A Few Thoughts and Observations on Pelosi's Bay St Louis Visit

I haven’t had much time for blogging of late as other responsibilities have taken up most of my time. Before too much time slipped away I wanted to give some personal impressions of Gene Taylor’s Insurance Town Hall meeting held exactly one week ago. First, as predicted by the Clarion Ledger’s editorial board the event was indeed “a partisan rally for needed change.”
Courtesy of First-Draft

The political speeches on coastal insurance issues by Representatives Larson, Hoyer and Israel, all representing the coastal Northeast reminded me of this picture I found on First-Draft that accompanied their post on the NFIP re authorization.

During my relative absence from slabbed I noted this comment from Karen who is now feeling our pain on Long Beach Island New Jersey. So is her US Representative.

I live on Long Beach Island and have had State Farm Insurance since 1982. Ihave never had a claim and we have never had any damage from storms ever since my family owned the home since 1940’s.

We also just received a letter stating that we are being dropped because we are on a barrier island.

More on that in a bit.

The town hall meeting was very well attended as this picture from the Sun Herald photo gallery on the event illustrates. Across the back is the press in attendance. This year’s event had more coverage than last year’s if memory serves.

As our friend Mr CLS pointed out on Yahoo! ALL last week using the “term town hall meeting” to describe the event was a poor choice of words as there was no Q&A from the audience. That valid criticism aside the event was still informative in many respects as the press coverage indicated.

The panel was mostly unremarkable, mainly because the insurance horror stories are all to familiar to us slabbers. George Schloegel is always good however, as was attorney Judy Guice who’s remarks were dumbed down somewhat by the media. Ms Guice, a wind-water litigant herself was portrayed as saying “courts are no place to resolve insurance disputes” when what she said was the court system was not equipped to handle the large volume of wind-water cases; that insurance companies know that fact and are taking advantage of it for monetary gain. I was pleased to hear that sentiment as I have expressed it repeatedly here on slabbed most recently here. It represents a big public policy problem that politicians are beginning to notice.

This brings us back to the allstar roster of Democrat US Representatives that also attended last Monday which included the top three ranking members of the House in Speaker Pelosi, Reps Hoyer and Clyburn. Why is Bay St Louis becoming an annual summer stop for these high ranking party officials? IMHO the answer is simple, a chance to gather votes from an area of the country that was once solidly and firmly red.

Last year I noticed the congressional delegation, which included some of the most liberal members of the House of Representatives, arrive with a “lets get this meeting over with” expression on their faces only to leave with big smiles realizing bread and butter issues like insurance can attract southern votes. This year the delegation came prepared to harvest both votes and support and I rather suspect they did not leave disappointed, especially since John McCain has no solution to our problem.

Speaker Pelosi spoke warmly on several occasions of the late Jamie Witten and how proud she was to have both Travis Childers and Don Cazayoux as the two newest members of the US House. She spoke of fiscal conservatism and how they live the mantra in the House with PAYGO. Most important for those of us fighting for fairness in coastal insurance she and the others spoke of how our fate had become their fate and how they were solidly behind Gene and his quest for a multi peril solution.

Other Quick Observations:

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney attended as did numerous local political officials including Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz. State Senator David Baria was very warmly received by the crowd as was State Rep Diane Peranich.

I saw but did not get a chance to speak with our own Brian Martin but I did manage to catch up with Gene Taylor’s Chief of Staff and former classmate Stephen Peranich. Those guys do great work for us up in DC.