Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good Neighbor, bad cop

This is one of the houses posted under the City of New Orleans "Good Neighbor" program. The city will confiscate posted properties if owners don't gut the houses and clean the lots. Some owners don't care about their properties, and let them fall into blight (demolition by neglect). In those cases, the city might be praised for applying a strict standard. There are a significant number of New Orleans homeowners, however, who can't afford housegutting, who aren't physically capable of doing it themselves, and who are still displaced far outside Louisiana (Ms. Regina, for example) -- I'd guess tens of thousands of homes fall into this category. Owners can show that they are acting in good faith if they get their home on a volunteer housegutting list, but those waiting lists are months long due to lack of volunteers.

The city's Web site makes it sound like it's offering this program as a gift to help homeowners.

City Offers New "Good Neighbor Program"
In order to provide all of the citizens of New Orleans the opportunity to rebuild their homes and reclaim their lives, The City of New Orleans Good Neighbor Plan has been developed to provide guidelines for the restoration and maintenance of homes in New Orleans. By strategically safeguarding citizen’s property while providing a framework for reinvestment that protects the financial investments of returning citizens against the spread of blight through inaction, the Good Neighbor Plan provides a better sense of security for all citizens.

The city is offering no help at all. Yes, do something about blighted properties, but do it in a pro-active manner. Instead, the city is leaving the rebuilding of New Orleans to volunteers and college students.

For or against the program, my sense is that the city's been talking about homeowners who don't gut their houses as though they're criminals, not victims, and that's what pisses me off. There might not be much that the city could do from a fiscal perspective (with an absent mayor), but it could be a little kinder in its rhetoric.

People interested in volunteering might refer to the city's pdf listing of volunteer housegutting organizations. You can also contact the Arabi Wrecking Krewe.

Sunday music:
Anouar Brahem, Le Voyage De Sahar, ECM, 2005

Tags: | | | | | Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Bush | Worst President Ever | Ray Nagin | Worst Mayor Ever | Recall Ray Nagin | | | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Katrina One Year Anniversary


At 10/22/2006 03:19:00 PM, Blogger G Bitch said...

At the District B meeting, I nearly spit blood over the cheerful we're-offering-you-people-this-Great-Thing tone used to discuss this "program." You're right--victims are thought of as criminals, taxpayers are told to do it alone, and we are all scolded for not "taking ownership."

Doublespeak on parade.

At 10/22/2006 05:09:00 PM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said...

"There might not be much that the city could do from a fiscal perspective"

If Jimmie Woods (metro disposal) had a house gutting company, you'd be surprised what the city could do financially. Too bad no Nagin supporters offer Disneyland like house gutting.

At 10/22/2006 05:30:00 PM, Anonymous Karen said...

This program makes me feel like a schitzophrenic. On one hand I want the houses in my hood to "get better" on the other hand I am unsure if the "Good Neighbor" program is the vehicle for that. And what we can expect next are bulldozed lots.

At 10/22/2006 05:34:00 PM, Blogger mominem said... has picked this up on thier headline service. It showed up on my Yahoo home page.

At 10/23/2006 10:12:00 AM, Blogger Zihuatanejo said...

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