IT WAS BUBBA’S FAULT!

March 9, 2007

So, Senator Barham believes, from speaking with a site selector, that two of the main reasons that Louisiana lost the Toyota Plant was because the residents of NELA were a bunch of slobs and are likely too dumb to turn a bolt.

Monroe’s Mayor Mayo seemed to agree concerning the litter and voiced his frustration at a worsening problem. In fact, according to Mayor Mayo, even if the city tried to clean up the mess, it would only be replaced by the next day.

According to Tana Trichel of the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance, their national consultant had made mention that the litter in the area was a problem and needed to be addressed.

Then if you pile on the remarks of self-righteous “neighbors”, as they jump on the bandwagon, and rail against the local residents, as they themselves do nothing, it is more than clear, that if “Bubba” wasn’t so dumb, and if “Bubba” was so trashy, Toyota would have lavished this area with jobs and economic growth never before seen in this part of the state.

So, if you want to know why Louisiana lost the Toyota plant, it was Bubba’s fault.

There is no reason to discuss the fact that right along the route these business executives took was a parish landfill. And, of course, it is well off limits to discuss the lunacy of putting that landfill right next to the interstate in the first place, and more idiotic, at the “entrance” to Monroe. No, the perpetual line of garbage trucks running that same route, to and from the landfill, should never be used to excuse Bubba from his wanton filth.

Also, those crews out cutting the grass on the interstate, they can’t be blamed for compounding the litter problem. It would blow their budget if they had to pick up any trash before they chopped it into a hundred-times more pieces and then scattered it over a much bigger area.

And the lack of law enforcement officers to enforce the litter laws can’t be of any intellectual benefit. NELA has always been understaffed and under funded when it comes to State Police, so the “norm” should be disregarded, and it is only a minor inconvenience having North Louisiana Troopers doing “combat” duty in New Orleans, which is a far more important area of the state.

So why wasn’t Bubba out picking up all that trash that could have only come from the back of his pickup? Thinking further, where were all the civic groups with their “Adopt-A-Highway“ plans? Where were all the churches and their good intentions? Where was ANYBODY?

Perhaps they WERE there. Perhaps they were, AS USUAL, ready to step up and do the right thing and help clean their community and help their neighbors get a decent job.

Perhaps, they were standing by waiting for some form of leadership to materialize.

But, isn’t that what our politicians are elected to do, provide leadership? Isn’t it the JOB of public officials to make certain that when important visitors come to our communities, that we present our best foot forward?

What were our public officials doing to promote a positive outcome to a business proposition that would have positively impacted this region beyond most people’s belief?

What were they doing? They knew there was a litter problem to be addressed. After all, Ms. Trichel of the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance admitted their “national consultant” let them know that there was too much litter along the highways and should be given attention.

Mayor Mayo knew there was a litter problem, his voiced frustrations made that very clear.

Where was Senator Jones? He lives in and represents this area. Is he blind, too, or was he too busy standing guard over his “enclave” to be concerned over the biggest employment opportunity this region has ever seen.

Where was Senator Barham? He was obviously involved in the Toyota project and had the ear of the “site selector”. Did Senator Barham just ignore the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance?

Where was Rep. Francis Thompson? Well, that is an easy one. He is far too busy lining his pockets with the “reservoir boondoggle”.

With a deal this big, every politician in this region should have been leading teams, no armies of residents to polish this area to a high shine. But that, of course, would have required a minuscule of leadership, something obviously missing in this whole sordid affair.

And certainly not least, where was the Governor?

I am certain Governor Blanco enjoyed her vacation in Southeast Asia at taxpayer expense, but what did she really accomplish and just how hard did she fight for NELA? As hard as she fought for State Farm and Guide? Did Governor Blanco put forth the same passion for NELA as she is now expending on a steel mill for south Louisiana? Did the Governor offer Toyota $300,000,000 dollars to build in NELA, or was that money better spent in the important parts of this state?

On her website, Governor Blanco marveled at her own diplomacy skills and seemed ready to declare the Japan visit a success.

“So much of business in Asia builds on personal relationships, and we have set in motion these relationships.”

However, the trip to Japan was overshadowed by a cloud of incompetence and in-fighting as Governor Blanco fought harder to save face over the Katrina debacle, than attract new business to NELA. Governor Blanco did not present a unified and stable environment for a world class automaker, but, with the assistance of Senator Landrieu, “the product of a Louisiana political dynasty”, had already illustrated to Japanese leaders a dysfunctional administration more concerned with playing the “blame game” than efficiently handling a crisis. Hardly a suitable business partner.

The Governor had the opportunity to yank NELA out of the 70’s and thrust this region toward a modern economy and infrastructure. Unfortunately, the opportunity was squandered and the lack of attention to detail would seem to have lost the deal, at least according to Senator Barham.

And as for a “poorly prepared workforce”, those issues should have been dealt with long ago, even before Senator Barham took office THIRTEEN years ago. Maybe before Senator Jones was elected to represent this area TWENTY-SEVEN years ago, or even before Francis Thompson was elected THIRTY-THREE years ago.

