Considered properly, the full-time drivers for members of the New Orleans City Council should be seen as good news: There is clearly no crime problem in New Orleans.
If seven law enforcement positions are available for the transportation of council members, there must not be an urgent need for those public servants elsewhere.
There is no end of good news here.
The deputies who work for Sheriff Marlin Gusman are for protection as well as driving members to appointments and community meetings.
Clearly, there is no need for protection for members. After all, if the residents of New Orleans haven’t revolted against this baronial practice of its council, then everyone in town must be very happy with the performance of city government.
The provision of drivers for council members is a long-standing abuse. More than a decade ago, The Times-Picayune surveyed 15 other cities similar in size to New Orleans and found no drivers for council members. Many did not even provide cars.
Now, there would be hardship: Each of Their Imperial Highnesses would have to provide his own coach-and-four for their progresses through the crime-free streets of New Orleans.
Fortunately, lest people worry about the $420,000 a year spent on this service, we are mollified by the first-class claptrap of Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell. “When needed,” she said of the deputies, “they serve as extensions of the district and at-large offices and serve notices to constituents and conduct site visits.”
We suggest putting deputies to work where they will do something about the city’s crime problem, and have council members drive themselves. In their own cars.
Just like their constituents have to.