In this season of giving, why has every level of our government determined that it is better to receive than give, to dictate rather than listen, to dismiss not include?
This is not meant to be a treatise on social discord. Far be it from any outdoors writer to be able to understand why a city government would build a library that serves barely a handful of people; or a state government that decides it will cover its shortfalls by taking money from a fund it doesn’t administer; or, a federal government that decides it will ignore constant and consistent visual evidence because its arcane and archaic methods don’t allow for those kinds of observations.
Let’s examine the state’s intrusion: The two-year, $40 million-plus raid on the Artificial Reef Fund Program could be headed to court.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission was miffed last year when Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration backed a bill in the state Legislature to strip $18 million from the fund financed by savings oil companies realize when they convert out-of-production platforms to fishing reefs off our coast. The fund had $50 million before the 2010 raid.
In addition to holding fund money to offset a lawsuit that might arise from the state’s Rigs-to-Reefs Program, the fund also serves as a base for construction of inshore artificial reefs and other fisheries-enhancement projects.
When the Legislature and the Jindal administration conspired to make a $26.4 million raid on the fund this year, most among the commission’s seven members were noticeably angry.
There was a call for an executive session during Thursday’s monthly commission meeting “to discuss prospective litigation relative to return of Artificial Reef Fund monies.”
An hour later, commission chairman Stephen Segrera said, “We discussed the Artificial Reef Fund and will continue to explore all options on this vital issue.”
The political reality is that Jindal was overwhelmingly re-elected a month ago. He needs no sportsmen’s votes to remain governor. And with the power a Louisiana governor is allowed to carry — and wield — it’s likely Louisiana’s sportsmen will take a back seat to yet another governor in a state he, like many of the past, has touted as “The Sportsman’s Paradise.”
We’ll save the feds for next week. Ho. Ho. Ho.