Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wednesday Night Debate Ball

Here's a nonsensical tweet thread about was being said last night at a mayoral debate hosted by the Urban Conservancy and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.  Tweet threads are dumb and hard to follow, though, so here is a video of the whole debate.

At this point in the race, the two candidates have memorized their scripts pretty well.  So you aren't likely to get any major revelations out of an event like this. (Gambit warned everybody about this back in July.) This debate, focused on flood control and environmental issues, was an almost absurd manifestation of that phenomenon where both candidates just said the same rote cliches they've learned to apply to these questions over and over by this point in the race.

The first exchange was almost exactly this.

LaToya: "Build effectively, leverage resources, implement plan, partner with organizations, think regionally"

Desi: "Think differently, new ideas, teach these new ideas in schools"

LaToya: "Resiliency plan, Urban water plan" "Get things done"

It went on like that for most of the night. One thing I noticed, and this was very subtle, was LaToya made a deliberate effort to always throw something in about how any action she might take will "encourage development."

This was most stark when the candidates were questioned about the effect of commercial and industrial water usage on subsidence. Desi talked about imposing fees or doing some other kind of non-specific punitive enforcement. LaToya, instead, stressed "incentives" for developers adding that "Developers are seeing an added burden" from standards embedded in the CZO.

LaToya was also less aggressive with regard to joining the multi-parish lawsuit against the oil and gas industry. Back in July the mayor and council deferred taking any action on that just yet.  The next mayor could have different ideas. LaToya didn't sound very enthusiastic, though. Instead she repeated a lot of the rhetoric Garret Graves used when he was Bobby Jindal's coastal czar about preferring to working with the industry toward voluntary efforts at coastal mitigation.  Desiree took a more direct course. "The lawyer in me says sue," she said in what was the most firm sounding commitment from either candidate to anything all night.

There were a few other interesting exchanges but mostly it was just a recitation of familiar phrases. Watch the video and see what else you can pick out. LaToya does say "skin in the game" for the millionth time this year so be ready to do your shot. 

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