Friday, July 27, 2007

Fact-Finding Trip

Updated 8/07/07 Something was bothering me the whole time I wrote the update -- Bienville is on the opposite side of Canal from the proposed site of the new VA hospital. Still, eminent domain could be applied to the actual hospital site, not to neighboring areas.

No posting until the week after next, I'm off to see if it's true that developers really are evil, give 'em an inch, they take a mile types. Actually, I decided on the Cove Mountain hike for non-political reasons and came across the news items later. Don't know if I'll make it to the Asheville-Hendersonville area; Bear Wallow Mountain is the next mountain over from Chimney Rock, where Last of the Mohicans was filmed. With the growth in that the area, I don't think it will be long until Chimney Rock is the site of a gated community.

I'll leave you with quotes from two local bloggers that I considered using as the start of an angry rant a few weeks ago, when my computer was broken.

I don’t care what Jim Letten does, some day Sugar Ray Nagin is going down.

I'll buy just about all of that. My only question is then does this mean we have to wait until 2010 or 2012 to see indictments of Nagin's cronies comparable to what we're seeing now with the Morial people?
In a comment at Some Come Running.


Moldy City:
Excessive secrecy can only lead to more rancor and bitterness on the part who are unhappy with those decisions and help justify charges of conspiracies or crooked insider deals.

Some recent posts by other local bloggers.

I'll have to finish the update later, can't get Squandered Heritage (now available) and a Suspect Device (now available) comic on the subject isn't available yet online.

However, if you're going to go the "conspiracy" route, it's not just Bienville. As I said, I can't get Squandered Heritage for some reason, but when I looked at Karen's postings on the subject, I wondered who had designs on Central City. I know that plans for a Jazz Park are officially on hold, but there seems to be heavy concentration of demolitions spreading out in two directions from the CBD. The area bordering the proposed park is one, the other is also interesting:
LSU and the VA have been negotiating for months to build adjoining hospitals that would share laundry and laboratory services. The sister hospitals were supposed to be built on 37 acres bounded by Tulane, Canal, Claiborne Avenue and Galvez Street
The state and the city are now trying to hold on to the VA hospital by offering 34 acres next to the original 37-acre parcel where the federal government can proceed while the state debates how large and how expensive the LSU hospital should be. The new site is bounded by Tulane, Canal, Galvez and South Rocheblave Street.
In all, the city and the state would have to acquire 188 private properties north of Galvez Street to present an unbroken piece of land where the VA could build its hospital. Nine of those properties are blighted, and several more have overdue property taxes, according to a map produced by the city's office of technology.
The city's secretiveness about its plans for the area north of Galvez Street irked the leader of the neighborhood association. Paul Ikemire said leaders from LSU, Tulane University and the VA had talked to the neighborhood about the proposed expansion, but he had heard nothing from the mayor.

"Ray Nagin is our mayor, and when the city makes an agreement with the state regarding a community, I would have thought he would be the first to contact the neighborhood association," he said.

Ikemire, a medical student, said he understands the need to retain the veterans hospital downtown. But if he had the opportunity to talk to the mayor, he said, he would have suggested that the city look at area between Tulane Avenue and Poydras Street north of the interstate as an alternative. He said that area has far more blighted and empty space than the area beyond Galvez does.

To my knowledge, the administration still hasn't offered an explanation for the move -- a proposed move that increases the likelihood of the city losing the hospital altogether.

As far as I'm concerned, needless secrecy can justify any "conspiracy" theory, but I think that most people are too afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists. If federal prosecutors shared that fear, there'd be no RICO prosecutions. Well, that would possibly be a good thing.

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