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Archive for the ‘Worst Mayor Ever’ Category

Let’s keep the keys to the city

Posted by schroeder915 on February 20, 2007

When Nagin gave away the keys of the city to the king of Rex, relinquishing leadership he doesn’t exercise, he made uncomfortable jokes about not having to do his job anymore.

Let’s keep the keys, and give no-C Ray the boot!

(I couldn’t find video of the handing away of the keys on any of the local TV newscast archives or NOLA.com, though I did see it on the 10:00 news last night).

Related:

Carnival, in order to be enjoyed, requires that rules and rituals be parodied, and that these rules and rituals already be recognized and respected. One must know to what degree certain behaviors are forbidden, and must feel the majesty of the forbidding norm, to appreciate their transgression. Without a valid law to break, carnival is impossible. During the Middle Ages, counterrituals such as the Mass of the Ass or the coronation of the Fool were enjoyable just because, during the rest of the year, the Holy Mass and the true King’s coronation were sacred and respectable activities. The Coena Cypriani quoted by Bachtin, a burlesque representation based upon the subversion of topical situations of the Scriptures, was enjoyed as a comic transgression only by people who took the same Scriptures seriously during the rest of the year. To a modern reader, the Coena Cypriani is only a boring series of meaningless situations, and even though the parody is recognized, it is not felt as a provocative one. Thus the prerequisites of a ‘good’ carnival are: (i) the law must be so pervasively and profoundly introjected as to be overwhelmingly present at the moment of its violation (and this explains why ‘barbaric’ comedy is hardly understandable); (ii) the moment of carnivalization must be very short, and allowed only once a year (semel in anno licet insanire); an everlasting carnival does not work: an entire year of ritual observance is needed in order to make the transgression enjoyable.

Carnival can exist only as an authorized transgression (which in fact represents a blatant case of contradicto in adjecto or of happy double binding — capable of curing instead of producing neurosis). If the ancient, religious carnival was limited in time, the modern mass-carnival is limited in space: it is reserved for certain places, certain streets, or framed by the television screen.

In this sense, comedy and carnival are not instances of real transgressions: on the contrary, they represent paramount examples of law reinforcement. They remind us of the existence of the rule.

Carnivalization can act as a revolution (Rabelais, or Joyce) when it appears unexpectedly, frustrating social expectations. But on the one side it produces its own mannerism (it is reabsorbed by society) and on the other side it is acceptable when performed within the limits of a laboratory situation (literature, stage, screen …). When an unexpected and nonauthorized carnivalization suddenly occurs in ‘real’ everday life, it is interpreted as revolution (campus confrontations, ghetto riots, blackouts, sometimes true ‘historical’ revolutions). But even revolutions produce a restoration of their own (revolutionary rules, another contradicto in adjecto) in order to install their new social model. Otherwise they are not effective revolutions, but only uprisings, revolts, transitory social disturbances.

In a world dominated by diabolical powers, in a world of everlasting transgression, nothing remains comic or carnivalesque, nothing can any longer become an object of parody.

Umberto Eco, “The frames of comic ‘freedom’,” _Carnivale!_, Ed. Thomas A. Sebeok. Berlin: Mouton, 1984.

Posted in Carnival, Katrina Dissidents, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Worst Mayor Ever | 3 Comments »

Our stoned mayor

Posted by schroeder915 on February 18, 2007

If I can be audited by the government, and I can be required to submit information about where and how I earn my money, then certainly public officials responsible for guiding public policy and investment dollars in a city with 200,000 damaged homes ought to be required to do so … oh, my bad. No-C Ray Nagin isn’t guiding public policy or investment dollars, so there really isn’t any opportunity for malfeasance. Maybe the worst mayor ever should just stick to countertops.

Looking for some new marble countertops for the bathroom? The mayor just might have a deal for you.

State records list Nagin and his two sons, Jeremy and Jarin, as the investors in Stone Age Granite & Marble. An employee said Friday by phone that the store relocated several months ago to its new Earhart Boulevard address from another location.

Stone Age LLC was incorporated in January 2005, but the degree to which the mayor and his sons are involved in the enterprise is a mystery.

Asked for comment on the venture, Nagin replied by e-mail Friday that the questions were “out of bounds.”

He said he would have no comment “on my personal investments that are totally outside of any city responsibilities.”

Any attorneys or accountants want to make a request to see Nagin’s books?

Related: AFO Investments.

