Our Arrogant Overlords
Lance on Dec 14 2007 at 9:47 pm | Filed under: Lance's Page, Louisiana Politics
As a few of you may be aware, we fans of the LSU Tigers have been blessed with our second chance this decade to watch our beloved football team compete for the BCS Championship. This has led to an enormous demand for the few precious seats available. One small reason so few seats are available is the Sugar Bowl and LSU’s favorable treatment of those who are their benefactors, and one group of benefactors are our elected officials:
Thousands of LSU fans must resort to online ticket brokerages and face sky-high prices if they want to get into the Superdome for the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7.
All 143 state legislators, however, are sitting pretty for the Tigers’ matchup against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
LSU offered each lawmaker — including dozens who will leave office a week after the game because of term limits, retirement or electoral defeat — an option to buy two tickets at the face value of $175 each.
All 39 members of the Senate bought tickets, as did the 104 House members who are still in office until Jan. 14. One House seat is vacant. Many legislators also bought up to four additional tickets — again, at face value — from the Sugar Bowl Committee, which is hosting the title game.
Newly elected lawmakers were not offered either option.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, meanwhile, will welcome 42 yet-to-be identified guests to a Superdome suite she has used throughout her term to entertain supporters, potential industrial recruits, lawmakers and her family and friends.
Special ticket access for lawmakers is neither new nor confined to Louisiana, and it does not run afoul of the state ethics code. LSU has for years offered legislators an opportunity to buy season tickets for its home games.
Blanco’s Superdome suite, among the largest in a building that state taxpayers help finance, comes with her job. But critics say the legislative deals in particular send the wrong message about the motives and mores of elected officials.
Now this is small potatoes in my estimation, but it has really touched a nerve amongst many here in Louisiana. However, while I harbor no ill will over this myself, the comments of State Sen. Mike Smith reveal a level of cluelessness that is simply astounding:
State Sen. Mike Smith, D-Winnfield, was unapologetic for buying whatever tickets he could get. The Tiger Athletic Foundation donor said his family has had the right to buy 12 season tickets since his father entered the Legislature five decades ago.
Smith said lawmakers deserve some recompense for the public scrutiny, long hours and middling pay their positions bring. “The press and the public need to get over this thing,” he said. “If people want these tickets so bad, tell them to run for office.”
Heh. Well that will show the public. I am sure the resentment will lessen now. I am going to help him out and try and make sure as many people as possible hear his well reasoned response to their skepticism. Arguments like that deserve to be heard.
What an idiot.
Tags: LSU, Football, BCS, National Championship, Senator Mike Smith, Louisiana, Politics, ticketsSphere: Related Content
2 Responses to “Our Arrogant Overlords”
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Smith is an idiot (although he probably has a lot of colleagues with similar idiot quotients). LSU officials have no doubt concluded that if they don’t cater to the politicians, some funding for the school may be in jeopardy. Although that is scant comfort to real LSU fans who can’t get BCS Championship Game tickets, I doubt Smith types are any more overbearing in squeezing special favors out of institutions than politicians of other states.
But now onto the important stuff. Although I have no connection to the SEC, I find SEC football the most enjoyable college football around. Tennessee, Florida or Georgia probably would give LSU a better game than OSU (and I wouldn’t blame Arkansas fans for thinking that the Razorbacks would also be a bigger threat). I’m glad that the voters properly evaluated LSU’s two losses in the context of the competitive conference in which they play.
All of us in Tigerland certainly agree with you, and we would even if it were not true;^)