Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Easy Internet Activism Experiment

I've only casually browsed Change.gov, the grassroots arm of Barack Obama's transition. The Citizen's Briefing Book is pretty cool and at the very least, provides a forum through which even 'unconventional' ideas can be democratically evaluated and injected into the discourse. For instance, users have been enthusiastically promoting different suggestions related to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana or other efforts to drastically reform drug policy. While it is unlikely that Obama administration will drastically liberalize drug policy, at least his surrogates were challenged to defend the status-quo in that regard. There was a minor media boomlet involving those issues, all because of the voting behavior of users of change.gov.

I wonder if New Orleanians can use this tool to circumvent our own feckless leadership.

Lately, I've become extremely troubled by our state leadership's priorities as Congress begins to negotiate an infrastructure stimulus package that could cost over $1 trillion. Early media reports are signaling that Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana congressional delegation have aimed for a shockingly low share of that money, something in the order of $1 billion. I've been trying to dig into this and from what I can figure out, the majority of that request involves housing program deadline extensions and extra money to make up for the funding shortfall needed to begin construction on the controversial LSU/VA hospital redevelopment.

Why wouldn't our elected leaders aim a little bit higher than that? At the very least, a large request would highlight the forgotten needs of the region. How does Louisiana rank nationally on education, public health, incarceration rates, literacy, poverty, infant mortality, etc?

But forget all of that, even. What about our basic physical security?

What about Category 5 levees?

We need 'em. They ain't asking for 'em.

So let's try something.

Here, I've made a pitch to the new administration using the Citizen's Briefing Book. I don't get into the specifics of levee protection vs. seawalls vs. coastal restoration, but I try to briefly pitch the general issue of flood protection for New Orleans.

Right now, the leading issue is high speed rail with more than 5800 points.

One vote = 10 points.

Real Flood Protection for New Orleans under 100 points. So we have a ways to go.

But why not give this a whirl and see if things snowball?

Online political mischief, from the comfort of your desk!

Real Flood Protection for New Orleans NOW!!!!

And if you're browsing around and see another important New Orleans-related suggestion in the briefing book. Throw up a link in the comments section and I'll click-vote for it as well.

6 comments:

Editilla said...

Herrrd'dat!
This won't make me get a bunch of letters from Michelle though will it?

jeffrey said...

Wow. So your first commenter there give you immediate let's-abandon-that-sinking-hole pushback.

Shocking.

Editilla said...

Jeffery the Peccary! Commenter? Hahahaha... you work in a library? Forking look it up. Hahahaha
Defect-abandon -that -nominal -i- zation?
ipsticklay iggpay oldplaycay?
Come now.
Join here
your Imag-i-nation-Med-i-cation!
I-M

But E, other than attracting flies like us fo'da databama'ho, what else does this peeper reaper?

jeffrey said...

Editilla,

I may be able to address whatever concern you might be expressing if you would kindly present it in coherent language. (I prefer English but will find a translator if need be)

Until then I will continue to assume that your comments are the product of a clearly crazy person and treat them as such.

jeffrey said...

E,

Regarding the push for stronger hurricane protection, Oyster has a post up this morning which indicates to me that there really isn't a whole lot the local leadership could have done over the past few years given the White House's obstructionist stance.

E said...

I'm of the opinion that local leadership could have done a lot to push back against the Congressional GOP and the White House.

And now that the GOP and Bush are out of power, why are we making requests as if we're still restrained by them?

When will another opportunity as big as the infrastructure stimulus come along in which there might be the will to commit real resources to saving the region?