BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mandalay Bay...New Orleans!

Happy Saturday.

Study Says 80% of New Orleans Blacks May Not Return

Can you say, "Mandalay Bay - New Orleans?"
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 — New Orleans could lose as much as 80 percent of its black population if its most damaged neighborhoods are not rebuilt and if there is not significant government assistance to help poor people return, a detailed analysis by Brown University has concluded.

*

Of the 354,000 people who lived in New Orleans neighborhoods where the subsequent damage was moderate to severe, 75 percent were black, 29 percent lived below the poverty line, more than 10 percent were unemployed, and more than half were renters, the study found.
That's the study.

Check out this old Brandoland post (Ray Nagin: Working for...the Developers?") for another angle on the politics.

And the possibilities!

Back to the first article:
For similar reasons, as much as half of the city's white population might not return, Dr. Logan concluded.

"The continuing question about the hurricane is this: Whose city will be rebuilt?" Dr. Logan, a professor of sociology, writes in the report.
Meaning...a "better" New Orleans (wink wink) or "Chocolate City?"

Yes, kiddos, there's some good ol' fashioned American...uh...is there a better word for "racism?"

Yes? No?

There's some good ol' fashioned American...interests at play here.
The study, financed by a grant from the National Science Foundation, was released Thursday, 10 days after the mayor of New Orleans, C. Ray Nagin, who is black, told an audience that "this city will be a majority African-American city; it's the way God wants it to be."

Mr. Nagin's remark was widely viewed as an effort to address criticism of a proposal by his own rebuilding panel, the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, that calls for a four-month building moratorium in heavily damaged areas.

He said later that he had not meant to suggest that white people would not be encouraged to return.

"Certainly Mayor Nagin's comments reflected a concern on the ground about the future of the city," Dr. Logan said. "My report shows that there is a basis for that concern."
Wink wink.

On that front...

Key Katrina recovery Congressman NOT interested in Baker Plan

The Baker plan would help residents who did not have flood insurance.

Like residents of...?

"The 9th ward?"

Ding ding!
Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia --
That's Tom Davis R-Virginia --
...who chairs the committee investigating issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina, is not like most of New Orleans' recent Congressional visitors.

Davis is not a fan of the Baker Plan, which would provide a federal buyout of damaged houses; he says he is not ready to support Category 5 storm protection for New Orleans, and--as the New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out on Sunday--he does not want to hear about the federal government's role in the failure of the city's levees.

Davis's objection to the Baker Plan is that it places a huge burden on the federal government in order to help people who did not buy insurance.
Right.

This Mother Jones article points out that "a lot of New Orleanians did not buy flood insurance because FEMA told them they were not in a flood zone and therefore did not need insurance."

I'm sure we'll sort through that pile - New Orlenians that did not have insurance - later.
Finally, as the Times-Picayune editorial points out, in 2000, 26,000 New Orleans families were living in poverty and could not afford insurance even if they lived in designated flood zones.

Congressman Davis is not alone. So far, he has the support of George W. "We will do what it takes" Bush, who has dodged every question about the Baker Bill, which will soon be re-introduced in Congress, has made it clear by silence and evasion that he is not going to suppot the proposal the second time around.
Let's hear from "Our Kid."

From last Thursday's press conference:
Q: The administration has rejected a local plan to rebuild New Orleans, and your administrator down there, Don Powell, said that the focus for federal money should be to rebuild for those 20,000 homeowners who were outside the flood plain.

Critics, local officials say that that ignores so many people in New Orleans, the poorest of the poor, the hardest hit areas, people who didn't have flood insurance or didn't expect the levees to break.

And they feel, sir, that this is a certain betrayal of your promise that New Orleans would rise again.

So why did you reject it?

And do you think that the people of New Orleans have to expect that there is a limit for the extent to which the city can be rebuilt?

THE PRESIDENT: The Congress has appropriated $85 billion to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. And that is a good start; it's a strong start; it's a significant commitment to the people whose lives were turned upside down by that -- by those -- by that hurricane.
People like...Trent Lott.
Secondly, we have said that we look forward to the time when each state develops its recovery plan.

I, early on in the process, said it's important for the folks in Mississippi to come forward with a recovery plan. And it's important for New Orleans and the state of Louisiana to work together to develop a state recovery plan. And the reason I said that is because I was aware that folks in Congress will want to spend money based upon a specific strategy. We've got to get comfortable with how to proceed. Those plans haven't -- the plan for Louisiana hasn't come forward yet, and I urge the officials, both state and city, to work together so we can get a sense for how they're going to proceed.

Now, having said that, I recognize there were some early things we needed to do to instill confidence. One of them was to say that we will make the levees stronger and better than before, and study further strengthening of the levees. In other words, I recognize that people needed to be able to say, well, gosh, we can't even get started until we got a commitment from the federal government on the levees.

A lot of the money we're spending is prescribed by law, but we also went a step further and proposed to Congress, and they accepted, the CDGB money so that monies can actually go directly to individual families that need help. We'll continue to work with the folks down there.

But I want to remind the people in that part of the world, $85 billion is a lot, and secondly, we were concerned about creating additional federal bureaucracies, which might make it harder to get money to the people.

Q: But is there a limit, sir?
He did not answer that question.

More later...

Like this stuff:

Hurricane Investigators See 'Fog of War' at White House

Meaning...
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 — The White House was beset by the "fog of war" in the crucial days immediately after Hurricane Katrina, leaving it unable to respond properly to the unfolding catastrophe, House investigators said Friday after getting the most detailed briefing yet on how President Bush's staff had handled the events.
However...
If the investigators cannot determine, through either testimony or written correspondence, what various presidential aides knew, and when, it will be hard to pinpoint where failures occurred within the White House, said Mr. Marin, the staff director for the House committee.

"There is a difference between having enough information to find institutional fault, which we have," he said, "and having information to assign individual blame, which in large part we don't."
I'll fill in the gaps tomorrow.

Conservative Politics 101, first day: Institution always bad, individual always good.

Peace out.

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