commentary for today. I work two part time jobs, as well as start classes again on Tuesday to get my final class completed to earn my BS in Interdisciplinary Studies at The University of New Orleans. I am slowly working my way back into the workforce again, but also following my mom’s advice always have a plan to pursue my dreams, which is what Louisiana Today is all about.
Today has been dominated by sports stories for me, mostly Saints related, so I will talk about those today. I take them in no particular order, but each struck me for one reason or another. I guess I will take them in the order of what piqued my attention the most to the least.
Former number one draft pick, former Saint, and one heck of a fan of Bob Marley former NFL running back Ricky Williams is opening a “cannabis friendly gym” in the San Francisco area called Power Plant Fitness. Williams is partnering with Jim McAlpine, the founder of the 420 Games which is exactly what it sounds like, athletic events, topped off with a 4.2 mile run where being high by partaking is encouraged.
In the press release about the gym, the site TheWeedBlog states:
“The 420 Games creator has recently launched an athletic line of cannabis products and in partnership with Ricky Williams, the duo will open the world’s first cannabis gym in San Francisco, CA this November. Power Plant Fitness will be run by Williams and focus on integrative full body and mind training. What makes Power Plant Fitness unique? Members will be able to consume cannabis in the gym while working out. Power Plant also produces a line of “athletic edibles” made for pre-workout focus and post-workout recovery.
As the recreational use of cannabis is now legal in some states and on the ballot in others, including California, perceptions are changing quickly. Old stereotypes are being tossed out the window as the world realizes that they have long been misled about the “evils” of marijuana. It is very likely cannabis will become ingrained into American society like Budweiser, Apple Pie and baseball.”
I don’t know about all that, but cannabis has become more accepted in the past decade, and even Louisiana has loosened the regulations on their medical marijuana usage. Governor John Bel Edwards did however stress when he signed the new guidelines into effect that laws like the ones in Colorado, and Washington allowing recreational cannabis use will not happen in Louisiana under his watch.
The the big Saints related story is that former Defensive Coordinator (and frequent French Quarter bar hopper) Rob Ryan tried to push the blame for his failed tenure in New Orleans on not being allowed to coach in the manner he wanted, using the defensive schemes and players he wanted. He essentially said he got fed up at one point and just let things happen instead of fighting to fix the problems. He is now working as an assistant for is brother, so nepotism is alive and well in the NFL.
Anyone surprised by this just doesn’t know someone like Rob, or has never been fired from a job before. The blaming it on anyone but your own mistakes is very human. Saying you just gave up because there was no way to win is just another excuse. Not justifying Ryan’s comments or actions, but they are not as shocking as the media stories want to make it out to be.
Sean Payton calling Ryan’s allegations that he was not allowed to coach the way he wanted “silly” is also not all that surprising. Even if all control had been taken from Ryan while he was here, that is not going to be acknowledged now. Even if every bit of it were true, there is no reason to admit that.
How does this help The Saints now? it Doesn’t. It’s not going to whip the defense into shape. It’s not going to help the team gel or is it going to change the plans the team has for the defense for the coming season. Rob Ryan is part of the long history of the New Orleans Saints. He will not be soon forgotten, but his comments do nothing to help (or hurt) what is happening now. To be honest, I am surprised Coach Payton took time to acknowledge it exists. At best it is a distraction for the media, but that will only last for a moment.
Well, the impossible happened today. I don’t say that in jest, or as a joke, or even with a little bit of sarcasm. The truth is, when Donald Trump started his quest to become the Republican Nominee for President of the United States, no one thought it would become more than another 3 ring media circus that would be entertaining for a few weeks, and then he would ascend back into Trump Tower to film another season of Celebrity Apprentice. I actually agreed with Karl Rove when he talked about Trump on the day he announced his candidacy that with seventeen people in the field, Trump’s run would be short, crazy, but otherwise a failed attempt to gain the highest office in our land.
I was blown away when The Donald was able to brush off his first gaffe with ease. I was shocked when the major cable news channel started carrying his rally events live during prime time. It baffled me how he continued time after time to monopolize the “earned media” time not only on Fox News, but all the way down to MSNBC, even though that coverage was just them screaming that the people voting for him must have “drank the Kool-Aid” or was having a “mass hysterical” event.
Even with the media of both the left and right attacking Trump’s speeches, rallies, lifestyle, and even his family he steamrolled the other Republican candidates time after time. It seemed the more a candidate would decide to attack The Donald, the faster their campaign would go down in flames.
