Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Accountability? Matrix

I guess it was wrong of me to assume that an accountability matrix was the city's way of providing the transparency that we were promised at the start of the "100 days;" it certainly doesn't provide any transparency where the city's finances are concerned.

This brings up a minor disagreement that I have with something that Oyster said:
Some of my esteemed colleagues (like BSJD) seemingly think the Times Picayune, at times, has been rather soft on Meffert and Nagin so far. I disagree. Considering how few known facts there are, I think they've been relentless. If you include today's editorial calling for a "review of contracts", the paper has run three editorials on Meffert/Imagine/Yachtgate so far. Plus, James Gill has written two columns on the "scandal" and Stephanie Grace has written one as well. The T-P put both news stories about Meffert on the front page, and yesterday there was even a S. Kelly cartoon about the affair.

I'll be intrigued to see how Yachtgate "develops" and what it might lead to. It does seem, though, that the opinion page has driven the story as far as it can go until new facts are uncovered.

Aside from the fact that James Gill reminded me of a point-shaving basketball player in those two columns (certainly the first), I have to agree with oyster--on the points that he raises. Though the paper has reported on other questionable dealings by this administration, it hasn't given those stories much prominence. To say that's buried them would be an overstatement, but it's certainly underplayed them.

However, my major criticism of the paper has to do with its coverage of the mayor's handling of the city's finances. I've said this before, but I'm convinced that if the governor or the top official in other parish made Nagin's spending decisions, it would be a major issue. Don't even think about how the paper would cover the mayor if it were anti-Nagin, imagine instead if Aaron Broussard had 66 employees in his office and 14 working on Jefferson Parish streets? Can anybody seriously say that I would have needed to piece together that information from multiple articles? Of course not, if it didn't make the front page, James Gill would certainly tell us about it. I can and will give many more examples, in case anyone's not convinced by that one.

Despite the fact that the local media is finally following Dambala's lead, it's still important, to ask other questions. Bear in mind the fact that Morial cronies are only just beginning to face jail time. If we wait for indictments, Nagin will have more than enough time to starve-the-beast. I don't think that's his intent, Nagin seems less like an ideologue than a spoiled kid who wants his trust fund. The effect, however, would be the same.

No idea-stealing intended, but after finishing that last paragraph, I remembered an old Lewis Lapham essay about the Bush administration.

Unfortunately, Nagin is pursuing his "trust fund" by getting happily into bed with enough "starve-the-beasters" to make him no different from them in the final analysis. Classic case of useful idiocy
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