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | 4 Comments »

Krewe du Vieux 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 4, 2007

pgr4943.jpg

It’s the first parade of the Carnival season, as well as the most profane, roasting any public official reviled by New Orleans residents. More photos.

The parade was moving way too fast to get clear photos, or to even read some of the political roasts on floats and costumes. Last year’s parade was possibly the best Krewe du Vieux ever. I hollered at Ashley, but he was moving too fast as well. I didn’t get a glimpse of any other nefarious characters.

I apologize for falling behind on posts. There’s just a lot going on lately, including a project to completely migrate PGR off of WordPress.com to my own host.

My hope today: that Payton Manning and the Colts do to Chicago fans what Chicago fans did to New Orleans fans — finish what the Great Chicago Fire started (compare how New Orleanians treat visiting fans here).

Related: Community Gumbo podcast — Saints pride displayed in Lakeview.

Posted in Carnival, Dollar Bill, Kathleen Blanco, Katrina Dissidents, Krewe du Vieux, New Orleans, Political Corruption, Recall Nagin, The Saints, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | 19 Comments »

Quiett declined to comment

Posted by schroeder915 on January 29, 2007

Good work Gordon Russell:

As former Mayor Marc Morial’s communications director, Denise Estopinal earned $47,460. Her counterpart in the Nagin administration, Ceeon Quiett, makes $122,025 — the same salary as Nagin.

Whether the pay increases Nagin implemented have resulted in a stampede of new talent at City Hall is hard to say. Quiett declined to comment for this story.

I’m all for giving city workers raises up to the value of their work, but I’m also all for holding them accountable for doing their jobs. Has there been a 100 percent increase in the CAO’s performance since 1999 — an effective doubling of value and productivity? A 157 percent increase in communications? What about Mayor no-C Ray Nagin? He ought to be docked 100 percent of his pay!

I should also mention that the city is critically impaired in its ability to recruit and retain professionals, because other than highly-paid people in the mayor’s immediate circle, there have been no significant changes in payscales and job descriptions which are over thirty years old. Visit the Civil Service office sometime and see what they have to offer. If you’re a programmer who’s been to school for four years or more, and you’re holding a lot of debt, you’re not going to take a job working for the city. The same goes for other professional services needed in a city bureaucracy, plus the additional burdens of the disaster New Orleans is trying to recover from. I’d have to say an electrical inspector right now is worth more than that piece of crap mayor.

citysalaries_increase_400px.jpg

citysalaries_sm.jpg

Don’t all scream at the same time! Quiett down!

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | 10 Comments »

Public housing attorney threatened

Posted by schroeder915 on January 29, 2007

cg4000001.jpg

A legal firm representing the federal government issued a gag order against a local attorney who represents public housing residents in New Orleans. The aptly-named firm, “Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann,” ordered Loyola Poverty Law Center attorney Bill Quigley “to immediately cease and desist” from making statements which violate the “Louisiana Rules of Professional Responsibility,” and to “take immediate action to have this recording, the so-called ‘documentary’,” removed from Web sites hosting the audio recording.

I find the selective application of Louisiana’s ethics rules a fascinating curiosity. I was shocked, in the first place, to discover that Louisiana even has professional ethics rules. In any event, it’s truly open to debate whether Quiqley’s statement “that HUD and HANO have been lying to the public” is true or false. Maybe the veracity of their statements really is a matter that should be tested in a court of law.

Posted in Affordable Housing, Government Corruption, Katrina Dissidents, Media, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | 6 Comments »

From the town that put fun in the word funeral

Posted by schroeder915 on January 23, 2007

Wright Thompson gets it:

As people waited, the craziest thing happened. What started as a funeral turned into a celebration — a celebration not just of a team, but of themselves. The beers they raised were toasts to their own resiliency. Fans screamed. They chanted. They sang that U2 song “The Saints are Coming.”

HT: Jeff, Library Chronicles.

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, The Saints, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | Leave a Comment »

The citizens’ revolt continues

Posted by schroeder915 on January 18, 2007

Anytime I write a post about the police chief’s and mayor’s grammar, you know I’m busy. There was much more that I wanted time to write about, and I’ll try to get caught up.

I scanned the radio dial this morning to find out what the redneck wingnut talk show hosts were offering today, and did a double-take when I heard a familiar voice. I’m sitting here now listening the Fox News channel’s lip-smacking convicted insurance commissioner “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown’s self-promotion show. He’s interviewing Bart Everson, one week after Bart declared a revolution on the steps of City Hall.

