Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Working around a bad boss?

What follows is somewhat disjointed due to time constraints

I was disgusted when I used a similar title for a post once before. I'm not disgusted now, but I'm not sure if Fielkow's thinking what I'm thinking. When I read Lolis Eric Elie's series on Veronica White and recycling this past October, I got the impression that the city had plans for "very lucrative" recycling contracts, probably to be awarded to "home-grown" businessmen. I wonder if Arnold Fielkow and some other council members got the same impression.

If so, the council couldn't really challenge the mayor based on a hunch, so they played this exactly right. However, I do think a golden moment is slipping away. The secretiveness and outright dishonesty that led to the bloated sanitation contracts seem to be fading from public memory. Oddly enough, the mayor's dishonesty about his own voting habits is helping to protect his reputation for integrity. Nagin might be upset about the recent media questioning, but he shouldn't be. Much better, from the mayor's point-of-view, that reporters ask how his voting habits than ask about why the "champion of transparency" kept the details of the garbage collection contracts secret for so long. Even though the mayor was caught in a blatant lie, he's not being portrayed as a corrupt politician who gives rich contracts to cronies then makes up numbers and makes up facts to hide the truth; he's just coming across as our loose cannon mayor who blurts things out without thinking. I suspect that it even gives some people the impression that he's too stupid to be a crook.

BTW, on the garbage contracts, I couldn't help but notice something at NorthWest Carrollton, I'm almost positive that SWDI and Waste Management mailed their letters dropping out the bidding for the sanitation contracts a month before we saw any reporting on the mayor's plans for "Disneyland-like" garbage collection.

Finally, a reminder quote to go with last Wednesday's collection:
Given the extravagant performance of justice by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and the local division of the FBI, it seems safe at this juncture to say that Mayor Ray Nagin has clean hands.
Jason Berry

That quote is only three months old. I've said it before, but I don't think that New Orleans bloggers, and blog readers, realize that most people in the city really don't think of the mayor as corrupt and dishonest.

Sure they do. They just don't care.
In the words of Deborah Cotton (http://www.deborahcotton.com/):
"I'm pretty sure my mayor has tourettes now and I KNOW he's going to say something to embarrass us the minute he leaves town. I just brace myself till the national publicity storm passes, which is generally about two weeks later. And no one here expects leadership from him anymore. We all just fight the battle for New Orleans without him."

I love her writing, but at the same time, I just want to say, "Things can be different, you know? It didn't have to be this way, and it still doesn't have to be."
My point is that focusing on the embarrassing aspects of what he says misses the more important point that he's thoroughly dishonest.
Definitely bookmark that Jason Berry quote about da Mayor's cleanliness.

2008 will not be a fun one for Mayor Ray and his "clean" hands.
I got your point, David. I'm just saying that the larger view beyond what you've been digging up and educating us all about with regards to the Walking Id's dishonesty is that the man is, for want of a better adjective, a buffoon. The buffoonery may well be hiding a foxy cleverness, but people are so tired of the damn clown that they don't want to dig any deeper for fear of getting even more insanity in their faces than they already have been getting.

I'm just putting forth a possible view of the public's views beyond the bloggers and blog readers, is all. It's a good point you've made.
I don't disagree with your post, however the media is also to blame for a few of "Our Mayor's" gaffs. I just wrote about one at my blog.
jason berry...what a dick
I figured you got my point, Leigh. But again, beyond bloggers and blog readers, I don't think much of the public looks past the buffoonery to the needless secrecy and blatant lies. Like I just said in a comment at Oyster's, the buffoonery didn't keep him from being re-elected. Clancy DuBos savaged him for it during the election, but now Gambit readers just think we re-elected a clown. I wonder how many know that we re-elected a thoroughly corrupt clown.
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