Friday, December 12, 2008

Mission Accomp... Naaah

What a blast I had today at City Hall delivering the petition to dismiss Sanitation Director Veronica White.

Each City Councilor's office has received their very own limited edition personalized copy of the petition.

Of course, so has the Office of the Mayor.

Did it work?

Well, Veronica White is still on payroll. So no, not yet.

However, I was able to generate some press for the issue, and for the greater specter of progressive grassroots coalition building.

Earlier this morning
, Mayor Nagin announced some difficult budget decisions.

Council decided to hold a significant portion of the Sanitation Department's budget in reserve, presumably giving Veronica White the opportunity to prove that she has the credibility to lead the agency.

The Mayor's office has rejected that.

Instead, the Mayor is reducing the sanitation budget by cutting services.

I'm happy to sacrifice the French Quarter's chemical lemon scent, but I don't believe such action does anything to address the fundamental issues plaguing the Department of Sanitation. There is an underlying lack of transparency and credibility that has undermined public trust.

Service cuts don't address the procedures for awarding sanitation contracts. They don't magically reproduce the accounting numbers that were so poorly kept over the last two years. We're not being reimbursed for services not rendered. Seemingly, we're further away from a citywide recycling program than we were a year ago.

Relieving SDT of some of it's French Quarter responsibilities certainly does nothing to address the flawed demolition process that has allowed some of our neighbors' homes to be rendered prairie mid renovation.

The Department of Sanitation cannot change until our Director of Sanitation has the legitimacy needed to earn back the trust of the public.

Veronica White has lost that basic credibility as a public official. She must be replaced.

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