Monday, March 26, 2007

Brainstorming (Part 1)

So, I'm hangin' out with the ol' brain trust the other day on a rare slow night in the burrito stand kitchen. We were just throwing ideas around regarding things that may help New Orleans & the Gulf Coast really accelerate this recovery and provide the long term economic impact needed to revitalize and diversify the area's economy.

Several things inspired my personal contributions to the list, which was designed to be a more 'outside the box' list of things to look at. I read that New Orleans is looking to host more Consulates. I've also been reading a book you may have heard of but haven't picked up yet, it is called The Central Liberal Truth which 1) is an actually infuriating read for me, but 2) is more important than it will ever get credit for, and 3) isn't about what you think it is. Also, this last weekend ended up with me spending a lot of time with the family, and read this piece from Leigh C. about community. Lastly, I keep up with both JMac regarding homegrown initiatives to curb poverty in Athens, Georgia and Da Po' Boy's dissections of financial chicanery in the Gulf region, especially those parts about insurance.

Well, that's a whole lot of name dropping and set-up, anyway.

Some brainstorms for New Orleans & the Gulf Coast:

An insurance co-op. Private companies are bailing or raising rates so high folks and businesses are choosing to go without. That is not good news for any kind of economic recovery. Since the state can't seem to get a disaster fund together (a la Florida 92-04, 04-present day) to bail insurance companies out when catastrophe strikes, and can't seem to get money effectively to the people, it is time to find another way. Homegrown insurance co-op, the policy holders are the shareholders, and any "profit" made goes into administration, investment (in stuff like US Treasury Securities - gifts that keep on giving), and finally payouts to shareholders when disaster strikes and lowering rates when it doesn't.

Some form of microlending. I don't know too much about this, but there are many smart people out there who do and who are making a difference in poverty crushed areas by getting plans like this together. I will be watching Athens closely in case something like this actually makes it off the ground there.

Since we're talking about collective community financial solutions, another idea would be for the City of New Orleans to buy the New Orleans Saints. Green Bay owns their team, after all. That sure would answer the long term questions, now, wouldn't it? I mean, maybe not the city, but a citizens' organization or something. Well, hell, why not the City? I'm sure that would increase both voter turnout, involvement and encourage leading citizens to make sure things were run better - because a losing season could spell defeat at the polls. Plus, I'd love to see Ashley run for Mayor - or at least City Council.

In other sports related ideas, and this would be trickier on a whole other level, but if we could get the Big 12 to get rid of their northern division, they could reform the old South West Conference, and have Arkansas back, then we could demand Tulane re-join the SEC and start caring about football again. I mean, having the Sugar Bowl rocks, but can you imagine the difference: Rice vs Tulane in New Orleans or University of Tennessee vs Tulane in New Orleans? I mean, at least two of Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss or LSU would show up every single year in New Orleans, and that's not counting having Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida on the roatation as well.

I mean, how much cash does this town make off the Sugar Bowl every year? Yeah, now imagine having at least seven more games in the SuperDome close to that level.

And while we're talking about the Sugar Bowl, it is high time SEC Alumni Associations build one big SEC Center/Hotel in New Orleans. It ain't like this city isn't lousy with SEC alumni in the first damn place, and secondly - how hard is it -really- to sell SEC alums on a convention in New Orleans during the off season? I ain't never heard nobody say "hell no, I don't want to go to New Orleans this weekend - I got stuff to do in Columbia."

Crazier ideas still to come....


Ashley said...

Man, there's no way in hell I could run for anything. I have more skeletons in my closet than St. Louis #2. That's why I thought that CTO would be a good fit for me: appointed, not elected.

Although, I think I'd restrain from calling an adversary a "bitch" in an open meeting. I would blog about it, though.

Man, I would love for the Saints to be owned by the citizens of NOLA, but the NFL has legislated against it, and their antitrust exemption lets them get away with it.

Leigh C. said...

So you gonna be at Geek Dinner III talking over these ideas some more as you stuff your face and drink yourself silly, or does the burrito stand rule your life to the extent of petrifying your food & company choices? ;-)

I live near that burrito stand. Maybe I'll see ya there sometime.

Dante said...

Pay scandals weren't the only reason the SWC fell. In fact, that sort of thing was just a symptom of it's bigger issue. College football became a national event and a very regional conference of Texas teams and a token other-stater had nowhere to go but down. Not taking this lightly, some of the schools decided to recruit the best college teams money could buy.

Reassembling the SWC today would be a disservice to Texas, A&M, and Texas Tech as it would relegate them to a mid-major conference. It would also be a disservice to Rice, Houston, TCU, and SMU who are doing quite well in their new roles as mid-major teams in various minor conferences (what should have happened in the 80's).

A much more likely scenario is that Arkansas would leave for the Big 12. And then you have to assume that Tulane would be the SEC's choice to replace Arkansas. I just don't see them as the SEC's first choice in that scenario.

And finally, the City of New Orleans can't afford the Saints, especially if the owner has no intention of selling.

Leigh C. said...

The city of New Orleans can't afford much of anything, period.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Ashley: after this current crop of politicians at all levels, I think the voters are going to excuse some skeletons in exchange for some competency. But that's just me. As far as the NFL is concerned, no organization that loves money that much ain't got some kind of loophole.

Leigh: I am planning on attending the Dinner this Saturday, despite the fact that the burrito stand rules my life with an iron fist.

Dante: well, then we'll just have to convince Arkansas to join the Big 12 once Colorado implodes or Baylor drops their athletic program. The SEC would love to have Tulane back if they needed a 12th team again, suddenly. Barring that, we'll just have to convince the SEC to expand...

Leigh C. said...

"Dear Burrito Stand,

Please excuse Pat from your environs for one evening, as he will be partying hearty with the blogpocheh in Faux Metairie.

Liprap and Amassed Blogging Mob"

There. Print THAT out and post it on the door.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Ooohh. I don't know about that. Putting that on the door would ensure I would be dealt a swift and visceral death at the hands of agitated service industry employees while Journey CD's played on the stereo. Not a good way to go. Luckily, I fed many of them donuts on St Patrick's Day so they are mostly pleased with me...for now.