Wednesday, September 13, 2006

C. Ray Nagin: Katrina Boneless Chicken

100 day report? What? Too little, too late, Mr. Mayor!

I thought the BNOB process was dead. So what's this? You're celebrating something that failed? And now you're claiming that you "stated [a] commitment to protect ... citizen's rights to return and rebuild"? How? How exactly are you going to do this when you keep saying that the market should decide which neighborhoods will rebuild? That's the equivalent of Roosevelt saying after Pearl Harbor that "the market" should decide what to do about Hirohito.

Are you now taking credit for the whole ball of wax -- from one failure to the next, leading from the BNOB process, to independent neighborhood plans, to the UNOP process? Wow! You are such a visionary to have guided us through your blundering failures to finally accomplish what you wanted to achieve from the very beginning! Oh mysterious planning guru, how else might we be enlightened to your wisdom? What miracles might now unfold to save our dear city?

What's this? Now that we've waited 100 days to find out what your plans were, we have to wait for another 100 days for implementation? Shit man -- it'll be another year before you actually accomplish anything that might make a difference to hundreds of thousands of citizens still looking for hope that the city is turning the corner!

Your comment that things are better now than they were 100 days ago is about as inspiring a pronouncement as a flounder hitting a flat-bottom boat.

No, Mr. Mayor, what citizens of New Orleans should really be asking is, "Is what the mayor is doing good enough?"

This has been a long time coming! Ray Nagin -- you are now awarded the People Get Ready Katrina Boneless Chicken award for astoundingly low levels of leadership and achievement as the Mayor of New Orleans. As a leader before Hurricane Katrina, I wouldn't have given you more than a C- grade. As a leader since Hurricane Katrina, I'd give a clear F for failing to do your homework, failing to turn in your reports to citizens in a timely manner, and for taking credit for other people's work.

Good riddance! I'll be actively collecting signatures for your recall on election day later this month.


PGR -- Do you believe in the tooth fairy?

G Bitch -- One Year and 15 Days Later

VatulBlog -- A Few Words With Ray Nagin (should be titled "A Few Words From Ray Nagin")

Wet Bank Guide -- Perdido Street and Agincourt

Adrastos -- Spin City Version 2.1

Moldy City -- Kudos to the Mayor

TP Editorial -- Nagin's 100 days

Tags: | | | | | | | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Ray Nagin | Recall Ray Nagin | Hurricane Katrina One Year Anniversary | UNOP | Unified New Orleans Plan | Steven Bingler | Concordia


At 9/13/2006 06:04:00 PM, Anonymous Karen said...


At 9/13/2006 11:01:00 PM, Anonymous Jaderain said...

Why are people who supposedly hunger for social change from the grass roots all hung up on authority figures? Do you want social activism or do you just want someone who will do the job the way you think it should be done?

Why quote Ghandi, when speaking about GWB? Why compare Pearl Harbor with NOLA? As I read your comments, the US "won" Pearl Harbor? And then had to decide what to do with Japan? Hello? Roosevelt and Japan, Nagin and NOLA? All this conflation sounds good but it doesn't apply when you read it closely.
Ghandi's remarks are resonant yet contextual. Purely contextual, The US is not practicing civil disobedience or an occupied colony. That was Ghandi's issue. His remarks were made in context to a people trying to decide if and how to self-govern. We already settled that issue and now the US is fighting a war. If the winner of a war has more blood on his hands (no reason to be gender neutral here!) does that make him guiltier than the loser? How does one win a war? I don't get a lot of your rhetoric. Should Bush be chasing Bin Laden or not? Iraq is not another Vietnam, again more conflation, but it is a morass. Is it possible to speak clearly about the issues at hand without referencing sound bites and high fiving each other for your cleverness in the blogosphere?

Why not turn your attention to people who are speaking today at your elbow and quote them? You live in a democracy and the only people who can give their power over to people like Bush and Nagin are the ones who do. Make them your focus and you are caught in the morass. Talk to your neighbors and the people you care about and seem to want to champion and you accomplish a lot. Cleaning Ms Regina's yard is worth the energy. Recalling Nagin? Probably not.

Lobby for lower taxes, less government dependence and more community connection and involvement. Give lessons in blogging to a disempowered group of your choice, help them find jobs to finance websites and blogs, if you are interested in free speech. As it is they aren't speaking for themselves, they are having outsiders speak for them, admirable yet patronizing.

It is very hard to understand why Nagin was re-elected in the first place. And now a petition to waste more time, energy and money in a recall? Who re-elected him? A majority? If they did then they are the people whose interest prevails in a democracy. If it isn't your interest, then it isn't your turn. If the election was illegal, then fine, recall him. If you just don't like what he is doing, fine, too but use your energy and resources to effect some real change.

At 9/14/2006 03:03:00 AM, Anonymous Cade Roux said...

