Stop Funding the New Orleans Katrina Recovery - for now at least.
Louisiana politicians cannot be trusted with your money. Don't let them have it. Contact your congressional leadership today, and ask them to turn off the tap for Katrina funding for Louisiana until our politicians are replaced or accept a great deal more supervision in their spending. I posted about this in my personal blog in November, but after the news this week that our esteemed Governor Blanco saw fit to spend half a million taxpayer dollars on office renovations, with
hookups and mounts for two flat screen televisions, Swedish granite countertops, walnut paneling and frosted laminated glasson a floor not even accessible to the public, I wanted to make this appeal to a larger audience.
While her constituents are living in tents and FEMA trailers - many that leak and have tarps on the roof - she's having Swedish granite countertops installed. This is indefensible, given how much time she's been spending begging for Federal money. Every available dollar Louisiana has ought to be dedicated to recovering from this disaster. We should not be blowing money on redecoration when public health care and education are slated to be cut 20% and 18,000 state employees will be laid off. That half a million dollars could have been spent on critical needs.
I live here, and my family and my business will be affected by a loss of federal funding for the recovery. Nevertheless, I'm asking for that to happen. We Louisianians will be getting what we deserve. Elections have consequences, and maybe if the rest of the country just says no to funding our wasteful and corrupt government, we might demand more from our elected officials.
Posted by Laura Curtis at January 3, 2006 06:39 PM
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|# January 9th, 2006 11:11 PM Pilgrim87|
|# January 9th, 2006 11:20 PM Pilgrim87|
|I've got mixed feelings about it. I think that we're seeing these 100 year storms about every five years. I say don't build because it's throwing good money after bad. If it were my home though, I would want it back, but who is responsible? Like those homes lost in California built beneath a mountain that every report indicated was unstable? What about the towns wiped out by tornado's, fires and earthquakes? A major earthquake in California would bankrupt the nation. What are they going to do then? "Borrow" money from public employee retirement systems? Or maybe Social security? It really is a puzzle needing answers. |
|# January 10th, 2006 12:36 AM Laura|
|The nation needs New Orleans/south Louisiana because of the oil and seafood industries. It would seriously adversely affect the national economy if New Orleans is allowed to fail. I've seen the studies; sorry can't quote one at this late hour but I'll try to dig a couple up over the next few days if I can. We send millions of dollars of oil revenue to the rest of the country; we're the only state that is not allowed to keep half of our own oil revenues, which bites, because if we kept it, we'd HAVE the money to rebuild.
Having said that - the rebuilding process is ridiculous, and being made far more expensive than necessary by the feds. FEMA is demanding that houses be elevated - on the surface, that may make sense. But thousands of houses that never flooded before, flooded this time because of levee breaks in some cases, or in my parish, because the parish president saw fit to turn off the pumps. It's stupid (and expensive) for the feds to demand people raise their homes under those circumstances; this flooding was an anomaly. If the Corps of Engineers had done a better job on the levees, we'd have been okay; some flooding but nothing major.
Additionally, I think it's pretty well established that our political leadership is not responsible enough to handle millions, billions, of the nation's tax dollars. Frankly I don't think the folks in Washington are much better, but we in NOLA have a proven track record of corruption and waste, and I think it's stupid to allow it to continue. Governor "let them eat cake, I'm busy redecorating" Blanco was pretty much the last straw as far as I'm concerned.
I know several people running for various offices; mayor, council members, etc. and I'm hopeful that the political shakeup will be successful. Even if the incumbents win, they ought to at least have a good scare because folks here are MAD.
Forget sentimentality about New Orleans; the nation needs us because we are a financial asset, and it would be a poor economic decision to allow this area to stay devastated.
|# January 10th, 2006 5:23 PM mbrlr|
|Should I get started on the Entergy controversies in Arkansas and Louisia stemming from the Grand Gulf nuclear plant mess and how much Arkansans wind up paying to support Louisiana?
Nah. I'd wind up arguing for Gov. Blanco's withdrawal, too.
I agree NO needs to be rebuilt, but with proper care and an eye towards the Gulf and what it has proven it can do. As for the governor, I agree she was at least a bit silly to engage in that given the circumstances, although if Louisiana operates as Arkansas and many states do, the money had to be spent for that which it was appropriated --- if appropriated for the mansion, the money had to be used for the mansion and perhaps the attacks on Gov. Blanco aren't quite as open-and-shut or fair as they seem.
