People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Anyone C Ray Nagin’s op-ed?

Posted by schroeder915 on January 5, 2007

If only the federal and state governments would do their jobs, he could do his. I appreciate Ray Ray stepping up to the plate lately to say something — anything — I just wish it were something meaningful. From the op-ed piece, it looks like Nagin’s recovery plan is to “await funding that has been promised to the city” so that the city can get “its house in order.”

How about more transparency?

How about publishing those project worksheets for infrastructure repairs?

Speaking of which, what is it about New Orleans mayors and their garbage cans? Marc Morial marked the city by putting his name on city garbage cans. With the newly-gilt Disney World trash contract, Nagin is dumping 96 gallon behemoths on our neighborhoods. It cost the city a bunch of money to get rid of those Morial cans. What’s it going to cost to get rid of Nagin’s cans?

What would it cost to get rid of Ray Nagin?

How about celebrating the efforts of good people who didn’t flee to the suburbs, but who have truly sacrificed on the front lines to help struggling residents in marginal neighborhoods live dignified lives?

010407_marigny_murder.jpg

How about replacing a police superintendent who’s a little too comfortable with the murder rate? How about speaking out on the issue of crime directly to residents?

I’m convinced that media reform in New Orleans would significantly help to identify solutions for many of New Orleans’ problems — and to light a fire under the backsides of public officials. Just this morning, I scanned past WWL to hear Tommy Tucker and Monica Pierre talking to Darlene Cusanza, executive director of New Orleans Crime Stoppers, about raising the award for crime tips to $3500. Then I wondered, if I’m skipping over WWL because I can’t tolerate their shrill, partisan hosts, who else is listening? Are the residents who might know drug-addled criminals in tough neighborhoods listening? If WWL really wants to reach the people who have crime tips, how is that goal served by turning off so many people that they just tune out and never come back? Or is WWL only interested in firing up its base of right-wing listeners so they stick around through the commercial breaks.

Yesterday, I scanned past the new, self-aggrandizing right-wing Fox News/Clear Channel radio station to hear Andre Trevigne on a soap box advocating for more “personal responsibility” to solve the crime problem. Yes, absolutely, but how about rewarding the great majority of good citizens who exercise “personal responsibility” but who aren’t treated by society with respect. Let’s remember that 90 percent or more of crimes are committed by a tiny majority. Let’s remember that one-half of all convicted criminals re-offend just six months after their release from prison, and two-thirds re-offend within three years. The vast majority of people do exercise personal responsibility, even though the odds are stacked against them. Where’s the societal responsibility to good citizens to ensure that all working people can raise their families in dignity? Where’s the outcry against a mayor who tells people to come home, but who disappears and abandons them when they get here? Is it true, as Gwendolyn Charles said, that the current crime wave is being caused by people “who are coming home to the city with nothing for them to come home to”? If so, where’s the advocacy? Where’s the outrage against the status quo? What’s the use to New Orleanians of yet another partisan radio station which only offers one side of the story?

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” Einstein said. So let’s create new approaches and new models for our institutions. Just as our public schools are experimenting with a charter approach, making them more directly accountable to parents, we need to be thinking about ways to make other institutions more accountable to citizens.

Here’s yet another excellent rationale for a truly community-run radio station in New Orleans, broadcasting the voices of New Orleanians to the ears of New Orleanians. Neighborhood advocates, and social service organizations, and preservationists, and civil engineers, and crime fighters, and civic soldiers like citizen McBride, all deserve an opportunity to have their voices heard. It’s time to separate Clear Channel and Entercom from their 13 FCC licenses in New Orleans.

Once again, New Orleans citizen activists are showing the way forward for other communities around the country. In varying degrees, all urban communities suffer from the same problems we have here in New Orleans. It’s time to give citizens around the country a more prominent forum for their ideas, and their solutions. Let it start here, because as New Orleans goes, so goes the nation.

Related:

Library Chronicles — The Joys of Media Consolidation

adrastos — C Ray: Come Home to a Safer, Smarter, Stronger City, Murder in the Marigny

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