Sunday, July 30, 2006

“There is big money in disasters,”

"Huge money," Nagin stated. He said that a couple of months ago, but he even noted that garbage collection is big business. With "huge money" involved, it seems fair to comment on the lack of transparency in city government. As a general rule it would be fair to say that if a government that has no responsibility for national security, but does oversee the spending of "huge money" is less than open in its business dealings,it's a strong sign of corruption and cronyism. I didn't say incontrovertible evidence, just a strong sign; hardly a cynical statement, more like an axiom.

With that in mind, I'd strongly recommend Dambala's recent posts at American Zombie. Keep an eye on the site, as he seems to have some inside sources and promises more to follow. I do have to disagree* with one thing he said in the comments:
I don't necessarily "blame" the TP for not reporting these things on the whole. They are aware of the majority of this post...and they did attempt to delve into the situation, but could not come up with the hard evidence they needed to go after the story. I have friends who are reporters at the TP and they told me some interesting things. However, they are much more privy to lawsuits than a blogger, and they have to have much harder evidence than hearsay. Plus, the only thing I think would have actually been illegal is if Meffert is actually being bankrolled on an Imagine Credit Card...

Sorry, can't let the T/P off the hook that easily, although I would have to admit that a wishy-washy editorial about the appearance of cronyism wouldn't be so wishy-washy after all, if it ever published such an editorial. The Picayune can make observations and ask obvious questions without making actionable accusations; it does so in the case of other local politicians.

Comparing the Picayune's recent coverage of the Nagin administration and other local leaders, I'm struck with competing mental images of Jim Mora and Keith Olebermann. Prior to Katrina, the City of New Orleans spent more on bombproof garbage cans than all the judges in the GNO area spent on that trip to Sandestin. Now we find out that, rather than being cleaned and serviced, the city's garbage cans are being replaced. Presumably, the new cans are also bombproof (i.e. expensive), but the T/P hasn't told us diddly squat about that; it has, however, told us everything we could possibly want to know about Judges on a Plane. When the Feds subpoenaed Billboard Ben's records, it made the front page, but the editorial writers didn't say diddly squat. However, they did wax wroth about Judges on a Plane.

The city continues to do business with companies that either contributed heavily to the Nagin campaign or have strong ties to his administration--MCCI, CH2MHill, TSG, Omni pinnacle, Richards Disposal, Amid Landfill,etc. A look at the list of Nagin campaign contributors shows a heavy concentration of disposal, sewerage,scrap metal and other businesses that could might be looking it for reconstruction contracts. It also shows a smattering of apparently newly-formed companies that, like MCCI, can't be found either online or in the local phone book (all the out-of-town money went to Landrieu), but James Gill hasn't said diddly squat about that. He has however told us (twice now) about Snakes on a Beach:
Jamaican Sunset is owned by two New Orleans attorneys, Keith Doley and Ammon Miller, who are regular contributors to judicial election campaigns. Their expensive Jamaican packages are particularly popular with the city's trial judges, who emerged from the ruins of Katrina as prodigal with our money as ever.

So, why hasn't he said diddly squat about the other Snake on that Beach? I'm not defending the judges, but due to building damage, the city does have more judges than it has court rooms. It doesn't have more mayors than it has city halls.

The Times Picayune didn't allege that the judges acted illegally, but it did rightly judge that most of its readers would find the judges behavior improper. The same holds true for its expose of the connections between Renee Gill-Pratt and William Jefferson. The bulk of the article didn't deal with illegal activities, just highly improper ones. Would anyone argue that the press shouldn't report on questionable relations between public officials unless it can show illegality?

One thing I'll be looking for is how close an eye the T/P keeps on the people who've already moved to fill the power vacuum created by Gill-Pratt's and Jefferson's problems, will the paper say diddly-poo if they engage in any questionable behavior?

*None of this is even remotely intended as a criticism of Dambala.

thank you for this post.

the only way that new orleans is going to wake up is thru info like this. the nola bloggers are the 2nd responders and heros of post k.

i hope rising tide gets more people to read yall's posts

screw all the preaching to the choir in the news. you cats need to be heard.

you could do a lot more good for the disenfrachised than any bogus non profit
just by spreading info.

so far so good. i hope that rising tide brings more people of the blue coller class like myself to the table.

again thank you to yall and the nola bloggers for real info.
re: thank you 4 this post.

i meant to say screw all the preaching to the choir in the daily news.

you cats are what needs to be heard.

i aint no writter but i got commen sense and nola bloggers are talking some harsh truths right now.

and i would venture to say that the majority of new orleaneans what to hear the truth and not some sugarcoated b.s. so they can make an adult decision that will affect their lives.
Yeah David, thanks for bringing this stuff up again. It's a nice overview of the different pieces of the puzzle. I love the insight you bring to the inside political pump and grind.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts