Saturday, October 27, 2007

Arnie the comedian

It's our job to guard the public funds here. We're the stewards of those funds.

Arnold Fielgood said that on Rob Couhig's 7am show (at the end of the show, direct link here) yesterday morning. He phoned in to say it, must have been on his way to berate Shelley Midura for publicly criticizing other council members -- to berate her for publicly criticizing other council members in front of a reporter.

The obvious question is, if sunshine laws prevent any council meetings from being truly private, whose brilliant idea was it to have a private, "let it all out, don't pull any punches" retreat? The articles states that the retreat was conducted by a volunteer, so I assume that the guardians of public funds didn't spend any public money on it. Still, a google search led to an interesting result. The biggest feud on the council is between Hedge-Morrell and Midura, and a colleague of Hedge-Morrell's conducts the togetherness session. I don't know want to read too much into one google search, but searching for Leslie Bouie and finding an old picture of Cynthia Hedge-Morrell did add another surreal element.

Adrastos has more, mainly in the comments. There were two marginally related stories in today's paper. In one we're reminded of the earliest days of the feud:
Councilwoman Shelley Midura later criticized the grant, suggesting it was not a wise use of money.
Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis defended it, saying the toilet seat was a good product with the potential for large sales that would mean jobs and money for New Orleans. The toilet seat's developers, Susan Perry Hinton and Calvin Hinton, lived in Willard-Lewis' eastern New Orleans district before Hurricane Katrina and said they hoped eventually to manufacture the seat at a plant in her district. The council has not been told what progress has been made on the project.

Two months ago, Midura and Councilwoman Stacy Head voted against $1.3 million in grants to six nonprofits that also had been approved by the advisory committee before Katrina but that still needed council ratification. The grants included $337,000 to Newcorp, a business assistance center; $300,000 to the Capital Access Program, which works with small and disadvantaged businesses; $220,000 to Total Community Action's program to help poor families file for the federal earned income tax credit; $200,000 to the Goodwork Network's Micro-Entrepreneur Development Program; $200,000 to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra; and $50,000 to the Lighthouse for the Blind.

Willard-Lewis and Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell defended the allocations.

Another article makes me wonder if the bad feeling between Midura and the Cynthias has affected recycling efforts. Of course, I wouldn't expect Willard-Lewis to have much interest in recycling anyway.

Arnie is sort of baggy pants type slapstick comic. I guess that's why he keeps hitching them in public...
That retreat sounds more like it was setup and ambush for Midura than an actual retreat. Some folks don't seem to like the way Midura holds government accountable. Fielkow is such a douche.
I think Midura needs to learn how to take a political punch. She'll have Republican opposition in that district and they won't play nice.
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I don't think her primary opponets are Republicans, they are stateists for the old order.
I'm surprised at how many people seem to like the fact that Midura loses her cool. I agree with Adrastos about Shelley and the GOP. During the 2006 primary election, I wondered (in a comment at Asley's) why Batt singled out Midura to attack, when other candidates were also attacking him. I figured he wanted to make a Democrat his runoff opponent in a Repub district. Now I'm wondering if he spotted Midura as the most flusterable (I know it's not a word, but it should be). I'm serious, I don't understand why most people refuse to believe that lowlifes like Batt (or Nagin) who seem too flighty (or too stupid) to take seriously can be quite adept at seizing their own advantage or spotting an opponent's weakness.

It wasn't a good moment for Midura, but it was a terrible moment for the rest of the council. At first, i thought the retreat had gotten too much attention, now I think it deserves more.
Mominem, I'm taking the long view. Presumably Midura will run for re-election and that was a Republican held district for 30 some odd years before she beat Batty.
I have had may encounters with Midura on a number of issues. She thinks she is wonderwoman. She honestly thinks she can root out corruption and lapsed ethics. Her problem is she has no faith in anyone.

I also believe people confuse her emotional outbursts with rational strategy.

She is totally flusterable, I can imagine her freaking out in the car pool lane.
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