Didn't BNOB start and end before the 100 days start?

At 9/14/2006 06:57:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Karen, you are my hero!

CR -- exactly. In fact, it ended before that M.F. was re-elected.

jaderain, I'll try to refrain from name-calling, but let me just ask where you live? If you aren't here, you have no right to criticize.

Do you live in some idyllic anarchist world where citizens participate in self-governance for hours a day while working to support themselves and their families? The fact of the matter is -- like it or not -- the world runs more efficiently when we elect people to represent our interests. That's called democracy, man, and it's the best and worst of all systems. A recall is democracy in action, and sends the strongest of signals that we aren't happy with the guy who was elected -- that he has failed to own up to his promises (whatever *they* were).

What alternative would you prefer? Ray Nagin isn't going away (short of recall); neither is George Bush (short of impeachment). We have to live with these guys making decisions that affect our lives in profound ways.

I'm not going to sit around and pretend that isn't true.

"Lobby for lower taxes, less government dependence and more community connection and involvement." Duh. Fool -- that's what we're doing here. In fact, the community connections in New Orleans have never been stronger. Are you here? Do you friggin' live in New Orleans? Have you ever been here? Been here since Katrina? Get a clue.

As for Gandhi -- sure, I even said his quotes were contextual. Let me just ask you -- what is the "war" we're fighting? How did we get into it? Is it necessary? Could our goals as a nation have been, and yet be, achieved by different means? Kill that M.F. Osama bin Laden, yes -- as well as all of his cohorts. I think there was a time when the majority of the world even sympathized with the United States for a period following 9/11 -- I already said that. Now everyone hates the U.S. But what would you suggest we do to get out of that "morass."

Learn why Nagin was re-elected before you pretend to know anything about what's happening here.

Then, put your money where your mouth is, and show me what you're doing to help the city. As it is, all I see you doing is criticizing the people who are actually doing something.

At 9/14/2006 07:15:00 AM, Anonymous Karen said...


I am not sure that I understand what you are talking about. You seem to make the assumption that there is a "one or the other" type situation here.

We need to lobby for "effective" government not less government. Part of that lobby effort may include a symbolic effort to "recall" That is grass roots activism.

At 9/14/2006 08:30:00 AM, Blogger Tara said...

I have been checking your blog, waiting for this post. When I saw the one-trick pony show of a PDF that was presented to the media and city planners on the 100th day, I knew there would be some heat rising off yo' blog!

What a disappointment. And really, that document is too little, too late. I found nothing in it that hasn't already been revealed or discussed elsewhere.

I just wanted to congratulate you and the NOLA blogosphere. I read the 9/18 The Nation that mentions the NOLA blogging scene. I am proud to know you (sort of) and excited to witness the positive and beautiful self-governance and community-building that has emerged out of anger and frustration.

I'll be curious to see if Jaderain shows up again. Seems like she missed the point that the community IS self-governing and that that IS social activism. It doesn't sound like she's ever set foot in The Crescent City.

Be well.

At 9/14/2006 07:22:00 PM, Anonymous jaderain said...

It was kind of you to refrain from name calling, though, in my opinion, there is usually no name calling in a conversation and exchange of ideas. It shuts things right down, same as a threat, which your remark was. How long before you will resort to name calling to make your point? Only restrained yourself until paragraph 7.

And I am really curious why you ignored my questions which were:

Why did Nagin get re-elected? Mitch Landrieu was the obviously better choice. What happened?

Why did Bush get re-elected?

Does the majority that elected both of these questionable leaders not exist?

If they do exist, are their interests being served?

If not, are they recalling the elected officials? Or are the people whose candidate lost the election recalling them?

Is exercising your obviously privileged position (you sound educated and probably have a job and an intact place to live) to effect a recall the best use of your energy and resources at this time?

Do you remember the Republicans in California doing this a few years ago because they didn't like Pete Wilson and his "liberal agenda" of better health care,education and immigration policies? Oh and having the citizens fund those policies through their taxes by working to abolish propostion 13, a disastrous tax bill that was the darling of Ronald Rayguns and gutted the infrastructure of California? Do you know how many voters actually voted Arnold in? A paraphrase of California state law:
"Any elected official may be the target of a recall campaign. In order to trigger a recall election, proponents of the recall must gather a certain number of signatures from registered voters within a certain time period. The number of signatures must equal 12% of the number of votes cast in the previous elections. For the 2003 recall elections, that meant a minimum of 900,000 signatures, based on the November 2002 statewide elections."

And once that was accomplished, the election only required a majority of voters voting. Not registered.

You are pretty big on tossing off your sound bite analogies but a little slim on recent events and the realities of the voting public in the USA today. Take an hour or two and do some rersearch and see if California is any better off under Arnie. Then see if your energy is better spent elsewhere than exercising democracy in the way you describe. This type of pragmatic thinking probably doesn't appeal to your idealism, however. Fair enough.

