Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Has Change Come to New Orleans?

Chris Kromm argues that Barack Obama's follow-through on campaign promises about New Orleans is yet to be seen:
Many in the Gulf had big hopes when President Obama came into office; as Obama said during a February 2008 campaign stop at Tulane University, "I promise you that when I'm in the White House I will commit myself every day to keeping up Washington's end of this trust [to rebuild the Gulf]. This will be a priority of my presidency." Obama's team has taken important steps, like helping create an arbitration panel to resolve legal disputes holding up projects, and most recently launching a cross-agency panel to tackle coastal land loss. But critics point to the economic stimulus bill, where -- despite well-crafted proposals for a Gulf jobs program and other initiatives -- the Louisiana Congressional district including New Orleans ended up getting the least stimulus money of any district in the country. Media accounts like this AP report -- based largely on interviews with people who either have or hope to get money from Washington -- claim Obama is getting "high praise" in the Gulf. But in an Institute survey of 50 Gulf community leaders working on the ground, Obama and Congress received no better than "D" grades for their Gulf recovery efforts.

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