Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Computer Still Broken

So a couple of quick points (with fewer documenting links than I'd like) from a public computer.

I don't know why the people of New Orleans put up with this kind of bull****:
Director of Public Works Robert Mendoza did not dispute that the city has not submitted a full list to FEMA. But Mendoza said his department's work on documenting locations of street damage has been hampered by a thin staff and by a number of other high priorities, ranging from replacing destroyed streetlights and street signs to cleaning storm drains. Such needs have been addressed by the thousands this year, according to city releases.

Mendoza said the work on the storm-damaged streets list is about to ramp up and that he expects a preliminary list of all the damaged areas to be compiled by July 31. In recent days the city hired an engineering firm, HNTB, to help assemble information needed now by federal officials and to provide more long-range technical assistance for the repair program, Mendoza said.

I'm sure that Mendoza is totally correct about the difficulties in dealing with FEMA that he describes in the rest of the article, but why do the people of this city put up with that "hampered by a thin staff" crap? Zero-based budgeting may have gone out of style during the Carter administration, but there's never been any effort on the part of city government to determine how much of the city budget is needed to make the city livable for residents who have returned and how the rest could be best be spent for recovery. Unless automated garbage pickup and across-the-board raises that seem analogous to regressive taxation are the best possible way to spend money on the recovery.

I'm also sure that spending more money and taking longer to hire outside contractors than it would have taken to rehire key city employees is all done in the interest of recovery.

In an unrelated matter, it does seem like somebody should ask David Vitter to explain this seemingly self-explanatory statement:
I think Katrina has been a wake up call,” said Senator David Vitter when asked about the cost of corruption allegations. “I think Katrina proved to us the real cost of corruption.

So is he saying that corruption was the cause of the poorly designed flood walls? Was it corruption that led FEMA to pay a company to ship ice all around the country while people were dying from dehydration in New Orleans? Yep, Katrina taught us quite a bit about corruption.

Finally, can't play this to be sure if it's what I was looking for. If not, this is was I referring to in a recent comment at Oyster's.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quick Notes

Allen Eskew of the "Reinventing the Crescent" planning team will give a presentation on the latest plans for the Reverfront at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel at 7:00 tonight, with socializing to begin at 6:30. Since the mayor is more interested in big projects involving cranes and bulldozers than small things involving hammers and nails, the NOBC probably has a bigger budget for refreshments than the NORA has for air conditioning, but I don't think NOBC is sponsoring this meeting. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend.

The Louisiana Weekly has an editorial that pretty much blasts everybody in the state, local and federal governments:
Making matters worse, there are very few local, state or federal elected officials who have consistently represented the interests of those most affected by these man-made and natural disasters. When we've needed them the most, these elected officials have been nowhere to be found.

The physical devastation Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused cannot hold a candle to the psychological and emotional damage caused by indifferent and inept elected officials,

Like many still grappling with adversity in post-Katrina Louisiana, I blame the mayor, City Council, state legislature, governor, president and Congress for the ongoing woes of this region. Shame on your for blaming everyone but yourself for Shame on you for not rising to the challenges that face this city and state. Shame on you for failing to live up to your campaign promises. Shame on you for failing miserably to secure the blessings of liberty for the decent, hard-working people of this city and state.

All the spinning and finger-pointing in the world won't absolve any of those elected to represent the interests of this city and state from their role in this miscarriage of justice.

Somebody somewhere needs to step up and provide true leadership in this age of ineptitude and chicanery.

For the time being, no one fitting that description seems to be on the

Monday, June 18, 2007

Computer Problems

Lost the internet connection at my brother's house when I was dog-sitting for him last week. Part of what I added to last week's Susan Howell post must have been auto-saved before the connection went out. Now my home computer is broken, so the abbreviated addition to the Howell post was just added.

I won't be much do much posting until I get it fixed, but over the weekend, I thought about Howell's farewell interview and somethings that Dambala has said:
"I don't think he cares....I really don't think he cares. I think he's only concerned with his own future and what he can get out of what's left of this city."

Nagin doesn't care about anything but lining his chrony's pockets and setting himself up after he leaves the mayor's office. The sad part is, even knowing what's going to happen, there's probably little we can do to stop it. Bend over Nawlins, we're gonna get it again.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I agree, although I don't think that Nagin's quite as morally bankrupt as Dambala makes him sound. He probably doesn't think he's doing any harm, just getting his piece of that exploding pie.

