Sunday, January 22, 2006

Time for Big Time City Government

Does the city government exist to serve the residents? Or do the residents exist to serve the city government?

I would say the first one. We elect representatives to come together to find a way to do big time projects we can’t accomplish as individuals.

If the majority of residents want to rebuild in the areas that flooded, the city can’t tell them no. The city serves the people.

Disagree? Put it to a vote. Have a candidate run who says no to rebuilding everywhere against a candidate who says yes.

Rebuilding everywhere does not mean rebuilding stupid. It is not making the same mistakes all over again. The mistakes we made were building poorly engineered levees, allowing our wetlands to disappear, and building a storm surge funnel called the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

If we design a new New Orleans that doesn't include most of its residents, and force the remaining residents to follow that design, it will not *be* New Orleans. Pre-Katrina New Orleans could not have been designed. New Orleans happened. We need to let it happen again.

In 1718, the first European settlers came to New Orleans. They built their homes on the high ground, outside of the flood zones. In 1915, A.B. Wood’s screw pumps allowed us to make the low ground just as dry as the high ground. So, we settled all of New Orleans.

Who is going to tell me in 2006 we can’t stay where we are? Who is going to tell me that we can’t protect New Orleans from Katrina-like destruction? If the levees hadn’t busted, if the wetlands were healthy and growing, if the MR-GO had been stopped in the planning stages, Katrina would not have been such a monster.

A plan exists that can protect us from another Katrina or an even bigger storm. We need the city to step up big time and get it done. Not the President. Not the Governor. The city.

If the city government exists to serve the residents, then there can be only one outcome – the outcome that the residents want.

NOTE: My house was not destroyed, so I am not facing the decision of whether or not to rebuild. I think that is important to point out.

Due to my job, I talk to people almost every day who have lost their houses, including friends and family. The majority of those whom I talk to don’t understand why the city might tell them they can’t rebuild. I don’t understand either, which is why I write these posts and read the posts of all you local bloggers out there. You help shape my opinions and, whether you agree with me or not, I thank you for that and for the forum to discuss these issues.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Curious what you do. My sister (who is back in borrowed digs but still displaced from her apartment) works for a kitchen contractor out in Metarie. She spends 10 hours a day and Saturdays talking to people who flooded. She has the pleasure of telling them 1)if you want your cabinets to match, you'll have to replace the undamaged ones, 2) prices have doubled since you installed them 10 years ago and 3) I don't know when we can get someone out to install them. This produces tears, anger, and all sorts of reactions. I would *not* want her job under the current circumstances.

ps-drop me a line at markfolse AT rocketmail DOT com. I hope to stand drinks for fellow bloggers one night when I bring my wife her car in February.