Category Archives: Recovery

Storyville 2006/1990 Repeat

Sun, 21 May 2006 05:00:00

“To some of the folks who went on the other side   you went to the red light district.  I forgive you.” The Reverend C Ray Nagin 5/20/2006

The one good thing about this election is that it’s over. The people have spoken and they may be nuts but they have spoken. Let’s start with the good news: there will be 4 new members of the city council and I won’t have the Queen Of Hearts Jay Batty and Renee Gill-Pratfall to kick around any more. That’s the glass is half full part of this post.

Here’s the glass is half empty bit: C Ray was re-elected. Mitch ran a valiant if overly polite campaign but I think he was done in by things beyond his control. A tip of the hat to Jeffrey of the Library Chronicles for his prescient post about identity politics and how it would enable C Ray to win. Jeffrey was right.

Another key to C Ray’s victory was that he got out of the way and allowed his veteran campaign consultant Jim Carvin to run the show during the runoff. Carvin was instrumental in stage managing C Ray’s subtle message of fear and in helping Nagin to assemble his weirdo coalition. One component was conservative whites who hate the Landrieus and don’t care for black folks either but think of C Ray as “one of the good ones.” Another component was black people who were worried that THE MAN was about to take away their hold on power in New Orleans. As proven by Presidents Beavis in 2004 and Tricky Dick in 1972 fear of change and of the other is a very powerful electoral tool.

C Ray’s victory speech was typically bizarre. He started by quotin’ scriptures and later startled his audience by thanking President Bush for his help. Yes folks it was Oyster-Adrastos theory time. I heard a few people in the crowd gasp but C Ray boogied on in his ADD way.

There was one part of C Ray’s speech that was an in yo’ face shot at Landrieu supporters. That’s right the quote that began this post: …you went to the red light district.  I forgive you. Gee Ray thanks a lot but you’re sounding a bit too much like dangerblond for comfort. Some of us went to Storyville willingly and are proud to be whores…

Finally C Ray’s victory tonight is eerily reminiscent of Sidney Barthelemy’s 1990 re-election campaign win. (Jim Carvin also worked for Sidney. So much for C Ray being purer than Caesar’s wife.) In 1986 Sidney ran against my good buddy Dollar Bill Jefferson. Sidney was elected by a coalition of middle class blacks and white voters just like C Ray in 2002. As Mayor Sidney was if anything even more incompetent than C Ray. Scary no? In 1990 lawyer and civic activist Donald Mintz ran against Sidney. Donald was an outstanding candidate: smart   articulate and a staunch liberal. He was also probably too much of a gentleman for his own good. Sound familiar? Sidney was able to whip up fears in the black community that THE MAN was coming and was re-elected by the same people who opposed him 4 years earlier. History alas has repeated itself. I was hoping that the crisis would break the pattern but it did not. Debrisville has a long history of tolerating incompetence which the voters just extended for another 4 years.

EPILOGUE: Sidney Barthelemy’s second term was even worse than his first: crime exploded and the city continued its decline. The main difference between C Ray and Sidney is that C Ray isn’t  perceived to be corrupt.  Otherwise the parallels are eerie. <cueing the theme from The Twilight Zone>

OUT & ABOUT ON ELECTION DAY

Sat, 20 May 2006 20:56:06

I’m home after checking out the election day street scene. I plugged  my iPod into the car and played Cowboy Mouth as I drove by the sign wavers.  A few random observations:

* I drove around Uptown Carrollton and Central City and saw more Landrieu activity than Nagin. Yeah there were plenty of Nagin sign wavers but Mitch’s people were going door to door checking to see if people had voted. And there were plenty of folks waving Landrieu signs as well.

* I got the impression that Dollar Bill’s District B peeps were working for *both* Mitch and C Ray. Dollar Bill has nominally endorsed Nagin but I saw some people with Gill-Pratfall t-shirts waving Landrieu signs and others waving Nagin signs. It’s just like Dollar Bill to play both ends against the middle.

* While I was cruising for a bruising I kept encountering C Ray’s campaign RV. First he was Uptown at St. Paul’s on Napoleon Avenue near Adrastos World HQ. Later   I saw the RV parked outside Tom Watson’s Church of the Rebuker/Unrebuker at the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles. That’s when I saw C Ray. I resisted the urge to give him the one finger salute but I made like Roger Ebert and gave him a thumbs down. It wiped the smirk right off his face for a nano-second. Bite me baldy…

* Speaking of tall men in large vehicles I saw Arnie (Mr. Rogers) Fielkow rolling up St. Charles in his fire truck. He waved at me. I waved back. There was neither a Dalmatian nor a Chalmatian in sight.

