Thursday, March 12, 2009

Not quite a Jeff Sadow imitation*

I hate for my first post in ten days to be little more than a collection of links to earlier posts, but I saw Lee Zurik's report on the Old Gentilly Landfill and remembered that I had written about it a few times myself:

Nov. 14, 2007:
The following will appear somewhere in tomorrow's Picayune:
In 2001, Stumpf and Woods formed a joint venture and submitted the only proposal to operate the new facility. In the final days of the Morial administration in early 2002, they signed a deal under which -- provided the landfill received a state permit -- they would keep 97 percent of the proceeds, with the city getting the other 3 percent.

The Nagin administration also engaged in some convoluted reasoning to defend the landfill's operation:
(yet another)Nagin spokesman David Robinson-Morris said it's the city's position that the landfill "was never technically 'closed.' "

The argument apparently rests on the fact that the landfill was ordered closed -- and stopped accepting trash as a result -- but had not completed the closure process required by the state, which involved placing a layer of clay atop it. During the 1990s, New Orleans voters approved a bond issue that in part was to pay for the clay cap, but the work was never finished.

But for the purposes of zoning, city law offers definitions of "open" and "closed" that have nothing to do with state environmental law.
Times Picayune

Also worth remembering, Cynthia Willard-Lewis was a forceful advocate for the New Orleans East Vietnamese Community's demand that an eastern New Orleans landfill be closed. But that was the Chef Menteur Landfill, owned by Waste Management, not the Old Gentilly Landfill, owned by AMID/Metro.

May 25, 2007:
If you turned on a New Orleans television channel, you almost certainly saw a commercial in which Nagin said to ask yourself why his opponent's campaign contributors were giving him (Landrieu) money. With that in mind, I looked at the list of Nagin donors (sorry, can't find a working link) and saw names like AMID Landfill, AMID/Metro Partnerships, Metro Disposal and Durr Construction. In addition to Metro's "very lucrative" (Nagin's term) garbage collection contract, all four of those firms have an interest in the Old Gentilly Landfill that appeared in today's Picayune
The "yet another," before Nagin spokesman, didn't appear in the Picayune. Another item that didn't appear in the Picayune was the fact that Durr, in addition to being a partner in AMID Landfill, had the contract for the clay cap.

I have no idea which side is correct about the legal issues, but I do know that the Nagin administration has shown questionable judgement about the operation of another city landfill -- judgement so questionable that it was featured on the NBC News segment "The Fleecing of America." In the interest of transparency, and to avoid another embarrassment, it might be a good idea to demand a garbage dump document dump.

I can only hope that a facetious prediction I made in Nov. 2006 doesn't come to pass.

You may also remember the Old Gentilly Landfill from the infamous counter letter in the Pampy Barre case. I really do need to finish that post about Julie Quinn, but it's difficult to find the words to express how grateful I am that she prevented commerce in Louisiana from being destroyed overnight. I don't think that most people realize there wouldn't being a single business left in the state if she hadn't blocked a piece of legislation last year.

*Finally, Sadow tends to link to his own posts in a manner that most would find objectionable, especially coming from a professor. It's an entirely acceptable practice for a blogger to refer back to his previously expressed opinions; it's an entirely different to link back to your own posts when you're using a link as a corroborating footnote. As an example, most bloggers and readers would find it perfectly acceptable for me to refer to "my previously expressed opinion" of Mayor Nagin. If I had learned to blog from reading Sadow, I'd refer to a mayor who refuses to even explain his decisions. In Sadow's case, if you try to follow the links, you find more references to Sadow's previously expressed opinions without any corroborating links. For example, try finding anything in the last post mentioned that lends any credence to Sadow's assertion about Ater's desire to become head of the state Democratic Party. He's actually three-for-three in the second paragraph of that post. Maybe Sadow's just stuck on himself.

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