Saturday, April 26, 2008

James Gill: One Wise Monkey

Wise as can be, where Nagin's concerned

As I passed Stone Age Granite's new digs at Palm and Monticello recently, it occurred to me that it had been a month, and the story had been allowed to die. The mayor refuses to answers questions about a deal that can't pass any kind of smell test, and that's good enough for the local media. To be fair, the mayor has avoided WWL reporters, but WGNO and WDSU have both allowed the mayor to declare the subject an off limits, personal matter.

Last month, I wrote:
I was glad to see the Picayune run an editorial, and Stephanie Grace write a column about the Stone Age/Home Depot deal, but gutless Gill has been silent on the subject. Gill is happy to write about the mayor's misstatements and temper tantrums, but he still refuses to question the mayor's integrity.

Since I wrote that, Gill has written columns about Jay Blossman and Bobby Jindal that show he still has his nose for hypocrisy and his writing chops, but he still hasn't written about the Stone Age/Home Depot deal. The fact that Stacy Head recommended the sale of land to Home Depot only explains so much. It's hard to reconcile one part of the Home Depot deal:
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.

with some of the mayor's earlier actions. A cynic might point out that minority subcontractors, as defined by city ordinance, tend be politically connected firms on the city's DBE list, but the Central City residents that Home Depot would hire under such an agreement would be unlikely to contribute to future Nagin campaigns.

At any rate, it's inconceivable that Gill would fail to notice if any other area politician proclaimed himself a "champion of transparency" and then refused to answer questions.

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