Sunday, May 11, 2008

Michelle, Frank...

In this morning's paper, you wrote:
Pollster and Xavier University political scientist Silas Lee said Nagin, like any mayor of a large American city, often gets judged for successes and failures in areas outside his direct control, such as the pace of work on federal levee projects. Some of the criticism leveled at the mayor is misplaced, he said.

Shouldn't that have read,"Pollster, highly paid Nagin consultant and Xavier University political scientist Silas Lee..."?

Silas, if the mayor paid me $60,000 $73,500, I'd probably defend him too. But, you also said,
"People want to hear more from (Nagin), see more of him, to reassure them. But he operates from a corporate leadership perspective: He delegates."

He delegates? Maybe so, but he doesn't delegate like an effective corporate executive.

I'll have more detailed comments on the articles after I attend to Mother's Day obligations. I will cite the article's opening paragraph:
When New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's administration quietly shut down the Good Neighbor anti-blight program last fall without reviewing thousands of complaints, howls of protest arose from citizens fed up with moldering, rat-infested houses.

The accompanying scorecard on p. A16 (couldn't find it online) implicitly praises the mayor for the 2005 city layoffs. I'll say it again, I didn't blame the mayor for my pink slip, but I certainly expected the city's remaining payroll to go to productive employees. But instead of retaining building inspectors, the mayor kept highly paid aides, department heads, assistant department heads and upper level bureaucrats on the payroll. It's certainly fair, though possibly naive, to suggest that blighted houses don't get cited and sound houses get condemned because of the mayor's failure to set budget priorities.

On a related note, I've been complaining for months that NOBC gets the funding, NORA gets the publicity. Not that I'd want Rob Couhig and company the money to bulldoze every thing that doesn't fit into their ideas for a post-Katrina New Orleans.

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I nearly choked when I read the "delegates" comment. Last time I checked, delegation did not mean pass the buck to your incompetent and unresponsive underlings. It meant assigning people tasks and holding them accountable.

Ray Nagin wouldn't last one day in the real (read: non-monopoly) corporate world.
You misunderstand how the Cable Business Economy works. Actual customers are secondary and generally viewed with contempt.

Cable monopolies are based on serving the needs of the local poitical structure, or else someone will be allowed to "overbuid" their existing system.

That is not a danger in New Orleans since we hare not economically attractive, but other equally destructive behavior could result, like question manual 10% price increases, reductions in customer service and similar anti consumer antics.
In other words, Nagin's business background was actually a political background. Or am I twisting your words?

I've long thought that it's absurd to take the animosity between Nagin and Morial as anything more than a squabble over who calls the shots or how the loot gets split.

There is this from the 2002 election:

"I don't lean toward either of them, to be quite honest," Morial said. "I have worked closely with them. I worked with Ray Nagin to bring the Brass here. I worked with Ray Nagin on a new franchise agreement for Cox Cable in 1995. Certainly, I recruited Richard Pennington to come here."

Couldn't find a link to the original article.
Just for starters, I vomit a little in the back of my throat when I see Silas Lee. On the one hand, he has very little to say of any intellectual substance, on the other hand, he always balances out his substance-lacking statements by providing very little to say of any intellectual substance. And for this he gets paid? The least he could do is buy a new pair of vanity rims for his glasses to make him look more intelligent, even if he sounds like he should be teaching a sixth grade poly sci class.
You know, I've noticed that you often lament the relative lack of Nagin criticism on the blogosphere, you know, given that he is the worst mayor of all time.

I think the reason for that is that you so thoroughly take care of business over here.

For the TP to omit disclosing Silas Lee's financial relationship with the Mayor is incredibly bush league. Scratch that, it was bush league to even go to this man for analysis. It is downright pathetic to not disclose the financial relationship.

I have recently allowed my T-P subscription expire and I'm feeling pretty good about that right now.
Silas Lee does not have a degree in political science, to my understanding, but in sociology.
PBS referred to him as a sociologist during the mayor's race when it mentioned something that WDSU didn't seem to feel the need to tell us. Even though he's listed as member of Xavier's Sociology Department, I would cut the Picayune some slack for calling a Political Scientist, he refers to himself as a pollster and political analyst and his academic background is mixed:

Ph.D. - Urban Studies, University of New Orleans, 1999
M.A. - Urban Studies, University of New Orleans, 1979
B.A. - Political Science and Sociology, Loyola University of New Orleans, 1976 Court Certified Specialist (specializing in public opinion research and social and economic status of African Americans), 1980

Thanks for the compliment, E, but I've tried to modify the complaint about not criticizing Nagin enough to not doing enough to influence local news coverage. True, Nagin is favorite soapbox subject, but I think there are enough local bloggers to get the local media to stop letting Nagin run out the clock evert time he gets into trouble. I suspect that the Picayune would like to be more critical of Nagin, but is afraid of the bias charge -- especially since the machine gun photo. If we can't influence the local press on something like that, we'll never get it to pay attention to pay attention to things it would rather ignore... like NOBC or radioactive materials going through the port.

Of course, it's not just the T/P; it would be nice if we had an alternayive weekly. I remember once in the mid-nineties I was shocked to see how much better Asheville's weekly was than ours. The city had already started to become trendy, but it was alot smaller then -- several times smaller than N.O.
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