Daily Archives: July 31, 2006

The FUBAR Chronicles

In this entry I’ve combined 3 posts about the so-called planning process back in the summer of 2006. It was more like a clusterfuck as you will see:

FUBAR  Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:42:36

It was a naturally N’Awlins kind of meeting: badly planned and in the wrong space. What scares me is that the organizers of this event are in charge of re-starting the stalled planning process to rebuild New Orleans. But these planners couldn’t organize a two car funeral. There was poor communication before and during the event. Dr. A and I arrived on time at high noon and there was a long line snaking along the sidewalk. The organizers hadn’t planned for either a large crowd or how to process them. There was mass confusion in line which foreshadowed more chaos inside.

The City Park Pavilion is a great space for a wedding or a concert but a rotten place for a multi-group planning session. It has a stone floor that amplifies the sound and sends it ricocheting around the room like a boomerang. In short it was purt near impossible to hear anything. The disorganizers of the event also placed the food and beverage tables smack dab in the middle of the hall. That meant that people congregated in the middle and chatted which increased the noise level. I kept expecting Quiet Riot to turn up and start playing “Come Feel The Noize.”

Then there was the planning group my neighborhood found itself trapped in district 3. The planners disregarded the political boundaries of the city and placed everyone in arbitrary planning zones so we wound up in a group dominated by people from Council District A instead of our own District B. Planning district 3 was dominated by the intercine rivalries and ancient hatreds of the old line Carrollton area neighborhood associations (Not my friend Karen’s new group NW Carrollton: they’re great.) Instead of discussing *any* substance at all the Carrollton people traded insults and fought over their overlapping boundaries. Some people have learned nothing from the storm. They reminded me of the Sapir dominated College Of Clowns aka City Council.  Yes it was *that* bad.

Each district was led by a facilitator who knew very little about the areas they were allegedly facilitating. They also were unable to answer any substantive questions posed by their groups. In short they didn’t know jack shit y’all. Also the level of the discussion was strictly at the third grade level. I expected them to pass out balloons or hand out gold stars. Even if you could hear what was going on the sessions were a waste of time. The room was full of committed intelligent citizens who were patronized and treated like idiots. I didn’t see any idiots in the room. But the disorganizers acted as if we were sheep being herded off to the slaughter. Maybe we were: only time will tell if this exercise was as a friend of mine said: “a complete or a partial waste ot time.” He was wise and left only 2 hours in. I devoted 4 1/2 hours of my life to this exercise in futility; time that I’ll never get back.

I observed something interesting at the start of the FUBAR fest. Lee Zurik the WWL-TV weekend anchor showed up with a camera crew. One of the disorganizers asked him to take it outside. Lee looked steely (his weird plucked eyebrows notwithstanding) and said: “No and if you make me leave it will be the lede of my story on tonight’s news.” The lackey relented. Good on ya Lee. Btw Lee Zurik filed some reports that were very critical of the event and its disorganizers.  I’ll post links to the stories when they’re posted online.

The only redeeming thing about the day was seeing tons of friends; both old and new. My worlds collided several times. It turns out that my fellow blogger and new friend Schroeder and my pal Stephanie are long lost friends. I also had the amusing experience of introducing my good friend and unofficial blog publicist Julie to Oyster and Schroeder. She gave them the minor deity treatment and they loved it. Julie also asked if Ashley Morris and Gentilly Girl were there but they weren’t unless Morwen was hiding out under the buffet tables…

I also saw my neighborhood activist and preservationist friends Bob Ed Shelley Joe Dione Miranda Michelle Tom Patty James Herb and Ann among others; some of whom know I blog and some of whom think I’m sane. Where the hell did they get such a farfetched idea?

My blogging colleagues Ray Maitri Becky Karen and Alan were also present and accounted for. At one point there were 7 bloggers in a row and one of my colleagues turned to me and said “Let’s start a coup.”  We couldn’t do a worse job than the people who run this city and we’re intentionally instead of unintentionally funny. I’m feeling too lazy to link to all the bloggers I have the Carrollton crud right now.

Finally I’ve assumed that everyone knows what FUBAR  means but just in case let me fill you in. It’s an acronym that originated in military circles it means Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. That sums up yesterday’s event quite succinctly.

In the coming days I’ll be spending some time examining the planning and zoning processes and how they may be leading to the greatest land grab since the end of the American Frontier. There’s plenty of dirt to dish so please stay tuned…

FUBAR FOLLOWUP Mon, 31 Jul 2006 20:44:59

The NOLA bloggers have been busy this morning writing about the planning meeting. Karen of NW Carrollton calls the venue “the misery pavilion” and for one day (probably 2) she’s spot on. Schroeder goes lawyer on us with an inspired post called res ipsa loquitur; it’s a phrase used a great deal in tort law and it means “the thing speaks for itself.”

Maitri has posted a round-up at the NO Metroblogging thingee. The scourge of Allstate Insurance Michael Homan’s post is entitled “Red Dots for the UNOP.” Becky Houtman has posted a down right brilliant history of the post-K planning process. Becky’s post is a must read if you want to understand how we find ourselves neck deep in shit and sinking fast.

In the local MSM we have to take the bitter with the sweet. The Picayune published a surreal account of the FUBAR fest: it was noisy but swell according to John Pope. WWL has finally posted Lee Zurik’s great 10PM story which accurately conveys the disorder and discord that went on at City Park yesterday.

Finally I hung out for a while yesterday with Deep Blog who called the so-called planning session “a clusterfuck.” Yeah you right Deep Blog…

UPDATE
: Michael Homan wrote a letter to the Picayune about John Pope’s lame article. Via Editor B.
311770282 FUBAR FEST FOTOS Tue, 01 Aug 2006 14:08:17 Maitri the Magnificent has posted some pictures of the FUBAR fest fiasco.

UPDATE: The redoubtable Schroeder has posted some pictures as well as a typically trenchant post. Sic ’em blondie