Sunday, September 18, 2005

Against Nagin - Portrait of Ineffective Government

I have a somewhat unique point of view that I’d like to share with you over the next several months.

From September of 2003 through March of 2005, I served as a Staff Writer for Mayor Nagin’s Office of Communications. During that time I wrote countless press releases, media advisories, and talking points for Mayor Nagin. I also single-handedly researched and wrote the Mayor’s Two-Year Progress Report.

During my time at City Hall, I got to know the Mayor a little more closely than most people, but only through proximity. The Mayor made a habit of keeping his public mask on, even around the office.

Mayor Nagin suffers from several afflictions of personality that make him a liability to the future of New Orleans. Over the next few weeks, I will present a number of arguments against Nagin as a statesman as well as a leader. I encourage anyone to ask questions and voice their opinions, consenting or differing.

Number One on the list of shortcomings:

1. Nagin tends to believe his own press.

I know this because I used to write it. Nagin is not special in his desire to bend facts to make his administration look good. Everyone expects that. But what bothers me is how Nagin claimed credit for “Hollywood South.” His communications staff slapped a label on economic activity that was already happening (to the tune of nearly $200 million in production work over 2 years) courtesy of the Louisiana Film Tax Credit incentive, which was put in place by Governor Mike Foster’s office.

Yet Nagin spent city money to visit Los Angeles and meet with studio reps in an attempt to bring more movies to the city. Hollywood South is smoke and mirrors, a catchy hook to claim credit for something other people had already done. And now, Hollywood South is under a thin layer of petroleum and bio-hazards.

Like most novice politicians, Nagin’s rhetoric does not match his effectiveness. He promises the world and delivers a scoop of dirt. Everyone remember the noble concept of a passenger rail from downtown to the airport? That was a jewel in his campaign rhetoric that went away quickly after I came on board.

Nagin’s special disease is “Talk Big – Act Small.” Where the change requires a tsunami’s force, most of Nagin’s plans have provided the cumulative effect of a wave pool. You cannot deny their effectiveness in small doses – such as “Project Second Chance” and the city-sponsored New Orleans Lightning (a biddy basketball team that won a tournament in Nice, France). But when lives were on the line, in a crisis, Nagin’s poor leadership created crime, anarchy, and ultimately death.

Ultimately, this Mayor is more flash than substance. He has an immense ego, judging his administration’s success by the number of cover shots he has on magazines, how often he sees himself on TV, and how favorable the press coverage is. Nagin enjoyed his honeymoon in politics, that first 18 months where he could do no wrong, bringing credibility and “accountability” to the Mayor’s office as the face of a “New New Orleans.”

The truth of the matter is that, while Nagin's national recognition increased, the city's core problems of widespread povery, blighted housing, and unimaginably bad crime remained. This makes him a poor choice to continue the next 4 years as mayor.

Now in the wake of his inept planning and execution of evacuation for Hurricane Katrina, Nagin now has blood on his hands as well. We'll be talking more about this as the weeks wear on.


At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Yolanda said...

And I'll be listening . . .

At 4:29 AM, Blogger The ViewMaster! said...

Aloha! A. Franz! ...From The Beautiful *BIG* Island of Hawaii! ;-)

Where, We Have Our Own Problems:


Volcanic Eruptions:

*Hopefully*, Your Blog Here, WILL BE The 'Readers Choice' Alternative, To The HEAVILY "Liberal" Censored NOLA.Com Forums!!!

It's Obvious To Me That, Nagin Does NOT Love His City, Much Less, Its Citizens!!!

Racism In America? If Nagin Were 'White' U Can Bet He'd Be Happy To Be In The Safety of Jail For Manslaughter, As Opposed To Being 'Lynched' b
By Now!!!

BTW - We Were In New Orleans The Week Prior To Katrina:

Hada GREAT Time! ...Ra!!!

Best of Luck! 2'Ya! A. Franz!



At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tell me how much Nagin and WHite are looting from the city? David White is the bagman, just how and where are they diverting the money.

Look at the admin - Charles Rice, Kim WIlliamson, Sean CUmmings (confict of interest in Bywater and WTC; illegal TIFs), trash cans, property taxes through the roof, murder sky high, city bankrupt and now his very poor performance during Katrina. Either incredibily stupid, arrogant or just plain evil. Trying to find out.

At 9:23 PM, Blogger prwerkz4unme said...

Nagin is guilty of being the Mayor of New Orleans, which brings its own temptations with it. Beyond that, would any of you have done better as mayor during this period? Would Morial? BAD TIMING...that's what happened to him. Oliver Thomas, Eddie Sapir, the frontrunners for competition for the job would not have done any better in this situation, neither would any other Armchair Quarterbacks. I honestly like Nagin. He runs the city like a business...I don't agree with his tactics all the time, but for a democrat he does okay, and probably better than most. I do think he is out of touch with the majority of NOLA (poor, black, etc.), but beyond Dorothy May Taylor, how many councilpersons, etc. have been in touch with the general New Orleanian.
He happened to be Mayor when it happened, which no one believed it would ever happen. Circumstances make the man, and he has responded as well as possible (between watching people die--even if in safe quarters himself--and being road blocked by Blanco) Start a blog on her, and I'll have many things to say about her and the folks who voted her in!!! I am white, and a republican except when a Landrieu is involved, and only then do I waver.
I love New Orleans. I love Louisiana. But, I can accept responsibility for the decisions of our elected officials, even if I didn't vote for them. Nagin did well (until inviting residents back while Rita was bearing down), and Blanco sucked, which I suspected would happen anyway. I rest well at night knowing she won't be reelected.
I think the beef that everyone has can be summed up as such:
The political establishment in Louisiana (for the most part) is out of touch with the average citizen, but since none of us live here because of our governor or our mayor, shut up, pick up a hammer and get to work rebuilding our homes. If your home is fine, then help your neighbor...because, after all, that is why I live here. For the people, whether smart or not, that is why I am here and want to stay here. I love this place, and I could happily live here forever. Hey, you're alive and well off enough to read this insignificant post on an insignificant and humble blog...Become something significant, and stop commenting on the news and start making it...even if the only person who hears about it is your someone on your own block. Nagin is not the problem, nor is Blanco (not the ultimate problem, anyway.) It is me and you. Next time, make sure you tell at least 3 more people to vote for the correct candidate, and implore them to tell 3 more, and so on and so forth. Maybe when that happens, then life in Louisiana will be better for all of us!
One last point...Blanco, Nagin, Broussard, Bush, etc. are still only human, and none of them could have anticipated this happening a month ago, so whoever was wherever at whenever does not matter. Judge these people on their hearts after the fact. Consider that some of them have made great sacrifices to be here after the storm and are balancing the needs of family, and responsibility to constituents, especially those living closest to the city. Many of them have lost property and loved ones just like you, and they’re frustrated too. Just once, let's all take responsibility for our role in this catastrophe of our fellow citizens. If you're such a wonderful person, that you made 65 trips and fit more refugees in your car then clowns in a Volkswagen, I guess you are exempt. For the rest of us, pick up a hammer, and pitch in to make our city one that can make us all proud to call it home!


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