In preparation for my appearance on Rising Tide’s politics panel this weekend, I’ve been doing some homework on our friends and neighbors down in New Orleans. Here’s what I’ve discovered:
- Sources tell me that New Orleanians are set to elect a new Mayor early next year. I don’t have any early favorites, but like Blake at Humid Haney, I have been following the campaign of James Perry. It is encouraging and interesting to see a candidate so engaged and focused so early on, and it’s also interesting that Mr. Perry seems to be the only candidate, thus far, that fully appreciates the power of social networking in politics. I am not even a resident of the Great City of New Orleans, but because of Perry’s online outreach, I know more about where he stands on the issues than any other candidate. (Bill White, the Mayor of Houston and a candidate for United States Senate, is employing the same tactics, and I think it’s a smart move).
- The New Orleans City Attorney says there’s a difference between “special” and “other” counsel in order to justify Nagin’s hiring of a high-priced D.C. law firm to defend him against all of those pesky public records complaints… without City Council approval. A friend of mine says, “Sometimes, you just have to make the best argument you can, even when you know it’s a losing argument.” It surely looks like she is attempting to justify subverting their City Charter by inventing distinctions between and definitions of “special” and “other” counsel to pay for Nagin’s legal defense.
- This Nickelodeon story is hilarious to me. Great for New Orleans, I guess. I am not sure why the City ever got into the amusement park business to begin with; still, the story, as I read it, seems to expose the disconnect between private-sector solutions and public-sector posturing. It appeared as if the Nickelodeon announcement took everyone by surprise, including the City Council and the Mayor’s Office, both of whom seemed already invested in some sort of sports complex concept. Another friend of mine, who is an amusement park aficionado, says the Nickelodeon deal has been discussed on amusement park Internet forums for well over two months now. I guess I missed it. I am sure many of you in New Orleans have been paying closer attention.
- Every week, I meet or talk with planners and architects who say they’re involved in New Orleans redevelopment projects. Outside of the United Arab Emirates, New Orleans may be the best place for urban planners and architects in the world. The question is: Will any of these fancy plans and beautiful drawings ever become real? Or will all of these plans be subverted by those who don’t want their master plan to have the force of law? I thought the issue was already resolved by the voters; apparently, a handful of people with a lot of money believe otherwise.