New Orleans has to be rebuilt, however, with adequate preparations for the next time this happens. This wasn't an anomaly; our frames of reference, timewise, are just too short. Just as New Orleans has to be prepared for the next one of these, God willing down the road, those of us in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee have to be prepared for the next New Madrid. A friend of mine just moved to Memphis and loves it, as do I, but I'm actually rather afraid for her because I know when the next big earthquake hits, Memphis will probably slide into the Mississippi. My point is that preparing for these things is sometimes expensive and usually a major hassle, but oftentimes more necessary than we wish to admit. When it comes to natural disasters, sufficient-unto-the-day spending doesn't work.
|# January 10th, 2006 8:52 PM Laura|
|>how much Arkansans wind up paying to support Louisiana?
oohh, them's fightin' words. Blame Entergy or our collective Congresscritters, not your neighbors in LA. The law states that Entergy could not raise the prices in LA; that it has to be spread over the tristate area, apparently. I think Entergy should have just eaten it, frankly; they've made billions off of us not to mention the corporate welfare extended by the city of New Orleans and the State of LA. And my electric bill has literally doubled due to "fuel adjustments" since Katrina. I don't know how they get away with it.
As the the redecoration: Blanco's rationale was that they risked a lawsuit by not proceeding however I do believe a judge would have thrown it out. Katrina changed a lot of people's plans. Blanco is done for, politically, this was the last straw for a lot of people.
I agree with your last sentence wholeheartedly but I must say, it's killing me to see the politicos around here trying to figure out how best to buy the next election instead of actual disaster recovery or preparation. They just don't care about anything but themselves, I guess. Six months until hurricane season...
|# January 11th, 2006 1:41 AM mbrlr|
|Just do know, political differences (and we're usually about 180 degrees from each other) you and yours are in our thoughts and along with our fellow Arkansans, we're trying to help as much as we can. We know people's lives have been turned upside-down; there's a guy who just moved in down the street who is part of the diaspora. Just know we're hoping things stabilize to the point many of those who've had to come here due to the hurricane will manage to get their lives and homes together, whether they decide to stay here or manage to go back to Louisiana.
Arkansans, because the state wasn't really settled just yet, have no concept of what's coming if...when...we get another New Madrid quake that's anything close to the one 200 years ago. I just hope NE Arkansas and Memphis and any other areas hit handle things as well as y'all have ---- really, it's amazing when you think of the scope of the tragedy. All my Louisiana relatives are up in the northern parishes and in Monroe and weren't touched much by any of this, but I've become very fond of certain cyber-Louisianians despite our political differences and y'all are always in my thoughts and prayers.
Back to politics and our differences, which I suspect will be profound on this little tidbit --- George W's "don't criticize the president because we're at war and it hurts the troops" speech yesterday was an absurdity. I almost wrote the White House, but then pictured secret service agents coming to my door and decided I'd just tell my Congressman and my Senators to keep on asking any questions that need to be asked and remember the willingness of one of our previous senators, Bill Fulbright, to do so on Vietnam . He may have been a coward on race, but he held his own on international issues and on Vietnam. As for the "don't question because it will aid the enemy" bit, I'm beginning to truly grasp the validity of Samuel Johnson's belief that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.
|# January 11th, 2006 8:27 AM Laura|
|>I almost wrote the White House, but then pictured secret service agents coming to my door
Don't flatter yourself... some of the things *I've* written the WH and called and left messages on would blister your eyes and ears. Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the aisle object to W's actions on various topics; they're used to it. In short, you're nobody special, just like the rest of us.
As to the rest - I'm not biting. It wouldn't be worthwhile.
|# January 11th, 2006 4:31 PM mbrlr|
|What's not worthwhile is this war. What's not worthwhile is the overabundance of folly that led to it. What's not worthwhile is 2000 American dead and God knows how many wounded, in addition to those amongst the Iraquis unlucky enough to be killed during this exercise in imperial hubris and poor planning.
