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Letters to the Editor 

Bring Lafitte Residents Home
While we applaud Gambit's defense of the Lafitte Housing Development in its commentary, "The Case for Affordable Housing" (Dec. 19, 2006), we wonder at the logic used to suggest that Lafitte should be reopened for workers. On the one hand, you site statistics gathered by All Congregations Together, which say that 90 percent of Lafitte residents want to return. On the other hand, you are willing to give their apartments away to workers who didn't necessarily live in public housing. You report that many former residents of public housing attended the HANO public hearing on Nov. 29th in their work uniforms. Shouldn't they be given the right of first return?

You were factual in reporting the excellent condition of the buildings at Lafitte, citing assessments by HANO inspectors who said some of the buildings could be reopened "cheaply." Yet you continue to advocate for phased-in demolition of parts of Lafitte, and redevelopment, lauding HUD's partnership with Enterprise and the Catholic-run Providence Community Housing. It is just such a partnership that legitimizes demolition and puts a face on this proposed redevelopment that bares closer examination.

The city can't afford to lose a single unit of affordable housing, and renovation of the entire Lafitte complex would be millions of dollars less expensive than demolition and redevelopment. HANO's own documentation shows that Lafitte could be repaired for $20 million. Yet the agency wants to push ahead with demolition and redevelopment that will cost over $100 million.

Providence stands to make money from this venture in administrative fees. It would be one thing if they intended to rebuild homes in the commuity with the tax credits obtained for this venture. It is quite another though, to partner with a process that involves the demolition of very livable housing.

Gambit and Providence cannot have it both ways.

Elizabeth Cook
United Front for Affordable Housing

One Man's Resolutions for 2007
With the Louisiana congressional delegation apparently committed to perpetual war under a petulant out-of-control commander-in-chief, it is time to tell you all what my intentions are at this New Year of 2007, which starts my own 64th year.

First of all ... it is time for the American military to disobey the commander-in-chief, who has illegally, immorally and unconstitutionally invoked a doctrine of "pre-emptive war" and has engorged the military beyond necessity in order to support his policies. It is both American and humane to disobey this commander and is worth imprisonment to further the cause of authentic patriotism.

Secondly, as a teacher, I will tell my students that it is not an expression of love for country for them to enlist in any of the military services in the present circumstances. I will explain the difference between a military created for defense and one created for offense. I will talk to them of the Roman Empire, which stretched its resources so thin that it could not maintain itself.

Thirdly, I will publicize the full history of Palestine, balancing the skewed version available in the media and in the House of Representatives. I want a two-state solution with Jerusalem as a special enclave for its two peoples and three religions. It is infuriating to read of the billions that go to Israel each year, while we on the Gulf Coast must beg for crumbs.

Fourthly, I will join with progressive institutions and political action groups to organize events against perpetual war and the military-industrial economy. My socioeconomic weakness cannot possibly match the Big Guns of the wealthy Republicans and Democrats who have invested so much in war. At the same time, I cannot live otherwise.

Robert Desmarais Sullivan

Don't Waste Paper
In reference to "Sweet Tooth," (Jan. 2), once again you've squandered an oppurtunity to point out how badly New Orleanians and the Gulf South are being screwed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Why not a lengthy exposé on how Sugar Bowl sponsor Allstate (and other insurance companies) are sticking it to their customers by not paying off claims in a timely fashion and, in many cases, when they do, lowballing claimants with absurdly low payouts?

Wouldn't a story such as this have been relevant? No, all we get is a frikkin' puff piece better suited to the sports page of The Times-Picayune.

A publication such as yours is supposed to act as a check and balance to the corporate media; unfortunately, you have become one of them yourself. Are you not familiar with the hard-hitting investigative journalism that papers like Gambit were born of? You stopped running Molly Ivin's column, for goodness sake. What's next on the chopping block -- This Modern World?

You need to step it up, Gambit. Your publication borders on pathetic for such a city as culturally vibrant as ours.

Leo Douglas


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