Thursday, October 25, 2007

James Gill is a (part time) hack

I'm not sure when I decided to try to temper my criticisms of reporters who work full time and are often under pressure to meet a deadline. Op-ed writers, however, write two or three columns per weerk, and two of the Picayune's writers don't seem to spend much time researching their columns. James Gill and Jarvis DeBerry might draw full time pay checks, but they don't work full time hours.

James Gill isn't just lazy, the paper's most cynical writer refuses to take even a slightly critical look at the Nagin administration. He demonstrated just how badly he had lost it when he attempted to exorcise the spirit of Lafcadio Hearn in a particularly daft column last year:
Ill winds blow some good
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
James Gill

Good times are expected shortly. The Road Home Program has finally grasped that all that money won't do any good so long as it just sits there, and distressed homeowners may soon see some action on their grant applications.

The crying need for rental housing will apparently soon be met as developers, spurred by tax breaks, plan construction all over the city.
But Katrina has turned New Orleans into the most desirable burg in America for businesses looking to relocate, according to Expansion Management magazine, which cites state and federal financial incentives and cheap labor in its list of inducements.

It didn't seem to occur to Gill that the cheap labor that would attract employers might have the opposite effect on real estate developers. Had he bothered to read his own paper he would have learned that primary reason given to consider relocating to New Orleans was cheap commercial real estate. You don't have to be an economist or financial expert to wonder about the stability of an economy with cheap labor and commercial real estate but sky high residential real estate.

Flash forward to the present, Gambit Weekly tells us why the mayor's plan to relocate the civil courts is "just plain dumb":
Another 3,550 legal support staff, including paralegals, legal secretaries, court runners, bookkeepers, receptionists, administrators, clerks and others, also work in downtown office buildings. All told, more than 6,700 members of the legal community work downtown.

Moreover, more than 30 percent of downtown's office space is leased to attorneys, according to a recent survey of property managers.

Clearly, the legal community helps anchor the downtown area " not just in terms of office space but also in terms of related and ancillary businesses: large banks and financial service centers, high-end hotels and restaurants, copy centers, coffee shops, parking garages and more. A major sector of the local economy revolves around the legal community's presence downtown.

But, to paraphrase Kanye West, James Gill doesn't care about working people. In his column on the subject, Gill doesn't question Nagin's motivation for uprooting a large sector of the local economy, or even whether it's a good idea. He'd rather make clever jokes about lawyers than question the "champion of transparency."

If you consider the fact the mayor has bold plans involving both the city's legal and medical communities, it might be wise to question whether the mayor is being reckless. As mominem indicates, in the comments at Jeffrey's, there may be more than recklessness at work. I've wondered about that myself.

However, I'm sure that Gill will write a clever column this weekend about a slick politician who expects us to believe his absurd claims. I'll be shocked if the column mocks two politicians.

Well you're partially right. Today Gill goes after Shepherd and delivers a slight blow to "Dollar Bill" in the process... but does not mention or even allude to the Nagin allegations.
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