Thursday, December 11, 2008


Via email:

Unfortunately, there is no more money in the 2008 budget to make streetlight repairs for the rest of this year, and the 2009 budget that was passed includes only the smallest amount for repairs in 2009, despite Council Member Midura’s efforts to get this infrastructure fund properly funded at the budget meeting.

It is possible your lights are likely to remain out for a while. We will continue our best efforts to provide a remedy to this situation.

Thank you.

Where is our money going instead?

Just a peek, from City Business:

The budget includes $75 million to acquire 34 acres of property for the new VA hospital and remove infrastructure, although the city is still evaluating “that which we can keep and that which we can get rid of,” Blakely said.

Also in the spending plan is $30 million for the first phase of the Reinventing the Crescent project, a plan to redevelop nearly 7 miles of the Mississippi Riverfront. It will pay for “the design and development of 1.5 miles of new riverfront, roughly tripling the length of what folks can access now (at) Woldenberg Park,” said Sean Cummings, executive director of the New Orleans Building Corp. and the project’s conceptual architect.

Sounds like we've got our priorities straight. Zero money for average residential neighborhoods. Tens of millions of dollars to demolish one such neighborhood or for 'economic development' in an elite neighborhood.

Such progress we're making giving all this money to a neighborhood that didn't flood and is doing just fine without the extra assistance.

I live in a neighborhood expected to benefit greatly from the RTC project. I'd love to have pedestrian access to the river, I really would.

But I'd gladly put the whole thing off for a decade in the blink of an eye to help out the neighborhoods that truly need it.

Did you know that for the 2.1 billion some odd dollars we're collectively sinking into the destruction of Lower Mid City, we could build a brand new comprehensive mass transit system? Probably we could build two of them for that kind of money.

If we had a plan to that ready to go, we might even get it funded by the Feds. After all, Obama is proposing to spend a trillion bucks on local infrastructure projects within the next several months.


Jan Moller tells us that the state is ready to demolish a neighborhood without the hospital construction money in hand. It's apparently illegal for the state to put itself in that much debt. Perhaps they'll scale back plans by NOT demolishing a neighborhood and instead rebuilding Charity Hospital.

With the economy slumping and energy prices falling, state revenue is expected to plunge well below current projections, giving the state even less room to issue construction debt. Moreover, hundreds of projects across the state are competing for money under the cap, making it unlikely that the state would commit $400 million to a single project.

Update II

I was going to let it slide but I can't. For some reason, in an article that profiles the various ways we might reduce the state's financial obligation, in an article that floats a "scaled-back alternative," Moller doesn't even mention the proposal to rehabilitate and reopen Charity.


Karen said...

What was interesting about this budget was that no one suggested that we take money from the LSU debacle or the Sean Cummings project.

At least not out loud, in public, where the public could have commented at the very least.

E said...

No, it wasn't even a question that LSU and Cummings would get their money.

It's inexplicable.

It's a leadership vacuum.

GentillyGirl said...

LSU should refurb it's hospital and the V.A. should take the Lindy Boggs site.

Many years ago I worked for UCSF's medical center and we shared services with other hospitals, but it was trucked to and from us. The system worked.

$75M and a destroyed neighborhood? No freakin' way.

Anonymous said...

did you guys hear that Stacy Head is talking to Sams club about the Lindy Boggs site?

it just gets worse and worse.

jeffrey said...

Playing hardball now

jeffrey said...


try this

Clifton said...

This post makes the point of what I have been trying to say for months. People keep getting distracted behind one bullet point like the sanitation contracts and never look at the big picture.

I know the sanitation contracts are bad but does anyone realize how long we have been waiting for that riverfront redevelopment? If we are looking at a budget crisis why not scrap that until we are sure the loans that Ms. Clarkson keeps talking about will actually be forgiven or we find new revenue. I would rather have streetlights now than a riverfront project its going to take ten years to build anyway.

This is like buying a new car before you make groceries and pay the Entergy bill.

Mark Folse said...

I am not intrinsically anti-big box but there is simply not the street infrastructure to support big box at Lindy Boggs. It will push too much traffic onto Bienville and to Moss.

I agree with Cliff that we keep bouncing from crisis to crisis without a level-headed approach to the basic issues of lack of transparency and vision. Transparency I think explains itself. Vision is not just the sort of puff we get out of city hall now but the I Have A Plan sort.

The issue is, I don't see those candidate on the horizon. We will be left to roll out own, or face the prospect of trading out the current scoundrels for a new set. Does anyone even want to contemplate Mayor Clarkson or Councilmember Batt teamed up with Stacey Head? I don't. We would look like somewhere else inside of a year.

bayoustjohndavid said...

That doesn't sound right about Stacy Head and the Lindy Boggs site, because that's Midura's district -- unless it has something to do with council committee assignments. I seem to recall at least a couple of Uptown bloggers being in favor of big box development there when the Victory project was first proposed -- I had no idea that so many New Orleanians never had occasion to drive down Carrollton Ave. If any development of that size ever opens in that site, it either won't get the business to be successful or all the Oak trees on Jeff Davis will found to termite infested and an imminent threat within three years. I guess it could go to Moss and Bienville, I just assumed the pressure would be to add an extra lane to each side of Jeff Davis. There'd still be a bottleneck at the overpass.

Anyway, the point of all that, was that that doesn't sound right about Stacy Head and Mark's right, it would be a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Priorities indeed. Health care renewal is crucial to New Orleans yet the current plans are unfunded, will cause major destruction of a neighborhood on fairly high land compared to the housing options citywide, and will leave a major swath of downtown vacant for decades to come. The current plan is madness and it's time for the people to speak up and speak loudly!!!

Call and email those involved:
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Secretary of Health and Hospitals Alan Levine

The Honorable James B. Peake, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

There is a link here to all the contact information.