Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ass Backwards

Arguably Ass Backwards:

From Sunday's Stephanie Grace column:
Nagin's inclination is to step out of the way while New Orleans grows itself out of Katrina. But until he proves that his administration is willing to set guidelines for the rebuilding and make the tough decisions about where to invest in infrastructure, he stands in the way of that hoped-for growth.

Yet in Saturday's paper we read that the city has already hired a firm to seek sponsors for next year's Mardi Gras. We also learned that the mayor plans to replace the head of the library board as part of an effort to "refresh" all of the city's municipal boards.

Sounds to me like the mayor is trying to micromanage the details of the city's recovery before coming up with even the most general plan for the city's recovery.

Obviously Ass Backwards

At some point prior to May 27th, the RTA hired a team of consultants to advise it on transit issues facing the rebuilt city. On July 30, the city held the first in a series of meetings to... do something. Every blogger in the city has discussed UNOP and I've discussed the RTA before, but you simply can't get more ass backwards than hiring consultants to tell you how to provide transit service to the resettled city before deciding what parts of the city to resettle.

The RTA consulting fee can probably be attributed to political cowardice--if you have to make tough cuts that are bound to make some people unhappy, just hire some experts and say you were following their advice. If new plans are going to have to be drawn up almost as soon as the old olds are implemented, well it's not like the city could have put the $1.8 million to better use. If they also recommend creating a new $125,000 position while laying off half of the workforce, that's just an added bonus.

The only possible explanations for the more recent ass backwardness are unbelievably cynical or borderline surreal. Seeing the discussion in the comments on two recent Adrastos posts, the one certain thing is that nobody is likely to take Dambala's bet. As to the rest, it's hard to decide which explanation is more cynical. It's certainly cynical to believe that the mayor is suddenly taking interest in previously unimportant boards because previously unimportant boards are now going to be in position to dispense patronage. But it's not exactly flattering to think that the mayor's is so out of touch that he thinks promoting Mardi Gras and "refreshing" the city's municipal boards should be anywhere near the top of his agenda.

Actually, when I hear "refreshen the city's municipal boards," I get a mental image of a movie gangster telling his moll, "Go freshen up, while we discuss business." Somebody (or some "powers that be") telling Nagin, "Go refreshen your municipal boards...," comes to mind.

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