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The Lively Pelican

The Lively Pelican

The Lively Pelican spent more than 30 years inside the Capitol Bubble and, while The Pelican can't speak insanity, he is able to interpret it and to discern between perception and reality in that rarified world.

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New Orleanians are very happy with their new mayor and city council.  Very happy.

For a while, Mayor Mitch Landrieu looked a little star-crossed.  First, his very election, a landslide that crossed all racial and socio-economic lines in a rare show of unity, was totally upstaged: he was elected the night before the Super Bowl and very few people paid any attention whatsoever. (Mitch showed his sense of humor by holding up the Sunday morning paper, which screamed Saints and barely mentioned his election in what on any other Sunday would have been the talk of the town.

Then, when he was inaugurated, people were paying more attention to the oil spill.There were a few missteps: naming of a police chief with a past in Nashville and a woman who had lost her medical license as the city’s medical officer. But they were the pluses: a top-notch staff, headed by Andy Kopplin, who was chief of staff for both Gov. Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco, and former state Sen. Anne Duplesis, a childhood friend from the Landrieu’s racially mixed neighborhood.

The most appealing thing about Mitch Landrieu, however, was one simple fact: The mayor is no longer C. Ray Nagin, formerly known as simply Ray Nagin until a focus group proved that “C. Ray” sounded blacker in his 2006 re-election bid in which Nagin had to reduce Landrieu’s appeal to African-American voters to win.

When the Landrieu’s swept into office, the city breathed a great sigh of relief that Nagin was truly Ray-gone.But the trouble was just beginning.Once the Naginites were gone, the Landrieu crowd uncovered just how horrible the state of the city is: a $67.5 million budget deficit for the current year, later increased by another $11 million. Deep cuts were needed. 

So Mitch made a really good call and set a “State of the City” address, a major speech in which he spelled it out for New Orleanians:  Their worst nightmares about how bad C. Ray was for the city were realized. Landrieu laid it out very calmly: it was going to be hard, but his administration was going to have to make deep cuts, cuts that would involve reduced services, but it had to be done for the cancer had been neglected too long and radical surgery was needed.  He propose furloughs, a technical used successfully in other cities: instead of laying off employees, each just had to take two days off without pay each pay period, starting with the mayor himself. 

That was another plus for Landrieu: he took his own medicine; a no-brainer for sure, but wonder if Nagone would have done it?So, the Landrieu administration is proposing to revamp and modernize the once-revered New Orleans Recreation Department in an effort to clean up the parks, organize events and refurbish community recreational parks, all with the idea of giving teenagers something to do rather than roaming the streets and causing trouble.  The idea is popular across town.

A late July poll showed 55 percent of voters approve of the NORD city charter change, with only 23 percent opposing.But the poll, taken by Dr. Silas Lee, had some really great news for the Landrieu folks: 75 percent of those polled said the city “is headed in the right direction” compared to only 31 percent who said so in February.And seven out of town gave Mitch Landrieu a favorable job rating. 

One of the interviewers for the poll, while questioning The Lively Pelican, let it be known that those surveyed were very vocal in their optimism for where the city is headed and very happy with Mitch.

And that is very good news for Mitchell, certainly eclipsing being upstaged by the Saints and BP.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Where's the Truth?

What we need is a straight-talking, honest, authentic governor who will tell us the truth.
 
Gov. Booby Jindali isn’t meeting those criteria.
 
How he can continue to claim just to be running for re-election and not running for president is becoming laughable.
 
The evidence is overwhelming:
 
--First, his book.
   Jindal’s “memoir” (usually written later in life about events earlier in life) doesn’t sound autobiographical: the title is “On Solid Ground: Returning to America’s Core Values,” due out in July, right after the Louisiana Legislature ends its annual session and he’s free for a national book tour and to run about the country raising money for himself and GOP candidates in the fall election.
   The key that this book isn’t about Louisiana lies in the co-author, Peter Schweizer.
   Schweitzer’s previous books include “Architects of Ruin: How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Global Economy – and How They Will Do It Again If No One Stops Them” and “The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty.” 
   Now, it’s a safe bet Schweizer isn’t blaming George W. Bush for taking the national debt from a $200 surplus when he came in to a $1 trillion deficit when he left, but that’s a whole other story. Schweizer’s other polemics include a treatise on Ronald Reagan’s “final triumph over communism,” something called “Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy,” and my personal favorite, a book postulating that Republicans ”work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, value honesty more, and are less materialistic.” That “value honesty more” is a little hard to swallow, but you get the point: Jindal’s co-author is a national Republican writer who is well-connected with the GOP’s top leaders.
   
--The campaign’s hiring national GOP firms with presidential level experience.
 Beyond the fact that Jindal made over 40 trips to fundraisers across the nation, especially in voter-rich states like Florida and Texas, his hiring of national consultants who have worked in previous campaigns is instructive.
   He’s got $7 million in the bank, and has raised more than 40 percent of his money out of state.
   An Associated Press review of his campaign financial disclosure reports show Jindal spent $911,000 in 2009 – two years before the governor’s race -- an amount far in excess of any governor before him. And the AP said nearly half of the money was spent on an army of out-of-state consultants, strategists, direct mail companies and fundraising coordinators, some linked to such other candidates as President George W. Bush, 2008 GOP candidate John McCain, the Republican National Committee, just to pick a few.
 
--Dodging pesky questions.
   Jindal avoids the Baton Rouge Press Corps more than any governor ever before him, with the possible exception of Earl Long during his difficult days. The governor’s office referred all questions to the state Republican Party Central Committee, whose spokesman could only spout that the governor was running for re-election and wanted the best possible help. The spending, GOP State spokesman Aaron Baer told the AP (presumably with a straight face) wasn’t designed to organize anything other than Jindal’s 2011 re-election bid. We know this must be true because, Jindal’s co-author has already told us that Republicans “value honesty more.”
 
--His work history.
   Prior to being elected to Congress in 2004, Jindal had never held a job longer than about two years. His three-year stint in Congress was, in fact a record. After he became governor, Jindal waited only a few weeks before venturing out on the national scene and travelling about the country raising money. At every previous stage of his political career – and all his jobs save one have been political ones – Jindal has quickly moved on to the next level up.
 
Jindal doesn’t want to come clean, of course, because he doesn’t want the fact that he really doesn’t want to finish out his second term to be an issue. So he just says he has “no plans” for 2012.
 
Maybe no firm plans, but certainly a whole lot of preparation.
 
And not a whole lot of honesty with Louisiana voters.
 

LAProgress

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