I tried to cover this unprecedented American political anomaly, only to have people accused me of being an early passenger on The Trump Train. To be honest, Trump was not my first, second, or even third choice of the 17 people in the field. I watched as people I know, people I respect in the media industry lose their mind because nothing seemed to slow down Trump’s progression to the nomination. The more momentum he got, the more desperate and reckless from these people the rhetoric got.
With my family, the saying of never talk about politics and religion in polite company is more of a rule than a saying. I am not saying my relatives are flaming liberals, but when you spend the time I do studying politics, following the campaigns, and talking about them, getting engaged in a family political discussion can make me come off as a know it all, or even more of a smart Alek than I normally do. This actually happened to me recently during a family dinner with my mom. We were talking, eating, and having a good time when a story saying Donald Trump had won another primary flashed up on the TV. My mom immediately started talking about how Trump was the most evil chauvinist bastard on planet earth. She also told me about how she didn’t like anyone else running. Seems to be a recurring theme this election cycle.
She is not the first person who has made these type of statements to me since this election cycle started. No matter if it is anti-Trump, anti-Clinton, anti-Sanders, or any of the other candidates, when probed why they have this opinion, a majority of the time they cite some TV ad, or something they were told, but never that they actually researched the candidates or that they are making a true informed decision.
Politics is not the only place I seem to find this. Part of my career has been as an IT Administrator, and I cannot tell you how many times I have been sent a “completely factual” email, story, or other tidbit that can be completely debunked with a quick search of qualified sources. If you spend any real time on social media, I am sure you have seen the repeated shares of the dial this number to check if a cop is really following you, or the plethora of bad information out there.
I point this out for a simple reason, as the race for the next president firms up, this decision is going to shape the future of our children, and grandchildren. I ask you not to be swayed by hearsay, bad TV ads, or even the spin of the candidates, their campaigns, or their surrogates. Over the next 6 months I suspect we will see some of the most inflammatory rhetocic used in modern election history. Take some time to research your choices. Take time to know what the facts are, not what is easily available.
The impossible has happened. Our choice will betf between two people that are polarizing and unpopular. This choice has to be made based on who will take our country in the right direction. Choosing based on popularity, or to make another milestone will only push our country in the wrong one.
I saw an article today that touted that the national partisan politics has not found a home in Louisiana yet, but a trio of other stories seems to tell a different story. I’ve talked before about how politicians today seem to always be in election mode, well today’s example is Louisiana’s new Attorney General, Jeff Landry.
The first story I saw today is that our Attorney General issued a legal opinion that essentially states that the recent executive order issued by Governor John Bel Edwards extending protections to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people, or LGBT as it is commonly referred. To be blunt, this new order only added Transgender persons to executive orders that had already been issued by former governors.
Governor Edwards of course says that the Attorney General is overstepping his authority. The attorney general has tried to exert authority over illegal immigration, public education standards, and his offices own finances, to name a few. This has lead to speculation that the new AG has aspirations of occupying the Governor’s Mansion, to which he has replied, and I quote “I think anyone who has aspirations to take the governor’s job has to have their head examined.” End quote.
Later in the day, another press report was released that announced Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry had joined Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, plus Arizona’s Department of Education and Maine’s governor to file a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s directive that schools must allow transgender students to us the bathroom of the sex they identify with instead of their biological sex.
Amid a national debate on transgender rights, President Barack Obama’s administration on May 13 told U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice, upsetting Republicans and paving the way for fights over federal funding and legal authority.
Mr. Landry has encouraged school systems to ignore the federal directive, stating that he will defend them if they are prosecuted.
The states’ lawsuit accused the federal government of overstepping its constitutional powers by taking actions that should be left to Congress or individual states. It also challenged the Obama administration’s interpretation of federal civil rights law with regard to sex and gender.
I can understand why Louisiana would be want to participate in this lawsuit. With that said, my first thought when I was reading this story was I can’t believe John Bel Edwards went along with this. It would seem like a 180 turn against the stance he took when he signed the executive order about LGBT protections. His stances since taking office would lend credence that he would not go against the Obama Administration.
Well, a story by New Orleans Times Picayune reporter Julia O’Donoghue on NOLA.com this afternoon gave a valid explanation of this contradiction. It seems that Mr. Landry decided to join the suit and did not consult the governor beforehand. According to Ms. O’Donoghue’s story the governor did not know about the suit until he saw news reports today saying Louisiana had joined the other states in filing it. While some would say the governor has no reason to be informed of the attorney general’s decision, you would think it would be common courtesy to inform the chief executive of our state at least a few minutes before making national news.
