I am not versed in politics, city planning, disaster relief, or rebuilding a great city, but there are a lot of ideas out there. Someone needs to make the decisions, piss off those who need to be pissed off, and make something happen already.
I am not down there. I get my news however I can. But I know this. People need to talk to each other, get things moving, and stop screwing around. Trailers? What trailers? When are we getting the trailers? Where are thy going? How many? Feh. Get the trailers already. People want to come home. Stop talking trash and start doing something.
I read a proposal on nola.com about the repopulation of New Orleans. The people themselves are going to decide? Are you serious? How? New Orleans has been given a chance to shine, to show the world what a 21st century American city could and should be. Yet the city leaders are all agreeing to disagree and letting things slip away. People can go back to their old neighborhoods and re-settle if they want. If not enough people return to a neighborhood then the city will at that time decide what to do with the few inhabitiants that have returned. Um, why? How about this? If your home was destroyed or damaged enough, we will buy this block, that block and the other block out. You can opt to buy in to the new development with your buyout money, and we will put vital services in that area for you. (Bus lines, grocery stores, schools, offices, etc). If not, take the money and go wherever you want. This is the way we are going to do this. Right now people are being told, "Come back, but you may not have power, water, clean-up, or patrols. Certainly there are no schools. And groceries may be difficult to attain, but come back to your old house and neighborhood. In a year, we will decide what to do."
A person with visionary leadership will not propose a high-speed transit line from Pensacola to Houston. A person with visionary leadership will create a plan, create a timetable to implement this plan, and get to work. Consensus is nice. Consensus builds good will and a nice working environment. But consensus is a luxury that New Orleans doesn't have right now.
I wish that the leaders in New Orleans would start doing and stop talking.
I understand that a lot depends on the federal government living up to its promises. I don't care. Do what you have to do. And do it with or without federal help. Do it and send the bill. Don't sit around and wait for help. Last time we did that, people didn't get water, food, or medical attention. Hasn't anyone learned the lesson? FEMA sucks, the federal government would prefer to drag its feet, and self-reliance is the key. Waiting for someone else to save you is detrimental to the rebuilding of New Orleans . (Of course, if you take the government's money, you have to do what the government says. Doesn't that scare anybody?)
Here is my plan:
1) Get the trailers already. The only qualification as to where they need to go: close to the new transit system.
2) Plan the new transit system and get the buses and streetcars back online. People need to get to work.
3) Let the state of Louisiana run the schools. We sucked at it. And now we need help getting it back together. This is a remarkable opportunity to prove to the state and the country that we mean "business" (pun intended). The school system is the vital link to bringing businesses to Louisiana. Businesses want educated work forces. Or at least good public schools for their empoyees' children.
4) Plan out the rebuilding of New Orleans. Make a map. Design a 21st century city. High speed train lines that link the Gulf South are not part of this plan. They are part of another altogether separate plan. (which should be worked on as soon as this plan is implemented.) A coherent transit system, good neighborhood schools, and open green spaces are a part of this plan.
5) Use local companies and local citizens to do the work. Keep the money in New Orleans.
6) Get working today, now, or yesterday. Tomorrow is too late.
7) Make people mad but do something already. Each day that something is not happening is another day closer to the next big hurricane. Can we afford to wait?
8) Regional Levee Board. Who didn't know that the Levee Boards across the region were corrupt? Seriously. (I lived a block from Lake Pontchartain growing up. Everyone that I knew that had a relative working for the Levee was a crony of some sort. Any of those commissions - Causeway Commission, for example - was filled with corrupt political appointees. Look up Robert Bodet, a neighbor of mine). Not that the new ones won't be corrupt, but the larger the system, the more resources that can be pooled and the fewer people who can screw it up.
9) Stop sending out emails as though New Orleans is back to its old self. It's not.
I am sure I am forgetting something, but I hope that you, gentle readers, will guide my plan further. Let's all help. And let's stop sitting around waiting for someone else to do it.
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