Saturday, May 10, 2008

I was actually searching for some more articles on how Hillary is still unwilling to give up the ghost as far as her presidential candidacy is concerned (it also had me wondering how low she could go, from trying to garner the cracker vote to survive to possibly speaking jive [like she hasn't been doing so already] to keep afloat for the nomination. Sheckrastos has other thoughts on that issue ). I ran across this instead:

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority won a victory in civil district court on Thursday that validated one of its key strategies for returning blighted property, a nuisance that has become especially troublesome since Hurricane Katrina, into productive use.

Judge Madeleine Landrieu ruled that the city agency was on solid constitutional footing when it moved last year to seize two vacant lots on Clouet Street from an owner who had racked up a string of health and code violations and transfer them to Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that is building homes for low-income people in the area.

I don't dispute the fact that NORA is bending over backwards to try to do the right thing and get more homes and more development going that will benefit people that are not in the highest income brackets in these parts. The problem I find with this decision is how it could just as easily be used to tilt things in the other direction....because Lord knows we've already got lots of that kind of thing going on without a judge's ruling to back it up.

I'm already wondering how the current poster boy for conflict of interest will exploit this.

E already has some reservations about Sean Cummings' intentions for his land:

That's okay. We'll see very soon what is meant by "substantial" financial interest. I don't know why I need to wait. I'm against the his riverfront development plan regardless of whether or not his family stands to make millions.

I think it's a stupid idea.

There, I said it.

-I feel as though politicians everywhere have this stupid expectation that just because some development deal gets put together and promises to spend a bunch of money and generate a bunch of revenue, ordinary citizens are supposed to just support it and not ask questions.

Wake up.

....Why does the leadership of this city still govern with some 1990s economic development magic wand? It makes no sense to sink so much money into this project. We have plenty of attractions and things to do in this town. There are plenty of concert venues. The tourists have a lot of options.

If you want people to move into the city, if you want people to invest in the city, if you want residents that grow up here to stay here, you're going to have to make the place more livable.

We need hospitals, public transportation, schools, and sanitation service.

Let's start there.

Way, waaaay too many things in this town are still being viewed through that cracked prism of what will attract the tourist dollars. This need for help I cried out for a few months ago still rings true, dammit.

When these kinds of things start invading your home, I promise not to yell, "I told you so."


Update, 5-11: Minor Wisdom finds another perspective on the ruling here.

Now I'm getting farklempt. Talk amongst yourselves...

...I've just given you your topic.


The long, long road home,New Orleans said...

I'm ok with this particular case because there have been YEARS of neglect and who better to utilize this property than habitat for humanity.

However, I do see this ruling as vulnerable to abuse. There are many non profits out there that are hardly charitable organizations. There is also questions about when property rights should be waived and under which circumstance.

E said...

I'm just not willing to fall for this bs anymore. It's an attempt to compartmentalize tourists to corporate-controlled venues. It takes the tourist money flowing to the mom and pop bars and restaurants and b&b's in the marigny and ensures that it instead goes to giant corporate hotels and megastaurants.

If they really wanted to get tourists to spend more money here, if they really wanted to spread out the economic impact of tourism to the community, they would invest in a public transportation infrastructure.

Other urban communities have stopped falling for this publicmoney+publicland=jobs crap.

Anonymous said...

Actually..."attract tourists" in many cases is often a post-rationalization to sell the project, rather than any real factor in the concept.

With "tourism" being one, if not, the largest segment of the local economy and pretty amorphously defined at that, it is an easy, if not reflexive, move to argue your new chicken coop will "boost tourism".

"Tourism" is the big one in this town, and certainly is in many other cities, but you will also hear; "improve education," "increase the tax base," "support healthy lifestyles," "make the grass grow," etc. They are put out to appeal to different groups for support, or so as to not illicit opposition.

And that is not to say their isn't some grain of truth to the sloganeering, and in some cases it is completely true. For example, and expanded moonwalk would be "good for tourism" in a way.

But taking the marketing phrases at face value isn't going to tell you very much. You have to look into the actual plans.

A.F. said...

"I'm just not willing to fall for this bs anymore. It's an attempt to compartmentalize tourists to corporate-controlled venues. It takes the tourist money flowing to the mom and pop bars and restaurants and b&b's in the marigny and ensures that it instead goes to giant corporate hotels and megastaurants."

Driving throughout the city this weekend, I was noticing more than ever that this is the case. And it makes me sick. It doesn't matter to me if the rationale about tourism comes before or after a lucrative deal. I'm going to hate to watch New Orleans go the way of so many cities that are now Disney renditions of their former selves. And I can't help but notice that the vast majority of U.S. tourists either cannot tell the difference or actually prefer facades to authenticity. And that's so sad.