Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Criminalization of Ray Nagin

There are two issues I need to talk about. The first is Bobby Jindal. The second one is the criminalization of Ray Nagin. I am going to hold off on talking about the first one until what I want to talk about is official. The second one has to be addressed right now.

I am not a fan of Ray Nagin’s management style. I would have liked him to be more aggressive early in the recovery. I thought he was taking a business approach when the citizens needed some inspiration. Even today I have problems with many of the decisions of his administration. You can read archives of this page and see that I have been fussing about Mayor Nagin since I started blogging. While I may not be pleased with his performance as mayor, I never try to turn this man into a crook just because I am mad. There seems to be this obsession with turning this man into a criminal mastermind. Why can’t he just be a bad mayor and nothing more?

Every day there’s a story on a blog, newspaper or on the TV news that tries to tie this man into some racket. I am not condoning using city funds for personal use but the man took his wife to lunch and you would have thought he embezzled billions. Someone is going to read this and tell me that these stories are just exposing waste and mismanagement in City Hall. I will give them the benefit of the doubt in feeling that way. What they don’t understand is that when I read or watch the news I hear the implication behind the actual words the reporter is saying. That might be only a black thing so it’s ok if you don’t get that. The story last night about the NOAH organization was implying that our mayor purposely and knowingly had something to do with money being mismanaged. Lee Zurick didn't say that directly but he didn't have to. The message was clear to me.

Note : There was a blogger on that story who has an entire blog dedicated to housing and blight around the city. She never has any propaganda on her page and I am not implying she was in on Channel 4’s plan. Ms. Gadbois if you read this I hope you don't take any of it personally.

Our grandstanding city council bought right into it and immediately held a hearing about it like they do for every suspicion. A man can’t keep letting people run his daddy’s name through the mud like that. As a black man in this city, I have enough issues with actual crooked politicians and street criminals without trying to make Mayor Nagin a suspect. I am 100% certain this man has not knowingly been involved with anything illegal. People hate this man so much that Jim Letten would have indicted him a long time ago if he had something. If I am proved wrong and Ray turns out to be like Bill Jefferson then I will admit it. I just can’t see Mayor Nagin doing anything that foolish with every investigative reporter in the city going through his trash.

It's cool with me if you don't like the brother but it doesn't have to be validated with a mugshot.

Next......The Heartlessness of Bobby Jindal


Leigh C. said...

Everybody's just trying to follow the money on this one and get the recovery where it needs to be. If it turns out that Nagin had nothing to do with any of this, then fine, hand it over to somebody like Cerasoli to root out the source. Bottom line is, this thing is hurting all of us and it's best to get at why.

Anonymous said...

Cliff I read your blog, no offense taken.

The Administration has know about this agency for years. And they have known about the mismanagement for months, at the very least.

The research we did was based on information provided by the agency itself.

I don't believe that C.Ray is lining his pockets on this one, but I do believe someone is and Ray's greatest fault may be that he is asleep at the wheel.

In addition certain members of the Administration brought in hecklers to yesterdays meeting. These people are EMPLOYED by the City of New Orleans but they felt it appropriate to not just heckle a councilperson but go out in the hall and threaten my Co worker.

Having said that I have to address your comment of not implying that I was a part of the"plan"

It is funny you should say that because that is exactly what a high ranking City Official accused me of. I don't smack talk people on my blog, it is there to provide information with the occasional editorial. And I have been watching the way racial politics are being played specifically with this issue and it is tragic.

Anonymous said...

Cliff, Nagin cannot handle post-Katrina NOLA but will not hand over the reins to someone who can. The lack of transparency (which comes from his misguided notion that he can handle it) and the fact that he cannot own up to mistakes is worse than a crime, in my opinion.

Nagin would have been a great mayor if Katrina hadn't happened. The guy needs to chill and to go fishing with Brett.

ethan said...