How do your conflations and quotations do anything but offer you personal relief and a fan base?
I withdraw that question because I can see that the support validates your views. Again, fair enough.

And now I have a new one:

Why do you think anyone outside of New Orleans has a duty to help help New Orleans? What is your tax structure like? How much community service existed before the hurricane? Plans for natural disasters? Interest in leadership and the quality of life for all? Why is sympathy to be traded on? In the baldest terms your assertions are mercernary at best and adolescent at worst. If you want people's help you better be ready to listen to their assessment of your problems and shortcomings and how they can be averted or dealt with next time, at least politely before you take their money, energy and wear out their concern. Your blog reads as rabidly as Bush did pre-Iraq. Blame laying, sound bites and a bad plan for the future. More hurricanes will come to New Orleans. Are you going to get ready for them or are you going to exercise democracy and recall Nagin?
I have set foot in NOLA, both before and after Katrina, but no, I don't live there. I have done quite a bit to help the city so far, which is why I read your blog among others, in the first place. It is often easier to identify some problems from the outside when you are aren't consumed with outrage and have no perspective. But who would believe that when they are in it?

I don't live in an idyllic anarchist place where people are self-governing and raise their families. But I do live in a democratic place where people are a lot less dependent on government and take responsibility for their lives and are self-governing. And while it isn't idyllic and it has it's own problems, it is more efficiently run and elected leaders are not seen as larger than life people who should be models of perfection or depraved monsters, but human beings
doing whatever they do. It is a lot easier to live that way in my opinion and it negates many of
your assertions about leadership and efficiency.

And of course, if you would rather I didn't comment on your blog, it is fine with me.

At 9/14/2006 08:38:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...


Bottom line: I'm sick and tired of having to defend this city and her people, from critics like you, and from politicians who fail to serve us.

Bottom line: You can't possibly have any idea what you're talking about unless you actually *live* here.

Bottom line: Did you criticize New Yorkers, too, after 9/11?

Bottom line: I'm stretched beyond the limits of what I can do to try to save this city for my fellow residents. You? What are you doing to save this city that needs your help? Criticizing us? Come down here and gut a house, attend some neighborhood planning meetings, wait for weeks and months for any appearance from the mayor which might signal that he's present and doing what he needs to do to champion the needs of our citizens.

I don't have time for people like you, and you've taken more time already than I care to spend.

If you really want to know what's going on here, then spend more time here.

Where do you live? What is the racial composition and history of the place where you live? I'd guess you never really learned anything about New Orleans. It's far more complicated than you imagine.

Believe me, nothing could be better for this city than recalling Ray Nagin.

I appreciate your interest, but we need more than your interest, we need first, your respect for the fact that *NO* American city should be treated the way New Orleans is being treated by the rest of the country (yourself included).

We need your unconditional love and respect. We need your aid, not your criticism. We need you to listen to what we're saying, and to acknowledge that we might actually know what we're talking about.

We're not misfits. We're Americans, just like anyone else in the 50 states. Actually, I give my fellow New Orleanians a *hell* of a lot more credit as citizens than other Americans, because I have *never* in my life seen the grassroots neighborhood activism taking place here anywhere else in the country. These people are the absolute definition of model American citizens.

Shame on you! Shame on you for questioning. If you seek understanding, ask, don't criticize.

At 9/15/2006 06:45:00 PM, Anonymous jaderain said...

Shame on you for not answering any of my questions and ignoring the fact that I have asked legitimate ones.

Shame on you for refusing to engage on anything other than an emotional level when your limited world view is challenged.

Shame on you for touting yourself as some who wants comments and discussion.

Shame on you for not seeing that New Orleans has to get itself together and stop expecting the world to rescue it.

If Katrina hadn't happened it would be all go-cups and party as ususal, who cares about corruption in our police department, graft and greed in politics and you leave me alone and shoot each other in the projects and I'll stay in white la-la land. not "People Get Ready."

Why would I criticize New Yorkers for their exemplary recovery from 9/11? How can you compare a city that is functional and pulled together across racial, socio-economic and political lines to recover to New Orleans and it's corrupt infighting and senseless waste of energy, resources and compassion?

No one owes you unconditional love and support except your mother.

Your time is wasted on this blog and your perpetual outrage and vicitimhood.

At 9/15/2006 10:21:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

jaderain, you completely fail to understand what's going on here. Look, as I said, I'm really sick to death of responding to people on the outside who don't know what's going on here. If you want me to answer your questions, then come down here. Otherwise, I would refer you to my blog, starting on August 29, 2005. In due course, you will discover that I have, in fact, answered all of your questions. I would also refer you to any of the other Louisiana bloggers in my sidebar. Once you've done that, you need not apologize to me, but you could make recompense by coming down here to help a family in need.


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