Do you believe in the tooth fairy?
The Lochness Monster
The Tooth Fairy
New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin
Some people claim they've seen Ray Ray. I've seen him myself on television, and heard him on WWL a few days ago, but I don't believe that's the real C. Ray Nagin. I think we're seeing and hearing old clips spliced together, and when pressure builds for a public appearance, a double gets his head buffed to stand in front of the press. I have to admit, it's a convincing buff job, but that's part of the ruse. The more people become hypnotized by the shine on the imposter's skull, the less they notice other physical features which might betray the mock mayor. Note, however, that the apparent mayor never says much. Other people usually speak at length in lieu of the alias mayor -- like Rob Couhig, the wannabe-mayor.
I think we need an independent investigation to prove that C. Ray Nagin really exists, and that he's actually in New Orleans leading the city. We need certifiable video footage.
Why do I suspect foul play? Well, New Orleanians are desperate for information about what public officials are doing to rebuild the city. We're not getting that. Any real mayor would tell citizens what the hell is going on!!!
Take the appearance the week before last by someone who claimed to be the real C. Ray Nagin. That self-proclaimed Ray Ray said he was "moving forward" with his 100-day plan to rebuild the city, but there wasn't any actual document produced to prove that the 100-day plan actually exists. A real mayor would have produced an actual piece of paper like citizens expect from a mayor. I guess we've just developed unrealistic expectations. The Ray Ray double conceded that his 100-day plan "was never meant to be a written document."
Search the City of New Orleans Web site, and all you'll get is "no results found":
If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll find a press release announcing a "press briefing" -- i.e., a brief report, but no actual plan.
In lieu of a real plan, Rob Couhig stood next to the imposter Ray Ray and pretended that he was the real mayor. Is Rob Couhig part of a plot to take over City Hall?
ABC26 News characterized the "press briefing" as a "progress report," not a plan. In a Times-Picayune story, Frank Donze characterized the imposter mayor's remarks as "expansive," but it's difficult to square the poseur's exceedingly limited remarks with such a characterization. Absent from the charlatan mayor's remarks were a number of crucial issues that need to be championed with responsive, assertive, progressive, expressive leadership.
Instead, Rob Couhig defended the deception with the lame excuse that citizens can't know what elected public servants are doing until they've already done it:
"I don't want to over-commit," he said. "One of the things we've tried not to do in this 100 days is not get out and tell you, 'We're going to do these things,' but rather wait 50 days and say, 'Here's what we've done.' "
Remarkably, The Times-Picayune gave the fraud legitimacy with a thumbs up report:
While on the surface, it may seem like not much is happening, Nagin said he and his team have been paddling feverishly and clear results are on the horizon."Paddling feverishly"? Are those the presumed mayor's words, or the paper's? And "paddling" to where? To speaking engagements in other cities? Well, that might be one explanation for why the real mayor hasn't been seen much inside New Orleans.
Among issues not addressed at the 100-day "press briefing," just for starters, consider the stand-in mayor's remarks on housing and repopulation of New Orleans:
Nagin said 70,000 building permits, including 40,000 residential permits, have been allotted so far, and the vast majority have been for properties on relatively high ground, evidence that residents are using common sense.
"If you look at the maps of where those permits are, people are making intelligent decisions," Nagin said. "They are getting permits to rebuild in some of the highest areas of the city, and they are shying away from the areas that are some of the lowest-lying areas." ...
In the end, the mayor said he would not set rules about which parts of the city can be restored.
"I fundamentally do not believe in that," Nagin said. "I believe government's role is to create the right environment for people to make intelligent decisions."
Translation? If you live in a low-lying area, good luck! Don't complain if you don't have water or garbage pickup. We don't want to hear about your pothole problems or crime in your flooded little neighborhood you once called home. Just because you say you have a right to live somewhere that was supposed to be protected by the federal levee system doesn't mean that we have the guts to stand up for your right to return. That's not the job of government.
Oh yeah ... well, it's true you might have voted for Ray Ray thinking he had a plan for his peeps to come home to the "chocolate city," but he was talking like that before the election. That was then, this is now, and developing a plan to help people get back into their homes, or advocating on their behalf, either conflicts with the real Ray Ray's travel plans, or is part of a plan to kill neighborhoods by neglect! Recall, incidentally, that Rob Couhig argued in his campaign for mayor that he would not bring back low-lying areas like New Orleans East.
In that same press briefing, the puppet Ray Ray cited current repopulation figures as evidence of a booming recovery
"No one would have guessed today that we would be have 200,000 or so people living here, breathing, working here in New Orleans and helping us to move forward."
