Friday, January 12, 2007

Hope you like that swagger--you paid enough for it

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin needs to go, and so do all of the idiots who voted for him. As I pointed out in May, older voters tended to vote for Nagin because the think the name "Landrieu" is like "Kennedy." If you have ever taken a look at Sen. Mary Landrieu's voting record, that is kind of amusing; she is a pretty conservative Democrat. On the other hand, all those votes she has cast in support of the civil rights of women, people of color and the LGBT community probably makes her sufficiently evil to Republicans. The youngest voters, as I also noted, voted for Nagin because they like his swagger.

I certainly hope they're enjoying that swagger--what's left of it--now, because Nagin shows no sign of providing meaningful leadership in a city that wasn't doing too well before Katrina, and is currently in a state of crisis. He has been going around the country talking about the New Orleans Katrina tragedy as the "worst natural disaster in U.S. history," which is exactly what he should not be saying: The hurricane was a natural disaster, but what happened in New Orleans was a disaster created by the incompetent and criminally negligent Corps of Engineers. Those of us who live in Louisiana have had so much trouble getting people to grasp that fact, and now Nagin has trashed all of our efforts.

And speaking of trash, after the city survived the near-disaster of Nagin's "I was for it before I was against it" issue with the landfill that was scheduled for the middle of a Vietnamese American neighborhood, there have been more garbage problems (other than the obvious one of garbage not being picked up). The mayor contracted with a company to have state-of-the-art 96-gallon garbage receptacles placed all over the city, but for those who live in the French Quarter and parts of Uptown, the receptacles inhibit residents' movement and create fire hazards. Some residents say they cannot even fit the cans through their gates.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the governor's office stated that the reason many New Orleans residents and businesses have not received grants is that the mayor's staff does not undertand how to fill out the paperwork. Of course, this statement may have just been another metaphorical The shot fired in the ongoing cold war between Governor Blanco (whose name the mayor cannot pronounce) and Nagin, but I am kind of inclined to think it is a fact.

Now the city is in full-blown chaos. Following several murders, including the killing of a respected musician and respected filmmaker, residents finally said "enough" and marched, by the thousands, on City Hall yesterday, where the mayor sat, slack-jawed and, for once, silent. Many want both Nagin and Police Chief William Riley, who thinks things aren't going that badly, to step down.

Nagin is a Republican who magically "became" a Democrat the day before he filed to run for his first term. He has governed, when he has bothered to govern at all, like a Republican, and even endorsed an extreme right-wing candidate for governor. But now even his Republican buddies are sick of him, and he has earned their contempt.


My folks are sure annoyed at Nagin -- and it's rough to get my folks to speak ill of anyone.

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