I spent several hours hanging out with the Z-Man and his charming family. We gossiped talked politics and watched Eli eat way too much ice cream. Justin is very optimistic about Mitch’s chances to win by 4 to 6 points. I hope he’s right but his notion is based on NOT underestimating the intelligence of the the voters. I’m a cynic and *always* underestimate the voter’s savvy. The smartest guy doesn’t always win; just ask Al Gore or John Kerry.

* The Z-Man has cast his lot with Stacy Head in District B. He took Stacy to Miss Mae’s bar at the corner of Magazine and Napoleon this week. Miss Mae is a *legendary* local barkeeper. She and Stacy hit it off: talk about an odd couple. Apparently several of the barflies made the some of off-color jokes about Stacy’s last name that I’ve managed to avoid. Mercifully this happened *after* Stacy left.

* The Z-Man also loaned Stacy his sound truck complete with bullhorn. I just missed the truck’s departure and I’m sorry that I did because Quentin Brown was on the truck with Stacy. That must have been interesting. I hope that Quentin didn’t pinch Stacy’s butt on the ride but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. A few weeks back he told me that he thought Stacy was “hot.” Watch out Stacy. I think that Ashley the headless Thompson gunner agrees: he’s convinced that Stacy is a doppleganger of SNL’s Tina Fey. I’m not sure I agree but they *are* both thin and wear smart girl glasses.

FORUM FOLLIES: MITCH & C RAY LIVE AT LOYOLA

Fri, 12 May 2006 17:47:56

As in live last evening. I only went to one Mayoral forum in the first round and I wanted to equal that number. Besides my friend and neighbor Linda is da Prez of the LWVNO so Dr. A and I wanted to show the flag and support her. Linda is always worried that nobody will turn out: last night she didn’t need to worry.

But finding Nunemaker Hall on the Loyola campus wasn’t that easy. Neither Dr. A nor I know our way around that campus so we did some bumbling around: we Greenies get lost easily at the rival institution. There weren’t any signs so we were at the mercy of Loyola students to find our way. One thing even we couldn’t miss was the mondo charter bus parked on St. Charles Avenue. ACORN had rented the bus in H-town to bring evacuees to vote and attend the forum. It was tour bus large y’all so I halfway expected to smell pot smoke and see Willie Nelson stumble down the stairs. Willie was nowhere to be seen but there were dozens of red shirted evacuees both outside and inside the hall.

Nunemaker Hall turned out to be on the 3rd floor of Monroe Hall. They have lots of halls at Loyola: I checked to see if there was a Monte or Fawn Hall but there was not. Dr. A immediately began calling it Funroe Hall which is what she calls Munroe Looziana. Actually the Debrisville version was a funner roe to hoe…<groan>

The Hall is an amphitheater with a stage in the pit and ascending stairs. When we arrived WVUE anchor/debate moderator John Snell was bustling about the stage checking camera angles. He’s done a lot of these things over the years but he looked nervous. Like Mitch and C Ray John Snell is follically challenged (I have no idea if that’s a word but it should be) so the forum could have been called: Bald Guys On Parade. I looked around to see if Rob Couhig was present but he was off being a jerk elsewhere.

As usual we ran into several people we know. Linda’s hubby Jim sat across from us: he’s her chauffeur and biggest fan. James Einstein Hair and his charming wife Olga sat with us. Before our forum I’d told Olga that I was undecided in the At-Large race so she asked me: “I hope you’re not undecided in this race?” I assured her that I was a Mitch man. She was relieved.

Dr. A was surprised that her colleague Dr. G (not to be confused with Kenny G) was there. He’s a hematopathologist who lives on the Northshore. In short he’s a blood doc who lives in suburbia. It turned out that his daughter was there as part of a class project. Now that’s paternal devotion attending a debate in a city where you can’t vote because of your kid. It warms the cockles of my icy blue heart. Now if I could only figure out what the hell cockles are I’d be happy. That has mystified me most of my life…

Since this was on the tube it started on time. John Snell was very funny when he warmed up the crowd. He explained that many surreal events were ahead of us: we wouldn’t be able to hear the televised intro; that he would sign-off on TV after one hour but that we’d continue on radio and maybe Fox News for another half-hour. When I heard the bit about the FNC I slumped in my seat; hoping to not be seen on Bush-O-Vision or as I also like to call it Smell-O-Vision. Roger Ailes has got nothing on John Waters when it comes to being a stinker.

