I have read this article by Wade Rathke of ACORN. I plan on finding out more about ACORN, but I am getting the strong sense that there is no plan that can work because no one will compromise. FLASHBACK STORY: When I was in college, I had a roommate that I couldn't stand. Another friend had a roommate that he couldn't stand. When I suggested that perhaps we consider trading rooms and, therefore, roommates, I was met with universal anger. There was no compromising. No one wanted to give up their room no matter how miserable they were. As a result, I moved out never to return or talk to any of them. (Maybe I was rash and young, but don't miss the point.) If people don't start communicating (the "leaders" and businessmen and developer and residents) and compromising (agreeing that some things may need to change though others may not), then ill will will prevail. People will think there is some sort of conspiracy (as has already happened).
My advice to the" leaders" of New Orleans, the state, and the country:
Did you learn nothing from the Hurricane? Communicate. Don't just expect that people have a voice. Post actual bulletins in actual neighborhoods. Talk to people face to face. Drive through a ward with a bullhorn or speaker on top of a car. Who in the hardest hit neighborhoods has power? a working television? a working radio? a telephone? Get up, drive around, talk to people, tell them what is going on. Be a CIVIL person and be accountable to the people who elected you. Stop missing the boat on this. You send a bulldozed into a neighborhood full of people who haven't seen a "leader" in months, and you are asking for trouble. Go there. Allay fears. Comfort. Empathize. Make people understand what you are trying to do. Don't expect them to know.
My advice to the New Orleanians who are angry (rightfully):
Make your voice heard, but try to think about the big picture. Don't dismiss ideas without hearing them. I hope to god that it doesn't turn out that the levees were destroyed on purpose, but give the people in charge the benefit of the doubt. They need you to be strong. You won't like every decision that is made. You aren't supposed to. That's why those folks have to run for office every so often. If they do enough good in your eyes, vote for them again. If they don't, vote them out. But for the sake of the city, give them a listen. (I am with you on this point: the city council and mayor and the public officials that you have elected need to be making decisions about your city. Business men and developers who worship the dollar shoud not be deciding anything without YOUR approval.)
Now, everybody just play nice. Help each other . Rebuild our city, already. Start with the levees.
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