Sunday, March 05, 2006
Louisiana has a smaller population in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and many of its public institutions should shrink to reflect that reality.
It seems that some of the state’s public institutions are accepting that unpleasant message, while others are still in denial.
The recent special session of the Legislature, in which attempts to downsize New Orleans’s bloated political bureaucracy went nowhere, is a sad example of political careerists who are thumbing their noses at the dramatic changes required by these two storms.
New Orleans has seven tax assessors, two elected sheriffs, two elected clerks of court and two court systems. It seems that shameful status quo will continue into the foreseeable future, a regrettable river of political patronage that insists upon running against the current of common sense.
Luckily, some other public institutions in the state seem to be recognizing that the dramatic circumstances imposed by Katrina and Rita also call for dramatic sacrifices.
As we said, we are sensitive to the personal hardships that are experienced when institutions shrink. We think those sacrifices will be most meaningful when they help achieve institutions that have been creatively reorganized to advance Louisiana’s post-Katrina future.
While (Tim Ryan, chancellor of the University of New Orleans), and (LSU Agriculture Center Chancellor Bill Richardson) publicly are acknowledging the need for a leaner, meaner public sector in the wake of the storms, it seems that many other institutions are still trying to hold onto pre-Katrina turf.
That bunker mentality can’t last if Louisiana is to move forward.