My neighbor Dawn posted some invective on New Orleans recovery czar Ed Blakely that caught my attention.
First of all, I lived in California during his supposed leadership in Oakland after the Quake. Four people, (whom are close friends), left the area after the “Non-implementation” of Dr. Blakley’s non-plans in their devastated neighborhood…
Let’s not forget that he has claimed that the UNOP process was a farce and the entire plan should be scrapped, (I would like to know what we were doing all of those months with all of those meetings and plans)…or that he doesn’t have to answer question from the citizenry of New Orleans…or that Economic Development takes implementation, or at least spearheading the implementation of plans, something I don’t think he is capable of doing…
Any one of us could probably do his job, and what is his job description for the tax dollars we are paying his salary with???. He has the cleanest work area I have ever seen and I still believe that it will be the neighborhoods and citizens who will get the job done at the end of the day or 20 years of recovery that it will truly take. This person is not in it for the long haul, he was gone from Oakland before anything resembling a recovery process began.
And no offense, he has no manners, thinks of Orleanians as a bunch of hicks and has put his foot in his mouth up to his thigh in voicing that opinion internationally.
And granted I admittedly am not a fan, I cannot understand how anyone can put there hand in someone’s face, (after the words, “excuse me, may I ask”), and without hearing the question, “I don’t have time to talk to little people”. After that incident I did speak with Shelly Midura face to face and expressed my displeasure with being treated so poorly by anyone much less someone shorter than me, and no offense, I live here, you’re visiting, (and I wish he would go home, wherever that is).
And, why isn’t he seeing it through our eyes, from a FEMA trailer or 2nd floor of a flooded home that a family is trying to put back together. We are probably paying his daily tab, (federal rate $100.00 a day per diem), housing and his salary. That adds up to three times what we have been told his earnings are.
Is he worth it? Can we get public disclosure on the actual cost as to the benefits of having him here? Can we get an accounting of his time? We are all held accountable in one way or another, why not Blakley to the citizens? Is he paying property tax to help rebuild our infrastructure?
Someone please give that man a ticket back to Sydney. The Local Universities could actually do what he is being asked to do, whatever that is, and probably better, as a study and get subsidized for it, thus saving the people money.
I believe in asking questions, being transparent and open, does he?
Should I reply here or reply to her on MCNO? Considering she was responding to me.
He’s right about a whole lot of things. Big chunks of the UNOP process were heavily farcical. Big chunks of the New Orleans population are hicks and any long term exposure to a citywide meeting will give you that impression quick. I still stand by my assertion that he is only public official on any level talking hope. The only one who has asserted that New Orleans can be an economic powerhouse rather than an economic basket case. The only public official who seems to understand that trade built the city and can provide a way forward to getting us back to where we need to be. He may not always say the right thing but I’ve heard more encouraging things from him than I ever have from Ray or most any of the city council.
“I don’t have time to talk to little people”
Is that an actual quote? Please tell me that’s an actual quote.
It appears to be a literal quote. Especially since she goes on to make reference to his height, i.e. that he shouldn’t be calling her “little people.” That only makes sense if he actually said it.
He made a similar comment to Melanie Ehrlich at the Community Congress. He was and has been very dismissive of the general population. even if “big chunks of the New Orleans population is hicks” that does not mean that they don’t deserve to be heard.
When statements like “big chunks of the New Orleans population is hicks” are made, it reveals more about the person making the statement than anything else. Such things are not said in polite society.
Blakely’s assertions and beliefs and vision and words of encouragement gave me hope for him in the beginning, but his complete failure to deliver even one tangible project puts him in the “ineffective blowhard” column for me.
His 6 minutes of nothingness at the NORA hearing at City Hall on Wednesday was underwhelming.
Matt, pick an open city meeting.
Go there. Someone at the podium will make a statement like “We are building this section of the road out of concrete and not asphalt.” The speaker will reference concrete several more times. Then the public comment section comes and invariably, someone who was sitting in the audience the entire time will get up a declare. ‘I’m against this asphalt road. It should be built of concrete.” or “Concrete roads are just a plot to…. (insert conspiracy theory du jour here) or “There is a bar down the road that… ” or “What about light near the park by my house?”