I'm also not sure that there's nothing we can do about it, but I think it involves demanding more out of the city council. The council can do more, Bruce Eggler was far too kind in last week's paper:
New Orleans' form of government and political traditions make it hard for any council to do more than complain about a mayor or other officials. The council's ultimate weapons -- refusing to appropriate money for certain programs or dismissing a mayoral appointee for "lack of qualifications, incompetence, neglect of duty . . . or gross misconduct" -- have rarely if ever been used.

That may be true, but we've never before had a mayor ask for, and receive, so much new funding for his office and for for agencies directly under his control at a time when the budgets of other agencies were being cut.

The city doesn't have to, as Dambala put it, bend over for Nagin, but I'm afraid that the council will for Nagin as long as his reputation for integrity remains unquestioned. So what I want to say to people who want to compliment the mayor on their way out of town is, "Just leave. Don't say nice things about the mayor on your way out, it only makes it that much harder for those of us who've stayed. If you want to leave, just leave, but please don't say nice things about the mayor or the city government on your way out."

I'll go through a detailed list of items that anybody that wants to defend the mayor's integrity needs to explain when I get the the chance, but I will point out the following:
"The future of New Orleans is in our hands, The importance of new technology, business opportunities, energy-efficient housing, restoration of our coastline, repairing and improving our infrastructure all offer tremendous opportunities."

Nagin wrote that on the invitations to a fund raiser held after he was re-elected. I suppose it's possible that an honest mayor might have written on that on the invitations to a fund raiser held before the election, but after the election? I'm not a political scientist like Susan Howell, but it sounds to me like he's selling selling access. I have trouble reconciling it with even the spirit of honesty.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Must Read Jeremy Alford Article

Since most New Orleanians know Jeremy Alford from Gambit Weekly, it's easy to overlook the fact that he's a Baton Rouge-based freelance journalist whose columns are carried in newspapers around the state. For what I hope are obvious (but not obviously manipulative) reasons, I'll link to Lafayette's Independent Weekly for this post.

I hadn't yet read Alford's column when I wrote:
it was too much to hope that Rita and Katrina would help bring about a more united South Louisiana voting bloc as everybody from Lake Charles to Pearl River realized that they a common interest in rebuilding, coastal restoration and flood protection, but why anybody from Morgan city want to see the population shift to Baton Rouge made permanent? Dartez is crazy if she thinks that people with no interest in coastal restoration aren't going to try figure out a way to get their hands on the increased offshore revenue.

But Alford quotes a North Louisiana legislator:
"You always take the cream off the top for coastal restoration"

and writes that:
Another bill would slowly boost the annually-dedicated $25 million from mineral resources for coastal activities, siphoning some cash away from roads

I believe that most of the state's mineral revenue comes from coastal activity -- it would be helpful if South Louisiana could say that with one voice. Though Alford seems to believe that a simple north/south split exists in the legislature, that clearly is not the case.

Jeffrey points out that the bill by a Morgan City legislator to move LSU Medical School has been withdrawn, but the fact remains that legislators from Morgan city, Parks (near Breaux Bridge) and St. Tammany are sending threatening messages to the New Orleans delegation. We might as well just agree right now that, with the mineral revenue that comes from the south, North Louisiana will get roads and schools, while South Louisiana gets flood protection.

Of course, New Orleans hasn't exactly tried to build bridges. Last November, our globe-trotting mayor had more important things to do than listen to Jefferson Parish officials at a meeting to promote regional cooperation. I doubt he's making much more effort with the rest of the state.


It's old news that Susan Howell retired from UNO, but Gambit informs us that:
The professor counts herself among the 15 percent of whites who approve of Nagin's performance (compared to 51 percent of blacks).

That's really not surprising coming from Susan "lockstep" Howell, but what's really surprising is that she said:
I think he's honest. I think he's very intelligent. ...

I knew that she liked Nagin, I suspected that she was one of those local media figures who was somehow charmed by or infatuated with Nagin, but I had no idea that she was utterly daft. Makes you wonder what his poll numbers would have looked like from an unbiased pollster.

One other surprise in the piece:
Last week, Howell and her husband, John Vinturella, moved back to Cincinnati, her hometown.

