Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One Year and 15 Days Later

The silver fleur-de-lis earrings I bought in January are tarnished. I'm not sure I should polish them yet.

District B Neighborhood Meeting Impression #1: Nagin has charm and Shrub's penchant for acting down-home (though Nagin is infinitely better at it) and he can make you think in person that he means well but I have no more faith or trust in him than I did when he first ran for mayor. His religious adherence to a "market-based approach to recovery" for the city is not only bullshit but dangerous for NO, its recovery and the chocolate of the city he claims to want to keep from melting away. (I'm sure Rob Couhig and Virginia Boulet can help him with that.) The "market-based approach" has brought us inflated contracts, a utility about to squeeze us dry, blighted housing standing for years (because of the sanctity of private property) while the brick buildings of public housing are demonized, and wages and prices and rents rising and falling independently of each other based on greed and "market-based" opportunity and belief in the amorality and fuck-the-future-ness of The Market. Not all things should be run for profit. Not all things have, or should have, a dollar value purely for sale or purchase. The Market does not have to see or manage anything like race, pollution, crumbling public schools, rape, and exploitation. Exploitation is good if it leads to profit, bad only if it doesn't pay. Who cares where the single mothers who do (or did) much of the invisible work in this town end up, as long as those condos keep going up? (I'm still trying to figure out who the fuck is buying all those $200-400K condos.) A "market-based approach" is also a cop-out. Bad results? It's just The Market. Astronomical rents? It's just The Market. Once "supply" gets closer to "demand," prices will go down. (One of Nagin's aides said that--if you were there and remember which one, please remind me.) Why? Because of the purity and inherent wisdom of The Market. Trash not picked up even though you pay for twice weekly pickup with recycling service? It's just The Market and The Market will correct itself as and when it sees fit. The Market is self-controlled, oblivious and indifferent, chaotic, independent, all-knowing, needy and thin-skinned, jealous, correct even when it is wrong, harmless even as it kills, its strength based on the vapor of blind belief. Sounds like a monotheistic god. Nagin's "market-based approach" means he can sit back and be in charge without being responsible/accountable.

I was disappointed by Stacy Head. The impression I got from her two outbursts (the first about getting citizens together to haunt Judge Elloie's courtroom to object, somehow, to his bonds and rulings; the second at a club owner who said the council had imposed a curfew on clubs that was hurting his business--her response was that, like her 4-year-old, he had to follow the rules) is that she has a negatively strident, screeching tendency that appeals to the kind of "neighborhood activists" who want to string up skateboarders and burn crackheads alive in the street. I thought she'd bring rationality to the table. I'm not making final judgment and will wait and see. But usually my first impressions bear out.

If my relationship with NO were a marriage, I'd be ashamed, as a feminist, thinker and general human, of my behavior--hysterical ranting, bitterly cold shoulders, venomous criticism, desperate-yet-regular wild fucking, despair, bemused tolerance, tenderness I feel is mostly one-sided, constant triple-guessing whether to stay or leave yet again or whether I should've come back the last time even though I knew, and everyone told me I knew, better. I would advise myself To Finally Leave. Even though I want to, I can't.


Blogger jeffrey said...

Your impressions of Head pretty much jibe with what I expected of her. I think before the election I said something about preferring the crook to the yuppie... but people still don't seem to understand what's at stake when we make these decisions.

Wed Sep 13, 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't defend Stacy Head on stylistic grounds BUT her office actually does constituent service. That was something that her predecessor never did. She's definitely an improvement over the bovine and clueless Gill-Pratfall.

Wed Sep 13, 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

I'm sure she gets things done. It's not hard to improve on no service. Still, with the issues and perpetual conflicts we in NO have, we need some better heads in charge.

When you have to choose between the yuppie and the crook, where's the choice?

Wed Sep 13, 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You left out the part where Stacy chastized the crowd and asked that we "make nice" so that ray would come back.

Somewhere between the mindless rantings of the perpetually dissatisfied and the polite murmers of the Uptown ladies there is room for a line of determined questioning. Ray seems to slip tween our fingers and I have to ask myself what kind of fool am I?

Wed Sep 13, 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a discussion with a determined Ayn Rand fan last week. He went on and on about personal responsibility and large government, etc. The usual "Rand" kind of thing. After asking some questions and listening to his answers, I asked, "Exactly how Darwinian are you willing for us to go?" His answer: "Very."

Your writing on market forces made me want to ask the same thing of Mr. Nagin (or as I call him, "our Where's Waldo" mayor). Exactly how Darwinian is he willing for us to go? Let's not re-open Charity (your piece on that is extraordinary) and walk over bodies in the streets eventually because there's no place to take them? Let's let our kids continue to be undereducated, or if their school can't open yet, go even longer without school when some have been out of school since the storm?-----okay, I could go on and on here, but I won't.

I told someone earlier today that you really have to WANT to live here right now to stay here. I do and I will.

Thanks so much for the report on the meeting. There was no way for me to fit it in, but wanted to hear what happened.

Wed Sep 13, 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

Karen, I didn't forget but in light of her later finger-pointing, I wonder if she tells her daughter to play nice so X will come back. Are we all 4-year-olds to her? Or is that the only method she can muster?

Let me refine "better heads" to "cooler heads in charge."

Wed Sep 13, 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

Don't leave until you have to or actually want to.

On Nagin and the 'Market', I wish more people comprehended this about him.

(And, of course, I wish the neolibs and neocons had not deified 'the market', and that that deification had not been converted, at least for some, into 'common sense'.)

Wed Sep 13, 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

Don't leave until you have to or actually want to.

It's hard to tell the difference.

Now that I start to think about it, it's much bigger than a single comment. I feel a post coming on.......

As far as only the ones who want to stay staying, the city needs and deserves more than that. The majority of our educated and talented and energetic folks, black, white, Vietnamese, you name it, go elsewhere. And "want" is a slipperier word than it seems.

Thu Sep 14, 06:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't go to the meeting, but the comments regarding Councilwoman Stacy Head are no surprise. She has a grating, harping and condescendent personality. She is smart, but not wise; aggressive, but not reflective; judgmental, but inexperienced.

Thu Sep 14, 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Folse said...

The Knights of the Invisible Hand are winning, as I always feared they might. But I don't think the battle is over yet.

Thu Sep 14, 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Your earrings seem to be so symbolic of the situation. I don't think you should polish them until there's some clear reason to be optimistic. Based on what you wrote, there's quite a ways to go.

Fri Sep 15, 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

Now that I start to think about it, it's much bigger than a single comment. I feel a post coming on.......

Post, post! I favor staying. But don't know what others should do.

Fri Sep 15, 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Electricnoise said...

There in no market economy in New Orleans! At best there may be a disfunctional form of state capitalism. Feudalism is a more accurate description. The same aristos that forced Mr. Nagin and Mrs. Head on New Orleans would choke on their own vomit before they actually allowed a free market with true competition and accountability.

Wed Nov 29, 09:45:00 PM  

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