When Mitch and C Ray entered the hall they took different approaches to warming up. Mitch smiled and waved at the crowd whereas C Ray never shut the frick up. His mood swung wildly over the course of the evening: sometimes he looked depressed but other times he acted as if he had ADD. C Ray should be glad that there usually aren’t too many reaction shots on these debates: he smirked rolled his eyes pouted and rubbed his shiny head when Mitch was speaking. All in all he came off as a bratty and smug teenager.

The stools that were provided for the candidates were a bit high for Mitch who’s not NBA material to say the least so he sat on the edge of it the whole evening. Sitting back would have emphasized the fact that C Ray is taller. That was excellent stagecraft by the Landrieu camp. In contrast C Ray slouched and stretched his legs *except* when the camera was on him. C Ray loves the camera as much as a junkie loves to fix. It’s one of the reasons that the recovery has proceeded at a snail’s pace: C Ray would rather chat with Brian Williams or Anderson Cooper than get involved with the nitty gritty unglamorous work of recovery. It’s part of his CEO complex but if this city government is run like a bidness it’s one that’s about to fail.

Bayou St. John David at Moldy City has an excellent substantive analysis of the debate from the TV viewers perspective. I’ll stick with some impressionistic comments and the odd  joke.  I did however take notes so here we go:

The Candidates & The English Language: C Ray says you know more than any adult should you know? He started off most answers with “you know” and that drives me batshit. He also used utilize several times. Mitch speaks standard English without all of C Ray’s faux hipster shtick. It was a relief when he spoke. I gotta say one thing for C Ray: he didn’t say “man” until 70 minutes into the debate. Way to go man.

Body Language:
Mitch has much better posture for one thing. My late mother would have approved but I think that most mamas like Mitch. I understand that he’s spending Mother’s Day handing out flowers to any mama in sight.

Anyway Mitch’s stance was always more alert and respectful than C Ray’s. He actually listened to Nagin but C Ray only listens to himself. And he does go on y’all.

C Ray: From Idea Man to Excuse Makin’ Man-
C Ray’s two main themes of the evening were: It’s not my fault and trust me I’m not a thief. He implied several times that Mitch would loot the city’s coffers on behalf of his campaign contributors. Both Mitch and John Snell pointed out that many of them gave to C Ray pre-K. C Ray shrugged in his teenager-like way. Mitch’s counterpunch  on this comment was one of his best moments of the night.

The bottom line is that C Ray spent the entire evening telling us why things CANNOT BE DONE instead of telling us how to overcome obstacles. For a man who claims NOT to be an old school NOLA pol he sounds a lot like Council Clown Gill-Pratfall who is an unreconstructed machine pol.

Money Makes The World Go Round:
Mitch quite correctly pointed out that C Ray has lowballed the city’s financial difficulties. He’s also been unwilling to fully disclose where all the relief money had gone and what it has been spent on.

Mitch’s Best Moment:
It came when he said that we can correlate the number of jail cells we’ll need in the future with the 3rd grade reading level. I know it’s one of his campaign’s greatest hits but there’s a reason for that: it works.

C Ray’s Lamest Statement: He claimed that the high post-K rents will come down when things settle down. That’s highly unlikely unless there’s either more publicly subsidized housing or the slumlords re-let apartments without fixing them. Given C Ray’s sympathies with fat cat condo lovin’ developers housing prices are likely to stay where they are.

Neighbors: A quick TV ad sidebar. Mitch’s “we’re neighbors and we’re sick of C Ray’s empty promises” ads are classics. The latest one featuring three Vietnamese-Americans probably led to C Ray’s too-ing and fro-ing on the NO East landfill issue.

Anyway Mitch blasted C Ray for the agonizingly slow progress of the neighborhood planning process. C Ray’s reply: “It just needs tweaking.” Tweaking? I’d like to tweak him. The city hasn’t helped the neighborhoods with their planning: they’ve had to do it all on their own.

