Jack Davis said: "We could try it in our Portland Oregonian or in Cleveland or Newark, but we just need one laboratory. Why not New Orleans? If we can make it work there, we’ll do the same elsewhere. If not, we’ll try something else at the other papers."
This aspect is another major reason why this scheme needs to be vigorously resisted. Since Hurricane Katrina's August 29, 2005 landfall and the resulting federal flood, we denizens of New Orleans have been experimented upon -- mostly with devastating consequences. More than 7,000 certified Orleans Public School educators and support staff, most of whom were African American women, were summarily fired and replaced by fresh-out-of college Teach For America docents to lead to the largest collection of privatized charter schools in the nation (with only marginal improvement). Our public housing developments, most of whom had ably survived the storm, were demolished after locking out their leaseholders (indeed -- many residents were unable to retrieve their possessions!) and replaced with so-called "Choice neighborhoods" -- which have effectively locked out most of the original HANO residents. And our main trauma center Charity Hospital was shuttered even after its workers and the U.S. military had its first three floors ready to reopen within one month of the storm. Subsequently Lower Mid-City has been demolished, displacing hundreds of residents and scores of businesses to make way for a medical complex in which its needed financing still remains to be secured.
So now New Orleans is part an experiment in newspaper media. This is no accident. We were chosen (along with sister papers in Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile, Alabama BECAUSE WE IN THE DEEP SOUTH DON'T MERIT MUCH NOTICE. I do agree with Mr. Davis that our protest to date has just been what Steven Newhouse has termed "noise". It'll need to be escalated to the point of bring the "noise" to Newhouse/Advance Publications other business holdings (so folks need to consider dropping their cable TV subscriptions as well for example) and bring the "noise" to their Staten Island, New York headquarters -- for if this scheme succeeds, American journalism will be far worse off because of it.
Use of disaster recovery funds to build the new LSU UMC and NOT replace all the medical specialties and services that Charity Hospital provided needs to be investigated. When this project shifted from having healthcare at its forefront into an economic development scheme is what many in New Orleans are outraged about.
I can affirm at least rorleans comment about opposition from many of us in the UNO community. Tucker and Appel's original legislation would have changed our school's name to "ULNO". It might seem small to some, but our identity as the University of New Orleans is something we should not have to forsake.
Whatever one's view about "consolidation" or "merger" between SUNO and UNO, we also must be honest that part of the reason for this occurring now is because there remains $92 million to $96 million in unspent FEMA disaster relief funds designated for SUNO's campus. SUNO has a right to feel suspicious. Additionally, the plan that Jindal favors parrots a plan proposed last year by then UNO Chancellor Tim Ryan (NOHEC-N.O. Higher Education Consortium) which would have moved SUNO over to the Leon C. Simon side of the UNO campus (the former dorms=Bienville Hall) and demolished the residential neighborhood of Burbank Gardens (bounded by the London Avenue Canal, Robert E. Lee, Elysian Fields and Leon C. Simon). The probity of the Jindal Administration is what is at issue here -- plus taking advantage of the Katrina disaster to profit off our displacement -- this should be resisted by both SUNO and UNO-backers.
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