Thursday, October 13, 2005

Condi cares--and so do we. Don't we?

Condoleezza Rice was over in Pakistan just yesterday, doing what Republicans do best: talking nonsense. "I just want to tell the people of Pakistan, know that our thoughts are with you. That we will be with you not just today but also tomorrow as you try to rebuild," she said. Terribly reassuring, don't you think? Personally, were I a Pakistani with access to news regarding the miserable Katrina rebuilding screw up here, I'd run and hide from Condi and her ilk.

Mayor Nagin has been hitting the shelters, urging New Orleans to come on home. The wages are high (how'd that happen, with the presidential order to lower wages?) , the workers needed, the restaurants are open. Y'all come back now, ya hear? But where do are they supposed to go, Mayor? There's no place to live.

First, FEMA came up with the ridiculously short-sighted and ultimately unworkable $1 billion plan to house evacuees in trailers. Now, they are housing folks in hotels, to the tune of $8.3 million per day. PER DAY. The suggestion that FEMA instead house evacuees in already available empty apartments (said to be 1 million rental units available at half the rate currently being paid) seems to be going nowhere. The short-sighted focus is on meeting an October 15 deadline to move people out of shelter housing, rather than meeting an intelligent long-term goal of housing evacuees in a fiscally responsible manner.

But even if New Orleans could house those who want to come back (and most of the housing available is obvious NOT in NOLA), would you want to live in a place that has no municipal workers? The City of New Orleans has no money. No money, no garbage pick up. Garbage has been sitting out in NOLA for six weeks, ever since Katrina hit.

Apparently, the US Army Corp of Engineers has added garbage collection to its list of chores, and is trying to assist. But the garbage continues to pile up. Why is anyone urging residents to come home and clean up if cleaning up simply means dumping your garbage on the corner to create homes for rats?

Either this is all ass-backwards, or it's circular. Or maybe I'm too tired to understand. But to be able to run a city, you need workers. But you can't have workers if they have no place to live. And, if you have workers--residents--living in a city, you need an infrastructure to support those residents. But if you have no money, you have no infrastructure. If you have no infrastructure, you have no livable place to reside. Then you have no residents. No workers. And no city.

There's got to be a better way to organize the rehabilitation of NOLA. I'm less impressed with how FEMA, the city, and the state are running this than I was with the whole debacle six weeks ago. It all seems less crucial, as lives aren't directly on the line. Now, it's simply the life--or death--of a city that's at stake.

Until tomorrow,


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5:15 PM  

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