As for my being on any lists, I doubt that I am, although I fully expect many others on my side of the fence are as we near the beginning of the 6th year of the Bush maladministration. Does it not trouble you that the White House is now taking names and using internal intelligence sans warrants when there's a procedure being ignored that was set up to allow the courts to do their jobs in these situations and preserve something approaching what the law demands? Or does Alito's "precedent matters but I won't tell you how much" schtick have you too excited to care about the rape and pillage of the 4th Amendment?
If any of these stunts had been pulled by Clinton, would your non-reaction be the same? I doubt it --- but my reaction would be exactly what it is now. Horror.
I will say, though, that the thing that astonishes me most about these yahoos in Washington and conservatives in the US is that the stunning changes that this administration wishes to make --- entirely recasting the Supreme Court in its image and essentially making our common law court(s) operate within the restrictions of the civil law model --- have been greeted with either approval or indifference on the part of the right. This shift is horrifying to me as a citizen and an attorney and I'm just astonished that sort of change seems to be greeted with such nonchalance, especially by those on the right.
Anyway, the imperial presidency is back with a vengeance, even if the emperor has no clothes...and there's an image I'll try to forget. When the President of the United States actually suggests that we should keep our mouths shut and be good little citizens in light of this war that we're fighting for whichever rationale is being used this week, forgive me if I think the level of irrationality on Pennsylvania Avenue is reaching some sort of crisis level. Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit goeth before a fall, and I think I saw GW wearing a "je suis l'etat" pin last week...
We're all citizens and we all have the right to state our opinions and nothing I've seen so far rates the kind of rally round the flag nonsense spewing from the White House these days. Instead, let's rally around the Constitution; due to my devotion to the Constitution, I personally feel obliged to say a great deal about this bloody mess we're in in Iraq and about the overwhelming unfairness and idiocy of the social theory of this administration which seems to revolve around rewarding the rich just 'cause and taking from the poor because they're easy marks.
As for dissent...look, just as John Adams was wrong with the Alien and Sedition Acts, Bush and company are wrong with the QBUSJPU Act nonsense. The administration is proving the old "last refuge of scoundrels" theory true. Dissent has to be protected speech precisely because, even during whatever war it is we're now in for whatever reason we're given this week, it's needed to let us look at what we're doing with some objectivity. Dissent and discussion are especially needed in the midst of this nonsensical horror we're now engaged in both domestically and abroad.
Diatribe notwithstanding, please do understand that I hope the President is quite healthy through his term --- dissent doesn't go to the point of wishing our leaders ill --- and that we never have to face the prospect of President Cheney. I do have to say that the smartest thing GB ever did is choose Dick Cheney as VP, since now the folks praying most diligently for the President's health are those of us on the left.
When history examines this period, they'll wonder what the hell the voting populace of the US and those within the Pentagon and the Oval Office were smoking.
|# January 11th, 2006 4:40 PM mbrlr|
|In other words, concerning this administration, anathema sit; I'm just keeping my fingers crossed till 2009 and hoping one of the Bush court appointees pulls an Earl Warren-type surprise.
BTW, did the entirety of the Republican leadership get kickbacks from Delay's sugar daddy? I note that James Dobson has come out and trumpeted that these allegations are trumped up and its a "witch-hunt". Focus on the Family a 501(c)(3) organization; will they be examined a bit more closely in light of this political posturing? Just curious.
|# January 11th, 2006 4:48 PM Laura|
|I read your first sentence, What's not worthwhile is this war, and stopped reading. You really should get your own blog if you have that many inches worth of rant to get out of your system, *not* post off topic comments. |
|# January 13th, 2006 1:34 PM mbrlr|
|Aw, you're no fun. Wanna talk about Task Force 6-26? Spreading the light of democracy through war crimes, there's a notion that seems a bit hard to conform to the basic initial premise that government should conform to common sense and the law.
Rebuild New Orleans and do whatever's necessary to make it as safe as we can as hurricanes abound in our climate-changing times. As for the Governor, did she "see fit to" do that with the mansion or was she, as most states require, spending the money per the appropriation's requirements. Are transfers between appropriations legal? What's the case in Louisiana? If there is a bar to such transfers, Gov. Blanco may simply be doing what the acts concerning the mansion require, although I'll agree Swedish granite countertops are a bit much even if looked at only from a taste perspective.