Mayor Ray Nagin [D-NO] has once again gotten into the spotlight.
First I will say he got one thing right by rejecting the BNOB land use restrictions proposal. If people want to foolishly rebuild where they got washed away then let them. And if insurance companies refuse to cover these fools' ideas, do not let any level of government float any kind of insurance policy either. Lets not subsidize their foolishness again.
Placing rebuilding plans for the neighborhoods in the hands of the residents sounds like a good idea except when one thinks of the 9th Ward. I hope the city will be involved in at least an advsory role to help them steer clear of foolishness and to keep to an overall coordinated city-wide rebuilding plan. If the residents do want to be foolish, then the city needs to make abudantly clear what hazards they are inviting and stating what the city will and will not do in a future disaster situation because of their plans.
The more cynical reading of these populist ideas is that once again Ray Nagin is trying to abdicate his responsibility as mayor and hence surrending his role as leader to deflect future blame.
And instead of sticking to his prepared speech as he promised, he veered into floating trial balloons like enacting a 'living-wage' which will mean cost of business will skyrocket as the city council will keep jacking up the minimum so people keep voting for them and so the businesses will flee New Orleans to let the city sink economically. Keeping the free bus service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is completely insane with a state suffering such a budget defecit because of Katrina and Rita, but it does sound good. Subsidies for job workers? Say that again? Businesses trying to restart are still having problems finding workers and over 4000 hotel rooms are still being paid by FEMA for Katrina refugees from Louisiana, what is wrong with this picture? I think they are getting a good enough subsidy.
Going for light rail from the airport to the CBD? What sense is that? How much will it cost in hard numbers? Will it pay for itself in a few years or will it be decades? An 'autonomous' Crescent City Recovery Corp? Who will appoint the members? What kind of oversight? If these answers are murky then expect the looting of tax-payers to continue.
Oh ge;, he is borrowing from Mary Landrieu, who the Sunday before Katrina made landfall, stated the federal government should have shared more of the money it takes in taxes from Louisiana oil&gas with the state. Dear Nagin, after $19billion in 2004 in Corps of Engineer projects this statement of the federals needing to give more money to you will make many suspicious but it will play well with the locals.
Overall I am not optimistic about New Orleans' chances of recovery if this is the calibre of leadership being exhibited.