My fellow citizens lack of ability to focus is legendary. And I’ve lived here almost all my life. I can imagine why someone might not want to sit through the public comment section. I’ve worked many of these meetings and the fact that there aren’t more public officials yelling at commenters to “Please keep on the subject” is amazing to me. It’s also why these meetings run hours and hours long.
If, in any version of this story any of Mr. Blakely’s supposed assertations of this metroplotain community are, let’s say, at least 75% correct. Then why did he take a job he can’t hope to complete with people he can’t be bothered to talk to in a city that he can’t possibly help. At all. And why did no one at City Hall notice any of this when they interviewed him?
All I know about Mr. Blakely’s plan at my end of the world is the idea of moving Civil Court out of the CBD and closer to Criminal Court [instead of the other way around] which set most of the firms in the CBD on fire. And would have caused at least 60% of them to move their offices not near the new court district, but across the Lake or the River [their logic, if you have to travel 5 miles to do filings, why not travel 25 miles and just have your offices/work in cheaper/safer/more welcoming surroundings?] pulling needed tax revenue out of the city/CBD.
Look, I could see Nagin highering him as a scapegoat for his own failers and Crap interview/foot in mouth momments [“You think I said something stupid, look at this over educated yahoo…”] But they would have had to have known that any failure at this level would add years to recovery.
Wasn’t the consolidation of Civil and Criminal Court Judges something we voted on? And given the headache of moving the civil court from it’s 3 story building on Loyola or the complex at Tulane and Broad which encompasses the jail and all those awaiting trial it might be easier to move the former. Now I just wish they’d move half the jail to New Orleans east. Keep central lockup. Move those serving time for municipal offenses.
Anyway. I still think if I were given a choice between losing Blakely or losing Nagin, I’d send Nagin packing.
I have attended and viewed plenty of public meetings, including meetings in my neighborhood, meetings at the UNOP District level, meetings at the City Council, meetings run by the Corps, meetings run by UNO, etc, etc.
Plenty of them were quite well run, on topi, and focused. The attendees brought forth legitimate concerns and knew what they were talking about.
If city council meetings are long, so what? How is that a basis for stereotyping an entire city’s population? How would you explain all those smart well-spoken people I’ve seen at other meetings?
Plus, long public meetings in government bodies are not just a hallmark of New Orleans. Tune into C-SPAN sometime and watch the U.S. House of Representatives.
I’m just saying that your perspective seems narrow, stereotyping, and insulting to many people whose concerns are very real to them, and might not have any other way to express them than through the microphone at the public dais. So what is the problem with that? It’s certainly no reason to judge them and call them “hicks.” Those “hicks” might be the people that pull you out of a burning house or a crashed car someday. Have some respect for your neighbors. Trust me, it doesn’t hurt.
Regardless of the court houses, I repeat, if Mr. Blakely is so unhappy with the people he is supposed to be helping, why doesn’t he move on and let someone else help them? The hicks pay his salary. And a good paycheck at that.
Better yet, why keep him around if he isn’t going to be able to work well with others? It seems like he does not have the confidence of the larger community and therefore wouldn’t be able to effectively work for them. I don’t need Blakely to tell me I should do this or that and not ask why should do that because I am a hick and/or too dim to understand his genius. If I had wanted Morgus the Magnificent [which is what that kind of reasoning sounds like] to manage city recovery, I’d have pushed for him to do it. And he would have been cheaper & more forthcoming with his grand plans than our buddy Ed.
BTW, if you want long, colorful meetings, try watching the House of Parliment meetings on BBC1 or a conference at the UN. We don’t have a lock on crazy, long and drawn-out. At all.
The big question as to whether he has accomplished anything of the plans is have the state and the feds written the checks yet?
“The big question as to whether he has accomplished anything of the plans is have the state and the feds written the checks yet?”
Not to sound TOO conservative here, but why should they write checks if they don’t know what they are writing checks for and how much it will cost?
You need “some” kind of plan for that.