I had no idea.

Really WTF? I've been to the Daily Howler since last Thursday. Never mind -- Daily Howler seems to be back online.

Update: Billy Carter Rides Again

There was a minor item in today's Picayune report about a "Justice for Jefferson" rally:
Several women from Smith & Associates, a firm owned by Cedric Smith, the brother-in-law of Mayor Ray Nagin, also turned out for the event.

The connection to Susan Howell is simply that it demonstrates how irresponsible it is for a respected opinion maker like Susan Howell to publicly attest to Nagin's honesty. Nagin's reputation as an honest businessman who's not one of the corrupt "politicians of the past" helped doom any efforts to recall Nagin from the start. Yet we find his brother-in-law's employees actively supporting the most embarrassing example of the "politics of the past."

But, of course, Nagin isn't responsible for the actions of his brother-in-law. He wasn't at the start of his first term, when he found Smith an embarrassment (his own Billy Carter), why should he be now? Of course, Nagin claimed to be embarrassed by his brother-in-law five years ago, but Nagin's embarrassment didn't prevent Cedric Smith from being a featured speaker at Nagin's second inauguration. Whatever questions Nagin may have about Smith's judgment didn't prevent the Nagin campaign from paying a $20,000 consulting fee to Smith's firm. So, it's quite possible that donations to the Nagin re-election campaign have indirectly made their way to the Jefferson defense fund.

In a future post, I'll go through a point-by-point list of reasons why it's absurd for somebody on Howell's position to publicly attest to Nagin's integrity, this just happened to be in today's paper.

$700,000 on PR and he Calls NORA "High Maintenance"

The Picayune reports that the mayor refuses to release $600,000 from the city budget until NORA agrees to accept more responsibilities. In addition to calling NORA "high maintenance" the mayor also:
called the sniping "unproductive" and said "I'm ready to move forward."

But he added that city government is also short on cash.

At some point, it becomes time to ask exactly why the city is so so short on cash. Of course, I couldn't help but notice that $600,000 was the amount that the mayor's office (not the city) spent on PR, but it seems that amount is about to increase.

I'm still trying to figure out what exactly Virginia Boulet meant about the mayor being a good steward of public money.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Questions for Tommye Myrick

I hate to take a hostile tone toward somebody whose entire life holdings were lost to Katrina, but great loss doesn't add any authority to the defense of a corrupt deal that promises to be the first of many -- if we let them get away with it. Just curious, had you been listening to WWL before you wrote your letter to the editor? It sounded awfully reminiscent of something that I heard Tommy Tucker or some WWL DJ say; it may well have been Bob Mitchell. At any rate, the close-minded blowhard kept saying that it was selfish of the relatively unhurt people in the Quarter to worry about garbage carts when so many people lost everything. He even asked how people in devastated areas could help but resent people in the (mostly unhurt) French Quarter for wasting energy on such a trivial issue when there were so many more important things to worry about. It seemed to me that the DJ got it exactly backwards -- why was the city council wasting energy on new laws about garbage collection in the French Quarter when there were so many more important things to worry about? Doesn't that seem like the more important question to you? For that matter, why did the city council need to pass a new law at all? Veronica White insists that the old law mandated that owners of buildings with more than four units pay for private collection, so why the need for a new law mandating private collection if it already was the old law? Seems like the government of a city with so many residents who had lost everything could find more important things to do, don't you think?

Seriously, I'll have to do at least one more post on the subject because I'm mystified at the lack of outrage. I can't figure out why more bloggers don't post on the subject and more people don't write letters to the editor. If a mayor who promises transparency can get away with keeping the details of new contracts that more than double the cost of garbage collection secret until its too late for the council to turn him down, how far do you expect Blakely's Billion to go?

I know I'm getting repetitive so I'll quote an Time Picayune article (from Aug. 31, 2006) about Sandy Rosenthal of levees.org that no longer seems to be available online:
At the start of her effort, Rosenthal said she trusted the advice of former lobbyist and blogger C.B. Forgotston.

"He said keep saying your message; keep saying it over and over," Rosenthal said. "He said when people get tired of hearing it, you're beginning to get somewhere.

Not that I'd be presumptuous enough to compare myself to anybody else or use something as important as flood protection to justify my own preaching.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What's Her Angle?

