Tuesday, August 08, 2006

From Todays NYT

'Worst of all, by planning ad hoc, the city is forfeiting a chance to consider how infrastructure could be used to bind commuities -- rich and poor, black and white -- into a collective whole. It allows residents to retreat back into their old ways and ignore uncomfortable social truths'

This statement is more appropriate to descibing Houston, Atlanta or Dallas than a 300 year old city whose predominent architecture is a reflection of its climate and whose streets and neighborhoods were laid out primarily before the Interstate Highways System.

All of this yuppie utopian elitist blather about urban planning is a distraction from the bigger issues -- everyone now knows where the high ground in the city, just look for the waterline.

Why is the recovery dialogue only about infrastructure? Is it because the predominent view of the problem is only flooded homes? What about the lost jobs and businesses? What about the education system? Where are the education experts? Where are the economists? Why aren't they flying in to run 'charettes' about tax policies, or the benefits of making, say, a second language education mandatory in a city dependent upon tourism?

Out of town experts who feel that the current urban landscape insufficiently grinds the faces of certain New Orleanians into certain 'uncomfortable truths' probably have an ivory tower with a flood free first floor, and certainly have never chosen to passionately devote most of their lives living in a compact, high crime, high poverty city surrounded by water. When was urban planning annointed the preferred weapon to combat bigotry?

Yes, the community has billions of dollars in basic infrastructure repairs that need to occur -- but the majority of that is the work of serious engineers and cost analysts, not a zoned out PTSD stricken middle class.

Streets, sewers, water mains, a new electric system are obvious candidates for repair. Repair money is supposed to already be in the 10 Billion that is allocated to Baton Rouge by law 109-234. There most certainly will be the 'Mother of all Bond Issues' next year or in 2008 for further chances for voters to select from a menu of spending priorities. That would be real democracy in action, not the Donahue-esque blather from the current process.

This is absurd.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

keep talking..

Mr. Clio said...

Mr. Melpomene,

To paraphrase Prof. Longhair,

You got fiyo, can't put it out.

Keep it up.