Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Shall Get Upon the Cross for Nagin

I like to think that I'm mostly right about the views I post on here. Still, the irrepressible guilt I took on during my 13 consecutive years of Catholic school keeps me humble enough to know that I've done SOMETHING wrong, even if it occasionally takes someone or something else to point that out. Allow me to confess that in less than 24 hours, I've been proven wrong on two essential tenets of my life, that: 1) Louisiana gators don't attack us like Florida's gators attack them; and 2) We might be sinking slowly into the ocean, but at least we don't have sinkholes that suddenly swallow entire houses and shit -- like in Florida. Why Florida is involved in both of these is purely coincidental, or still buried in my subconscious.

Mayor Nagin's cavalier responses to this NOAH mess, and to pretty much everything important that has occurred after his re-election, suggests that his religion teachers had methods of crowd control other than guilt induction. Lucky him.

Yet, I feel just awful about this whole NOAH snafu. So this is what I will do: Just as Jesus sacrificed himself to redeem us, I present myself as another black man whom the public can criticize for spreading falsities throughout this community. Gators and sinkholes are as threatening to our recovery as stealing federal aid. Thusly, I come forth as a sacrifice; I humbly offer my wrongs to Lee Zurik and this community, so that Nagin may have political life, and public funds abundantly. Please, take me instead.

Oh, and before you call Cecile Tebo to my house because you think I've had a psychotic break, I am still in touch with reality. I can't guarantee Nagin eternal life, and he's still on his own for the crime, crime cameras, the lying, the credit card charges, endorsing Jefferson, fostering a closer relationship with his brother-in-law or at least keeping abreast of what he does for a living, for his avoidant coping style, and for his passionate relationship with Lee Zurik (I mean when was the last time you've seen chemistry like that on film?).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Interesting Piece of History

While perusing the web just now looking for a place to play racquetball, I came across this interesting tidbit of local history on the NY Times website. (Still looking for racquetball courts if anyone knows of any).

New Orleans Athletic Club Votes 109-33 to Admit Blacks


Published: November 4, 1986

The New Orleans Athletic Club voted last week to admit blacks for the first time in its 110-year history.

Don Williams, the club president, said the vote was 109 to 33 to remove the ''whites only'' wording from the club's constitution.

The vote was Oct. 28.

''Already I've received three new applications for membership, one or two of which I know are from blacks,'' Mr. Williams said Wednesday.

Reciprocal privileges with athletic clubs across the country will be re-established, he said. They were canceled in 1976, after the New Orleans club refused to admit Thomas Perkins, a black member of the Harvard Club who was here on a visit.

Mr. Perkins sued the club, and Federal District Judge Alvin B. Rubin awarded him $1,000 in damages. The club then canceled its agreements with other clubs for fear of more lawsuits, Mr. Williams said.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

St. Bernard Redevelopment Rumored To Be Halted

Sources tell me that the redevelopment of the St. Bernard public housing complex has come to a screeching halt due to the Louisiana Housing Finance Authority's (LHFA) inability to secure investors to purchase the tax credits allocated to finance the project. I'm hoping this is not the case even as I write this because if true, we have been misled in the most egregious manner by our city officials. As I recall it, the riotous city council meeting at which the council voted to unanimously approve demolition, they and Mayor Nagin assured us that demolition could not proceed until all stipulations of the provisos attached to the order allowing demolition were met; and I believe one of the provisos was that the developers had to first prove that financing had been secured.

The Times-Picayune reported that enough funding was in place to "launch" the 1st phase of construction.
"the Bayou District Foundation has secured $62 million through low-income tax credits and $27 million from federal block grant money. That's enough to launch the first phase of 465 apartments next year."
Then again, it's the T-P. These are the same people who fervently endorsed Jindal for governor. However, to their credit, the same article reports that many had doubts about the reality of getting people to invest in tax credits for such an ambitious project -- twice the scope of the Atlanta East Lake project after which the St. Bernard plans are modeled.

Another few key points:
The redevelopers of the St. Bernard, Columbia Residential, are closely tied to the allegations of corruption that directly led to HUD Secretary Alphonso's firing or resignation or whatever the feds called it. This was reported by the OB Rag Blog on December 27, 2007, mere days after the council's vote to demolish the projects:
A report today in the online publication Government Executive details mounting evidence from federal investigations linking HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson to scandals in New Orleans-including the demoliton contract for the St. Bernard public housing complex.
"the feds are going after Scott Keller, described as Jackson’s “right arm,” for his role in steering the St. Bernard demo contract towrds Colombia Residential, a company Jackson once worked for, and which still owes him hundreds of thousands of dollars."

In June 2006, Sec. Jackson put Keller in charge of HUD. “Keller was smack in the middle of the HANO decision to award the $127 million redevelopment to the team that included Columbia Residential to restore [sic] the St. Bernard public housing projects”

“Internal HANO records show that the Columbia Residential team barely won the evaluation, 68 points to 67.”
One more thing. I'm also told that Columbia has already been paid $9 million dollars for demolition (also reported on the OB Rag Blog) compared to the $4 million dollars the developers of the other 3 housing projects were paid for demolition.