Saturday, January 06, 2007

Go Negative

I decided to delete a post with this title last week, because of a short-lived resolution to be more positive or something. But something I read at Dambala's made me change my mind. I don't think that anything will get the mayor's attention, but something does have to be done to get the attention of the rest of city's leadership. That post is permanently deleted, but it was just a re-edited version of some comments I've made here and elsewhere.

On Ashley's blog:
I respect your point of view, but I disagree with parts of it. I think that more people need to say exactly why they're leaving, if only to expose the "buy New Orleans dirt" tour for the farce that it is. The mayor's a joke, but the T/P's editorial and op-ed writers refuse to criticize him as much as Blanco (I don't think they criticize Blanco too much) and Oliver Thomas refuses to provide the leadership that only he's in a position to provide. Something's got to make him stop waiting to inherit the throne and start rocking the boat now (yeah I know, mixed metaphor). As it is, the people on Howard Ave and on Poydras seem to take complaints about Nagin by people who plan on staying as harmless venting. I agree that people who've given up on N.O. shouldn't whine about it, they should shout about it.

And on this blog:
I hope you're not taking the "stop complaining, just shut up and leave" attitude of Poppy Z Brite, Chris Rose and some bloggers. I doubt it, it doesn't seem like you. I can understand that attitude, but I think it's misguided. I explained part of the reason here.

Beyond that, I can't speak for anybody else, but if other "complainers" are like me, they're hoping to be told why specific complaints are incorrect or overstated, not that they're wrong to complain at all. If anybody thinks it was wrong of me to complain that I was ready to move two months ago because nobody objected that an administration that laid off most of its workers and couldn't afford basic service chose to spend millions on pay raises for the remaining workers, most of whom were at the upper end of the pay scale at the same time that we found out that the mayor had flat lied nine months earlier when he claimed to have hired more electrical inspectors, I'd like to know why. I wasn't ready to move because the mayor (through Greg Meffert) made up wiring inspectors that were as real as faery folk, I was ready to move because of the apparent agreement not to call him a lying sack of shit.

I will say that anybody who doesn't want to hear complaints from people who are ready to give up and move better be ready to go all the way with the Sinn Fein spirit. If you've ever worked in any kind of service job, you probably got sick of the platitudes about it being better to hear the complaints, because the people who aren't happy but don't say anything will tell ten of their friends. Restaurant and retail managers take that attitude to ridiculous extremes, but it's sometimes relevant to post-Katrina N.O. Take the letter writer I quoted from last Dec., who gave up on the wait for permits and left. If he followed events in New Orleans from wherever he moved to, he probably had second thought when he read that the problem had been solved. When he found out, months later, that the mayor had made up imaginary new inspectors, he certainly felt vindicated. If he's still following events in New Orleans and sees that there still hasn't been a public outcry, he really feels vindicated. He's probably telling his new neighbors that not not only is the city's leadership inept and dishonest, but its residents are hopelessly apathetic. So go ahead and tell "whiners" to just leave and not let the door hit them on the way out. Sinn Fein, baby.

I feel that way more strongly than ever now. So if you've given up and decided to leave, do those of us who are staying a favor -- write a letter to the editor saying exactly why you've given up on the city. Call a talk radio station or email Rob Couhig (link available here) and ask him about that promised transparency and accountability.

Whether you're staying or going, if you ever meet any of the three enablers -- Tom Watson, Virginia Boulet, or Rob Couhig -- who helped Nagin get elected and lent their credibility to the 100 day smokescreen, be sure how they can continue to lend credibility to such a blatantly dishonest administration. If Nagin just keeps making shit up until that boom saves the city, that boom may never happen. Even if it does, a lot of irreparable damage will be done first.

The Art of Complaining has been lost. To be a Cheerleader for New Orleans at this point suggests to me that you live in an isolated enviroment.

It is grim out there.

And you are right, we need to know why people are leaving not screaming at them.
You know what Virginia Boulet sees when she looks in the mirror?


Nothing at all.
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