Why would a state representative from Morgan City care whether the LSU Medical School was located in New Orleans or Baton Rouge. I can't imagine that a move from N.O. to B.R. would benefit Morgan City in any way. Yet Carla Dartez of Morgan City introduced a bill urging LSU officials to consider such a move. Her explanation makes little sense:
Dartez, a Democrat, said House Concurrent Resolution 171, which asks the LSU Board of Supervisors to consider the move, is designed to ensure that each major region of the state has its own medical school. "It's about getting health care for the people where the people are populated,"

Tulane is a privately funded university, the location of its medical school should have no bearing on the location of LSU's medical school. Actually, it should have a great bearing on the location-- having the two schools in the same city could lead to research opportunities that would benefit the economy of the entire state. The other part of her rationale is entirely nonsensical, health care is not dependent upon proximity to a medical school.

I suppose that it was too much to hope that Rita and Katrina would help bring about a more united South Louisiana voting bloc as everybody from Lake Charles to Pearl River realized that they a common interest in rebuilding, coastal restoration and flood protection, but why anybody from Morgan city want to see the population shift to Baton Rouge made permanent? Dartez is crazy if she thinks that people with no interest in coastal restoration aren't going to try figure out a way to get their hands on the increased offshore revenue. She's a Democrat, so it's probably not some twisted partisan plot to shrink the population of the state's biggest Democratic stronghold.

So what's her motivation? Is she angry about Rita being the "forgotten" hurricane?
Well, fuck bitch, CNN isn't divvying up the Road Home money.

I don't know if there's any way to find out whether Dartez has real estate holdings or other business dealings in Baton Rouge, but it's got to be something. I guess that the more obvious thing would be look for some Baton Rouge area legislator to introduce a bill that would benefit the Morgan City area. Not that everybody in Baton Rouge would welcome more growth.

Maybe the bill is no big deal, but, as a Picayune editorial points out, Dartez' resolution was cosponsored by over a dozen other legislators, including one from St. Tammany. I don't know whether the sudden demotion of Donald Smithburg is any cause for alarm, but he had supported keeping the school in New Orleans.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Om, I Guess the Women on the Council Don't Want Harmony

So, the Picayune informs us that the mayor has met with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar about forming some kind of a partnership with the International Association of Human Values (sic):
In an effort to relieve some of the tension, Nagin has reached out to the International Association of Human Values, a New York-based nonprofit that teaches a breathing technique designed to "release stress from the mind and body."

Nagin hatched the idea after meeting April 3 with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a spiritual leader from southern India who founded the group 25 years ago.

The association's Web site, which solicits donations for a "Violence-free, stress-free New Orleans," features a photo of Nagin and Shankar during their sit-down along with comments from the mayor about the potential value of the services.

While the city has no formal agreement, Nagin spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett said health director Dr. Kevin Stephens is researching the program.

"At this time there have not been any decisions or recommendations made to the administration or the mayor," Quiett said in an e-mail response.

If you go to the group's web site you'll find:
What Mayor Nagin is saying about this meeting:
His Holiness Shankar welcomed the opportunity to present his future proposals to Councilman Oliver Thomas, Councilman Arnie Fielkow, Councilman James Carter, City Health Director Dr. Kevin Stephens and New Orleans Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

No matter what your opinion of any of the individual women on the council, you have to admit that all four are at least serious. But do Fielgood and Thomas really need lessons in harmonious living?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

For the Record

I think the front page of today's Picayune was a little alarmist:
Storm relief may be at stake
Some fear effects of Jefferson charges
Thursday, June 07, 2007
By Bill Walsh

WASHINGTON -- A sweeping federal indictment accusing Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, of fraud and bribery-related charges will only reinforce stereotypes, real and imagined, about Louisiana and make it harder to win financing for Gulf Coast hurricane recovery efforts, some lawmakers said Wednesday.

However, before the election I did write:
We're both part of the same hypocrisy, senator, but never think it applies to my family.

Michael Corleone may have been in a position to say that to Pat Geary in The Godfather II, but New Orleans and south Louisiana aren't in a position to say that to the rest of the country in real life.

