Tuesday, October 10, 2006

About Those Loans

I hadn't planned on writing about that Gambit paragraph, but I kept coming across BayouBias while looking for information about the mayor's original statements about the city's loan package. As I recall it, in one of the debates Landrieu said that the BGR thought that the city would need to borrow $250M, but Nagin insisted that the city would only need to borrow $150M. However, I question my memory because I also remember the mayor saying that he was right and that the BGR didn't know what conditions the city's finances were in. However, the city's most informed reporters seem to think that the BGR had access to the city's finances. I couldn't find anything to let me know whether my memory was faulty or the city's top reporters merely inattentive, but the Picayune did report that Nagin insisted that the $150M loan was all the city would need.

Nobody is saying that the city plans to use both the second (approval pending) $120M federal loan and the $150M loan, in fact we're told that the city will use the private loan if the federal loan falls through, however the city seems to be banking on both. I bring this up because I believe that the mayor's willful neglect of and contradictory statements about the city's finances are as important as any corrupt dealings. Actually, the two go together, but it's easier to show the former than the latter.

If you ignore the mayor's efforts to have his pie and eat it too on financial matters because you're hoping to catch him breaking the law, you're barking up the wrong tree. Well, you're fighting with one hand tied behind your back when you should be bending over backwards to put your shoulder to the wheel, because the mayor's counting our chickens before they're hatched.

That last sentence was largely plagiarized, anybody know where from? More seriously, Morial cronies are only just getting convicted, years after doing their damage. Since a cavalier attitude towards the city finances goes hand-in-hand with cronyism, both need to be questioned. That's why the lead editorial in yesterday's Picayune was a step in the right direction. There was something disturbing about the second editorial, but tomorrow is another day.

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