Louisiana begins 2004 with a new governor and renewed hope for the future. Each year brings promise -- and a new slate of promises. With sober resolve and a few whimsical intermissions, Gambit Weekly offers the following resolutions for last year's newsmakers:
· I, Gov. Mike Foster, outgoing governor of Louisiana, resolve to complete the work I started in my second term -- and finish law school.
· I, Gov.-elect Kathleen Blanco, resolve to fulfill my campaign promise this year to begin to "link our state's economic development initiatives to science and technology ... and the creation of quality jobs." I further resolve this year to lift Louisiana from its sordid standings in annual Kids Count rankings, including percentages of low birth-weight babies and children in poverty. I also vow to take tough steps against industrial polluters. Finally I resolve to invite French president Jacques Chirac to visit Louisiana on Bastille Day 2004.
· We, the Louisiana Legislature, resolve to return to the closed primary system for candidates for statewide office and to cap the number of proposed constitutional amendments at five per year.
· We, Mayor Ray Nagin, District Attorney Eddie Jordan and Orleans Parish Public Schools chief Anthony Amato, vow to team with the city's legislative delegation to create a winning strategy before the next regular session of the Legislature.
· We, the New Orleans City Council, resolve to find funding for a civilian monitor of police watchdog agencies.
· I, City Councilman Jay Batt, promise not to trade cuss words with WDSU-TV political reporter Alec Gifford.
· I, Jim Champagne, outspoken director of highway safety under Gov. Mike Foster, resolve to continue raising hell with the Legislature and the governor, if necessary, as long as this state continues to see 82,000 people killed or injured in traffic accidents each year -- with nearly half involving alcohol ("Sobering Legislation," May 6, 2003).
· I, Harry Lee, the leaner sheriff of Jefferson Parish, resolve to make peace with all Carnival clubs, the Causeway Commission, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, and Congressman David Vitter, to name but a few.
· I, Attorney General-elect Charles Foti, resolve to work with public officials and public interest groups to ensure compliance with Louisiana's Sunshine Law and Public Records Act.
· We, the leaders of the cruise ship industry, resolve to encourage federal and state agencies to conduct stricter monitoring and enforcement of laws barring the illegal discharge of raw waste from our vessels.
· We, the officers of the New Orleans Police Department, resolve to strengthen our national position as a leader in policing the homeless by helping rather than arresting them ("A Better Plan," Nov. 18, 2003).
· We, the Louisiana Supreme Court, in a continuing effort to end judicial misconduct, resolve to publicly reprimand errant judges and to inform citizens of all missteps by members of the bench.
· We, the shrimpers of Louisiana, resolve to establish a more effective fishing and marketing strategy for our catches -- such as placing food technology advisers on shrimp boats and selectively closing some coastal fishing areas to help produce larger shrimp ("Net Loss?" Oct. 20, 2003).
· I, state Rep. Charlie Dewitt, without wanting to sound as though I am beating a dead horse, resolve not to propose any legislation on behalf of my one-time business associates at the Fair Grounds racetrack.
·We, Bryan and Vickie Krantz, owners of the Fair Grounds, resolve to make ours the best residential neighborhood track in the nation, responding quickly to all complaints of noise and traffic.
· We, the corporate owners of Six Flags New Orleans, resolve to push for a centralized, accessible database to measure the safety of amusement park rides nationwide ("The Element of Danger," Aug. 19, 2003).
· I, Eddie Compass, superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, resolve to succeed where my predecessor failed and provide independently audited crime statistics and police reports for the citizens of New Orleans.
· We, the emergency service providers of southeast Louisiana, resolve to devise innovative strategies to help the public better prepare for an oncoming hurricane ("People Get Ready," July 22, 2003).
· We, the musicians of New Orleans and business-minded promoters of a Grammy Hall of Fame Museum, resolve not to be discouraged by the recording industry's recent rejection of our proposal, and we pledge to work together to increase the city's standing as a center for the music industry.
· I, state Rep. Michael Strain (R-Covington), having withdrawn an earlier bill to make it illegal for bicyclists to "impede the flow of traffic," will now support all initiatives to make Louisiana a more "bike-friendly" state.
· I, local writer Chris Rose, promise to make up with my old pal, author Rick Bragg.
· I, Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, resolve to make the tough decisions necessary to build a more disciplined football team for 2004.
· We, the staff at Gambit Weekly, resolve to redouble our efforts to make this newspaper your most trusted source of news, opinion and arts coverage.
Happy New Year!