Nobody wants to vote based on what outsiders think, and some people are probably thinking that re-electing Nagin didn't produce a noticeable backlash. But there's a major difference; Nagin had a reputation for integrity, however undeserved... The rest of the country might have wondered how we could re-elect an incompetent loose-cannon, but we didn't willfully and knowingly re-elect a crook. This would be much harder to explain.

...I'll admit that she probably isn't much better than Jefferson. But she's certainly no worse and she's not an extortionist. Like my favorite columnist said, "survival trumps everything." The city will survive either way, but it stands a better chance of getting needed help with Carter elected.

Hate to find myself agreeing with a reporter for the Picayune's Washington Bureau, even months in advance.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Starbucks vs. Stanley: Meeting Tomorrow

FWIW: I'll be at work.

I've been informed that the Finance Committee of the Louisana State Museum Board will be holding a public meeting tomorrow/Thursday, June 7th, at 3:30 p.m. in the Arsenal Room of the Cabildo to discuss whether the State Museum should lease the Lower Pontalba Building commercial space that formerly housed La Madeleine to Starbucks or Stanley.

Before I say anything more, I've never been a Starbucks basher. I don't like its practice of saturating a local market in attempt to drive out local businesses (I'm deliberately giving the anti-Starbucks version), but it does offer better pay and benefits than comparable companies. Because it even offers health insurance to part time employees, I actually thought about applying at one when I was only a part time public library employee. Still, I've never been a Starbucks customer because I prefer to give my business to local companies -- that's also why I rarely go to PJ's anymore. My point is that you should always try to shop local (no matter where you are), but some of the Starbucks bashing seems a little uncalled for.

When I read last month's Stanley vs. Goliath article I got the strangest sense of deja vu:
She said it would be most appropriate for a New Orleans business to operate at the site. But Starbucks would lure much-needed tourism traffic to the corner and last through good times and bad, she said.

"This is a dead corner," Lewis said Monday. "I have nothing against Stanley and I wish he could make it there, but Starbucks can weather the market for 10 years. They've got the deep pockets to stick it out (until the market returns)."

Longtime Jackson Square artist Sam Hurwitch also supports Starbucks.

"The demographic has changed," he said on Monday, a day when skies were cloudy and tourism was slow. "Starbucks is better than hamburgers and beer. Let them do a historic sign approved by the Vieux Carre Commission."

Hurwitch said a Starbucks could turn around the corner's slow retail activity.

They don't have anything against the local guy, but they think that the big national guy would help them financially. In fairness, they are hurting. It's an understandable sentiment, but the whole article seems like a metaphor for something, I just can't quite put my finger on what.

I also think that the people who think that Starbucks would attract more business are mistaken, or may well be mistaken. I don't believe that local Starbucks have done very well, at least not all of them. The one on the Uptown end of Magazine hasn't re-opened and I never did get the impression that it did very well, even though three nearby (one local, one formerly local, one Baton Rouge based) establishments thrived. Unfortunately, members of the museum board seem to be talking about understanding the preference for a local business, but feeling the need to make up for lost revenue. That doesn't sound good.

Not a Good Week for Blogging

But after reading Dambala's latest post, I did a little googling. This is interesting. Notice that it's from May of last year, i.e that December land sale approval came three and a half months after the flood. Two and a half months after Rita delayed re-entry for most city residents.

On second thought: maybe not all that interesting, apparently LIFT wasn't able to rush the project through. Still it does seem that the administration has always had more interest in new developmement than actual rebuilding.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Actually, it Was a Pretty Small Feat

From the Picayune's editorial on Nagin's "state of the city" address:
The city has also avoided bankruptcy -- no small fiscal feat and undoubtedly one of the mayor's top accomplishments after the storm.

That's another assumption that nobody in the local media is prepared to question. It shouldn't surprise me coming from a T/P editorial, after the mayor made the utterly preposterous claim that he kept the city afloat on a quarter of its pre-Katrina budget, the Picayune praised him, when it should have called him a bald-faced liar (or at least questioned his math). Now they call it a major accomplishment that the city didn't declare bankruptcy. After the flood, the mayor did what he had to do and laid off half the city's workforce. He didn't do what he should have done, and put the remaining payroll where it would have done the most good. No city workers were mad at the mayor because they were laid off; I was far from the only one who was angry at paying for supervisors who no longer had staffs to supervise and for the inflated salaries of Nagin's top advisers while the city had only two electrical inspectors.

