Thursday, November 30, 2006

End Runnings

Thankfully, blessedly and mercifully, hurricane season is over, and it was far quieter than last year's Atlantic atmospheric riot. El Nino and West African duststorms will be our friends until Category 5 levees are in place, it seems.

I think we still had more named storms than the University of Miami Hurricanes football team had wins, though. Something tells me the climate in Boise in December isn't conducive to tropical storm development, so expect to see the "Hurricane Season Over" signs figuring prominently alonside the smurf turf.

Speaking of lead balloons, did anyone read the Iranian President's letter to America yesterday? I did. I have to admit, the idea of our nations at least speaking to one another appeals to me, but you'd think, with the international situation being what it is and all, we'd have a little less tolerance on all sides for fluff pieces. The only thing that would make this more sterotypical is if President Bush responded to this letter with his own, written in crayon, complete with many refrences to "nukyalar" technology and with all the "s" and "e" letters written backwards. And, of course, the Beard's name misspelled.

Though I checked, and it seems the Beard's letter had a profound effect on the twin tools of US policymaking: right wing websites and MySpace blogs.

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki took the "hunh?" moment of repose everyone had after looking at the Beard's letter to upstage his regional rival and announce that Iraq will take over Iraqi security on or around June 7. Let us one and all pray that this is the case, so many of our folks can come home and stay home, and someone over there gets their hands on the steering wheel.

I'm sure there will be a host of pundits on the right wing who sing praises to the 'stay the course' policy working, and I'm sure there will be a host of pundits on the left who say this is the result of the Democratic takeover of the Legislature (they still haven't been sworn in) and the aforethreatened timetables of withdrawal. I'm sure that in reality this has far more to do with Iraqis being uncomfortable with the continuation of Iraqis getting blown up by Iraqis. Whoever is responsible, let us hope that by June 7th, 500,000 Iraqis take over security for their own country, bid us a hearty thank you and farewell, and that there are 100,000 Americans on their way back to America, ready for the July 4th Victory Parade for the Ages Days that will undoubtedly follow.

In local news, I'm wondering what, if any, good can come out of this. Double edged swords all around. Open public housing: give folks a place to stay vs. concentrating populations in areas the governments have proven they can't maintain. Redevelop public housing: keep folks homeless or in exile vs. mixed use development & possible sell off to monied interests. So I'm opening the thread for debate, specifically, on the topic of public housing.


Dante said...

I'm not sure I entirely understand the issue. From what I gather, people who don't own any land or housing in New Orleans are complaining that the folks who do own land and housing they were living in (in this case either the state or local government) are going to demolish the housing and rebuild it. Then they're going to let the people who did live there move back in to new housing if they choose to?

The downsides I see portrayed are that these apartments will now be houses/townhomes and there may be a Wal-Mart somewhere on the property? I really don't get it. Is it the desire to move back in quickly that's making people complain here? Do the former tenants distrust HANO's motives? If so, why? Is there not going to be enough housing for everyone who wants to move back in? I saw the words "subsidized home." Are the tenants going to be expected to foot more of the housing bill than they previously did? Sorry for the density here but after reading the 4 page artice, I don't feel I know any more about the situation than I did before reading it (except for a clarification of what HANO stands for).

Patrick Armstrong said...

The issue, as I understand it (and to be sure, I don't understand it very well), is that HANO had plans to demolish several old "projects" in New Orleans. Part of the objections are being raised because 1) some of these properties have some weight as far as historical significance and public sentimentality are concerned, 2) that there are people in the New Orleans diaspora who used to live on these properties, who had jobs, who were prevented from returning even though flooding at some properties was minimal, 3) that New Orleans has an acute housing shortage and the respective organizations have waited a long time to not restore this housing and demolition and reconstruction as planned may take significantly longer, 4) that these properties will be demolished and sold off to developers.

Before Katrina, this was done to one area specifically close to the river, just west of the Warehouse District. In that event (the one the paper mentions) an old "project" was demolished in favor of mixed income housing. IN addition a Wal-Mart was also encouraged to move in. (Though the Wal Mart was required to abide by building codes for the area, and a promise not to abandon the building should business not meet expectations; they would have to do something else with the property in that case).

That area seemed to have worked, or is working now, and I have heard praise for said neighborhood often around town. The few detractors point out that not enough time has passed, and that such areas will either become low-income projects as other income brackets will refuse to move there or that such areas will become high income brackets as gentrification moves out the less able.

Your first paragraph pretty much sums up what is going on at its most basic level. But once you factor in sentimentality, lack of current housing, sell offs to developers and the suspicion people here view the city and state government (shocker), the issue gains its current level of complication.

Anonymous said...

It is, indeed, that we got through hurricane season with any significant damage to our country and NOLA. We do need more than a year to recover. That's the unfair advantage of destructive forces. They can destroy in a day or an instant what takes years to create.