C Ray Plays To The Evacuees: It was depressing to watch the interaction between C Ray and the evacuees who were bussed in by ACORN. These are in fact the people who were most harmed by C Ray’s incompetence during and after the crisis. I’m sure that many of them were at the Convention Center and/or Domed in September of 2005. His inaction and inconsistency on housing issues is one of the reasons that they’re still in Houston. But most of them laughed at everything he said (C Ray is not funny he just thinks he is) and I think that they probably voted for him. As C Ray’s strange bedfellow Rob Couhig would say “inconceivable” but true…

They All Axed For Dr. A: After closing statements it was audience question time. They passed note cards around for written inquiries. Mine was about C Ray’s credibility and wasn’t asked. BUT Dr. A’s question was the first one asked: it was about Kelo v. New London wherein the US Supremes upheld a city government’s use of eminent domain on behalf of private developers. This bill has united left and right in outrage and Dr. A asked what they thought of it. Both Mitch and C Ray dislike the decision. It was one of the few things said by C Ray that satisfied Dr. A. If you think I don’t like C Ray: she’s hostile enough at times to need a rabies shot. And I don’t blame her.

The Moderator & The Format: Since I’ve been involved in staging 4 candidates forums this is probably of more interest to me than y’all. Tough cookies y’all it’s my blog. Dang now I sound like Frank (Ferret Face) Burns on M*A*S*H. I gotta stop it: I’ve always been more of a Hawkeye kinda guy. End of humongous digression.

Anyway the format was a fairly loose one BUT it worked because there was one strong moderator. John Snell did an excellent job keeping the candidates from wandering as far off-topic than they would have in lesser hands. WWL would be advised to drop its multiple talking heads format and let Dennis Woltering do that voodoo that he can do so well. Hmm I wonder if David Byrne is available…

Finally it’s hard for me to say who “won” the debate. I didn’t see it on the box the way most folks did and I’m so anti-Nagin and so pro-Mitch at this point that I’m as biased as Britt Hume is about VP Duce. As we left Nunemaker Hall Dr. A and I discussed the fact that the smartest candidate doesn’t always win the election. I hope that won’t happen this time. Debrisville desperately needs change but we have a tradition of resisting it until it’s too late. That’s yet another thing that needs to change. That’s better: now I sound like David Bowie: “Turn and face the strain ch-ch-changes.”

ORLEANS PARISH PRIMARY POST-MORTEM

Mon, 24 Apr 2006 05:00:00

I seem to have recovered from Saturday. I had an emotional stake in several of the District B Council candidates who wound up getting steamrolled by Stacy Head’s late surge. I still cannot believe that Quentin Brown got 654 votes. Quentin seems charming from a distance but to meet him is to understand this: in a campaign full of wackjobs he was the bull goose loony. Quentin is the nut’s nut and should have gotten *fewer* votes than Manny Chevrolet Bruno’s 100.

I clearly overestimated the voters desire for change post-K. There are two ways to react to a crisis like the one we face: to seek drastic change or to take comfort in the familiar. A goodly number of voters yesterday did the latter; hence the good showing by incumbents. The folly in this approach is obvious: New Orleans has been in decline for years and our feckless and wasteful government has sped that decline. Returning to office the very people who helped get us in this mess makes no sense whatsoever but this *is* Topsy Turvy Town after all.

C Ray *seemed* like a breath of fresh air 4 years ago but his program for reform was limited in scope. Pre-K I had already come to the conclusion that C Ray had what a Sixties hipster would have called an alligator mouth and a hummingbird ass. Translation: he was all talk and very little action. He did reform some of the city’s contracting processes but his major anti-corruption move was the taxi cab bureau fiasco; the blame for which he shunted to Crazy Kim and publicity crazed NOPD 8th District Commander Captain Louis Dabdoub.

I have received emails from friends around the world asking me how the hell C Ray could lead in the primary. My somewhat disingenuous reply: it beats the hell out of me. Like Oyster I spent election day driving around the city casing polling places and talking to people. While my Uptown peregrinations made it clear to me that the Jefferson machine was out in force and that Gill-Pratfall and Stacy Head would make the run-off in District B I saw no signs of concerted pro-Nagin activity. Obviously many of the black folks who screamed at C Ray about land grabs Joe Canizaro and his incompetence ended up voting for him. The purveyors of the NOLA conventional wisdom were correct and those of us who thought that change was in the air were wrong. It all boiled down to race: some people voted for C Ray because in his own phrase he looked like them.

