Monday, May 08, 2006

What is the Learning Curve for an Incumbent Mayor?

Stephanie Grace op-ed column from the September 22 Times Picayune:

Rita is the stated reason for abandoning speedy repopulation, and, with the status of the levees uncertain, it’s a good one. But even if yet another hurricane weren’t churning the gulf, the plan likely would have fallen apart. Just as in the past, Nagin didn’t line up the support he needed before opening his mouth, and he didn’t take care of the specifics. It’s all so familiar.

But, as the whole repopulation drama has shown, the administration still needs to get a handle on its traditional weaknesses: follow-through and communication with other agencies
(my emphasis)

Front page story from yesterday's Times Picayune:

The mayor of Baton Rouge -- a likely refuge for tens of thousands of evacuees from New Orleans if a storm hits this season -- was more than a little irked. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin last week unveiled an elaborate hurricane plan without so much as a call to his counterpart upriver. The River Center, Baton Rouge's equivalent of the Superdome, would not be available for sheltering New Orleanians, Mayor Kip Holden announced.

To be fair, the differences between Nagin and Holden may not be as large as it at first appeared :

"Baton Rouge is still a sheltering city," Grunewald said. "All Mayor Holden is saying is that the River Center will not be used. The River Center was never on the list as a shelter." Grunewald said the convention space along the Mississippi River in downtown Baton Rouge ended up being used because a number of shelters at school buildings had to be shut down to allow Baton Rouge students -- and those from New Orleans -- to return to school. In all, Baton Rouge opened 147 shelters after Katrina and Rita

But, if you're even considering voting for Nagin, please read Stephanie Grace's September 22, column, and ask yourself how much the mayor has actually learned in the last eight months.

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