He did another thing that he had to do and borrowed money to make up for lost revenue. Boy, that was an act of sheer genius -- it took a real visionary to come up with that idea. I'll type this real slow so that even the editorial writers at the Picayune can understand: you don't need to be a financial wizard to take advantage of federal loans.

Even Stephanie Grace made a similiar statement in an otherwise commendable column on the same subject. I only say commendable, rather than great or excellent, because of a rather glaring flaw in the same column:
And the major took yet another victory lap over the success of his controversial trash contracts. It's true that things seem to be going well on the sanitation front, aside from the controversy over the supersized carts. On the other hand, trash pickup is a basic municipal function, not some impossible dream.

And what about all the city offices that aren't functioning properly?

I'll type this real slow so that even the Picayune's brightest political analyst* can understand: part of the reason why all those other city offices aren't functioning properly is because we're spending so much on those sanitation contracts. It's not a complicated equation with multiple variables. And as far as those "controversial trash contracts" are concerned, your paper has pretty much chickened out on that front.

*Does anybody actually believe that the real James Gill still works for the Picayune? I think it's either a doppleganger, or there really still is Voodoo in New Orleans.

When Clancy Met Robby

In this week's Gambit, Clancy DuBos brings up a point that I was unaware of:
A run for Congress is possible -- but not with the money that Nagin has been raising thus far. That cash falls under state campaign finance laws and cannot be used in a federal campaign. Nagin could, however, use his current campaign fund to run for governor.

(Clancy seems to take it for granted that Nagin would follow federal campaign finance laws.) He also brings up a point that's been missing from most of the discussion of a possible Nagin run for governor -- how he could run a losing campaign and still gain in stature by filling a statewide African-American leadership void. Frankly, theories that Nagin would run as a favor to his Republican allies never made any sense, but it's easy to remember what a failed gubernatorial bid did for Cleo Fields. Or would have done, had Fields not been videotaped stuffing his pockets with money that Edwin Edwards handed him.

The case could easily be made that a failed run for governor could actually strengthen Nagin's position for future elections, including a possible run for Jefferson's seat. Instead, DuBos suggests that Nagin sees a run for governor as a way to position himself to succeed Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton on the national stage. One would really have to wonder where DuBos came up with such a foolish notion, unless he listened to Rob Couhig's morning radio show. Couhig thinks that Nagin wants to run for the Senate, but other than that, at least twice a week, Couhig will say that a statewide race would (in Nagin's mind) make him a national figure -- like Jackson and Sharpton.

I really don't care if DuBos is stealing ideas from Couhig, and I doubt that anybody reading this would either. But it does point out just how much group think goes on among the local press corps. I've brought this up in emails to one or two other people before, but it seems obvious that the nobody in the local media is ever going to question any of the accepted ideas about the mayor until events force such questioning. For example, it will be an unquestioned fact that "at least the mayor is honest," unless he gets indicted for something. Or enough people start stating the obvious.

Very late clarification:

With thanks to Jeffrey, I did make the Cleo Fields comparison in a post a month before the DuBos' column, but I wouldn't accuse him of stealing ideas -- not mine anyway, I'll get to the Sharpton/Jackson foolishness. The comparison seemed so obvious that I'm surprised that it took mainstream pundits so long to make it.

I actually need to give some credit to Rob Couhig. Before the gubernatorial speculation began, but after the questions about Nagin's fund raising had started, Couhig mentioned the black leadership void at the state level, said that Nagin liked the attention that comes with campaigning more than he liked the work of holding office, and that even a losing campaign for state office could vault him into a leadership position. So far, so good, but Couhig also came up with the truly bizarre notion (seconded by Clancy) that by filling a black leadership void at the state level, Nagin would get onto the national stage with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Couhig also seemed to think that Nagin shares his thelandrieus (it's always thelandrieus with Couhig) obsession; I actually heard Couhig say, "I don't think that Nagin's finished with thelandrieus yet" on his talk show one morning. So I did take the plausible idea that losing a statewide race could benefit Nagin from Couhig, I jsut thought that the Sharpton comparison was absurd and decided that a Cleo Fields analogy was more sensible. Also, a senate run to punish thelandrieus would seem to be a violation of federal campaign law. Then again, Couhig may know Nagin well enough to know that Nagin doesn't consider himself bound by campaign laws.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A Good Christian Divorce


I normally don't care about the personal lives of politicians,* but this is too good to pass up. Also, it's a chance to answer a largely unasked question -- why doesn't Aaron Broussard seem to have any serious re-election opponents?

