Monday, September 18, 2006

Clancy, You Got Snowed

Okay Clancy, I don't expect to agree with everything you write, and I know that you would jeopardize your credibility if you wrote nothing but criticisms of hizzoner, but I was more than a little disappointed in your review of his 100 day report:
Last week, as the mayor presented his 100-day post-inaugural report, it was clear that the visionary showed up. He was a welcome sight.
"The key question is, is New Orleans in a better position today than it was 100 days ago," Nagin said. "And my conclusion is that we are."

I hate to nitpick, but I find it hard to believe that a visionary would set the bar that low, and I really find it hard to believe that you found that acceptable.

However, the most glaring fault wasn't with anything that the mayor or his team said. Well, some people do wonder where Mr. Couhig takes his showers. The most obvious thing was what wasn't said. Clancy, of all the 100 day promises, which one should have been the easiest to keep? I'll give you a hint, Rob Couhig practically guaranteed it. Of course, I'm talking about greater transparency. Seriously Clancy, don't you think that a sincere administration could have given us more transparency in a week? Other than some vague promise of an "accountability matrix," the subject wasn't mentioned in the 100 day report. Seriously, are you satisfied with a vague promise after 100 days? Can you think of a single reason why the initial promise couldn't have easily been kept in the first 100 days? And don't even think about saying that there already is more transparency, just look at the third comment on the last post. If experienced, dedicated activists can't find that kind of information, the city isn't being transparent.

I'm especially surprised that you missed the omission for two reasons. The first is that, even with the utter lack of transparency, it seems obvious that the city is contracting out basic services that had been performed by municipal employees. At least, that seems to be the reason why the city only has 14 street repair workers. While there certainly are plausible reasons why this might be a necessary or even a desirable move, we simply haven't been given the information needed to make that judgment. Considering this city's history with professional services contracts and the fact that you've commented
that this mayor seemed to be emulating his predecessors in that regard, I would expect more interest on your part.

You might even recall that you criticized the mayor for awarding a professional service contract for bombproof garbage cans, if so, have you noticed that those bombproof garbage cans disappeared after Katrina? If so, you might have heard the seemingly contradictory explanations that they were being "cleaned and serviced" followed by the story that they were being replaced. The two explanations aren't entirely contradictory, but the alternative is both hilarious and infuriating. I know that I won't be signing a new long term lease in Orleans Parish until I look at that "accountability matrix" and find an entry for "garbage can related expenses."

The other reason that I'm surprised that you didn't notice the forgotten accountability has to do with your suggestion that mayor do a better job of selling the city to New Orleanians. You do mention that many people have begun to lose faith in the city's prospect. Have you asked people why? Lack of confidence in the administration would be at or near the top of everybody's list. There's one sure way for the administration to allay doubts about its integrity. I understand that the local media don't want to be too negative, but Gambit Weekly, The Times Picayune and all the cities TV stations combined couldn't begin to cause the doubts about the mayor's integrity that his administration's own secrecy already has.

It wouldn't surprise me if people told Clancy he was being too negative. I hera that Margot is an uber-booster type. Hell, I've been told I'm too negative but when it comes to guvmint, it's hard to be positive. All the good stuff is being done by individuals. The problem is that individuals can only do so much: guvmint needs to fund and co-ordinate major efforts. Of course, Repubs like Nagin and Couhig don't believe that.
That's why my last two posts have been relatively restrained. That's also why I really think there needs be two letters (to both Gambit and the Picayune) complaining about the kid gloves treatment for every onr about the negativity.
Maybe Clancy was told he was being too mopy.
No Jeffrey, That is you..

You're right on man. i can't speak for Clancy, but i can tell you that the TP appears somewhat reticent to attack Nagin. I think they view it as kind of a catch 22... if they generate too much bad press about him, they could greatly hurt the recovery process. They of course may be overlooking the fact that he is hurting the recovery more than anything they could write about him ever could. Overall, I think the TP has walked the razor's edge rather well. I was ecstatic to see Clancy pull the gloves off and lambast Nagin, but you can bet he caught hell for it from some influential voices.

Maybe I'm arrogant, but I also think the blogosphere is having an impact on them. If we are reporting things they aren't, it doesn't bode well for their journalistic integrity. I think we may be having a slight influence on their editorial decisions...which i think is a very cool thing. Or maybe i'm just delusional.
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