Actually, a figure in the range of 180,000 to 200,000 has been predicted fairly widely. That's the easy part. It's hardly worth celebrating as a grand accomplishment of a lame city administration. It's the equivalent of the sun-king taking credit for the sunrise. The truly difficult task which will require more than just proxy leadership -- and I do mean extremely difficult -- will be bringing the other 250,000 to 300,000 residents back home to the most-devastated parts of the city.
The Times-Picayune reported this morning that BellSouth just published a new phone book. The new phone book is so small that the white pages and yellow pages have been combined inside one cover. There are fewer than 100,000 residential listings, and there are 17 fewer pages of business listings.
Despite the visible decimation of business activity in the city, the counterfeit mayor boasted that "we're stronger than any economist would have predicted," citing economic figures on the recovery compiled by Tim Ryan, president of the University of New Orleans and an economist who is a supporting actor in the charade. Any journalist worth his salt would would have followed up with the obvious: Show me!
So did we get a detailed report on the fiscal situation of the city? How much red ink will flow until city expenditures start to balance with receipts? How will the city pay to serve communities under different re-population scenarios?
The most we get from the mayoral pretender is that the city is operating just fine with a $150 million bank loan -- but what happens when that runs out? Is it really enough to cover the city's expenditures at a time of crisis, when the city is enduring the costliest disaster in American history? Is it so unrealistic of citizens to expect, when adjacent parishes publish detailed fiscal reports, that they too are entitled to that kind of information from the City of New Orleans? Maybe a fiscal report would reveal the true priorities of a shadow administration running City Hall.
What about the shortage of competent personnel in City Hall to address, not just day-to-day operations, but the needs of a city trying to recover from one of the worst disasters in American history? Nagin fired 40 percent of City Hall workers. I'd have to say from my own experience that 40 percent of city workers weren't working efficiently anyway, but they should have been replaced by competent people.
If the following is an indication of what's happening in City Hall, the situation appears awfully bleak:
Are they all dead over there?
I got a ticket 7/21 and can't seem to pay it. Their online system doesn't find it (says it's not in the system, despite being over two weeks ago).
They WILL NOT answer their phone at any time, day or night. The number just rings off the hook. I guess their point is to get all us offenders there in person, so they can ... what? Mug us? Very frustrating, like everything else here.
Other people in touch with reality know that the imaginary mayor is expressing "irrational exuberance" when he says things are fine in City Hall:
A local land-use attorney working on Trump's project was among a group of architects, officials and developers' representatives who appeared before the council last week to warn about the negative effects that a depleted planning commission and Safety and Permits Department are having on the city's effort to rebuild. They said the commission alone needs 40 employees.
What about the bankrupt power provider, Entergy, asking for a $718 million bailout and a 25 percent rate increase? Almost a full year after Hurricane Katrina pounded the faulty levees circling New Orleans on August 29th, has the phony mayor come up with a plan, or a policy, or a solution, or an alternative to a bailout? Well ... sort of. Another mayoral opponent, Virginia Boulet, has the job of reporting a set of recommended solutions by Sept. 6 -- at the end of the first 100 days after the election. In the meantime, the City Council punted to February 1st a decision about whether to allow the rate increase.
What about the backlog of 6000 cases stalled in District Attorney Eddie Jordan's office? What's become of the law enforcement summits? What about a police force being drained of experienced crime fighters at a rate of 2 to 3 a week? The pseudo mayor likes to point to the National Guard and State Police (offered by Governor Blanco before they were requested) as being able to handle the shortage of police, but the recent return of more heinous murders brings that claim into question. Besides, what will happen to the criminal justice system after the Guard and State Police leave? The whole criminal justice system is filled with holes. When can we get a concrete plan for success in creating a safer city, whether provided by the real mayor, or his imposter?
Okay, so the fake mayor and his cabal of law enforcement leaders announced a plan yesterday to bring in volunteer prosecutors and defenders from other parishes to sort through the backlog -- an incredibly naive proposition. That's like asking orthopedic surgeons to perform brain surgery. I don't know what the answer is -- if I did, I'd be the mayor. The phony mayor offered the excuse that he couldn't tell us what his plan was before, because he wanted to tell us what the plan was after he found one that worked:
Nagin said he didn’t publicly address the problems of justice system after earlier warnings by Hunter because he wanted to announce concrete progress rather than hopeful promises.
Chicken shit! Once again, the poseur mayor is an idiot and a coward!
By the way, that's Criminal Court Judge Arthur Hunter issuing warnings that he will release all indigent defenders on August 29th if their cases don't move forward, arguing that their Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial are being violated.
