Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Monkey on a stick

Ron Forman for mayor?

I don't think so.

Was he the guy behind an giganimous expansion of captive animal exhibits? Sure. Is that a good thing? Doubtful, but looking at animals in cages does bring in the big bucks needed to pay Ron's half-a-million-dollar salary.

I think James Audubon was turning in his grave when Ron Forman forced a golf course expansion in the middle of Audubon Park down the community's throat by misinforming the public, and making it difficult for the community to participate in the planning process. Later, after the damage was done, he made amends by allowing the community to participate in mundane details -- like where new roads through the park should be planned.

This is the guy who, while keeping monkeys in cages, was helping to bulldoze tropical rainforests to get to the mahogany trees used to build the Audubon Tea Room, a quaint little facility for the rich and famous of New Orleans to host receptions. As one writer remarked at the time in a letter to the Times-Picayune, if Ron Forman wanted the look of mahogany, he should have bought a can of wood stain.

Instead of a larger golf course that still sucks, or destroying precious habitat to build the swank Audubon Tea Room, how about restoring habitat and building facilities to promote Audubon Park as a sanctuary for migrating birds -- like what is being done in St. Francisville. That would both fulfill the mission of the Audubon Nature Institute, and create an extraordinary urban experience that visitors would long remember. By comparison, who remembers the third-rate golf course?

Can a guy who betrayed the spirit of James Audubon, who lent his ear to wealthy patrons while turning his back on the rest of the community, really be trusted to run the city at a time when integrity and community participation are critical?

Sure, I could wait to hear what he has to say, but fundamentally, I wouldn't trust a thing Ron Forman says.

As I've noted before, Ron Forman might just as well have posted monkey skulls in Audubon Park.

3/23/06 update (related post): "Ron Forman's New Atlanta."


At 2/08/2006 09:46:00 AM, Blogger velvet_rut said...

the golf course.

oh, the golf course.

technically, "oh, the audubon golf trail."

we do not want the city to be either golf coursed or tearoomed.

how about this: ron forman let the fish die.

At 2/08/2006 11:06:00 AM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said...

I tried a google search and couldn't find the name of Forman's predecessor. Don't know why I can't think of it, but in admittedly strained analogy I'd say he was Volcker to Forman's Greenspan. In my search, it was amazing how often I found that Forman is widely credited with the zoo's turnaround. He took over after the turnaround and helped turn it into a machine.

At 2/08/2006 01:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

audubon audubon audubon

At 2/08/2006 08:02:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Duly noted anonymous. Thanks for the assist.

David -- good analogy.


Post a Comment

<< Home