The fact that the last addition to the community college system, Louisiana Delta, was (finally) placed in Monroe, last as usual, speaks volumes of the leadership in NELA to make ready a populace that could have provided all the necessary workers for Toyota.

For decades Baton Rouge has consistently neglected this part of the state, either through blatant incompetence, or Acadiana cronyism. With historical record unemployment and poverty, along with neglected economic development, and a crumbling infrastructure, the deal with Toyota was doomed long before “Bubba” let an ice bag fly out of the back of his pickup.[ad#Google Adsense]

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3 comments
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"As a major sponsor of the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan outside Nagoya, Toyota Manufacturing encouraged Louisiana and other U.S. states to participate in the events,' said Secretary Olivier. "This trade mission was scheduled to allow the governor to attend the expo, which is being held near the Toyota headquarters, and accept other invitations from Far East business leaders who wish to help Louisiana in our economic development mission." http://www.gov.state.la.us/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&articleID=745 yeah, it sure looks like she went to toyota alright. you were close, she went next door to toyota to attend the expo. Governor Blanco's East Asia Business Development Mission BATON ROUGE-Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco departs Monday, October 30 for a two-week business development mission to Asia. Her trip will take her to Japan, China, and Taiwan as she works to maintain relationships with investors who have projects or current investments in Louisiana while cultivating new investors exploring opportunities in the state. Under current provisions, the extraordinary incentives offered through the federal Gulf Opportunity Zone Act expire in December of 2008. Thus, it is important for Louisiana officials to aggressively market this extraordinary opportunity. Governor's Public Schedule BATON ROUGE-Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco departs Monday, October 30 for a two-week business development mission to Asia. Her trip will take her to Japan, China, and Taiwan as she works to maintain relationships with investors who have projects or current investments in Louisiana while cultivating new investors exploring opportunities in the state. Under current provisions, the extraordinary incentives offered through the federal Gulf Opportunity Zone Act expire in December of 2008. Thus, it is important for Louisiana officials to aggressively market this extraordinary opportunity. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 JAPAN - Tokyo 2:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m. (10/31) Japan External Trade Organization meeting with Chairman Watanabe 3:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m. Shin-Etsu Group meeting with Chairman Kanagawa 6:00 p.m., 3:00 a.m. Embassy reception with business and government leaders hosted by the Senior Commercial Officer THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2 JAPAN - Tokyo, Shirakawa 8:30 a.m., 5:30 pm. (11/1) Travel to Shirakawa to tour semiconductor silicon crystal plant FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3 CHINA - Shanghai 8:30 a.m., 6:30 p.m. (11/2) U.S. Consulate Briefing 10:30 a.m., 8:30 pm. (11/2) Meeting with Mayor Han Zheng of Shanghai 4:00 p.m., 2:00 a.m. Meeting with Jinshan District President Hao Tiechuan 5:00 p.m., 3:00 a.m. Signing ceremony: Sino Global/Synfuel and Jinshan District and Sino Global/Synfuel and Chemtura 6:00 p.m., 4:00 a.m. Reception with business and government leaders SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4 CHINA - Shanghai 10:30 a.m., 8:30 p.m. (11/3) Cultural tour of Shanghai City with business leaders MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6 CHINA - Hong Kong 9:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m. (11/5) U.S. Consulate briefing 10:30 a.m., 8:30 p.m. (11/5) Hong Kong government meeting 12:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. (11/5) Investment Roundtable with bankers and insurance industry representatives 2:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m. Meeting with potential real estate investor(s) TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7 TAIWAN - Taipei 6:00 p.m., 4:00 a.m. Formosa Group meeting 6:30 p.m., 4:30 a.m. Formosa Group meeting and dinner WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 TAIWAN - Taipei 9:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m. (11/7) American Institute in Taiwan briefing 6:30 p.m., 4:30 a.m. Louisiana Friendship Association banquet THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9 TAIWAN - Taipei 9:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m. (11/8) Chinese Petroleum Corporation 10:30 a.m., 8:30 p.m. (11/8) Seminar and presentation to potential investors 1:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m. (11/8) ETTV network television Interview http://www.gov.state.la.us/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&articleID=2314 hmmmmmmm, don't see a toyota visit anywhere. it looks to be that she didn't go to visit with toyota execs, but was only invited to the expo by them? vacation? no, she was trying to sell louisiana to asian manufacturing companies. the toyota site inspectors did come a look at the richland megasite, but it was only because they were in the u.s. looking at the mississippi and tennessee locations that they already favored over nela. it was more a courtesy stop than anything else.

D'Arbonne News
D'Arbonne News

And how would you explain the FACT that a "site selector" led a delegation to inspect the proposed site? Are you saying that the Governor's Japan visit and meeting with Toyota was nothing more than a vacation?

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how could we lose something that was never even considered to be built here in the first place.

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