Thursday, August 26, 2004

New Orleans Self Destruction

I was watching 60 Minutes last night and a story about the Houston school system came on. The story was basically about how the school system in Houston was keeping kids back in the ninth grade to prevent them from taking the statewide standardize test in order to keep their scores up and the principals could get bonuses. As I watched this story I couldn't help noticing that none of the elected officials from Houston actually got on camera to talk about this or even to blame one another. I think I know why. Houston is a city that is very conscious about it's image to the rest of the world. Unfortunately I can't say the same for my own home town.

I wondered what would have happened if this would have been here in New Orleans. The school board would have been on TV. The superintenant would have been on the radio. The BESE board would have been in the paper. They all would have been screaming to the top of their lungs about how the other two are incompentant and it's not their fault. This happens with every major issue in this city. The rest of the world sees this and thinks that this is the kind of place that they would not like to live. Natives of the city see this and think the exact same thing.

When is the last time you have seen officials in this city be united about anything or any idea. Is there any issue that would cause these people to stand by each other's side in support. No there isn't. The reason is simple. New Orleans government is the easiest way to get rich. The higher the office the more chances you have of getting paid. When we get a new mayor, it doesn't matter what his policies are because the city council president will disagree and fight him on anything with the purpose of making the mayor look bad so he can get into office and take care of his people. This cycle goes on and on from other council members to the school board, RTA, levee board and so on. No person is going to fully support the other because they want that position themselves in order to control more money and contracts. This is how we as citizens of this city watch the same problems get worse for the last 20 years no matter who is in office and who we vote for. Ask yourself this question, if you were on the school board or the city council for 20 years and there was no progress in your area or district. Why would you still be fighting for that job? You are obviously not good at it, and it doesn't pay allot. So what is it that makes you think the next four years will be any different from the first 20. Maybe you are trying to hold on to more than we think?

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