Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's time to kick ass on price-gouging, profiteering contractors

The second Town Hall meeting today with Mayor Nagin was cancelled so the mayor could appear before the Senate in Washington.

At last week's Town Hall meeting, Your Right Hand Thief blogger, oyster, overheard the following conversation between Katrina contractors:

"I try to keep about $250k in my bank account... I have so much money I don't know what to do with it. It's not about the money, it's about the challenge of it. ...

"What are you paying for sheetrock? Yeah, me too. That's the chinese stuff, right? How much are you paying per [roofing] square?....Those Louisianans didn't think we'd let them rebuild their own state did they! (BIG LAUGHTER). ...

"Same old New Orleans politics... same old New Orleans."

Meanwhile, I work with someone who lost his house. Fortunately, he now has a trailer on his property. One of the things causing delays in distributing trailers is the fact that they have to be inspected before they can be inhabited.

The inspector who showed up to inspect my co-worker's trailer, and who was working for a contractor, said he had just been trained the day before to inspect FEMA trailers. He admitted he didn't know anything about inspecting homes, which was painfully obvious because he was ready to clear the trailer for habitation until my co-worker complained that the sewer line was higher than the toilet, and therefore, might cause an interesting dynamic if one attempted to flush the toilet.

Guess how much this dunderhead is making?

$30 an hour.

So I figure he's probably working ten hours a day, six or seven days a week - or working whatever hours he likes, clearing $300 a day to drive around and fill out paperwork.

And was the inspector a local? Wouldn't you think FEMA would give preference for locals?


In another matter, I ran into an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, formerly INS) officer on an ATV the other day. After chatting him up a little bit, I asked him if he was busy doing immigration enforcement of contractor work crews. The smile on his face drooped when he answered that no, he wasn't. He explained that ICE was just in New Orleans as a law enforcement presence. He wasn't being assigned to do any immigration enforcement activities. Meanwhile, the crews of hundreds of contractors now cleaning up the millions upon millions of cubic yards of Hurricane Katrina debris, are dominated by immigrants - thousands and thousands of jobs that locals could be doing.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love immigrants. I love hispanic culture. I lived in Honduras for two years. I understand why immigrants want to work, and how much it means to them to be able to send money back home. I appreciate how hard they work, and the contribution that they could make to the rebuilding of New Orleans. But these are hard times for hundreds of thousands of Louisianians and Mississippians who don't have jobs. This is a national disaster. Locals are hurting, they don't have homes, they are American citizens, and damn it, they have a right to work! They'd rather have jobs than hand outs.

It wouldn't cost us anything to just take some of those ICE guys resting their asses on ATV's all day and have them do the job we pay them to do!

11/03/05 update: I forgot to mention - for every hour that the aforementioned contracted FEMA trailer inspector bills taxpayers $30 (to do a crummy job), his supervisor bills taxpayers $50! And for what?!!


At 11/02/2005 06:46:00 PM, Blogger Mixter said...

What a load of crap. Nothing like more taxpayers dollars being wasted.

Too bad. I'm sure there are many locals who would love the opportunity to have a job.

This just pisses me off. Grr.


At 11/04/2005 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Rob said...



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