Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just Say “NO” To The CCC Toll

You could probably count on NO hands, the number of times that I have agreed with anything written by the Times-Picayune Editorial Board.

I’m not sure what that says about me or the T-P’s Editorial Board, but it does say something.
In fact, I think the probability of lightning striking me or my winning the Powerball are better than the T-P Editorial Board and I agreeing on anything.

Allow me to digress for a moment (since it’s my blog, you really don’t have a choice so just patronize me).
Let me take you back to the Fall of 2011 when I sat before the Times-Picayune Editorial Board.  I was summoned there and granted 10 minutes to extoll the virtues of my possibly representing District 4 on the Jefferson Parish Council to a group of people who were largely from Orleans Parish (and had no idea what the issues in District 4 were nor did they care) and who really didn’t like me because I owned an online media company (something they obviously aspired to be).

I sat in a chair facing about 10 people who peppered me with questions about things that had nothing to do with my platform, my experience, or why I wanted to run for public office and serve the people. Since I was, at one time, a media consultant, the then-Publisher of the T-P wanted to know what newspapers I had worked with. Don’t know if he was trying to use that to network for his next job or call them and see if they would act as a reference for me.
Sitting in that chair, I thought “Why am I here? Do I really even want the endorsement of these people?”

As I walked to my car I said to myself, “Well, that went ok but there is no way in Hell that they are ever going to endorse me.”
Of course, I was right. The T-P endorsed one of my opponents (the “anointed” candidate).

In light of those facts, I have been stunned by the T-P’s support of the elimination of the CCC toll.
Jim Varney (one of my favorite T-P columnists) has opined several times this week about the need to eliminate the toll. In fact, he says that “Voting ‘No’ on CCC Tolls is a Public Service.”

If you missed any of Mr. Varney’s writings on the CCC toll issue, click here or here or here.
Today, while it is cloudy in Kenner and there was some lightning, none struck me (I didn’t win the Powerball last night either).

But, the T-P’s Editorial Board actually decreed that the CCC toll should be gone.

No, Hell hasn’t frozen over (at least not to my knowledge).
The case against the continuation of the CCC toll is so overwhelming that it is somewhat surprising that it took this long for the T-P to come out against it.

Consider these facts:

-          Decades of mismanagement and fiscal mismanagement

-          Money spent on phony insurance policies that served only to line the pockets of politically ingrained Insurance agents

-          Only $.19 out of every dollar spent on the toll actually goes to bridge maintenance

-          Drivers already pay $.20 per gallon in gasoline taxes for road and bridge maintenance in Louisiana

-          The CCC is the only toll bridge that crosses the Mississippi River in the entire country. In fact, there are 10 bridges in Louisiana alone that cross the mighty river and don’t charge a toll.

-          The CCC bridge has been paid off for years

-          It costs more to collect the toll than is spent on bridge maintenance and operations

-          About $20 Million each year is sapped out of our local economy and much of that is spent on projects across the state including the LA 1 bridge and other road projects
I could keep going but you get the drift. I'm glad that the T-P's Editorial Board got the drift too (or, at least, read Jim Varney's columns).

As I told a friend this weekend when we were discussing a local Talk Radio Host, “Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.”

Whatever the reason, I say "BRAVO!" to the Times-Picayune Editorial Board. Now if everyone will vote NO to the toll on May 4th, we will all win.

Now that I don’t need to hoard my One Dollar bills for every trip to the West Bank, I should be able to find 2 to buy myself the winning Powerball ticket on Wednesday.

Who knows? Stranger things have happened.