Where do we go from here? I’m less pessimistic than Jeffrey over at the Library Chronicles who thinks Mitch Landrieu may be toast and less optimistic than the presumably pseudonymous Al Scramuzza at the Third Battle Of New Orleans who thinks Mitch will win in a landslide. I think that *some* of C Ray’s business supporters might go oozing back now that he’s admitted that conservative magnates Joe Canizaro ad Boysie Bollinger are still with them. BUT C Ray is unlikely to recoup his pre-K support among the Uptown and Lakeview gentry. He’s insulted them once too often and those folks expect the help to be polite to them.

Mitch Landrieu’s challenge is to assemble a coalition by walking carefully through the racially polarized landscape of Debrisville. I think he’s equal to the task: subtlety is called for and Mitch is a subtle man which is a word that has never been applied to C Ray. I also expect C Ray to make his usual gaffes and spend part of the next month removing his foot from his mouth. Finally since the CW about racial voting patterns held true I’m hoping that the CW that an incumbent who is in a run-off is in deep trouble will hold up too. For what it’s worth: I think the final result will be Landrieu 51.5 Nagin 48.5. How’s that for precision in imprecise times?

For more in depth election post-mortems check out Oyster Jeffrey and the mime’s mime Ashley Morris.  Jeffrey has a lot of fun with C Ray’s weird “exploding economic pie” image from his victory speech. I wonder if it tastes anything like Paul McCartney’s flaming pie? Here’s hoping that the exploding pie blows up in C Ray’s face: SPLAT.

 BROWNIE TO HELP DA PARISH?

Sun, 09 Apr 2006 05:00:00

Just when I think that New Orleans is the craziest place on the planet someone else chimes in. In this instance it’s our neighbors in Da Parish. The local rag reported this morning that the St. Bernard Parish Council is considering hiring former FEMA fashion god Michael Brown as a consultant. Parish President Junior (Juneya) Rodriguez said that:

“We’ve been having trouble with FEMA ” Rodriguez said adding “I think he certainly would be an asset.”

Although FEMA and Brown came under withering attack for the agency’s post-hurricane performance Rodriguez thinks recent information that Brown had indeed warned the Bush administration of Katrina’s potential destruction vindicates Brown.

“They were crucifying him and then the tapes came out showing that they knew all along ” Rodriguez said.

Plus he added Brown “is still on good terms with President Bush.”

Yo Juneya just because Brownie wasn’t lying doesn’t make him competent. Along with Rummy Brownie is the poster boy for Bush administration ineptitude. He gets along with President Beavis? How touching. That just means that his head is still up the royal ass. Sucking up to Beavis has gotten Louisiana nowhere. W is a bully and bullies only understand one thing: a 2 X 4 upside the head. Besides W’s poll ratings are in the toilet and Congressional Repubs are like rats scurrying for cover right now. Hey Juneya Congress holds the purse strings and Brownie is about as popular on Capitol Hill as the Army Corps Of Engineers is in Debrisville.

The scary thing is that Juneya isn’t the only official in Da Parish who thinks hiring Brownie is a good idea. Juneya passed the crack pipe to Councilmen Joey DiFatta Craig Taffaro and Tony “Ricky” Melerine. Now Joey DiFatta may have one of my favorite names in local politics but if he doesn’t reconsider this position I’ll have to start calling him Joey DiFattahead. This idea is so goofy that it sounds like something C Ray would come up with. And who the hell wants to be compared to C Ray right now?

I think Juneya and his allies need a 12-step program that treats people who say incredibly stupid things in public. If they find one they should invite C Ray and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to join them…

Confessions Of A Neighborhood Leader Part Two

Fri, 31 Mar 2006 18:42:42

In the springtime a young man’s fancy turns to…meetings? Nope. But if I wanted to I could attend one every night. Trust me I don’t want to: twice a week is the max for me. Last night’s meeting was however a biggie; it was a follow-up meeting about the ugly  condo project in my neighborhood that I posted about a few weeks back: Confessions Of A Neighborhood Leader and Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall.

