Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hey Baby, It's the Fourth of July

Whilst lost in the revelery required to commemorate the anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's brilliant contribution to human history, here are some provocative thoughts...

Remember how we ended up with the Hemmeter/Caesar's/Harrah's trainwreck because Sidney leased the Rivergate to Hemmeter but the State gave the license to gamble--usable only in one location-- to the local Jazzland group?

After contemplating that (or, if you were lucky enough not to lose your copy of Bad Bet on the Bayou to le deluge and can re-skim a few chapters) re-read today's summary of the planning disputes between re-elected parts of the Council, the Re-Elected Mayor, the LRA, the GNOF and the deep pocket group from out of town that wants to put its mark on the future of New Orleans.

Does your mind start to associate some of the things about the first train wreck with the present situation? The LRA is planning, the neighborhoods are planning, the retreaded-Council is planning, the new Council has ideas, and the GNOF is planning. Is it really time for more talk, and less action?

Or, is there some sort of secret -- pardon the pun-- plan afoot here? Is the planning process an excuse to delay at the Statewide level? Is there a vast conspiracy to allocate and re-apportion the CDBG funds in Baton Rouge to meet the political goals of the State as a whole, not just the affected areas?

As noted before, despite its breakdowns, New Orleans has a land use plan, it has a process, procedures etc. To the extent it needs to be fixed, that will require a change in the law, but isn't that what the last election was just about? Didn't we decide to re-elect the guy who trusted that out of a million or so affected people, most did the right thing and got out of town. Isn't his approach to re-building 'come get a permit and get to work'.

Philosophically, a 'Big Plan' takes a long time to commence, while thousands of individuals 'little plans' could. Individual planning makes for poor television but work does happen without cameras.

Frankly, recall when Nagin had the balls to stand up to Reps. Christopher Shays, "Little Buddy" Shuster, and Steve Buyer when they decided to riff on some sort of new Rovian Tenth Amendment where all bad publicity --even that specifically the direct fault of a failed federal agency or two, is somehow delegated to the States, or, its people.

In their Orwellian world, Nagin's mandatory evacuation order was supposed to be followed up with something like mass arrests of (suspected Democrat) citizens who were guilty of violating the law with the intent to make the President look bad.

Is a mandatory recovery plan any more likely to work than a mandatory evacuation order?

Finally, as you contemplate a cold Pimm's Cup over the weekend, let's play an interesting hypothetical game; suppose New Orleans had just elected Thomas Jefferson as Mayor. What would he do differently than Nagin has done? What would Hamilton's approach been?

Have a happy Fourth of July, and consider this point, Jefferson's greatest legacy to Louisiana may not just be the Purchase, but rather, the enlightenment for us all to question the role of centralized power for the sake of centralized power in a world that is frequently coming to resemble small pieces loosely joined.


Mark said...

The more I look at the GNOF with its pre-selected list of NGOs and its inscruitable process for selecting "neighborhood representatives", the more I smell a rat. I think there are people who have big plans for that money in NOLA without even looking at the rest of the state rading the pot. Hell, if they did that, it would lead to massive civil unrest.

Anonymous said...

Raiding? you mean the$ 3.5 million?
Maybe, but who is behind the AC 360 and NYT hardon for a macro plan?

mchebert said...

Politicians lay down rules not because they ought to, but because they can.

Forget Thomas Jefferson. Think of the real hero of the revolution, George Washington. Washington walked away from the chance to be named the absolute of the United States because he believed that a great leader was one who could turn over control to others when his talents were no longer needed.

New Orleans needs another George Washington. A pity those types only come around once a millenium.