Bart is firing on all cylinders, hitting all the relevant points — if only “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown “uh-uh-uh” would shut the eff up (again, we need a true community radio station to broadcast unabridged, free-flowing conversations).

(After the show now) Bart emphasized that he wasn’t advocating for expanded police powers, but Jim Brown cut him off from explaining why — I can relate the story about a friend who was pulled over at a police checkpoint, who may not have been respectful of the police for whatever reason, and who was subsequently issued a traffic ticket — completely illegible because the carbon transfer didn’t work. It’s the second time I’ve heard a story where the citation was illegible — I saw one of those tickets, so I can vouch for their veracity. Unfortunately, traffic stops really do work at catching bad guys, but the rest of us are inconvenienced. Legally, the police have to be careful not to give the appearance of racial profiling, so they’ll issue traffic citations for just about anything. It’s an example of what happens when orders are issued from the lofty heights without surveying the sentiments of residents. The NOPD is making arrests of wanted offenders, but shredding already damaged community relations in the process. We need new thinking. We need more and better dialog to come up with solutions that work, or at least solutions in which the community accepts the tradeoffs — maybe a solution where people who aren’t wanted offenders, and who aren’t driving in a hazardous manner, can be released with a courtesy card instead of a traffic citation. There needs to be a conversation with the community so that we all sign on and understand the consequences.

A Metropolitan Crime Commission poll showed that more than 60 percent of Central City residents don’t feel the police can effectively reduce crime, even though patrols are regularly visible. Bart cited the poll to argue that the police need to be more accountable to communities to solve that problem. For the community policing concept to work, citizens have to be in charge of how policing works for them. There’s a discussion taking place right now at Think New Orleans about creating formal institutions, Citizen Crime Boards, which would require accountability of all of the actors in the criminal justice system to the neighborhoods they serve. If this is a revolution to overthrow incompetent rulers, and to take control of our own destinies, then let’s start with the criminal justice community.

To satisfy his uncontrollable self-aggrandizement, Jim Brown kept interrupting Bart and shifting the conversation, so I felt compelled to call in. Jim Brown dropped the call at first, and I know how fast hosts cut off other speakers, so I felt rushed and couldn’t clearly muster the words I wanted to say. Nevertheless, I got in one good jab at the other participants in the criminal justice system who weren’t mentioned: the judges and District Attorney Eddie Jordan.

I praised Bart’s courage for putting himself in the spotlight to speak out against a broken system even while he’s still mourning a tragic event. I concurred that we need to fix the crime problem, and we need to address all of the forms of violence that are manifested in our society — like denying children a good education, and denying people access to their homes. I said that when the police arrive, it’s already too late. All of the factors which produce criminals are re-manifested by violence perpetrated on the rest of society. We also, however, need to remember that the police are the last line of defense, keeping criminals away from peaceful citizens. Unfortunately, the police are the face of the criminal justice system, and it’s easy to villainize them. Of course, we need to have more and better dialog with the police, but other actors need to participate in the conversation. Police chief Warren Riley answered questions Tuesday night at the NOPD 2nd District community crime meeting (Adrastos has an excellent summary of that event). I said that the judges and D.A. weren’t represented in that conversation, but they need to be. They, too, need to answer to citizens for the broken criminal justice system.

We need to break down the barriers which shelter incompetent and crony-ridden government institutions from citizen anger. We need to create neighborhood entities that foster a dialog, name names, and call into question decisions made by autocratic public officials. Clearly, if there’s anything New Orleans citizens have learned since Hurricane Katrina, it’s that we need to take back control of our government.

Bart closed his interview by reminding listeners that nothing happened after Hurricane Katrina to attack the conditions which breed poverty and crime, despite all of the talk about how our society needs to have a conversation about race and class in our society. This conversation, too, could be hosted by Citizen Crime Boards. The dialog might be spun off into another realm, but Citizen Crime Boards would have the advantage on focusing attention on the end-stream results of the broken social systems which breed violence and return that violence to society by generating criminal behavior.