In the aftermath of Katrina and the evacuation of the Jefferson Parish pumping stations, John Young seemed to be Broussard's most likely challenger. Broussard seemed so worried about Young that he even called him a liar at a public meeting. As recently as April, Clancy DuBos wondered whether "scandal-free" John Young would get involved in a tough campaign against Broussard now, or run for re-election to his own at-large Jefferson Parish council seat and run for parish president in four years when Broussard would be term-limited out.

Frankly, I wonder at times if Clancy's being disingenuous or just plain dense. At the time he wrote that column, DuBos knew, or should have known, about John Young's involvement in, not one, but two messy divorces -- his own and Julie Quinn's. At the time that DuBos wrote that article, a report about the police being called when Patrick Quinn allegedly violated his estranged wife's restraining order against him had already appeared in the Picayune. Though the story focused on the Quinns, it did mention the "friendship" between Julie Quinn and John Young. I looked for the story when Oyster recently wrote about Patrick Quinn, but it doesn't seem to be available online -- I'll check LexisNexis Monday.

Now there's news that Young's ex-wife, Christian reporter Mary Lou McCall claims that Julie Quinn slapped her (McCall's) child:
The incident occurred May 19 at Quinn's Old Metairie home while she was watching two of McCall and Young's children, as well as her own, according to the incident report. Quinn broke up a fight between the 8-year-old and her children when McCall's son pulled away and cursed at her, the report said. The child told a deputy that Quinn then hit him in the face, the report said.

That's a new twist on the story, but the story's been around for months. I don't think it's enough to cause permanent damage to Young's career, but there are obvious reasons why he might not want to get involved in a tough race right now.

Apparently, McCall wasn't the only family member involved in Christian television --from Young's Jefferson Parish web page:

Legal and Political Analyst, FOCUS TV Talkshow (1998 Present)

Board of Directors, St. Thomas Moore Catholic Lawyers Association

More about Focus Christian TV:
Focus Christian TV is the exciting new Internet network which will bring family oriented programming consisting of religious, entertaining, informative news and cultural shows to every Catholic, especially the youth. It is in direct response to Pope John Paul II’s directive in his encyclical, Mission of the Redeemer. The pope said, "The means of social communications have become so important that as to be for many the chief means of information and education, of guidance and inspiration in their behavior as individuals, families and within society at large." The pope has repeatedly called upon "God’s faithful people" to use the technological marvels of this age "to serve the human and transcendent vocation of every person and thus to give glory to the Father from whom all good things come."

*Unless, their personal lives seem (penultimate paragraph) to overlap with their personal investments (2nd item).

Update: Found a working link to that earlier story about John Young and the Quinn's divorce. I'll admit to getting some enjoyment out of reading about Old Matairie Republicans acting like Springer Show trailer trash, but it also shows why DuBos should have known that Young was no longer likely to get into a race with Broussard. Hence the question about whether DuBos is sometimes disingenuous, or just plain dense. link:
Mix a hotel mogul and two Jefferson Parish politicians with a court-issued protective order, and you've got yourself a weekend of finger-pointing, bruised egos and jail time.

The saga of state Sen. Julie Quinn's quickly curdling divorce fight seems to have reached a boiling point. And at the nadir of it all seems to be Patrick Quinn, owner of several local hotels and the senator's estranged husband, who said his wife has been dating Parish Councilman John Young.

"Saturday was bad, and Sunday was worse," Patrick Quinn said Monday, a day after being released from jail.

On Sunday, he said he went to Young's house to tell the councilman to stay away from the two children that he fathered with Julie Quinn. Young did not answer the door, Patrick Quinn said.

Friday, June 01, 2007


This post is not about Ronald Reagan:
"God, he's a bore. And a bad actor. Besides, he has a low order of intelligence, with a certain cunning. And not animal cunning, Human cunning. Animal cunning is too fine an expression for him. He's inflated, he's egotistical -- he's one of those people who thinks he is right, and he's not right. He's not right about anything."

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