Zurik/WWLTV asked a simple question: is NOAH doing the work it has claimed to do? Framing this report as the "criminalization" of Nagin is ludicrous. Same goes for the City Council. They, too, are attempting to figure out if NOAH has performed the remediation work it has been given grants to do. The Council is also asking for greater transparency from our city government. So, again, how does this constitute the "criminalization" of Nagin? Finally, Cliff can you tell us what Zurik/WWLTV's "plan" is in airing this report? You imply that something other than investigative reporting is going on here and I think we'd all like to know what you think that "plan" is.

Clifton said...

The story about NOAH led me to write this but my overall point was that there are always countless stories about issues in city government and they are all written and told with a slant implying that the mayor is purposely doing some of these things. I am not defending NOAH or Mayor Nagin. What I am saying is that if the media repeatedly presents stories in a manner that makes the public think the mayor is corrupt then that's what people believe. There's a difference between being corrupt and being incompetent. Incompetent means the mayor isn’t qualified for the position. Corrupt means he is intentionally doing things to hurt the citizens. That’s why I get from the news coverage. The NOAH organization didn't do the job and we should look into what happen to the funding. However, when you add all of the coverage of the mayor's office together and you show his face and say his name time and time again while the story is airing, the message is clear. Someone is doing something wrong and the mayor is in on it. NOAH has its own director. I don't recall seeing that person's face anywhere on the story.

Please don't twist this into me defending NOAH and Ray Nagin's job performance.

ethan said...

You're still not making any sense. "...written and told with a slant implying that the mayor is doing some of these things." What does this mean? What specific articles are you referring to? And what exactly are the "things" the Mayor is being accused of doing--and who is doing the accusing? Give us some specific examples of articles that allege wrong doing on the part of the Nagin administration--and then tell us why they're not correct. Then, you go on to argue that the Mayor is simply incompetent and not corrupt. Do you really believe that incompetence is driving all of these lucrative city contracts and the Nagin administration's total lack of transparency in handing them out? Finally, the Nagin administration is linked to groups like NOAH because these groups are funded by federal as well as CITY money. Read the first sentence of the 2nd graph of the NOAH story:

Anonymous said...

NOAH just took down it's web site..

Anonymous said...

The reason you don't see the Director is she quit or was let go.

The new interim Director was the Secretary.

Clifton said...

You know Ethan,

When I read this last comment I started to go back and find every article to make my case for writing the blog in the first place. I could have done that because I never post anything here without making sure that I have my opinion straight and backed up with facts. Then I realized that the whole point of my original post was to highlight how different people view the presentation of the same story differently. Not once did I say the information in any story was inaccurate. I agreed with the NOAH information. I agreed with the crime cameras story. I agreed with the 311 story. I agreed with the city credit card story. The only part I don’t agree with is that Mayor Nagin is on the take. I need evidence for that. That could be my black male paranoia but that’s not going anywhere.

I was trying to show how a man like me can see the venom and personal indictment towards the mayor in the media. It really doesn’t matter what I find. You won’t see it how I do no matter what evidence I present to you anyway. That actually makes my point. I don’t know what race you are because your profile is “private”. This might have been your first visit to my page. If there if there is one thing people in America don’t see the same it’s the news media. That’s the reason black people got so outraged with Fox News or the New Yorker with Barak and Michelle Obama. We know that label can stick with you even without proof.

We can exchange emails or meet for a cup of coffee when Mayor Nagin gets indicted for the corruption and under the table deals that so many people seem to think he is involved in if that’s cool. This blog is just for exchanging opinions so I can deal with it. I will even pick up the tab as a way of admitting I was wrong. Until someone comes out to prove that this man was on the take or had a scheme to steal from the people, my original post and main idea stands on its own. I read it again to make sure and I am good.

Mark Folse said...

City business (on Perdido Street, not the newspaper) gives off every appearance of crooked shit going on. If you're the top guy, you get to own that. Hell, somebody thought it was a swell idea to give triple-priced garbage contracts to the mayor's contributors, and it's been mostly downhill from there.

I more and more think Nagin is more of a dumbass than a crook, in the George Bush model. I think he actually trusts the people around him, pretending not to notice that they're carrying these big sacks of money home every night past his office. (Ok, it's not that bad, but it's not too far off).

Anonymous said...

I just kinda assume all politicians are crooks. Guilty until proven innocent, in my book.