Wednesday, February 8, 2006
The Cliff Clean Up and Recovery Plan
Note: I will try and send this to someone in city government but since they probably get things like this all the time, or really don't care, it most likely will get ignored. I can at least try.
Its time for the city of New Orleans to face reality down here. The reality of it is that between the local bickering and the lack of a clear plan by the state, there was no money allocated to the area for the new federal budget. I am going to do something that's very hard for me. I am going to defend the decision by Bush not to add any money to the budget for Louisiana. With the amount of corruption down here, there is no way he could write this state and city a blank check and defend that to the American people. He's already got a money pit in Iraq. I can't see any evidence of the first round of money being put to use. With that being said, I think we have to scale back those grand plans for awhile and at least try and get some smaller things done for the people. Since none of you guys seem to have the ability to think in small steps, (Why would you try to get the feds to pay for a light rail system when you don't even have housing for all the people coming back here?) I thought I would help out and give you ten things that could be done relatively cheap and would go a long way to restoring the pride and emotions of your citizens. You might even get George and his people to pay for some of this if he can take credit for the results. Here is my list.
1. An extra two cent tax on every dollar spent: If we want to have certain things come back and people to get re-employed, we are going to need to pay for some of this ourselves. I don't think anyone would mind spending a few extra pennies to get the city some extra cash.
2. An extra dollar tax on all liquor sold in the city: Did I mention we needed money? I think this is better than the hotel/motel tax that we share with the state. Besides, once people get drunk they won't even care about that dollar.
3. Operation Search and Rescue Paint Removal: If we are going to start getting over this thing, we have to get rid of some of the signs for moral's sake. Therefore we need to ask anyone already in there house to clean off the rescue spray paint and get som4e crews to clean the rest off. People don't need to come home and be reminded of their neighbors drowning everyday.
4. Pick up the Cars!!!!: You know I have never really wanted to focus on the racial thing when it comes to rebuilding because black New Orleans doesn't have enough money to rebuild without the other sides help. I even understood having Mardi Gras at first. Now I have a beef. As long as I have been living my people have partied under the Claiborne underpass for Carnival. Everyone knows this. So, why is that entire area littered with cars and blocking all the BBQ space? You can't go on with Carnival under the premise it's a city tradition while blocking the one place the majority of it's black citizens go. Tootie Montana must be rolling over in his grave. No one is in the Lower Nine right now. You can put those cars on Claiborne St. across the canal and it won't look any worse.
5.Picking up trash to wipe away the past : People and business are coming back and cleaning out these homes and places and the stuff just sits there. We need some money from the government just for trash and debris pick up. If a tropical storm comes through here it's going to be horrible with all the bricks and wood sitting in the street. Plus, neighborhoods need to be rewarded for coming home and trying to be rebuild by at least being able to come out of their trailer and see a new beginning once they cleaned out the remains of their old lives.
6. Organized Labor: I have no problem with all the immigrant labor down here. The brothers weren't ready to come back and someone had to start working but it needs to be more organized and someone needs to protect these workers from getting played by these contractors. They are doing allot of work for peanuts and the way they are standing around on these corners looking to get picked up is ridiculous. Someone needs to set up a staging area somewhere for them.
7. Bringing back black workers: As much as I don't have a problem with the immigrant workers, I would like to see my own people that actually struggled through that water get to come back and make some of this money. Here's an idea. What can't HANO take one of those projects that were not overly damaged like the Calliope and let people live there while they come home to help clean up and work for awhile. You can put a time limit on it. A year would be long enough for them to make some money and find other housing. We are going to need to think outside the box and use every available means to help out our people.
8. Let the Prisoners clean up: Excluding the cold blooded killers and downright crazy ones, we need some people to help pick up this trash. If we can get the government to send us 100 large trash trucks, we can use the brothers in jail to go out and pick up some of the trash I was talking about. After all, they are New Orleans too. The least they can do is get out there and pick up some trash after all the wild stuff allot of them did before Katrina to get in there.
9. The Rental Project: Here's how it works. You take that precious city website and you have all the homeowners and landlords that are not here but have available housing to call or logon and register those places in a database. There are too many four-plex, three story homes that have no damage to the upper levels that can be used for housing. There are even some single dwelling homes that don't have damage just sitting there. Now, you put those vacant places in the database and the people around the country that are trying to get back to the city can go there and apply with the city's help for one of those homes. That way the people who want to come back can and the people who don't can still make some money on their property. Who would be against this idea? You don't even need anyone's help for this one.
10. Embrace the Tribe of New Orleans: My great father once made the comment that New Orleans should declare itself as its own country. I wouldn't go that far but he had a point. There are people that haven't lived in New Orleans since the 60's that still consider themselves New Orleanians. We are our own people with our own style, language, music, culture and everything. The recovery of our community has to be approached with the idea that there are many people who may never live here again but still have an emotional and spiritual attachment to this place and would like to see it vibrant. The recovery means just as much to them as it does to the people actually living here. They are our kin folk. Spreading the New Orleans vibe all over the world. We have to reach out to all those people. They may have ideas. They may have money. More importantly, the collective spirit of all of us could be enough to get someone in the government to understand that our home is not just a big toilet bowl where people go to find sin and piss on the sidewalk. That is an insult to our grandparents and great grandparents and we shouldn't let it go down like that.
This doesn't solve everything but it would at least be a start. We shouldn't be thinking about football teams, basketball teams, light rail systems and all of that when they are still traffic lights not working. Living here is like going to rehab for a crippling injury. We have to at least get to the point where we can stand up for awhile first. Then we can start dreaming about those runaway ideas.
Let's do it for Tootie Montana who went to his grave trying to save the culture.