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No N.O. news is good news

Posted at 8:48 AM on July 22, 2007 by Bill Wareham

I'm writing from Bourbon Street, where I've spent the last several days at the annual conference of public radio news directors. I was struck by the four stories on the front page of my complimentary copy of today's Times-Picayune:

>The centerpiece is a profile of Wendy Vitter, and how she's staunchly defending her husband, Rep. David Vitter, R-LA, who's facing calls for resignation because he's been linked to a Washington, D.C. escort service

>In the left column above the fold you'll find the story of Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan, who like Rep. Vitters is facing calls for resignation. Nothing as tawdry as prositutes here, just criticism for systemic problems in the office - abysmally low morale, poor working conditions and chronic turnover.

>On the other side of Wendy Vitter's portrait, you'll find smaller head shots of three aldermen from Folsom. Let's call them ex-aldemen. Yesterday, village voters kicked them out of office in a recall election. They, apparently, have been embroiled in a bitter dispute with the mayor over retaining Folsom's longtime police chief.

>At the bottom of the page you'll find a story that, by default if nothing else, has to serve as the optimistic story of the day. The headline: 3 months out, campaigns fairly tame. But pretty quickly a note of discouragement creeps in; the sub-head reads: Governor hopefuls quiet on policy. As the second paragraph explains: What voters aren't getting in large measure are specific policy proposals the would-be chief executives want to pursue in a state that continues to struggle after two major hurricanes and the devastating flooding of its signature city, while also grappling with a historical reputation for political corruption and lagging rankings in quality-of-life assessments.

Excuse me for detecting a theme here. I will say, the gumbo's great even if the government isn't.