Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Chutzpah

Or, Chutzpah: another definition.

At about the same time that the mayor hired Ed Blakely, he issued an unrelated statement on the city website:
Government Effectiveness Committee Says Transparency, Consolidation Required

(New Orleans, LA) The Government Effectiveness Committee, part of Mayor C. Ray Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission, today released a report to the Commission and the Mayor that has the capability to fundamentally change the way the City of New Orleans conducts business. If adopted by Mayor Nagin, it will become part of a final plan to rebuild the City of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“One of the key elements to rebuilding a stronger, better New Orleans is to implement a government that will be transparent and efficient for the people of this city. This committee was charged with the task of finding solutions to some of the administrative challenges that we face today and much more so, in our immediate future,” said Mayor Nagin.
“Our vision is to create a transparent and efficient government for the City of New Orleans,” Solomon said. “We want to demonstrate to the nation that we can rise above petty politics and do the right thing.”

Upon receiving the report BNOBC Co-Chair Barbara Major said, “A government that is ethical, efficient, transparent and adequately and fairly funded will ensure that whatever plan is finally implemented will actually follow an effective process for rebuilding the city.”

After reading today's paper, I wonder if he discussed this need for for transparency with his new recovery czar:
TWILIGHT ZONES It's been three weeks since Nagin's recovery chief Ed Blakely announced that his office -- within a matter of days -- would identify several zones targeted for redevelopment, including a 17-acre pilot project slated to start this month and be completed by year's end.

To date, Blakely has said nothing -- at least not in public -- about those locations. But City Hall says that doesn't mean he hasn't lived up to his promise.

The timeline Blakely laid out "refers to initial staff determinations regarding the identification of potential zones," according to spokesman James Ross, who suggested that Blakely never intended to share locations of the "preliminary target areas" with the public.

As for the March 3 deadline Blakely set for selecting the zones during a Feb. 24 retreat for board members of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, Ross said: "We have accomplished this."

Ross said the city's recovery team now is hard at work making sure the areas "correlate" with the rebuilding schemes fashioned by thousands of residents as part of recent planning efforts, including a City Council-sponsored initiative led by consultant Paul Lambert and the Unified New Orleans Plan.

"Once this process is completed," Ross said, "we will engage in consultation with various stakeholders."

What the hell does shareholder mean in this context? How many different spokesmen are employed by city government and what's their total payroll? Just in case anybody reading this has a day after St.Patrick's Day hangover, and can't think of it on his own, the mayor has entered the real eastate business.

Blakely was on WDSU's Six on Your Side Live one night earlier this week but there doesn't seem to be a link available. Norman Robinson demonstrated that's he mastered the Tim Russert interview technique -- every guest gets asked the obvious tough questions, but they don't all get asked the obvious follow-up questions. Robinson asked Blakely about holding other jobs in addition to his position as recovery chief. Blakely responded that his commitment to the University of Sydney came before accepting the job in New Orleans, but he was winding that down. Robinson accepted the answer with no mention of the Lincoln Institute or UNO.

Wait until Blakely starts putting "Deputy Mayor" on his resume. Then you'll have something.
Actually, I'd file that pic under the definition of "schmuck".
I guess what to file it under depends on whether Blakely's playing Nagin or Nagin's playing Blakely or they're playing us together. I was thinking about a chutzpah series, since I had done the early post that link to a photo of Nagin. I'm beginning to suspect that Sydney Torres will end up being filed under chump, since his firm is doing the heavy lifting in the Quarter and CBD that enabled the blatantly corrupt contracts to Nagin supporters.
Sydney Torres: file under "shyster".

If he really has NO clue, "schlemiel", then.
I don't think SDT's going to be able to make a profit off of its contract in the long run. I'd have to see what kind of clauses about things like passing on increased labor costs are included.

I didn't see either Torres or his company on the list of Nagin contributors. Metro and Richards and their owners and their owners other companies were all over that list. The other two contracts seemed to have been planned in advance, then they put the part nobody wanted up for bid. Without seeing the fine print of the third contract I can't judge, though.
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