Sunday, March 23, 2008

La Cité, c'est Nagin

That should be, "the ($148,857) city attorney is Nagin's personal attorney," but I have no idea how to write that in French; and it wouldn't sound like Louis XIV, anyway.

I will remind readers that, last April, I expressed the opinion that people were missing the truly offensive passage in a Nagin speech:
We have
programs where you can buy adjudicated
and blighted properties for
half their appraised value and you
hire your own appraiser.
I’ve asked the city attorney if I can
participate in this program
she’s keeps saying no Mr. Mayor.

What was he getting at with the part about hiring your own appraiser? And why the F*** did he run for re-election if he's mainly interested in the business opportunities that reconstruction offers? The second question was intended to be rhetorical, but the first question is entirely serious
I thought that I had said something about him using the city attorney as his personal attorney, but, apparently, I didn't.

No matter; from a Gordon Russell article about a deal between Home Depot and Stone Age LLC. in today's Picayune:
In April 2007, when Stone Age registered as a home-improvement business with the state Licensing Board for Contractors, Jeremy Nagin was listed as president of the firm. Jarin Nagin and the mayor were listed as vice presidents.

Seletha Nagin signed as a witness, and the document was notarized by City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields.

Moses-Fields probably notarized the document on her own time, just as she probably answered Nagin's questions on her own time.

Read the whole article and form your own opinion on the ethical implications of the deal. On the one hand. Russell points out that Stacy Head recommended that Home Depot be allowed to purchase city property for a price lower than its appraised value. However,
Head said Nagin also played a role in scrapping a "community benefits agreement" that Head initially supported but that Home Depot opposed. The document would have required the retailer to make specific commitments to hire members of the surrounding community and pay them at a certain scale, among other pledges.

Head said "the administration pressured me to forgo negotiations" on that deal because Home Depot had pronounced it a "deal killer."

Apparently, the mayor doesn't care whether businesses hire local workers, he just doesn't want them to hire Mexicans.

On the question of ownership, I'll point out that Seletha Nagin does not appear anywhere on the company's corporate filing with the state.

I'll close with a suggestion for the morning news anchors at WVUE, ask the mayor about something that he said last year:
Stone Age LLC was incorporated in January 2005, but the degree to which the mayor and his sons are involved in the enterprise is a mystery.

Asked for comment on the venture, Nagin replied by e-mail Friday that the questions were "out of bounds."

He said he would have no comment "on my personal investments that are totally outside of any city responsibilities."

But try not to get cold cocked.

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With two years left on his final term, this doesn't surprise me. This is right on schedule, and not unexpected for a mayor with future career opportunities far more limited than his supersize ego would have imagined a few years back. Nagin would be poison to any free market-driven business operation, so set up of a family business that hopes to feed off public or quasi-public contracting sounds about right.
I seem to recall a report tha the business had closed down. Or maybe it just meoved to bigger more plush quarters. Anybody know the truth?
"What was he getting at with the part about hiring your own appraiser?"

He was alluding to the fact that you can (could?) get certain appraisers to give you basically any number you need to make a deal work, "FMV"
be damned.

Nagin was making it seem like that NO blighted properties were basically there for the taking.

Perhaps this is obvious, but I thought I'd spell it out just in case.
I was alluding to the fact that Nagin was advocating profiting off of the fact that residents were losing their homes. I can't remember if I was rushed when I wrote the original post or didn't think I needed to elaborate. I do remember that I was ticked off that everybody was paying so much attention his racial conspiracy statements while ignoring that part of the speech. I thought it would have been damning on its own, but to talk about the federal government forcing poor black people out of the city and then to segue into, "so come on down and take advantage of the opportunity," was galling. I probably should have elaborated on it more, but I was already getting exasperated by the fact that people expected the outrage over the mayor's stupid statements to accomplish anything. Nothing wrong with expressing outrage at his stupid statements, but I never thought that it could do more than provide amusement by itself.

Also, he was obviously advocating questionable activity, but I wondered if he was endorsing actual law-breaking. And he does seem to think he can use the city attorney as his personal attorney.

Mominem, I saw that in a comment somewhere, but not in a news report. I can only assume that somebody saw a closed office and assumed that the business closed, when it probably just moved.
Btw, "that part of his speech" wasn't an isolated comment. I think he's said the same line several times in various speeches.
He always tells people to buy New Orleans dirt and he probably mentions that program when does. It's probably all legal, but I don't think it's good for the city to enable investors to buy up too much New Orleans dirt at dirt cheap prices. Beyond that, he does seem to be using the city attorney as his personal attorney, but that's minor. Beyond that, the speech shows that he thinks it's acceptable to try to lead the city's recovery and personally profit from the city's situation at the time. And, in this case, he basically said, "The racist federal government did something terrible to my people; come on down and take advantage of what the government did to my people."
I am trying google searches about the things Dambala can't blog about any more, and this post of yours came up.

I had missed that quote the first time around.

God, it pissed me off to read it.

My godchildren's first home was destroyed while their family was trying to save it while living a million miles away.
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