The developers have actually scaled back the project somewhat. They’ve abandoned (for now) their attempt to get a height variance: the limit for residences is 40 feet and they were originally asking  for 52 which is the height of the church. Churches are of course customarily taller than houses; just as basketball players are taller than jockeys…

The architect dialed his hostility back this time and looked and acted more like Wallace Shawn than Don Rickles. His face didn’t look like a clenched fist at least and he didn’t insult me this time either. The rough sketches he showed us were an improvement but still not worthy of supporting. I really didn’t expect them to make *any* concessions so I’m pleased BUT they still want to build 16 units which is way too many.  I told the developer that if he really wanted neighborhood support that he’d have to build as few units as possible while still making a profit.  He claimed to be receptive. We shall see…

There was a bit of shouting during the meeting by some of the older residents of the hood. I understand why: they’re worried about paying higher property taxes while living on a fixed income. Also one of them loves the sound of his own voice so he can be counted on to bloviate whenever and wherever possible. New Orleanians are a talkative lot and he’s chatty even for a local. There was an elderly black creole gent present who once told me about his solution to the drug dealers who used to pop up on our street corners like mushrooms: “Grab them all up put them on a tiny island and let them kill each other off.” An unsubtle solution but it has the virtue of being direct…

A fun moment for me at least was when the usually calm Dr. A rhetorically bipped the developer upside the head over one of his more dubious claims about his plans pre-K. He had a lot of support in the area for 4-6 condos in a renovated church and that’s what he told her he planned to do when they spoke. His reply: “Katrina changed everything.” Hmm does that sound familiar y’all?

After the meeting I decided to play good cop so I chatted up the developers and architects. I’m not sure how much farther they’ll move in our direction but I wanted them to know that I knew that they’d taken some baby steps towards us. Besides I have to play good cop because the President of the other neighborhood association is a specialist at playing bad cop; not a bad thing in this instance actually.  As usual I’m annoyed with him for NOT telling me that the meeting was open to the public: I was told it was just for the boards and directly impacted residents. That’s why I didn’t invite my posse. The great communicator he is not….Oh well you can’t pick your allies and we *do* agree on this one.

Finally my friend Harvard Boy who is the Veep of our neighborhood association came to the meeting. He’s a bit more optimistic about the developers willingness to compromise than I am which makes him the *really* good cop. He’s no fool though just someone who has wants to see something done with the decaying crumbling church before it collapses.

Harvard Boy informed me that his lovely clever and charming fiancee the Scad Grad has been giving him a hard time for reading my blog every day. I am mock devastated y’all. I saw her outside their house after the meeting and stuck the needle in. She said that she was a blogophobe. In short she’s telling me:  it’s not you it’s me. Hmm where have I heard that one before?

That’s okay R I guess I won’t give y’all a leather bound edition of the Best Of Adrastos as a wedding present then. Not that one exists mind you but the spirit of April Fool’s Day is in the air…

Confessions Of A Neighborhood Leader Part Two

Fri, 31 Mar 2006 18:42:42

In the springtime a young man’s fancy turns to…meetings? Nope. But if I wanted to I could attend one every night. Trust me I don’t want to: twice a week is the max for me. Last night’s meeting was however a biggie; it was a follow-up meeting about the ugly  condo project in my neighborhood that I posted about a few weeks back: Confessions Of A Neighborhood Leader and Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall.

The developers have actually scaled back the project somewhat. They’ve abandoned (for now) their attempt to get a height variance: the limit for residences is 40 feet and they were originally asking  for 52 which is the height of the church. Churches are of course customarily taller than houses; just as basketball players are taller than jockeys…

The architect dialed his hostility back this time and looked and acted more like Wallace Shawn than Don Rickles. His face didn’t look like a clenched fist at least and he didn’t insult me this time either. The rough sketches he showed us were an improvement but still not worthy of supporting. I really didn’t expect them to make *any* concessions so I’m pleased BUT they still want to build 16 units which is way too many.  I told the developer that if he really wanted neighborhood support that he’d have to build as few units as possible while still making a profit.  He claimed to be receptive. We shall see…

There was a bit of shouting during the meeting by some of the older residents of the hood. I understand why: they’re worried about paying higher property taxes while living on a fixed income. Also one of them loves the sound of his own voice so he can be counted on to bloviate whenever and wherever possible. New Orleanians are a talkative lot and he’s chatty even for a local. There was an elderly black creole gent present who once told me about his solution to the drug dealers who used to pop up on our street corners like mushrooms: “Grab them all up put them on a tiny island and let them kill each other off.” An unsubtle solution but it has the virtue of being direct…

A fun moment for me at least was when the usually calm Dr. A rhetorically bipped the developer upside the head over one of his more dubious claims about his plans pre-K. He had a lot of support in the area for 4-6 condos in a renovated church and that’s what he told her he planned to do when they spoke. His reply: “Katrina changed everything.” Hmm does that sound familiar y’all?

