Monday, July 17, 2006

Gambit Had a Great Editorial

Sixteen months ago:
Then, a few months ago, things started changing. Our mayor started acting just like all the others before him -- in all the wrong ways. It wouldn't have been so bad if he had started making intelligent political decisions. Instead, he's just as dumb (politically) as he ever was, but now he's doling out favors like an old-time ward heeler.

It started, oddly enough, with garbage cans. I should have suspected something was amiss right then and there because the official excuse for buying pricey garbage cans from a company with connections to the mayor's right-hand guy was that these garbage cans would be bomb proof. Bomb proof!?? Who in the hell wants to blow up a garbage can in a city as hot and humid -- or as thoroughly littered already -- as New Orleans? But that was just the beginning.

The mayor followed that by awarding several other contracts to firms that were not the low bidders -- and that also happened to be owned by folks with political connections

Exactly a year later, Jeff Crouere made similar observations:
During his tenure as Mayor, citizens have seen costly deals that rewarded close associates of his Chief of Staff. For example, the city chose a company with close connections to former Chief of Staff Charles Rice to operate an advertising campaign for all the city’s trash cans. It became clear the lowest bidder with the best deal for New Orleans did not win the contract.

Schroeder made a similar comment in November:
Nagin is either a dunderhead or equally guilty of patronage. Omni Pinnacle wasn't the cheapest bid. We deserve an explanation, and the contract out to be rebid by an independent board
I've said before that I thought the Picayune was prepared to run an editorial warning the mayor about appearances when Katrina struck. Now I can say that I sure hope that it was; at least Gambit did. I can understand that investigative reporting can be dangerous during an election, I can even understand that the consensus opinion is now something along the lines of: "The election is over and the people have spoken. The city is too far behind in its recovery efforts; it's time to stop the petty squabbling and unite behind the mayor and move the city forward."

I can understand that opinion (though I don't think it has anything to do with reporting), but I'd translate it as: "With hundreds of millions of dollars and the city's future at stake, it's not the time to ask the mayor the same questions that we'd ask any other mayor or bother him with minor things like accountability." Like I said, I can understand the consensus opinion, I just don't agree with it.

Quick questions: Do you believe a word the mayor says about his campaign finances,that is if you don't work for the T/P? Do you expect his accounting of city finances to be any more accurate? Remember, no boom lasts forever, and that loan package wasn't so generous after all.

BTW: There was a great quote in Crouere's commentary:

I guess running a regulated monopoly does not take great business savvy.

Sounds vaguely familiar ( check the comments).

Ugh ... what a horrendous grammatical typo I perpetrated ("out" instead of "ought"). I really said that back in November? Damn. How lucid. I've been slacking since then by comparison. You really have a long memory to pull references from so long ago.

If people read local blogs instead of the Times-Picayune, Landrieu would have had rights to the mayor's office, and we'd all be better off.

I've been meaning to comment on your last two posts, but I keep turning over various points in my head trying to come up with the best response. In any event, just keep up the great work David. Your posts contain some of the most original perspectives on New Orleans. I never miss a single one. Thanks for your contribution.
Schroeder, check out my latest post on my blog. I also cross posted at The Democratic Daily. Maybe this will get you some hits.
Ooopppsss, I meant Bayoustjohndavid. Schroeder got his messgae on his blog.
Thank you for the compliment, but no my memory's not that long. i stumbled across the Gambit piece when i was looking for something else, then I searched Charles Rice on other blogs. Unfortunately I missed it when you posted in Nov., Schroeder. Too bad, I always knew that Nagin's clean image was an exagerration, I didn't really think about what an outright lie it was until he made an issue of it in the campaign. I still think that the local media should have taken the "donut egg" assertion the same way the national media took Gary Hart's challenge to find any scandal on him.

Jeff, the pop-up blocker on this computer wouldn't let me comment on your site for some reason (I'm house/dog sitting), great point about the Donze story. He's long seemed like the local version of a White House reporter who gets too close to the president. Notice that he laid the groundwork for Meffert bashing if it gets ugly--he's methodically increased his power; didn't Nagin give that power to his trusted friend. He seemed arrogant when he talked about how much more money he could make in the private sector; Frankie baby, have you been listening to the mayor that you cover.

Donnie, you can cross post at Dem. Daily? Before I got side-tracked by Nagin and T/P criticism and was trying to make the city's case to the country, I tried cross-posting on Booman Tribune a few times. I figured that, with a smaller readership, diaries wouldn't disappear as fast as on KOS. They still disappeared, but I could have tagged them better. Nice blog, your's not Kos or Booman, though those are certainly nice blogs, too.
Yep, I write for the Dem Daily too. I cross posted it there. Pamela has commented over there on the post at The Dem Daily. She mentioned how we need to keep an eye on the mentioned blogs.

Gonna try to get some notice out for the local blogs. I have several places to post at.
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