Levee Oversight Reform - When "No" is Not an Option
It looks to me as if maybe (is it possible??) we’re not getting all the information about the levee oversight bill that didn’t make it through the special legislative session last week. There are, of course, many sides to every story, and with legislation, it’s often those little niggling details that get lost in the telling.
So what’s really going on with the levee board reform?
The Times-Picayune discussed the issue in an editorial Saturday, speaking quite strongly against the legislators who voted against Senator Boasso’s bill:
Lawmakers who voted to keep the status quo ought to be held accountable for squashing reform
Yes indeed, the status quo needs to be blown away by the post-Katrina winds – but is that what Sen. Boasso’s bill proposed? Not according to Representative Jeff Arnold (emphasis mine):
Did you know that the bill kept the New Orleans levee board intact and only created a oversight board[?] And, the only oversight the board would have over the New Orleans levee board is for flooding. The bill as it came from the Senate did not take control of the "money" issues from Orleans, including the Lakefront Airport, harbors and police department. If true reform is what we are after then a full takeover is what is needed.
Fascinating. I strongly recommend reading Rep. Arnold's entire post in the polimom.com forums, including discussion about the separate problem of Algiers. He had quite a lot to say about the bill, and posted links to the full proposal and also to a “digest” (which is definitely a bit easier to understand).
After reading both (and hearing Nagin’s opinion yesterday on this same subject), I am left wondering whether the Representatives who voted the bill down (on an admitted technicality) have any alternatives in the works? I don’t hear Jeff Arnold saying, “No”. What I read, actually, was “This is not enough”.
Evidently, both the Times-Picayune and Rep. Arnold agree that the old ways have gotta go, but time's a-wastin', and one opportunity has already passed by.
Now what? (Because a simple "no" is not an option.)