After the meeting I decided to play good cop so I chatted up the developers and architects. I’m not sure how much farther they’ll move in our direction but I wanted them to know that I knew that they’d taken some baby steps towards us. Besides I have to play good cop because the President of the other neighborhood association is a specialist at playing bad cop; not a bad thing in this instance actually.  As usual I’m annoyed with him for NOT telling me that the meeting was open to the public: I was told it was just for the boards and directly impacted residents. That’s why I didn’t invite my posse. The great communicator he is not….Oh well you can’t pick your allies and we *do* agree on this one.

Finally my friend Harvard Boy who is the Veep of our neighborhood association came to the meeting. He’s a bit more optimistic about the developers willingness to compromise than I am which makes him the *really* good cop. He’s no fool though just someone who has wants to see something done with the decaying crumbling church before it collapses.

Harvard Boy informed me that his lovely clever and charming fiancee the Scad Grad has been giving him a hard time for reading my blog every day. I am mock devastated y’all. I saw her outside their house after the meeting and stuck the needle in. She said that she was a blogophobe. In short she’s telling me:  it’s not you it’s me. Hmm where have I heard that one before?

That’s okay R I guess I won’t give y’all a leather bound edition of the Best Of Adrastos as a wedding present then. Not that one exists mind you but the spirit of April Fool’s Day is in the air…

C Ray’s Car Contract Crashes/Dollar Bill Bribery Probe Update

Thu, 23 Mar 2006 06:00:00

Item-1 C Ray’s Car Contract Crashes: CH2M Hill the company that the Nagin administration planned to pay $23 million to remove dead cars from Debrisville has withdrawn its bid. The company which was not even close to being the lowest bidder   claimed that it was withdrawing because it wanted to serve the best interests of the city. Yeah right. It has nothing to do with the whole thing failing the smell test…

C Ray of course will continue to claim to be a reformer out to protect the city from the machinations of the Landrieus and other evil politicians. As local blogger Schroeder said last night on another subject in his blog People Get Ready: “Ray Ray’s hittin’ the crack pipe again.”

Item-2 Dollar Bill Bribery Probe Update: At the risk of sounding like a broken record 35 days after the WaPo’s front page Dollar Bill Jefferson story the local rag has finally noticed that our Congressman is in big trouble. Prosecutors have issued subpeonas to white shoe NOLA law firm Jones Walker requiring them to produce documents that probably have something to do with Jamila Jefferson who worked for the firm in 2004. That’s a key year in the Dollar Bill bribery inquiry. 2004 is when ex-Jefferson aide Brett Pfeffer has alleged that a thus far nameless Congressman asked him to solicit a bribe from a  telecommunications firm hoping to land a contract in Nigeria. Pfeffer who is Dollar Bill’s worst nightmare also told the feds: “…that the congressman wanted legal work for the African deal to be given to a family member and other work associated with the telecommunications deal be given to another family member for a monthly retainer of between $2 500 and $5 000.”

Jeez who could that be? Jamila Jefferson? Or maybe it’s SATAN he said in his best Church Lady impression. Btw Jamila Jefferson recently withdrew from the race to take Crazy Kim’s place as Clerk Of Criminal Court. The Jefferson machine seems to be on the run at long last…

Disclaimer: It is unclear as of this writing whether or not Jamila Jefferson is suspected of wrong-doing by the Feds.

The next shoe in the Dollar Bill bribery probe may well drop on May 26th which is the date of Brett Pfeffer’s sentencing. Pfeffer copped a plea in exchange for co-operating with the Feds. The Gumbo is getting thicker and thicker and I love to stir the pot…

STUPIDITY IS IN THE AIR

Mon, 20 Mar 2006 16:31:59

Item-1  Why Get Paid For Abandoned Cars When You Can Pay $23 Million To Have Them Towed? That may set a record for longest item heading in the lifetime of this blog. It’s sort of my answer to Nick Lowe’s (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding. Anyway a truly bizarre example of NOLA City Hallthink popped up in yesterday’s Picayune. It seems that a car crushing company is willing to pay Debrisville $100 per car to remove some 50 000 junked flooded and otherwise abandoned vehicles littering our streets. That would add up to $5 million for the nearly empty city coffers. Instead C Ray and his krewe of clones plan to pay $23 million to have someone tow the cars away. While there are some legal issues to be dealt with it’s nearly 7 months post-K and if folks haven’t taken care of their dead cars by now they never will. Besides according to Tulane Law Professor 2002 Mayoral Candidate and all-around good guy Vernon Palmer: “…the law is on the city’s side…Palmer cites city ordinance 66-101 a measure enacted during the Moon Landrieu administration to cope with a glut of abandoned cars that had accumulated over several years.

