New Orleans’s recovery commission is catching a lot of well-deserved flak for their plans to rebuild the destroyed and damaged neighborhoods using eminent domain, throwing federal grant money towards a superfluous light-rail system and — as we’ve covered before — free WiFi. The Boston Globe reports:
Angry homeowners screamed and City Council members seethed yesterday as this city’s recovery commission recommended imposing a four-month building moratorium on most of New Orleans and creating a powerful new authority that could use eminent domain to seize homes in neighborhoods that will not be rebuilt.
[…] Some activists have long accused the commission — which was appointed by Nagin — of trying to find ways to abandon predominantly black neighborhoods, such as the Lower Ninth Ward. Yesterday’s unveiling did nothing to assuage their fears, even though commission members promised to give all neighborhoods an opportunity to prove that they should be rebuilt by convening planning groups in coming months.
The proposed moratorium would be in the city’s most damaged neighborhoods, and officials would use the four-month period to gauge whether enough residents will come back to make the areas viable.
In typical two-faced politico style, mayor Ray Nagin was suddenly on the side of the residents:
Within minutes of the plan’s unveiling, Nagin was already showing signs that he might back away from the commission’s most controversial proposal. He told WWL-AM that he had some ”hesitancy” about the building moratorium.
In lieu of my own snarky commentary, I’ll defer to David Masten over at Catallarchy who had a novel proposal for the whole thing:
Since it is has been decided that there will be a huge plan to rebuild New Orleans, I would recommend a small addition. This addition will properly convey the essence of this newly rebuilt city and gives proper credit to those who have gone before in such planning. Change the city’s name to New Leningrad.