Saturday, August 12, 2006

"Like a good neighbor State Farm is there" makes me nauseous

Sue your insurance company now!

It makes Donna Cosper nauseous to recall how she was screwed by State Farm after an F5 tornado twisted and racked her Oklahoma City home in 1999.

Lisa Palumbo is going to file to sue State Farm for exactly the same type of case. Her house is racked, and the roof is damaged. Every time it rains, water drains into the ceiling and walls. State Farm can't decide whether to call the damage wind or flood, but is cherry-picking evidence to squeeze somewhere in between the two. It doesn't make sense, since State Farm doesn't have to pay for flood coverage -- the federal government does -- but State Farm might realize that a FEMA flood adjustor would find that the damage was caused by wind. It's trying to cover its liability by fabricating evidence against wind damage.

If Lisa can find time in between being a great mom and trying to deal with her house, I hope she writes a post about the latest engineering report she received. Among the evidence engineers presented against wind damage is a map showing that winds weren't strong enough in New Orleans, but the map shows the eye of Hurricane Katrina still off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Nice one guys! Why not just show what wind speeds were when Katrina was still just a wannabe hurricane tropical storm on the other side of Florida out in the middle of the Atlantic?!!

Lisa's story can be heard in the archived audio for Saturday's Community Gumbo.

Michael Homan was a local celebrity on Saturday as well, joining his wife, Therese Fitzpatrick, championing their claim against Allstate in a Community Gumbo interview.

The big message in that Community Gumbo episode is that all New Orleanians need to sue their insurance companies now, if they don't already have a check in hand, to protect themselves from being screwed. The deadline to file lawsuits for Hurricane Katrina damages is August 28th; for Rita claims, September 23rd.

Michael also authored an opinion about the UNOP planning process which The Times-Picayune printed.

See Ray Nagin?
Boy: Mom, can I get a cookie out of the cookie jar?
Mother: Absolutely not (reaching into cookie jar and handing it to boy).
Boy: But I thought you said I couldn't have a cookie?
Mother: Just because I said you couldn't get a cookie didn't mean you couldn't have a cookie.

Ray Nagin used belated post-Katrina emergency powers in April to force open the long-embattled Chef Menteur landfill, then resisted testing the landfill for toxic materials but later agreed to stop dumping in the landfill to allow tests, then re-opened the landfill the day after he won re-election but later reversed his decision by saying he would allow the emergency permit to expire on August 14th, but then told the Louisiana DEQ that just because he wouldn't renew the permit didn't mean he was opposed to the landfill!

Huh? I know -- where Ray Ray is concerned, it's hard to know what to believe.

The Times-Picayune:
In the latest U-turn in a controversy full of them, the Chef Menteur Landfill in eastern New Orleans will apparently remain open next week, thanks to a letter Mayor Ray Nagin's administration sent to state regulators Thursday explaining that Nagin's decision to allow the lapse of a zoning waiver for the landfill should not be construed as opposition to the facility. ...

The administration's letter was signed by Nagin's city attorney, Penya Moses-Fields, and arrived the day before a Baton Rouge judge was to hear arguments over the landfills impending closure.

Recall that Moses-Fields is the same Nagin official who signed off on the Durango-gate affair.

Does the incredible disappearing mayor use the city attorney's office to run a shadow government while he ducks out of view from raging storms -- natural and political?

Note as well that Nagin received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from both Waste Management, which operates the New Orleans East landfill, and from Amid Landfill, which operates another controversial landfill in Gentilly. He also got a Valentine from Waste Management amounting to 22 percent of an estimated $30 million in hurricane cleanup payments.

The Save New Orleans East blog may now have to start posting again.


Community Gumbo -- New Orleans Vietnamese Americans fight for their neighborhoods (audio)

TP -- State says it will leave Chef Menteur Landfill open after getting letter of no objection from Nagin's administration

The Advocate -- Nagin orders landfill closed

ACT -- Mayor Nagin agrees to end dumping at controversial landfill

TP -- State opposes Nagin on landfill

Grist -- A Heap of Sorrows

Gambit Weekly -- Taking Out the Trash

TP -- Landfill's reopening is raising new stink

Recall Marlin Gusman
An ACLU report released last week details the horrific conditions inside Orleans Parish Prison during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina:
According to one prisoner on the bottom floor of the Old Parish Prison, “we had water past our feet at the time, they [the deputies] gave us brooms and told us sweep the water out the cells.” ...

The women were eventually moved from Templeman III to Central Lock-Up, where they had to stand for hours in deepwater. ...

The water went from an inch to literally three feet in a matter of minutes. Then it eventually got up to four feet. ...