Speaking of District Attorney Eddie Jordan, ever since he fired all of the experienced investigators and prosecutors, it's become common knowledge among criminal defense attorneys that they don't have to plead out their clients. It's become a joke behind closed doors that Eddie Jordan's office is so incredibly incompetent that a defendant who goes to trial is almost guaranteed to win the case. It's not a problem that can be addressed by simply giving prosecutors raises as Jordan advocates. What's to be improved by paying an incompetent prosecutor more money to do the same incompetent job. There needs to be a new job classification created, open to all criminal lawyers to apply for ... ahem ... regardless of the color of their skin.
Note that Elton Hooks was just given a 10-year sentence for attempted murder in the highly-publicized 2003 car wash shooting captured on videotape. His own defense attorney (incidentally, a guy who'd let someone get away with killing his own mother) Robert Jenkins admitted that Hooks could have gotten far worse if a competent prosecutor had been on the case:
Hooks attorney Robert Jenkins said if prosecutors had agreed to treat Hooks as a multiple offender, he could have drawn a sentence of 50 years to life in prison.
Recently, Senator Mary Landrieu asked U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for more FBI and DEA agents to fight and prosecute violent offenders plaguing post-Katrina Louisiana. What's interesting about politics sometimes isn't what is said, but what isn't said. Is Landrieu's call for additional agents really an acknowledgement of the pathetic state of affairs in Eddie Jordan's office?
Hello? Can we have a real mayor who appreciates the gravity of this situation, not a pretender?
What about homeowners still trying to get their storm and flood claims resolved while insurance companies stall to get past the August 29th deadline to file law suits against them? Meanwhile, policyholders are seeing their insurance premiums increase, and then, to add insult to injury, everyone has to pay an additional 40 percent surcharge on top of their increased rates to bail out the bankrupt Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
Is there a mayor in town who might, just maybe, say a word about this incredible injustice!!!
Could we perhaps have a mayor who might, in one of his speaking engagements around the country, champion the cause of New Orleanians getting totally screwed by their insurance companies? Can we take this to the rest of the nation, and force the these national insurance companies who are raking in billions in profit by screwing their clients to simply abide by their legal contracts?
Of course, I could go on and on and on. I already have, and I'm not quite finished.
Levees? Does anyone really have any confidence in them? Can we get independent certification? Can we have a mayor who actually says the words "Category 5 storm protection" and "coastal restoration"?
Schools? Does anyone really know what the hell is going on? Does anyone know how they'll be paid for?
Medical services? How can a city operate, how can families bring their children home, in a city where there aren't enough professionals or beds to serve a town of 10,000, let alone a city of 460,000 pre-Katrina -- plus all of the contract workers who've moved in?
Of course, if we had a true mayor, not a hoaxer, we wouldn't have excuses, we'd get results.
It was unfortunate that Ray Ray used the racial card to prop up his own pathetic performance during and after Katrina, but since he did, it's worth examining the merit of his argument. Recall what he once said while taking a vacation in Jamaica while New Orleanians stammered in disbelief at his gall:
"I think that if this (New Orleans) was Orange County, California or South Beach in Miami, I do think the response would have been different," Nagin said. "I think it's a combination of racial issues and a combination of class," the mayor added.
Imagine that! Well, since he brought out the racial card, I think it's fair to hold him to it by asking how the black mayor who pandered to his own race, and who was then popularly elected by the black electorate, is performing. Who can he blame for his own failures? He won the right to lead by getting his own peeps to vote for him. He's in charge, unless his administration is being run by an actor. So, how well does the racial card play when one studies the complete failure of leadership in City Hall? How do all of his peeps in New Orleans East, the Lower Ninth Ward, Central City, and elsewhere throughout the city, in particular in those low-lying areas, judge the guy they voted for? Do they think now that they'd have been better off voting for the white guy?
I'd like to know when exactly did this imposter take over City Hall? In lieu of a concrete plan to facilitate displaced residents returning to their homes, this is what the apparent mayor said on CNN all the way back in September of 2005:
I know New Orleaneans. Once, you know, the beniets (ph) start cooking up again and, you know, the gumbos in the pots and the red beans and rice are being served on Monday in New Orleans and not where they are, they're going to be back.
Would anyone call this leadership?
Well Mr. Poseur, if that's your plan to get New Orleanians back into their homes, you better get the biggest pot of red beans cooking that you can find, because the repopulation of the city ain't looking good. The Times-Picayune is reporting new population statistics this morning which bear out the difficulty of getting the rest of the Katrina diaspora population back to the city. Only 171,000 New Orleanians have returned to the city according to an analysis of change-of-address forms, not the 210,000 to 250,000 claimed by city officials. Moreover, the pace of return has slowed to a "barely a trickle" in recent months.
I'm not the only critic of the phony mayor.
