Sunday, January 15, 2006

Meanwhile, In New Orleans ...

The power brokers in the Cresent City (also referred to now as "The Sliver On The River," given the few neighborhoods that were untouched by Katrina's flooding) are double-teaming lower class and minority property owners with a recommended moratorium on issuing building permits and a design to use "eminent domain" to seize blighted property once the rebuilding deadline passes.

And, since the City Recovery Commission is beholden to federal money, the Bush Administration is probably going to have influence over any plan, and this White House is not exactly known for being community-based or neighborhood-friendly. President Bush's only stop last week while he was in New Orleans "was held in a gleaming visitor's center in the Lower Garden District neighborhood that never suffered serious damage." Exercises in bad taste like that indicate that the replaced and displaced New Orleaneans who want to rebuild rather than sell may enjoy only slim chances.

But from the looks of the 500 residents who showed up to confront the commission last week, city officials may have a fight on their hands, and I don't mean that figuratively. As one community activist shouted to the 500 in front of the commission:
"The question that we have for ourselves is: Are we going to allow some developers, some hustlers, some land thieves to grab our land, grab our homes, to make this a Disney World version of our homes, our lives?" .... Many in the chamber responded with shouts of "No!"

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