Another prisoner in Unit A-1 explains that the water was 5 to6 feet deep by the time prison officials returned to free the prisoners from their locked cells. “Inmates were on the top bunk in their cells trying to escape the water. Due to the water the cell doors short circuited. The staff had to use long hammers to try in force the doors open. It was a race against time!” ...

With no water to drink, many of the prisoners resorted to drinking the contaminated floodwater, or water that was backed-up in the toilets. One man in the Old Parish Prison reports, “the only water we had was from the toilet and when we had to use the restroom we had to take our waste from the toilet and throw it out the window.”81 Another prisoner in the Old Parish Prison writes: “As we the (inmates) were yelling for the deputies we were getting negative responds from them like: you better do the best you can with what you got, when mentioning about us being dehydrated and hungry, we were then told that we better swallow our (spit) or drink the toilet water which was contaminated, from chemicals, urine and bowel’s from inmates.”

And Sheriff Marlin Gusman? Where the FYFF was he?!! How did he ever get re-elected? My suspicion is that black New Orleanians ignorantly and stubbornly voted against their own best interests, and the interests of all New Orleanians, by keeping a familiar, old-school black crony benefactor in the sheriff's office. I could verify this with a precinct/race analysis if anyone wants to pay for my time. Gusman is from the bad old Morial New Orleans political machine, and like Ray Nagin, his only perceived redeeming quality to black New Orleanians may be that they think he's a black politician who can be bought.

Marlin Gusman, sheriff?

Keep that tar warm

Get rid of the criminal sheriff's office as well

Inmate escapes OPP

Dollar Bill Challengers
Should we check their freezers first?

And who's this dude?

I don't know anything about him, but his political signs are freaking me out! It looks like he's a vet, but hey, someone ought to tell him that the dead aren't honored or respected when they're used in such gratuitous political images.

I'm guessing that The Times-Picayune has already endorsed Troy Carter.

The Big Easy Roller Girls are looking for a volunteer EMT for their first bout on September 16th at Mardi Gras World.

The St. Aug Marching 100 are trying to raise money for uniforms (you can also call Mark Boucree at 701-3346). Let me just say, I think it might be really cool to see the legendary Marching 100 at the Big Easy Roller Girls first bout.

Times-Picayune editor Jed Horne wrote a touching piece about TP photographer John McCusker (as did I), and how the TP handled the story of John's breakdown in such an odd, distanced way, as if they didn't know who he was.
In the newsroom the morning after John's eruption, people gathered around talking in hushed tones. They wanted to find a way to convey their love and concern to John and his family. And they wondered about this: Who else among us has been pushed to the breaking point and just doesn't know it yet? There may be no consolation at all for John in realizing that he is not alone. It may only worsen his despair to know that a whole city is in extremis, because it is a city he loves. But it's true. He's not alone.

Northwest Carrollton resident Jenel Hazlett wrote a letter to the editor suggesting that New Orleanians may have good reason to complain about the UNOP process, but that they can't abandon it -- instead they have to commit themselves to improving it. I tend to agree, but I'd like to suggest that getting rid of Steve Bingler and Concordia would be a good first step.

Sunday music:
The Staple Singers, Great Day
Neko Case, Blacklisted

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At 8/13/2006 08:38:00 PM, Anonymous Karen said...

Do you remember the billboard in the Quarter for Gaspar Schiro and it listed his qualifications and the first one was "polite"

I would vote for him for anything

At 8/13/2006 08:58:00 PM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said...

In the case of Gusman, DiSalvo (sp?) looked like a liar. I try not to vote for people based on how they come across on TV, but DiSalvo came across like he was repeating any story that he heard without trying to verify it. That might sound weird coming from me, but he went a lot further than anything we do on the net. He didn't just call on Gusman to explain things that seemed suspicious, he'd make charges then fudge when confronted on the accusations.

The media (local and national) should be raked over the coals for downplaying the story for so long though. I could understand if the charges had come out during the election, but stories started to come out in September. If I remember correctly, the Picayune did some perfunctory reporting before calling the allegations baseless and endorsing Gusman. Now they start treating it like a real story.

I didn't vote for Gusman, BTW. But I honestly can't remember whether I voted ofr DiSalvo or abstained.

At 8/13/2006 09:32:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

I agree that Disalvo's ads made him look like he was hustling the facts a little -- but I don't think he could publicly substantiate what he was hearing without sacrificing the careers of people who weren't sure who was going to win. The TP dropped the ball on this one for sure.

At 8/13/2006 09:37:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Anyone named Gaspar needs to have a career in politics.

I had to look up that reference Karen, because I didn't remember. I didn't find anything, and don't really know who the guy is.

I did, however, find this interesting, and prescient, quote, in which Gaspar argues for getting vital records out of the basement of Civil District Court:

"It never made sense to me why they put the most important documents in the city under water," says Gaspar Schiro, the elected parish registrar of conveyances.


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