By his lack of leadership, Ray Ray is squandering the opportunity to take advantage of billions of dollars in recovery money heading for the Gulf Coast, according to John McIlwain, the senior fellow for housing at the Urban Land Institute and a former member of the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, which Nagin himself created to help the city create a recovery strategy:
"It's virtually a city without a city administration and it's worse than ever," McIlwain said. "New Orleans needs Huey Long. You need a politician, a leader that is willing to make tough decisions and articulate to the people why these decisions are made, which means everyone is not going to be happy."
Even if the city comes up with a rebuilding plan, the independent Bureau of Governmental Research is warning that any plan will be meaningless unless the power of the City Council to reverse planning recommendations isn't removed:
"Land-use decisions do not emerge from a fair, rational or consistent process," the bureau said, and "neighborhoods lack an adequate voice in their future."
CNN's Anderson Cooper isn't too fond of the imitation mayor either. He quoted Michael Reed, who was in New Orleans from his evacuation home in Texas, gutting his mother's Lower Ninth Ward home in 90-degree heat:
"That's what politicians do. They throw out a 100-day plan. When that one's over they'll throw out another 100-day plan, so I guess we'll be like that for three or four years. By the time he gets out of office, the next guy will have a 100-day plan."
A week ago, The Gambit guardedly complemented the imposter mayor for describing the outlines of a 100-day plan, even if he didn't produce a document.
Overall, the news is heartening. We hope the mayor will take more opportunities in the days ahead -- and more frequently -- to keep New Orleanians posted on the recovery. The people need to hear from their mayor, even if the news isn't all cheery.
This week, The Gambit is back on the attack:
We long for the moment in this real-life "disaster movie" when Nagin realizes his leadership opportunity and starts taking real steps to move our city forward -- with urgency. ...
Whatever the disposition of Nagin's pay plan, his leadership style needs an overhaul. As Joe McKeever, director of missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans, wrote in a recent blog: "Every pastor can take a lesson from our mayor, although not a positive one." By meeting with City Council members and community leaders first, Nagin could have devised a stronger plan with community-wide support. "Leadership takes work," McKeever says. "That's why few do it well."
We hope Nagin will soon come into his own as a leader -- before it's too late.
Months ago, just after the poseur's re-election, MSNBC reported:
Moments after New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin won reelection with the smallest margin in modern mayoral history, he took the podium at the Marriott ballroom and proclaimed: “This is a great day for the city of New Orleans.” We are, he said, “ready to take off.”
Well, nine months after Katrina and only days before the next hurricane season begins, one would hope. But the truth is that much of New Orleans looks the same as it did a week after the storm. “FEMA got the streets cleared,” says Jimmy Reiss, a local entrepreneur who served on Nagin’s Bring Back New Orleans commission, “But other than that, not a whole lot has happened in the city.”
We're ready Mr. Poseur! Are you?!!
Greg Meffert, who recently resigned from his post as the city's Chief Technology Officer, said:
“You kind of see that nobody’s in charge of the overall government machine: the president, the governor, the mayor,” he said. “It started for me with the storm.”
The poseur mayor might do well to pay heed to another Meffert comment:
A shark can’t breathe unless it’s moving.
So get moving Mr. Charlatan!!!
Here's MarketWatch on the immediate need for a rebuilding plan:
The lack of a development blueprint is holding the city's recovery efforts to a snail's pace. New Orleans' hesitation in making hard choices has left many wondering when and if city officials will be able to forge an agreement in time to ensure that it thrives once again.
And City Business says the charlatan mayor should pencil in New Orleans more often:
New Orleans residents and CityBusiness readers say it would be great to hear from the mayor every week. He could take a page from Gov. Mike Foster’s playbook and schedule a weekly radio or TV address. The ratings would be terrific.
In short, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the guy occupying the mayor's office is nothing but A COMPLETE FRAUD!!!
Finally, if you've made it this far into the post, go ahead and vent your frustrations by visiting The Garden of Irks and Delights, where you can play the Whack a Mole game, See Ray Nagin.
For those who missed me doing a Sunday post, yes, there was Sunday morning music:
Olivier Messiaen, Preludes (1928-29).
The Garden of Irks and Delights -- Fresh From the Rumor Mill (a must see if you didn't hit the link above)
G Bitch -- Not on Track, Not Moving Forward
Ashley Morris -- There once was a man ...
Metroblogging New Orleans (Maitri) -- Evolving Program
Moldy City -- A Tactical Suggestion
Adrastos -- Zoned Out In Debrisville
World Class New Orleans -- From Today's NYT
Hat tip: Smasher, for the recent Sasquatch story (even though she believes in Sasquatch, I think it's fair to say that even she remains doubtful about the existence of C. Ray Nagin).
Tags: Hurricane Katrina | Katrina | New Orleans | Louisiana | We Are Not OK | Ray Nagin