Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Build It Up to Tear It Down

The Wet Bank Guide pointed me to this NY Times article previewing Wednesday’s big announcement:

All Parts of City in Rebuild Plan of New Orleans
I like the headline, but did the person who wrote it read the article?
But ultimately, the areas that fail to attract a critical mass of residents in 12 months will probably not survive as residential neighborhoods, Mr. Canizaro said, and are likely to end up as marshland as the city's population declines and its footprint shrinks.
People who rebuild in those areas will be forced to leave, according to the proposal.
Those two things don’t go together in my book. You can rebuild anywhere, but in a year the city might force you to leave your house. That sounds to me like you can’t rebuild in all parts of the city, unless rebuilding means tearing down your house after a year.

I expect more from the author of the plan, Joseph Canizaro. He is, after all, a Bush Ranger. Okay, maybe that is what I expect.

Everyone seems to be afraid they will be the only person to move back into their block. I don’t get that. People want to live in New Orleans. People need to live in New Orleans. They will come back. I think we can hit the critical mass in every neighborhood even without all 480,000 residents coming back.

But, not if everyone waits for someone else to pull the trigger. That’s where the leaders come in. They are supposed to lead their people in the right direction. And the right direction is a rebuilding plan now, not 12 months from now.

Nagin doesn’t have to choose the Canizaro plan. Instead, he can lead his people in the right direction – before they are no longer his people to lead.

7 comments:

Sophmom said...

Perhaps the plan achieves the intended result and certain areas will not be rebuilt. You make a great point.

LatinTeacher said...

I have felt the same way about all of this. If you can come back and rebuild but it won't matter, why come back and rebuild. This plan seems out of whack, but it seemed as soon as it was written about that this was the plan. What New Orleans needs is a visionary leader. We don't have that right now. How long till we get one? The next hurricane isn't waiting.

Mr. Clio said...

This is not a plan at all. It is precisely a non-plan. It is a punt on first down. It stems from a fear to consider science, engineering, sociology, culture, and religious faith. It comes out of a fear to engage in a dialogue that ends up with a result in which not every single person is happy, but the community is better off. It comes from a fear to say "no" when "no" is necessary, and to listen when listening is necessary.

It is a non-vision.

Sophmom said...

"...punt on first down." Perfect. *sigh*

Evacuee said...

I'm pretty sure that New Orleans hasn't had a visionary leader since it's been a part of the United States.

Regarding people being afraid to be the only ones rebuilding on their block, this is the exact reason that the Baker bill needs to be supported, to help rebuild in a uniform and intelligent manner. Bring back neighborhoods one at a time, not households one at a time.

bayoustjohndavid said...

how does it define area or critical mass? If half the residents of a 3 block area come back are they out of luck if they surrounding area is less settled? Big problem tho is that it sounds like a cowardly way to keep the poor from coming back. The more resources you have, the more quickly you can come back.

D. Sorrell said...

I've been wondering for a while why there hasn't been strong, visible leadership. (See also: Rudy Giuliani post 9/11).
I've seen on NOLA.com several times that everyone's waiting for the new flood maps. Unless, I'm mistaken, the old map put some people in "low risk" areas because "they were areas protected by levees." Make those areas high risk, and the neighboorhoods die.
the The Flood Insurance program will be reformed (It's bankrupt) and you won't be able to get coverage for many areas.