Monday, November 28, 2005

More New Orleans Hijinks!

The Democrats are coming to town!
The Democratic National Committee will bring about 400 people to New Orleans for its first meeting of 2006 to help rebuild the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina, chairman Howard Dean said Monday.
They're each going to hold a shovel for a photo op, I guess. Of course, Howie can bring his regular manure shovel.
The meeting will be April 20-22, the weekend of the French Quarter Festival.
Looks some R&R, er, supporting the local economy, too!

Of course, there's really no shortage of Democrats in the vicinity. Check this out - Political moves quietly cleared way for controversial trailer deal:
When Bourget's of the South, the politically connected River Ridge custom motorcycle shop that's won almost $108 million in federal trailer contracts, started looking for trailers to sell after Hurricane Katrina, it encountered two problems, records show.

The first was Bourget's lack of a license to sell new trailers. The second was Bourget's lack of a franchise agreement -- an accord between manufacturers and dealers to sell specific brands of trailers.
I guess not too many custom chopper shoppers also want a travel trailer.
In Louisiana, state law requires recreational vehicle dealers to possess one state license to sell new trailers and a franchise agreement from the manufacturer to sell its products. But in a matter of weeks, after contracts between Bourget's, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and trailer manufacturers already had been signed, the state commission charged with regulating the market solved both obstacles for Bourget's.
Funny how that worked out.
First, the Recreational and Used Motor Vehicle Commission granted a state sales license in October to Bourget's, even though at least two established Louisiana recreational vehicle dealers already had filed complaints with the commission about the outfit's September contract with FEMA. Then, in an undated memorandum revealed to a surprised commission at its meeting last week and sent to most Louisiana dealers this week, the commission's executive director, Jack Torrance, suspended the franchise agreement law.
Real funny! But here's the punchline:
Torrance's unusual move is the latest twist in the tale of Bourget's of the South and its lucrative series of FEMA trailer contracts. Since Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast, the high-end bike shop, owned by the father and an uncle of state Rep. Gary Smith, D-Norco, has landed three separate contracts to provide more than 6,400 new travel trailers, a product with which Bourget's had no sales experience before the storm. A handful of other Louisiana RV dealers, all of whom said they have yet to ink a FEMA deal or have squeezed out only a small contract after weeks of wrangling, cried foul over Bourget's bonanza, which includes some $10 million in Louisiana business and another $98 million in Alabama, FEMA records show.

Glen Smith, one of Bourget's owners, the state representative's uncle and the appointed president of the Louisiana Airport Authority, insists there is nothing amiss in his dealings with FEMA, and asked why his competitors are so focused on his contracts when out-of-state dealers have deals with the feds that are two or three times as big as Bourget's.

"If we had a two-hour class we could show these guys how to sell some travel trailers to FEMA," Smith said.
It'd be like School for Scoundrels, I guess. More laughs by following the link including why the memo was undated and:
As the dealers began to absorb the memo, two aspects of it struck them as curious, several said. One was that it applies only to FEMA deals; the other is that it is applicable only to dealers with no stock. Both aspects seem tailor-made for Bourget's, because Bourget's has deals only with FEMA and -- with the exception of Steve's RV of Chalmette, whose dealership was wrecked by Katrina -- the only shop with no existing stock would have been Bourget's because previously it did not sell trailers, according to several dealers.
Howard Dean might be able to pick up a few tricks while he's in town!