“They were talking about 2 000 or 3 000 cars and that was considered a crisis ” he noted dryly.

The ordinance is still on the books and it states that “junked abandoned and wrecked vehicles ” can be crushed and dismantled and sold for scrap 15 days after a certified letter is sent to its last known owner Palmer said. History shows the law which essentially turns the junkers into potential cash and leaves the solution to market forces worked.

“It’s not a very complicated way to deal with this ” Palmer said. “Once operators knew they could get the scrap value of the cars that quickly got the job done and they disappeared pretty fast. It seems to me that if you had a contractor operating within the guidelines of the ordinance it could be done.”

So let’s see we either pay out $23 million or someone pays us to remove the dead cars? Seems like a no brainer to everyone but the Nagin administration which specializes in making things worse. It’s also just plain STUPID.

Item-2  Second-Line Shooting In Central City: For the second time post-K some vicious cretin took advantage of a public gathering to shoot and kill someone he had a grudge against. An innocent bystander was also shot and the cops shot the perp in the thigh. Too bad they didn’t aim a bit to the left and give this vicious moron a pain in the johnson…

Item-3  B-Stupid Be Busted:  Sociopathic blood-thirsty idiot Ivory (B-Stupid) Harris was arrested yesterday for killing someone 7 blocks from Adrastos World HQ. He joins his accomplice and fellow gangbanger Jerome (Man Man) Hampton in the slammer.  B-Stupid is also the suspect in a string of evacuee murders in Houston. May he rot in Angola for a very long time…

Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall?

Sat, 18 Mar 2006 16:29:32

It has been a busy week: I finally have time to  describe the hearing about the ugly and humongous condo in front of the City Planning Commission last Tuesday. The CPC meets in the Council of Clowns Chambers. It smelled of must greasepaint and hot air. There were big shoes and little motorcycles strewn about as if the clowns had abandoned them hastily…

There was a sizable crowd assembled; most of them were there to oppose the condo proposal. Two of Council Clown Gill-Pratfall’s challengers my candidate Shane Landry and Michael Duplantier were there to denounce the developer and his untalented and obnoxious architect’s plans. The CPC has adopted some *very* restrictive rules on testimony: the pro-development side was given 15 minutes plus a rebuttal. The anti-big ass ugly condo forces were also given 15 minutes but there were 13 of us to speak against the project. So much for free speech in front of a public body. I was not amused and neither was Michael Duplantier who raised his displeasure with the CPC. Btw Michael has piercing blue eyes and is bald enough to run for Mayor instead of City Council. Now that I think of it Shane also has piercing blue eyes but way too much hair to be a Mayoral candidate.

The developer performed fairly well but his architect is overbearing and obnoxious and played true to form. This guy completely undid any postive impact that the developer had. I really should send him dead flowers to thank him for screwing up so badly.

The opponents made some darn good speeches; especially the guy whose house is slated to be surrounded by the hideous condos. At the meeting in the hood he yelled and screamed but at City Hall he contained himself and sounded passionate instead of furious. Trust me he’s entitled to his fury. My boy Shane Landry made several good populist points about what I call the “yuppie ghetto.” He expressed concern about building a place for yuppies to live when NOLA needs affordable housing: “Rich people can live anywhere ” he said.

Well done Shane. He has superb people skills if he can just find the time to meet enough people Shane has a chance to unseat Gill-Pratfall. He made a good impression on the people at the CPC as did Michael Duplantier who is now my second choice to replace the idiotic incumbent.

I had very little time to speak so I was concise. Yeah really. I spoke for less than one minute. I know it’s a fricking miracle. On rebuttal the developer’s architect maligned and belittled opponents of the project in a way guaranteed to backfire. It did: the CPC deferred approval of the plan and told the developer to work with the neighborhood to make it more acceptable. We shall see…

In short we won round one but these zoning battles are usually long and drawn out. Additionally the position of Council Clown Gill-Pratfall remains murky. She’s probably awaiting instructions from her master Dollar Bill Jefferson before getting off the fence. Anyway the project’s future is in doubt and that’s fine with me. I hope that it’s dead but these things have a way of rising from the grave. I’m hoping that the municipal election will drive a stake through the project’s heart. Die ugly humongous condo project die. <the vampire images are flying thick and fast today>