The local FBI director, Jim Bernazzani, said in an interview yesterday that we have tactical solutions to the crime problem. Those tactical responses to crime may need to be fixed, but what we really need to do is have a conversation about strategic solutions to the crime problem. I continue to assert that we can’t lose sight of the immediate goal of fixing the criminal justice system so bad guys don’t hurt peaceful citizens, and Bernazzani would agree, but he’s also right that we need to get to kids before they start getting involved in violence. We need to engage them in constructive activities, give them an opportunity at a good education, instill in them the virtue of fulfilling their potential, give them hope. As my friend Danna has said, in teaching art to disadvantaged children, we may not be able to promise them the dream world they see on TV, but we can promise them that pride in themselves is only achieved through hard work. The alternative is death.

Many of us are talking about the same thing. We’re on the same page. As citizens, we need to take charge of those institutions that are failing us. We need government to work for us, not against us.

Here’s an example of how citizen activism can work to defeat crime. I got a call last night in a chain call process after an armed robbery Uptown. The action was swift. The police were on the scene in five minutes. When the robbers hit again nearby, a tactical unit swept down on them and caught five perpetrators.

We can work with the police when we demand dialog. Now we need to make sure that those criminals don’t make it back onto the street until they’ve paid the price for their crime, and are reformed. We need to make the judges and D.A. accountable to us, and we need to make sure that incarceration, if that’s the punishment (which I believe it should be) isn’t just a school to train more violent criminals, but a place where real reform and opportunities are created. Yes, those are tough issues, but only citizen involvement will fix the problems our society faces.

Posted in Crime, Eddie Jordan, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | Leave a Comment »

The citizens’ revolt continues

Posted by schroeder915 on January 18, 2007

Anytime I write a post about the police chief’s and mayor’s grammar, you know I’m busy. There was much more that I wanted time to write about, and I’ll try to get caught up.

I scanned the radio dial this morning to find out what the redneck wingnut talk show hosts were offering today, and did a double-take when I heard a familiar voice. I’m sitting here now listening the Fox News channel’s lip-smacking convicted insurance commissioner “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown’s self-promotion show. He’s interviewing Bart Everson, one week after Bart declared a revolution on the steps of City Hall.

Bart is firing on all cylinders, hitting all the relevant points — if only “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown “uh-uh-uh” would shut the eff up (again, we need a true community radio station to broadcast unabridged, free-flowing conversations).

(After the show now) Bart emphasized that he wasn’t advocating for expanded police powers, but Jim Brown cut him off from explaining why — I can relate the story about a friend who was pulled over at a police checkpoint, who may not have been respectful of the police for whatever reason, and who was subsequently issued a traffic ticket — completely illegible because the carbon transfer didn’t work. It’s the second time I’ve heard a story where the citation was illegible — I saw one of those tickets, so I can vouch for their veracity. Unfortunately, traffic stops really do work at catching bad guys, but the rest of us are inconvenienced. Legally, the police have to be careful not to give the appearance of racial profiling, so they’ll issue traffic citations for just about anything. It’s an example of what happens when orders are issued from the lofty heights without surveying the sentiments of residents. The NOPD is making arrests of wanted offenders, but shredding already damaged community relations in the process. We need new thinking. We need more and better dialog to come up with solutions that work, or at least solutions in which the community accepts the tradeoffs — maybe a solution where people who aren’t wanted offenders, and who aren’t driving in a hazardous manner, can be released with a courtesy card instead of a traffic citation. There needs to be a conversation with the community so that we all sign on and understand the consequences.

A Metropolitan Crime Commission poll showed that more than 60 percent of Central City residents don’t feel the police can effectively reduce crime, even though patrols are regularly visible. Bart cited the poll to argue that the police need to be more accountable to communities to solve that problem. For the community policing concept to work, citizens have to be in charge of how policing works for them. There’s a discussion taking place right now at Think New Orleans about creating formal institutions, Citizen Crime Boards, which would require accountability of all of the actors in the criminal justice system to the neighborhoods they serve. If this is a revolution to overthrow incompetent rulers, and to take control of our own destinies, then let’s start with the criminal justice community.

To satisfy his uncontrollable self-aggrandizement, Jim Brown kept interrupting Bart and shifting the conversation, so I felt compelled to call in. Jim Brown dropped the call at first, and I know how fast hosts cut off other speakers, so I felt rushed and couldn’t clearly muster the words I wanted to say. Nevertheless, I got in one good jab at the other participants in the criminal justice system who weren’t mentioned: the judges and District Attorney Eddie Jordan.

