Integrity in Office
I am surprised by this sudden outpouring of respect and protectiveness for the "separation of powers." I am neither condoning nor condemning the FBI search of Congressman Jefferson's office -- the facts will speak for themselves. New Orleans, especially in the post-Katrina world, requires a representative with integrity.
I am most disturbed by the current executive branch's contempt for, and deliberate weakening of, the congressional and judicial branch, not to mention the Constitution of the United States and the American people.
A key part of a functioning democracy is the ability to curtail the abuses of, or unconstitutional expanse of, executive power. Obtaining the telephone records of millions of Americans is illegal and an impeachable offense, in addition to torture, indefinite detainments around the world, and the Iraq war.
If by now we have not learned that the rhetoric and actions of the Bush Administration don't match up, they will continue to get away with murder.
What About Armstrong Park?
Mayor Nagin recently announced plans for a National Jazz Park by the Superdome and Hyatt Regency hotel.
I was told the City Planning Commission office was in shock about the mayor's plans -- which entail tearing down City Hall, the State Office Building, the Civil Courts Building and the New Orleans Centre shopping mall. FEMA money would help pay the city's share of costs. No one in the city's planning office knew anything about it until they read The Times-Picayune .
My special interest in this new jazz park is because for over 10 years, plans to revitalize Armstrong Park have been in limbo waiting for the National Park Service to build its "Jazz Park" in the Perseverance Hall complex. (And there's still no date for construction to begin.)
Does New Orleans need two jazz parks? (I'm not sure it even needs one.) Does this mean the Armstrong Park jazz park plans are dead? Will FEMA money be used for a new jazz park while the city's existing parks and playgrounds continue to decay? Armstrong Park has been closed since Katrina and there's no date for it to reopen.
While New Orleans drowns, the mayor "jazzes."
I predict nothing will come of these new jazz park plans. Remember Nagin's plans to sell the airport, take over 20 schools, create a Canal St. casino district, etc., etc. But why divert energy and attention from solving our real problems?
Weren't Rob Couhig, Virginia Boulet and Tom Watson supposed to bring some common sense and teamwork to the mayor?
By the way, don't worry, I want to have a voice in our city's future but I have no intention of ever running for elected office again.
Leo Watermeier was a candidate in 2006 for Mayor of New Orleans and has served in the Louisiana state legislature.
Support the Arts
Because people keep scolding our mayor, I think I'll add my two cents now.
During, and directly after Katrina, especially when he confronted the failure of our federal government, Nagin was a hero to me. I sent him a fan letter. I would have followed him to Washington, I would have gotten on board, I was ready to go with Nagin at the helm.
But my sense of being represented dissipated, and I turned my attention other directions. So we've got four more years of a mayor who has been failing to inspire me.
Friday was the Mayors Arts Awards, to which I donated my time, money and artistic skill, not to mention my optimism and anticipation at hearing the mayor speak about the value of the arts community, a topic that is important to me.
Unfortunately he did not attend, and no reason was announced.
I need to feel Mr. Nagin's impact on my life in a way that is positive and direct. I need a reason, or maybe just an excuse, to keep my energy behind the mayor, and the city of New Orleans. Throw me something mister mayor!