In my opinion this is nothing but political maneuvering by everyone involved. While Mr. Landry may not want to be governor officially, he is the republican holding the highest elected office in the state that has good standing in the state GOP party. He is being coaxed into butting heads with the governor by the state GOP because they are under the impression that the more they can embarrass or trip up the governor, the better it is for republicans. You would think that the election of Governor Edwards, and the current unprecedented success of Donald Trump nationally would be a wake-up call that this type of bull is not working anymore.
Now Governor Edwards isn’t completely innocent here either. This executive order goes against the grain of the majority of the people of this state. That is not a guess, that is a fact. Our governor is also guilty of listening to the leaders in the state democratic party, that are convincing him to slide in one little piece of liberal policy after the other instead of becoming the consensus builder he was elected to become.
My problem with joining the federal suit is the same as the issue I have with building a new stadium for The Saints. We can’t pay for the stuff we need to fit the needs of the people of our state already, but we’re going to join a suit that will cost us at minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars for a court fight for a directive that most legal experts say cannot be defended in court if the feds attempt to withhold funding.
It upsets me to see the games being played by our elected officials while we have so many areas that need serious, bipartisan solutions. The issues being used as political footballs affect way too many people to use in this way. Every politician in Louisiana needs to wake up, see what is happening to people that play these political game across the country, and figure out how to work together to solve our state’s problems now.
If you caught it on social media, you know I was up at 5am this morning. It happens more than I like. While working on things early this morning, I kept hearing the reports about how New Orleans was once again pitching to host another Super Bowl. This one was the 2019 Super bowl. It came down supposedly to Miami (they call it southern Florida because the stadium is almost in Fort Lauderdale), Atlanta, and New Orleans.
When I awoke this afternoon, I saw the social media reports that the “pitch team” was just about to walk in to try to sell New Orleans to the NFL owners gathered to vote on sites through 2021 from what I gathered. Sports reporters all flooding the interwebs (thanks Richard Rollins of Fast and Loud fame) with every move of the New Orleans delegation as the process unfolded.
It was a little exciting, but also wondered in the back of my mind why it was being covered so intensely. I mean, c’mon let’s get serious here. The NFL has a track record over the past few years of only awarding the Super Bowl to markets that have made a major investment, namely a new state of the art stadium, in their team’s long term future. While they would never come out and admit it, they are rewarding the owners who have convinced local and state leaders to dump over a billion dollars into giving a non-profit organization a place to make millions of dollars with more place to eat, drink, and party than the old one.
If memory serves, Tom Benson tried to get this done here before Katrina. He wanted Louisiana to buy him a new house for the Saints. Katrina helped him get one heck of a remodel, but FEMA didn’t spend the money these other markets did to have the NFL’s newest, shiniest playhouse. The fact is, being that the Mercedes Benz Superdome is the home of our beloved boys for the foreseeable future, the presentation team went in with one or two strikes already against them.
Now don’t get this twisted, I love the Saints! I am one of those old school guys that has to have my TV turned down and Jim Henderson on the radio or it just doesn’t seem right when I watch a Saints game. I really don’t have a problem with the age or ability of the facility our team calls home. In fact, again, I don’t think it would feel right to give up the “dome field advantage” by going elsewhere. I’m just being realistic. If you believe the diehard Who Dats, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has it in for Our Boys anyway, just look at the difference in treatment between our team and Tom Brady, right?
Look, almost every sports guy I know started asking the question today, so let’s address the elephant in the room. Will New Orleans have to build a new stadium to get another Super Bowl? The short answer at this time would most likely be yes. However, the real question is, should we even consider this adventure?
Let’s look at the state’s financial situation. We’re facing budget cuts in July that could jeopardize the contracts with the companies running our “safety net” hospital system. The TOPS system that allows some of our state’s best and brightest be able to afford college is being stressed, the standards to use it are being raised to restrict the costs of the program, and we could still see it get gutted if the legislature doesn’t get off its rear and work together to right the still sinking ship. Our public colleges and universities are cut to the bone, and the loss of TOPS would be a disaster for them all.
Those are at the top of the list, but we all know the problems we face go way further into the state budget and affect every state agency. Without some common sense solutions and compromise by the people elected to represent us it could become much worse. We don’t have the ability to pay for the stuff that is already on the table. While it is easy to blame it all on the lack of sound fiscal decisions by the former tenant of the Governor’s Mansion, the fact is there are several factors including the bust of the local oil and gas industry that contributed to this issue.
We need to fix what is wrong with the budget before we begin to look at something as monumental as spending over 1.5 billion dollars to replace something that works just fine the way it is.