I praised Bart’s courage for putting himself in the spotlight to speak out against a broken system even while he’s still mourning a tragic event. I concurred that we need to fix the crime problem, and we need to address all of the forms of violence that are manifested in our society — like denying children a good education, and denying people access to their homes. I said that when the police arrive, it’s already too late. All of the factors which produce criminals are re-manifested by violence perpetrated on the rest of society. We also, however, need to remember that the police are the last line of defense, keeping criminals away from peaceful citizens. Unfortunately, the police are the face of the criminal justice system, and it’s easy to villainize them. Of course, we need to have more and better dialog with the police, but other actors need to participate in the conversation. Police chief Warren Riley answered questions Tuesday night at the NOPD 2nd District community crime meeting (Adrastos has an excellent summary of that event). I said that the judges and D.A. weren’t represented in that conversation, but they need to be. They, too, need to answer to citizens for the broken criminal justice system.

We need to break down the barriers which shelter incompetent and crony-ridden government institutions from citizen anger. We need to create neighborhood entities that foster a dialog, name names, and call into question decisions made by autocratic public officials. Clearly, if there’s anything New Orleans citizens have learned since Hurricane Katrina, it’s that we need to take back control of our government.

Bart closed his interview by reminding listeners that nothing happened after Hurricane Katrina to attack the conditions which breed poverty and crime, despite all of the talk about how our society needs to have a conversation about race and class in our society. This conversation, too, could be hosted by Citizen Crime Boards. The dialog might be spun off into another realm, but Citizen Crime Boards would have the advantage on focusing attention on the end-stream results of the broken social systems which breed violence and return that violence to society by generating criminal behavior.

The local FBI director, Jim Bernazzani, said in an interview yesterday that we have tactical solutions to the crime problem. Those tactical responses to crime may need to be fixed, but what we really need to do is have a conversation about strategic solutions to the crime problem. I continue to assert that we can’t lose sight of the immediate goal of fixing the criminal justice system so bad guys don’t hurt peaceful citizens, and Bernazzani would agree, but he’s also right that we need to get to kids before they start getting involved in violence. We need to engage them in constructive activities, give them an opportunity at a good education, instill in them the virtue of fulfilling their potential, give them hope. As my friend Danna has said, in teaching art to disadvantaged children, we may not be able to promise them the dream world they see on TV, but we can promise them that pride in themselves is only achieved through hard work. The alternative is death.

Many of us are talking about the same thing. We’re on the same page. As citizens, we need to take charge of those institutions that are failing us. We need government to work for us, not against us.

Here’s an example of how citizen activism can work to defeat crime. I got a call last night in a chain call process after an armed robbery Uptown. The action was swift. The police were on the scene in five minutes. When the robbers hit again nearby, a tactical unit swept down on them and caught five perpetrators.

We can work with the police when we demand dialog. Now we need to make sure that those criminals don’t make it back onto the street until they’ve paid the price for their crime, and are reformed. We need to make the judges and D.A. accountable to us, and we need to make sure that incarceration, if that’s the punishment (which I believe it should be) isn’t just a school to train more violent criminals, but a place where real reform and opportunities are created. Yes, those are tough issues, but only citizen involvement will fix the problems our society faces.

Posted in Crime, Eddie Jordan, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | 2 Comments »

MLK on Iraq and post-K New Orleans

Posted by schroeder915 on January 15, 2007

Were he here today, what would he say about Iraq and New Orleans?

There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. …

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
4/4/1967
Clergy and Laity Concerned meeting
Riverside Church in New York City

In solidarity with the needs of public housing residents.

Related:

b.rox — “Every Man a King”

Posted in Affordable Housing, Iraq, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | 6 Comments »

The look of no-C Ray Nagin’s market-based recovery

Posted by schroeder915 on January 15, 2007

foreclose_sm.jpg

Fortunately for those who have to dump their houses on the cheap — before they’re foreclosed — because they couldn’t wait a year and a half for federal assistance, or they lost their jobs, or they couldn’t get out of the trap of paying a mortgage on a house they can’t live in while paying to live somewhere else — well, you know, sometimes the market just doesn’t go your way, man, and as the mayor says, you have to make the right decision — fortunately, for those poor souls, there are good people out there who want to help. One man’s dirt is another man’s gold.

Ahem … of course, since he’s never disclosed what the purpose of that real estate investment venture is, I might be excused for mistaking no-C Ray Nagin as that benificent one who’s now, ironically, finally rescuing people from their flooded homes.

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | Leave a Comment »