As I was sitting at my desk writing all this junk it hit me all of a sudden that I had written almost the exact same thing before. That let's me know that the way I feel about this is genuine and I have no problems saying it again. I might as well use the same picture. These are the kind of things that take an open minded cat like me and make him isolated.
I’m trying to be as open minded as possible with this situation between the mayor and the city council. I don’t want to take anyone’s side because most of these folks will soon be out of office and we will all still be living here and dealing with the same issues. This is not to defend the mayor’s job performance at all. I didn’t vote for him in either election. The point I am about to make is really a personal issue that I have as a black man and it just so happens the mayor is the focal point of it. I know when people see his name they instantly go on attack so that will probably happen this time too. If people choose to go that direction so be it. It won’t change how I feel.
The law says that the mayor is not supposed to delete any public records for three years. If for some reason he purposely did that then that’s his problem to deal with. I am not condoning irresponsible behavior. I also don’t really care about city contracts as it relates to who gets them. As long as they do a good job, everything was legal, and we are not grossly overpaying so be it. I don’t have time to follow every contract that comes up for bid. At some point we have to trust officials to do the right thing and vote them out if they don’t.
My issue right now is the premise that because Mayor Nagin is friends with some of the contractors who received city business there must be something funny going on. This is when I get uneasy and the good government movement loses me. Black New Orleans is an intimate community. There is only about 3 degrees of separation from one another. There’s a serious gap between the haves and have not financially but socially the gap is much more narrow. I am certain there is a guy digging a ditch somewhere right now that could get Mayor Nagin on his personal cell phone if he needed to. I remember when he first got elected and did the corruption sweep in the Taxi Bureau. One of the people arrested was his cousin. That’s how interwoven everyone is. It’s one of the reasons why some problems we have are so difficult to fix because we have to go against people we know in some form. It’s my belief that it is impossible for any black mayor of
There’s a difference between doing business with someone you know and hooking up someone you know. I am totally against blocking out other people just to give money to your friends. I am also against blowing millions of dollars on contracts without any performance. If that’s happening in the city then I don’t care if the company is own by a family member; that person shouldn’t be paid and we need to fix that. I have no sympathy for those people and everyone who helped Pampy squander all that money and set the city back should go to jail. All I am asking for the benefit of future race relations in this city is that if anyone has evidence that Mayor Nagin and any of the people who currently have city contracts has done anything of this nature to please make it known. It’s the only way I can get on board. Please don’t send me any messages about him taking his wife out to dinner on the city credit card or having two take home vehicles. While those things may be wrong and irresponsible, they pale in comparison to the rhetoric and awful words that are thrown around to describe this man.
Personally speaking, I refuse to turn black men into criminals just because I don’t approve of the way they are doing their job. I think Ray Nagin has not done a good job at articulating the frustration, urgency and severity of the needs the citizens in his city have. I feel if we had a mayor that knew how to speak out all the time instead of when he is personally offended it would go a long way to bringing the city together. There are many things that he could do differently. At the same time I am not ready to make him a criminal without evidence. I’m also not ready to paint everyone whose been rewarded a contract with that same criminal brush just because they are friends with or know the mayor. To me that crosses the line when you don’t have any facts to prove that. All black people are not guilty by association. Even if you caught a few people in City Hall doing something wrong, it doesn't mean that every person in the entire building and all those connected to them are part of a criminal operation. Real fairness in America is when you can look at one person and say "they suck" and leave it at that. Racism is looking at that same guy and saying "they suck so everyone of the people involved with him must suck too and they should all be punished". As a black man who has had to defend himself, his family and his community against pre-conceived notions based on media stories and stereotypes, I simply can’t fall in line with this agenda. To do so in my mind is an insult to the black men who raised me. Besides, I have enough real criminals roaming the streets to affect my image and standing in society. I don’t need to create false ones.
To me it’s just like that New York Post cartoon of those policemen shooting that monkey or Senator Gregg turning down the Secretary of Commerce post. Some things bother you right at the core and you have to say something. I had to get this off my chest because it's getting to the point where I can't follow the news and think rationally like a responsible citizen should without being personally offended.