Thursday, November 29, 2007

Race Card is Limited Bulky Waste

Take it away!

Earlier this week, City Council held a meeting to look into why we're paying two companies double what they used to get to pick up some trash but not all the trash.

And it is super suspicious because the original contracts with the two disposal companies demanded removal of unlimited bulky waste. Months later, after certain political alliances received campaign donations, certain councilpeople hammered through a hidden ordinance that released these two companies from certain provisions of the contract they signed.

I would call that super suspicious. If I were a city council, I might have questions about that.

If I were New Orleans City Council, I might have twice as many questions. When I allude to the fact that "we're paying" these two companies a ridiculous amount for services not rendered, let me explain a little bit more what I mean by "we." 

Because I don't mean everybody. I mean only a select, elite few. 

I'm talking about pure blood here.

I'm talking about New Orleanians

All of us. The residents of this city. Every single person that lives or has ever lived here has been victimized again and again and again by the secretive power structures run government away from us. For centuries. I'm talking about the loyal subjects.

Sometimes those powers were uniformly white and prayed on everybody else, though nobody can deny that African Americans received the lion-share of the injustice.

Since the 70s, those powers have been decidedly more racially mixed. But nothing has changed. Everybody else has been prayed upon and African Americans have received the lion-share of the injustice.

In 2005, it rained real hard and it was windy and the pure blood of the residents of this city was befouled in catastrophic fashion by... fill in your own blanks..... and African Americans received a disproportionate share of the injustice. 

But everybody got the shaft. All the citizens of this city. And we continue to bend over to the power structures that control how our money is wasted. All of them are impugning our honor.

So I found this very upsetting.

How can anyone claim racial bias because Council is investigating corrupt garbage contracts that are victimizing the citizens of this city? Any type of municipal corruption disproportionally hurts African Americans because they happen to compromise the majority of this city's residents. (That is to say nothing of lower SES that makes AAs more vulnerable to the cuts, deficiencies in gov't services, although I can't stress that enough)

So often, too often, white people deny the existence of racism where it really does exist. So when a group like the SCLC comes to City Hall and makes all sorts of allegations and threats, people listen and people go on the defensive and lose sight of what's going on. 

Maybe nobody should be listening to the SCLC anymore. As I learned from their speeches in Jena, LA in September (and it was the same cast of characters in New Orleans on Monday), SCLC is a sham organization. They're concerned chiefly with maintaining their own waning significance as a mobilizer of followers and steward of a movement that died decades ago. 

The T-P indicates that they "mobilized" about a hundred people. "Dozens" of them were sanitation workers - employees of the garbage companies that don't pick up garbage. So how many folks did they really "mobilize?" 

Spiver Gordon of the SCLC said "We don't need to come back here and dance around your cash registers. We're talking about economic boycott."

How could you not laugh? 
Sales of Depends and V8 down 0.01%!

Besides, who would a boycott of New Orleans really hurt? Would it hurt the rich people that benefit from corrupt garbage contracts? Would it hurt the rich people that can afford to make five and six figure campaign donations? Hell no!

It would hurt New Orleanians. It would hurt African Americans disproportionately hard. Both because they comprise the MAJORITY of this city's citizens and because lowersocioeconomicstatusmakesthemmorevulnerabletoaweakenedeconomy.

SCLC was used, manipulated by these garbage people, Richards and Metro. They were brought in to say a bunch of angry serious stuff. They're the usual suspects. It reminds me of when corrupt politicians up north bring in their corrupt union muscle and pretend they're fighting for workers.

Nobody listens to the SCLC anymore. That time was 40 years ago. 

Except the Times-Picayune obviously does. How the hell could that be a headline?


jeffrey said...

The headline is accurate. A circus involving unfounded allegations of racial bias transpired at City Hall. You have written a very good refutation of those allegations but I don't think the reportage is a big problem here.

GentillyGirl said...

Good summation of this current farce Darlin'!

Anonymous said...

Well said. And sadly, spot on.

E said...

No, Jeffrey, the T-P coverage gave legitimacy to the argument of Richards and Metro. The headline is "Racial bias is alleged in dispute over trash" and there are pictures of SCLC protesters.

Where does it say circus? Where does it even insinuate circus? Where does it say unfounded?

The article then proceeds with the Gordon threats of boycott and their defense of the ethics of the two contracted disposal companies.

Council rebuttals of the racial bias charges to not appear until the third section, well into the article.

The article itself does not delve into the current castrated old-timer status of the SCLC. How often and how much have Jimmie Woods and Alvin Richard contributed to SCLC over the years on behalf of themselves and their companies? Imagine.

The front page of the newspaper is a billboard. It is highly likely that even people that get the newspaper every day rarely read past the page one headline of many articles. Those that just see the newspaper in passing just get the visual of the main headline and the accompanying picture.

Tuesday's addition makes this protest seem legitimate, it makes it seem like the African American community is outraged over the injustices of the city council inquiry.

The nature of SCLC and the "protest" of hired guns is in the small print or between the lines.

The reportage isn't awful if you read it in a balanced fashion, taking into consideration prior knowledge of the trash contract situation and the nature of the race card in New Orleans politics.

But otherwise, the layout and pace of the article is incendiary.

Jeffrey, you are right to try to steer me away from the newspaper layout. The T-P coverage is simply spoiled icing on a nonexistent cake. The real problem is the corrupt garbage contracts and what the city government is going to do about them.

I think Arnie Fielkow's olive branch attempt to unite the crazies with council to write a strongly worded letter to FEMA shows incredible weakness on his part. This is not an issue on which Council needs to make any compromise. As much as we hate FEMA, I think it's pretty clear that the city should be sufficiently recovered to pick up garbage, whether or not the bulky waste is unlimited.

Reverse the ordinance and force Richards and Metro to pick up construction debris. Or, let them out of the contracts entirely and start a new bidding process. Jefferson pays half of what we do and their debris are covered, I think we'll be okay if Richards and Metro decide they can't do it.

Drive-By Blogger said...

Uh, has anyone considered dismantling New Orleans and allowing it to be absorb by other Parishes? I know the other Parishes are not perfect but that's the problem. It appears New Orleans is "perfect".

BTW, I was able to make 4 words with the word verification letters.

jeffrey said...


I don't disagree that much. You're right about the affect a headline and front-page layout can have on the way a story is received. God knows, I've made similar complaints in the past.

I also don't disagree at all with any aspect of your take on the story itself.

I'm still not convinced that the sensationalist reporting is anywhere near the root of the problem in this case.

I know the local media has a tendency to be lazy in their framing of race-related issues but, in this case, the absurdity of the racial claims originated with the protesters and not with the newspaper.


Show your work, man. Which 4 words did you make?

E said...

The newspaper ain't the root of the problem but it would be nice if it were part of the solution dude

Howie Luvzus said...

One of my theological heroes was the only white minister to help form the SCLC so I've been watching them for a while. Prior to this fiasco, they were slotted to give Michael Vick an award! Can't believe that Jarvis Deberry called this one right!

Zach said...

eli, you could have replaced "new orleans" with "philadelphia" for that entire post (minus the katrina bits) and no one would be any the wiser.