Wednesday, April 05, 2006

'Naggin' Nagin' Strikes Again

Have you heard the latest?

First, despite warnings and even a personal call from the National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield, New Orleans Mayor Ray "Chocolate City" Nagin doesn't order a mandatory evacuation until just hours before Katrina, and then he tries to spin it as Dubya's fault. Or Goobernor Blanco's. Or . . . anybody but his own.

Then it was somebody else's fault that he couldn't evacuate people out of the storm's path because nobody sent him the buses New Orleans needed.

Next, with large portions of New Orleans still flooded and Hurricane Rita possibly aiming at New Orleans, Nagin's telling those who'd evacuated to come on back!

Then came more of "Naggin'Nagin's" complaints, one of the primary ones that FEMA was at fault for not getting trailers into New Orleans fast enough.

I'm not the only one who's noticed that Nagin hasn't exactly been . . . um, straight forward.

From today's Times-Picayune: [Emphasis mine]

City may have to pay up, FEMA says
Trailer contretemps draws plenty of fire
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
By Lynne Jensen
Staff writer

New Orleans may have to reimburse the federal government $1.6 million if FEMA is forced to terminate the installation of a group trailer site in Algiers, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday.

Mayor Ray Nagin approved the site on Tullis Drive at Lennox Boulevard for 35 families on Dec. 19 and the project is 80 percent to 85 percent complete, FEMA spokesman Darryl Madden said.

After a weekend confrontation between Orleans Parish residents and federal officials over construction at the Tullis site, Nagin announced Monday that the city would suspend the installation of all group sites.

Madden said Tuesday that his agency received an official request from the city to stop work only at the West Bank site, which sits behind the Lakewood Estates gated subdivision.

"We have received no official letter to stop work on any other place," Madden said. "As of right now, work (at the Tullis site) has suspended pending a final resolution," he said.

City Attorney Penya Moses Fields said Tuesday that "because there is a pending legal process," there will be no further comment from the mayor.

Also Tuesday, the New Orleans branch of the NAACP announced its opposition to Nagin's move to suspend the citywide installation of FEMA group trailer sites.

New Orleans NAACP President Danatus King said displaced residents are "receiving mixed signals from our city" that are "causing them to make their permanent residences elsewhere."

King said he can't help but wonder if politics played a part in the decision because it came after complaints from residents who "will most likely vote" in the upcoming mayor's race.

During Nagin's announcement Monday, City Council members Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, who represents Algiers, and Eddie Sapir agreed with the mayor that FEMA ignored city protocol in establishing the group site on Tullis.

King said Tuesday that protocol cannot be allowed to delay the return of New Orleanians displaced by Katrina.

He said that halting construction of group trailer sites while investigating other types of housing, such as modular homes, means "our citizens are still going to be locked out of our city" during that time, he said.

King said 100,000 residents "are eager to come back" to the city. With immediate housing, "they could work and generate taxes," he said.

Squabbles about trailer sites exhibit "pettiness" that is not playing well in the national media more than seven months after Katrina, King said.

"I can hear the laughter in Washington and the sound of doors being closed," King said. "I can hear the congressmen receiving phone calls from constituents saying, 'Don't help those folks. They don't want the help.' "

Usually, I only quote snippets. Since after a few days the TP archives its articles on a pay-for basis, this time I'm including the whole danged thing in case anyone wants to quote from it the next time Nagin or someone else starts starts naggin' that the Feds should have had New Orleans all put back together by how.

More here.


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