The people who have lost so much do not want to lose what they have left.
Why aren’t the two sides talking?
With a cell phone crooked in her ear and scores of activists cheering her on in the 2000 block of Reynes Street, lawyer Tracie Washington sent a backhoe and its crew packing from the Lower 9th Ward Thursday morning.To me, this shows that the lines of communication between the city and its people have been severed. The people now feel they have to show up to physically impede the unwanted bulldozing of their homes.
Washington and her colleagues raced to the corner of Reynes and Galvez streets after a tipster called in an SOS that the bulldozing had begun — in clear violation of an agreement the city made Dec. 28 not to demolish any homes until a hearing in Civil District Court, she said.
The machine seemed to be collecting rotting boards piled up where lawns once were. But to Washington and her circle the materials were not storm debris ready to be discarded, but rather someone’s property.
It makes no difference whether this crew was simply “collecting rotting boards” or preparing to bulldoze a house. The people perceived the latter. One man’s debris is another man’s home. The city doesn’t get it.
The question of who gets bulldozed and who doesn’t can not be settled in the courts. It can not be a forced decision. It must come through dialogue, with the wishes of both sides present in the final outcome.
In the end, no one will be happy. We have all lost so much. But, adding to the grief is not an option.
How did we get to this point?