Viewpoint: December 15, 2010

The debate over the mayor's city-parish budget is over. It includes more than $20 million for a controversial new library, but it does not include a $300,000 incentive for the Bayou Country Superfest and some $250,000 in discretionary funds has been stripped from the mayor's account.

While the debate is over, what's left is an open wound and a sense that working together to move the city-parish forward as we head into a new year will be easier said than done. We were disappointed to see the ugly side of politics on display at the recent Metro Council meeting.

"I've been in public office for 26 years," said Holden. "I have never seen a meeting or been treated in a meeting like what you have witnessed tonight."

We believe that informed and healthy debate serves us all well. The mayor has the right to fight for programs he believes in and the council has a right to challenge him, but the focus should be on the issues at hand.

While our economy fared relatively well this year, we face a lot of challenges as we head into 2011. City leaders will need to find ways to be fiscally responsible, but grow our region at the same time.

There will undoubtedly be different opinions on how to accomplish both. But, let's start the New Year with the idea that it's okay to agree to disagree, without it turning ugly.