Saturday, April 21, 2007

NY Times goes after Bush inaction on N.O. recovery

President Bush has reneged on his promises to Katrina’s victims. Shamefully, the president has chosen the interests of bureaucracy over those of American towns on the brink of failure.

Over a year and a half later, there are 64,000 people still sleeping in trailers in Louisiana and far too many communities without schools, hospitals and other basics. These are unacceptable failures. At least part of the problem is a law that requires states to contribute 10 percent of the cost of most federally financed reconstruction projects. Mr. Bush waived that requirement after the Sept. 11 attacks (as his father did after Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki) but he refuses to do so for the Gulf Coast.
The Times has been very supportive of New Orleans recovery from the very beginning. But look at the comment on the WWL Blog about the editorial. What the hell does "defamate" mean? Sounds like "misunderestimate." That guy is taking vocabulary lessons from Bush.

Camellia Grill!!!

Now that's what I call Recovery!
Woohoo! Can hardly wait for a chocolate freeze and pecan waffles for breakfast.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Corps is at it again.

The Corps giveth and the Corps takes away.

Some 1,800 feet of concrete-capped floodwall along the west side of the 17th Street Canal is anchored by steel sheet pilings driven into the levee only 4.5 feet below sea level, making them 13 feet shorter than pilings that failed south of Hammond Highway during Hurricane Katrina and contributed to massive flooding in the city.

Just across the canal on the New Orleans side, where the Army Corps of Engineers soon plans to raise and widen the levee in the Veterans Memorial Boulevard area to help better defend against another failure, sheet pilings range from five to 14 feet deep, according to figures provided by the corps.

But corps engineers say the shallow sheeting poses no threat because water in the canal won't be allowed this storm season to rise against the floodwalls as it did with catastrophic results during Katrina, but will instead be restricted to a so-called "safe" elevation, which is tentatively set at six feet.

Yeah, not that the untested and defective pumps are in place, we can scant a bit on the expenses and shortchange N.O. on the sheet pilings.

Good commentary from San Antonio

If only the national media would address this "narrative" as forthrightly.

hat's not surprising. Some people have a narrative in their heads where Katrina is concerned: It's about lazy black folk waiting on the government to save them; incompetent Democratic politicians; poor President Bush, unfairly maligned. Anything you say about the storm gets fed through the meat grinder of that narrative, contradictory fact gets pulverized like gristle, and you are left with a “truth” that validates only what they believed all along.

We all have our narratives. And if we're not careful, we end up trapped by them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blakely. Hmmm?

NY Times:

I can't decide if this guy is good for New Orleans or not.
“We have an economy entirely made up of T-shirts,” he said in a speech at the University of Sydney this week. “That is our major import and export.”

He sees the moribund economic infrastructure as the result, in part, of the city’s provincialism.

“It’s quite interesting how insular people are here,” Dr. Blakely said. “They don’t know people on Wall Street, they don’t know the big development firms, they’ve not been associated with the kind of urban planning expertise that I take for granted.”
. . . . .
“I think, if we create the right signals, they’re going to come here, and they’re going to say, ‘Who are these buffoons?’ I’m meeting some who are moving here, and they don’t have time for this stuff.”

Is he just a blowhard, or does he really know something about urban recovery?

Hat tip to Forgotston's email.

Update: Jeff Crouere weighs in. And he's not happy.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

N.Y. Times on HUD mandated changes to Road Home

First the national politicians don't want to give money for recovery because of Louisiana's "reputation for corruption." So we create a program with multiple safeguards against fraud. Now HUD wants us to make things easier for recipients by giving lump-sum payments. So the prospect of corruption and fraud emerges again. We just can't win.
Louisiana homeowners may get faster access to rebuilding grants after a federal decision late last month that is forcing the state to change its slow-moving $7.5-billion “Road Home” program to repair houses damaged or destroyed by hurricanes in 2005.

But the changes, which should be detailed next week, have raised concerns that some homeowners will not use their grants of up to $150,000 for repairs or could lose them to fraud or debt, potentially leading to increased blight in hard-hit areas.