Sunday, June 08, 2008

Collective Amnesia?

Or collective cowardice? Or just a bunch of really wise monkeys?

I've already commented on the mayor's "state of the city" speech, but I went on vacation soon after and missed most of the editorial reaction. Now that I'm back, I'm flabbergasted. I leave town shortly after seeing a WDSU report that Nagin's chronic excuse mongering had finally led to a lawsuit and come home to...Mizaru*:
To his credit, Mayor Nagin apologized for delays in getting crime cameras up and working across the city. One of the companies hired to do the work "walked off the job," and the city had to start again, he said. But "we should have caught it earlier and adjusted accordingly." In promising to have 200 of 241 cameras working by July, he said: "No more delays. No excuses."

This year, he accepted responsibility for the nonfunctioning crime cameras

And Iwazaru:
"one of the companies we hired to install and maintain a significant number of cameras walked off the job and that impacted our delivery schedule," Nagin admitted. "We had to go back instead of concentrating on moving forward. We should have caught it earlier and adjusted accordingly."

Put aside for the moment questions over the administration's unnecessary secrecy over the matter until now, as well as just how long it took to 'catch' a major contractors' absence from the job. This was Nagin doing something he rarely does: owning up to his shortcomings and promising to address them, on a transparent schedule, "no more delays, no excuses."

In a comment at Adrastos' place, I mentioned that the WDSU report is the only mention that I can find in the local media of Southern Electronics' lawsuit againts the city. Maybe the city's other news outlets have decided that the suit is frivolous, and they're exercising discretion rather than displaying cowardice; let's be charitable and assume that they are. The fact remains, the WDSU report was on the station's website early Friday. The Stephanie Grace op-ed, T/P editorial and Clancy DuBos column didn't hit the newsstands until Sunday. They all praised Nagin for "taking responsibility" yet none mentioned one consequence of the Nagin's wonderful decision to "take responsibility" -- to be fair, I have no idea what kind of publication schedule Gambit is on.

Leaving out the lawsuit, one might hope that professional opinion-mongerers would be well-informed enough to remember, or diligent enough to find out, what had been reported on a subject before offering their opinions. Had our wise monkeys bothered to uncover their eyes, they might have found a March 2007 report on faulty cameras and questionable contracts that led to this response:
The initial contract to install the cameras, which Mayor C. Ray Nagin signed in July 2004, followed a competitive bid process. Under this contract, the City specified a maximum number of cameras that would be installed by the vendor.

At the end of that year, the contractor had installed only 25 cameras, despite significant encouragement from and expense on the part of the City. In order to install cameras more quickly, the City also employed contractors who had been chosen through a state bid process.
By the end of this year, 200 cameras are expected to be in operation.

I suppose that it's too much to expect professional journalists to remember articles from over a year ago or even have enough of a vague recollection to prompt a Google search. However, a similar report appeared less than a month before the opinion pieces:
On that January evening in 2007, Nagin announced that 50 cameras would be operable within a week, with 200 online by the end of the year. It was a modest proposal, scaled down from an earlier pledge of 1,000 cameras.

Now we're supposed to be reassured because the mayor takes responsibility, while blaming somebody else (and getting the city sued), and promises to have 200 cameras working by July. He made last year's promise after replacing Southern Electronics.

Update: Way to go, City Council.

*In case my meaning isn't obvious:
The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts