Government by cheerleaders
Can New Orleans really afford a new municipal complex to include a Disney-style jazz museum and performing center? As Lolis Eric Elie argued, don't we already have enough authentic, crumbling historic venues?
And does a $100 million condo complex of units which will sell for between $180,000 and $280,000 agree with the city's need to provide affordable housing for 200K+ residents who lost their homes?
Jeffrey at Library Chronicles:
Building a sanitized park and "Jazz orchestra hall" while ignoring the historically significant landmarks nearby smells strongly of Disneyfication of street culture to me. In fact.. it looks like part of this project calls for building more condos in the very neighborhood Lolis is talking about.
Jeffrey's concerns about voodoo economic forecasts used to boost investment in such projects reflect my own concerns. It's not enough for the mayor of any city, let alone a city recovering from the nation's worst natural disaster, to just say everything's going to be alright:
"For big projects, I don't think money is going to be the problem. I really don't," he said. "We have the world's attention and now if we come up with good projects, they're going to get funded. That's what I mean by money is not going to be our problem."
Were I mayor, I think I'd promote the same sort of optimism, and I don't disagree that people around the world care enough about New Orleans to fund projects. I'm not sure we have the right leadership in City Hall, however, to facilitate the successful completion of essential projects.
Just for starters, could we get a basic overview of the city's fiscal situation? What revenues are coming in, what expenditures are going out. It ought to be simple.
On the other hand, an acquaintence related a conversation he had about the city's financial situation with Mitch Landrieu. Mitch said he saw the city's books, and said that basically there are two kinds of accounting methods: One where you can see clearly what's going on; another where you can't see what's going on at all. Guess which type of accounting Mitch said is being used in City Hall.
So Ray Ray, you touted your MBA in a campaign debate. Could you please just show us you got your money's worth by giving us a basic explanation of revenues and expenditures like Jefferson Parish did (and had published in The Times-Picayune).
Like Jeffrey said, "this looks very much like government by cheerleaders who prefer to do as little homework as possible to get by."
Or, as Ballzack said in Antigravity Magazine, quoted by Jeffrey, "it really seems like a city run by C students."
We need more direction from Mayor Nagin -- SPECIFICS!!!
What's going to happen to the neighborhood charrette process, for example. Will the city respect the efforts by neighborhoods which have been coming up with their vision for how they'd like to rebuild their communities, or is the Nagin administration going to turn that planning process over to for-profit planners?
Alan from Alan's Blogometer, for one, expressed his concern that the neighborhood planning process was going to be taken over by the same private developers who brought us the yuppie Saulet projects on lower Tchoupitoulas (from which I strongly suspect a former mayor pocketed money). Of course, the difference is that private developers are PAID, but when we lowly citizens come up with ideas, there's no money to be made:
At this time my presence may only serve to confuse citizens in Hollygrove who may get the false impression that there is an association between our funded professional effort and your volunteer splinter group who has no official capacity to produce a “plan” for Hollygrove.
This issue definitely requires further investigation.
Tags: Hurricane Katrina | Katrina | New Orleans | Louisiana | We Are Not OK | America's Wetland | Nagin | Ray Nagin | Rebuild New Orleans | charrette | New Orleans fiscal situation | New Orleans finances |