Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Going to Austin: Netroots '08

Alan Gutierrez has allowed me to fly to Austin for Netroots Nation '08 in his place. I'd like to thank and congratulate Alan on putting a great panel together. There's nothing worse than negotiating conference logistics.

I've come to this opportunity at the last minute but I have given it a great deal of thought.

The Netroots Nation conference is an important yearly gathering, formerly known as Yearly Kos, of influential stakeholders within the netroots community and the world of progressive online politics.

Many in New Orleans have protested as our city has been repeatedly bypassed for national political gatherings. I specifically remember some well-expressed ire toward the organizers of this conference in particular. Additionally and unfortunately, it appears likely that Hurricane season will pass us by without a Presidential debate.

To me, and I say this as a resident of this city, as an American citizen not born here, and as a regular human being, the situation in New Orleans demands national attention.

It is not enough that politicians pay lip service in favor of category 5 levees; the federal government must deliver category five levees. It is not enough for HUD to promise affordable housing; thousands upon thousands of our neighbors need a place to live in order to return home. It is not enough for Howard Dean, the DNC, Barack Obama, and his campaign to tout the 50-state strategy; local progressives need substantive help in reforming an entrenched system of corruption and waste.

To detail the last point, the Obama campaign has not yet opened or staffed a field office in New Orleans.

One of my goals in Austin, in addition to ensuring that our panel runs smoothly, is to speak to other influential bloggers, Obama representatives, DNC organizers, in order to push for better attention to be paid to local progressive reform efforts in New Orleans and to the recovery process in general. That the right wing routinely attempts to rewrite the story of Hurricane Katrina to reduce Bush administration culpability often without immediate and forceful rebuke from the Obama campaign, the DNC, and many progressive bloggers troubles me. Rebuilding New Orleans must be a staple campaign issue in 2008, not a peripheral talking point.

Friends of New Orleans and regular readers of New Orleans blogs can assist me in this effort by closely following news from Austin, covering our panel, and commenting vigilantly on other blogs and news sites that discuss the Netroots conference.

I am hoping to provide updates from Austin as often as I can and will post links for those interested in watching our Saturday afternoon panel live as soon as possible.

Please feel free to advise me how best to advocate for New Orleans.

It would be much easier if Netroots organizers had just held the conference here like they should have all along.


oyster said...

Congratulations on this wonderful opportunity, E! I know you'll do a great job. And that panel is wickedawesome.

Press on, sir!

Jessica Hilda Colon-Holmers said...

Congrats Eli. This is very exciting.
Can't wait to read all about it.

Leigh C. said...

Mazel tov, man! Get 'em to say "Next year in New Orleans".

amy said...

Obama opened an office yesterday at 3604 Canal Street. Victory 2008!

nola ninja girl said...

I feel much better knowing you are out there sincerely fighting the good fight for us!
Really great work my friend!