Wednesday, October 18, 2006

No Apologies

If anybody was offended by an earlier post of mine, don't expect a retraction. On the first part, I won't apologize for saying what hundreds of people had to have felt. The city spends millions of dollars increasing its payroll, but nobody asks whether it would be better to spend it bringing back laid off workers. It wasn't a fairness or compassion issue, by any stretch of the imagination. If it were, the matter would have been discussed. I've meant to add to that since I posted it, but haven't been able to separate the personal feelings from the political observations. I'll probably break into two, I won't expect anybody to be swayed by the personal post, but I should disclose any biases. Remember, layoff and rehiring decisions were not made on the basis of job rank, or past evaluations or seniority. At least in my department, supervisors each got to pick a certain number of staff members, regardless of what level of staff turnover they had prior to Katrina or what rate of return they had after. I can't imagine that there are many former employees who didn't feel that borrowing money to increase pay rather than bring back people was rubbing salt in a wound. That belongs in the personal post. But when my own councilman doesn't bother to answer an email that expresses both my anger as a former employee and my concerns as a resident, I'm not going to apologize for expressing the feelings of hundreds.

I've only expressed "plague on both their houses" sentiments about both the mayor and city council once before. That was last December, and most people thought that I was wrong then--about the mayor. Most people applauded the mayor for standing up to the NIMBYists on the city council or, at most, criticized him for not being forceful enough. It seemed obvious to me that he had, in typical fashion, arrived at a decision without seeking any input and then refused to explain his decision. Only difference,was he didn't quietly back down while insisting that he had never changed his mind that time; there was too much political advantage to be gained from making it an issue (and he did such a good job of helping the people that he was standing up for). When most people were applauding the mayor, I thought he needed to hear the sound of one hand clapping. Sorry for the "told you so," but bear it in mind when I explain why the council's failure to ask questions should be a major source of concern for everybody.

That more political post may be my last post for a while--maybe a few months, maybe just a few days. For a couple of months now, I've been thinking about taking a blogging break for mostly personal reasons. The never-written follow up to an earlier post was going to be it for a while. Whether you agree with me or not about the pay raises (by itself, it's not a matter of great concern), pay attention to my arguments about why the city council's handling of the issue should be a matter of major interest to everybody. Everybody's been complaining about the administration's secrecy about city finances, the budget committee gets the opportunity to grill the mayor's CAO and what do they find out about the mayor's spending plans? Nothing, zero, donut egg. The mayor's mishandling of the FEMA trailer placement issue wasn't the only issue where I was ahead of the curve. Long before yachtgate, I pointed out that whether he broke any laws or not, the mayor had a very public record of shameless cronyism. I was a couple of months ahead of WWL TV in wondering why police presence seemed to reduced by a lot more than 200-300 officers or how much the city was paying for its energy advisers. Right after the election, I even said that we could expect the mayor to continue governing in campaign mode. Not trying to brag, just trying to establish some credibility before I attack the city council.

Actually, I often wonder how many people read the local news stories all the way to the last paragraph and then just look around. I guess if more people did, we'd have a city full of Roddy Pipers.

Please continue to publish, I read you before I read the newspaper.
I read you so I don't have to read the paper.

Or... at least so I don't have to read Jarvis Deberry.
I'm not planning to quit, just give it a rest. Partly because I don't usually get around to posting til 9 or 10. If it's about a subject that I'm angry about, I end trying to go bed while I'm mentally wide awake. Partly because I've become more pessimistic. It's one thing to express angry cynicism when there's optimism behind it, another when there's not. I don't don't know how many caught the cautious optimism, but it was there.

Actually, I'm taking the time off to provide the commentary for THE ANNOTATED JARVIS DEBERRY.

BTW, I never consciously thought of Rowdy Roddy (except for drunkenly imitating him on occasion when I was much, much younger), but there are times when I can't help but wish that more people would change the questions.
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