Saturday, January 06, 2007

From Today's Picayune

State Treasurer John Kennedy had an op-ed piece about one of my favorite themes:

Boom won't solve Louisiana's problems

Well, I say that about the city, and financial issues weren't his main focus, but he did write:
And what about the resources that government must divert for reconstruction? These resources often come from debt that outlives the reconstruction boom, and even if the resources come from current revenues, they mean there's less money available to spend on education, health care and job training.

That's true in spades for the city, except the city isn't spending money that comes from current revenues. Isn't it obvious by now that Nagin's whole plan is to wait for the expected boom to solve all the city's problems? Well, he does seem to have other plans. BTW, Kennedy's column didn't mention any Dutch philosophers. If he made any references to Danish philosophers, I didn't catch them.

Elsewhere in the paper, as is usually the case, the Saturday New Orleans Politics was worth reading -- no knock on any of the paper's other writers, but Bruce Eggler might be the best for this column. In today's column, we found out that a proposed crackdown on rude, disruptive heckling was heckled out of existence by Dyan Cole and Albert Clark (of course). I'm not making this up, read the article. There was also some discussion about enforcing the three minute time limit for speakers (that does seem a little short), no word on whether Bishop O.C. Coleman spoke for fifteen minutes on the subject. The man does do a good imitation of a visiting corporate vice-president or even CEO -- speaks for fifteen minutes while saying he won't give examples to back his claims because of time considerations, gently but firmly says that he doesn't expect people to have side conversations while he's speaking, etc. At least he seemed that way at the sanitation committee hearing that I later saw on cable.

For anyone curious about what the mayor's office meant about the city having 83% of its pre-Katrina hospital beds, Eggler came pretty close to calling the mayor a liar:
The Metropolitan Hospital Council found in December that New Orleans hospitals have reopened only 635 of the 2,269 staffed beds they had before the storm. That's 28 percent.
It turns out that Nagin's staff did not mean exactly what it said
Bed capacity, which refers to the total number of available beds in an area, is nowhere near 83 percent of its pre-storm level.
What the mayor's office actually meant to say was:
...the hospitals that have beds open are on average 83 percent full, though that number changes daily depending on how many patients are admitted and discharged.

Isn't long past time that the paper's editorial and op-ed writers starting saying what some of its reporters have been pointing out? If the mayor says it's a nice 70° outside, it's more likely a damp, windy 35° or a humid 95°. Of course, the Picayune would probably run an editorial giving the mayor credit for the nice 70° day. Actually, I think that even Gordon Russell and Bruce Eggler ignored the mayor's absurd claim that the city was operating on 25% of its pre-Katrina budget.

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