State pushes plan to get fishermen 'Back to the Docks'
State officials have proposed a new plan to BP they say will both mitigate claims and get fishermen back to work. Harlon Pearce, chairman of the the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board — a division of the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries — helped draw up the "Back to the Docks" plan and has been its main advocate. The idea calls for BP to pay fishermen 30 percent over last year's average prices for their catch as an incentive to get them back to work. Pearce says BP has been receptive to the idea, but wants to hold off until after it successfully cuts off the flow of oil into Gulf.
"We really like the idea," Pearce says. "We've floated it past BP, it's been up and down a couple of times. The last comments we've had is that BP wants to wait to get the spill capped and then we get 70-80 percent of our waters open and then they're going to do it. That's the word I got from them last week."
"What it'll do is mitigate claims in the future," he continues. "You don't want to look at it like BP's paying 30 percent, you gotta look at it like BP's saving 70 percent, because if the guy's not working it's a 100 percent claim. And you also got to look at the guy that sells him ice, the guy that sells him groceries and fuel and the truckers and the processors, the distributors, the restaurants, you've sort of mitigated their claims as well at the same time. So the whole chain of supply is filled in. What really don't want to do is lose continuity of supply in the marketplace because all we need right now is for some imported product to come in, take the place of a product that we sell locally, and then it's hard to get back in that spot again."
Pearce says he helped devise the plan over the past two months after feeling the frustration from docked fishermen unable to work. The owner of Harlan's LA Fish, a wholesale seafood processor and distributor in New Orleans and a member of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, Pearce notes the state has already seen an alarming dropoff in one of its vital industries. The number of commercial fishermen from May of last year to this year is down by 1,700 and harvested seafood dropped by 25 million pounds.
"What we want to do is draw a line in the sand," Pearce says. "Tell BP, 'If you need 1,000 boats that's fine, let us know, but the ones you don't need, let's incentivize them to go back to work.'"
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.