Saturday, December 22, 2007

WELL SAID NEW ORLEANS NEWS LADDER: AN EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT FROM NEW ORLEANS CITY HALL CHAMBERS DURING THE PUBLIC HOUSING DEMOLITON 'HEARINGS"


From NewOrleansNewsLadder.blogspot.com:


Enter Stage Left~Baby Ray Nagin Writes Letter To HUD About Housing Demolitions~Letter puts conditions on demolition permits


{editor notes~Yeah Riiiiiiiiiight! And each city council member, as if on cue, read their own pre-prepared words as they justified voting to assume the position?}{editor asks~Who ya'gonna believe? Baby Ray Wonka or your own lyin'eyes?}{It would also appear that the Times~Picayune has forgotten the rest of us out here on the back hand path riding the Long Road Ho~who'dat?}


One comment from yesterday's Bayou Buzz


I WANT TO SPEAK OF THE MEETING ITSELF. During Thursday's meeting, I was in the City Council Chamber from 9:30am to 4:30pm, and I'd like to put to rest the old refrain about 'out-of-town trouble-makers' that recalls the dismissive scorn of the civil-rights activists of the Sixties. I was sitting in the central section, and the shouts and action began in front of me and to the right of me. I recognized many of the people sitting there from previous rallies against demolition, and they were native New Orleanians, not out-of-towners. There was one outspoken young man that I had never seen, but I would estimate that three-fourths of the rest were native. It should be noted also that at least half of the developers hired to plan the replacements for the projects were from out-of-town, as their presentations during the meeting revealed, and their motives were clearly rooted in their intention to profit from the demolition. So we had out-of-towners on both sides.


I HAVE A WORD TO SAY ABOUT THE CITY COUNCIL'S HANDLING OF THIS HEARING.At the end, each council member read a lengthy explanation of his or her vote, and it became clear that they had prepared these statements together prior to the hearing. To me, that meant that the meeting was not a hearing at all, so a lot of very busy people had just wasted their time preparing their own three-minute speeches. The deal had already been done, and we were just spinning wheels, no doubt to the considerable amusement of the council members, the mayor, and the federal authorities. I judge the council members harshly for this deception.


Furthermore, they had the outrageous audacity to correct the public for noise while they were speaking, yet they laughed and joked while the public was speaking. In fact, one man stopped his comments and demanded their attention before proceeding. It was a mockery of democratic procedures, and for that reason I found myself sympathizing with the outrage of the demonstrators. I also felt outraged, though I do not like to demonstrate in the manner they did. I left the meeting with the conviction that George Bush and his clique had their vision of what they wanted to look like, so they told Alphonso Jackson, who extorted obedience from the council. I do not know what the council would have decided, if the members had in fact been free to vote their own judgments. I have a copy of the threatening letter that Alphonso Jackson wrote to the mayor and the council.


I ALSO WANT TO COMMENT ON THE DEMOLITION ITSELF.The belief that destruction of the housing will bring about a reduction in crime is an illusion. Crime and other behaviors are the result of education and training, not of public housing. If we do not understand this, then we will fail to address the issue. It is a mistake to destroy solid buildings and replace them with flimsy ones. If this issue could be addressed with objectivity, instead of with fear and with greed, we would probably save those buildings in good condition and demolish only those that are not. However, Alphonso Jackson made it clear in his letter that he would prohibit funding to New Orleans if we did that. Of course, it is possible to find the funding through other federal authorities, but the council did not overcome its fear enough to think of that.


FINALLY, ON RACE. The great lesson of the day was that race was not the primary issue. Class and power were.

No comments: