Monday, May 21, 2007

Odd Things on Howard Avenue

That Times Picayune editorial about transparency that I praised a while back still can't be found online, even though it's been nine days since it appeared in the print edition. It does make one wonder if the editors at the T/P briefly found their spinal cords before quickly assuming their usual positions (vis-a-vis the Nagin administration).

I bring this up to repeat the opinion that Couhig will have limited credibility where Nagin is concerned until he calls upon the mayor to fulfill his 100 day promise of transparency and accountability. After all, Mr. Couhig did put his not-inconsiderable prestige behind that pledge. You may recall that Nagin also mentioned dividing the city into three garbage collection zones at the same time that he promised transparency. It didn't seem important at the time, but that would indicate that began work on the sanitation deals* before the announcement of the 100 day plan (which promised transparency) but didn't reveal any details until after the 100 day smokescreen had done its job. A year later, the Nagin administration continues to make a mockery of that promised transparency. I hate to keep sniping at Couhig, but he was either duped by the mayor, or he helped the mayor dupe the city. It's just that simple.

Another odd thing is that the Picayune has run one story on Stone Age Granite and Marble but none on AFO Investments, even though there is much more apparent conflict of interest involving his partner in AFO investments. Of course, it wasn't really a story about Stone Age -- it was the fourth part of the paper's weekly Saturday political column, but at least it was mentioned. If the paper ran one full length story on all Mayor Transparency's business interest, people might get the idea that the city actually had a watchdog.

In any city government, there are going to be some some apparent conflicts of interest that are really quite understandable. But the lack of a real watchdog press corps combined with the mayor's mockery of his promised transparency make any seeming conflict of interest seem worrisome. Right?

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