Friday, August 02, 2002

The Silence of the Damned

Yesterdays' city council meeting was unexpectedly pacific as Marlin Gusman reversed his oppositions to some of the Mayor's initiatives and declined to criticize an ongoing investigation that is getting perilously close to implicating him. Here's the gist:

Gusman not only withdrew objections he previously had raised about the process proposed to boost salaries for some top mayoral staffers, he also passed on an opportunity to comment on the administration's recent crackdown on City Hall corruption -- which Nagin has charged that Gusman did little to address during his years as the city's top administrator...

Asked afterward why he chose to say nothing, Gusman said "All I want to do is work with the (Nagin) administration." Regarding his change of heart on the pay raises being sought by the mayor, Gusman said he had no comment, repeating his desire to "work with the administration."

The fact that Gusman and his cronies have decided to sit down an shut up rather than paralyze the Mayor's reform efforts (in hopes of allowing the Morial machine to win back the office in 3 1/2 years) with the usual grandstanding and logrolling suggests a few things to me:

  1. Certain council members realize that the Mayor is not just paying the usual lip service to reform and that they are vulnerable. If ten percent of the stories one hears about forced partnerships and payoffs in order to do business are true, then these guys, so used to accepting payola and deference from business owners as their due, are facing jail time. I'll bet Nagin has brought in the feds for them, as retiring DA Harry Connick has too much history with the old guard to be of much use.
  2. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of a Mayor with a 96% (according to the local news, no joy with google) approval rating. I'll bet the four percent against are comprised of Morial's gang and those who cut sweetheart deals with them.
  3. There is more to come. Yesterday the city permit office was busted.

And the good news keeps on coming. Yesterday there was talk of permanently shutting down the rotten to the core Utilities Department:

Williamson told the council she will release a report Monday outlining the administration's recommendations on how to administer vehicle inspections and whether the city should abolish the Utilities Department -- a step that she said may require a referendum to amend the City Charter.

As I said before, it is not like the Utilities Department did anything except harass citizens. I'll bet it did not even pay for itself. What is truly amazing is to see a purportedly Democratic (Nagin did not enjoy the support of the local machine, but could never had run otherwise in a >60% black city) administration actually shrink and streamline government administration. Ineffective city agencies that don't not even produce sufficient revenue to sustain themselves are merely patronage repositories for ward healers and cronies to dump their buddies and do nothing relatives. The leadership in DC should take a lesson and start cutting away useless fat like the Department of education, the FDA, much of the so called Homeland Defense apparatus....

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Gusman Hears Footsteps

I forget in whose blog I read that if you have to use Hitler or Nazis in your argument you have lost. I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment, mainly because it provides cover for lefty nanny-statists (not much, there's always Stalin or Pol Pot or the Kims). Anyway, I thought of that assertion when I read this part of City Councilman (and former NOLA Chief Administrative Officer) Marlin Gusman's comments on the corruption investigation that is beginning to implicate him as at the very least incompetent if not complicit.

"I remember from reading in history books how some of the greatest atrocities in the history of the world started off with, 'Let's stamp out corruption,' " he said. "Hitler in Nazi Germany, Fidel Castro in Cuba, racist whites in Reconstruction, just to name a few. So I think we ought to be real careful about prejudging someone in government, someone in private industry before we just run out and convict them in the court of public opinion."

Hitler, Fidel, and racist whites during Reconstruction, we have a trifecta! Defining the exact genus of white racists was a nice touch. Remember, he is evoking these baddies to imply that the idea of stamping out corruption is dangerous. Better to abide the devil you know is his message. He is clearly used to being able to sell that balloon juice to an electorate either too ignorant or resigned to the corrupt status quo to hoist the bullshit flag. Unfortunately for him and his ilk, the scales have been pulled from the eyes of our beleaguered citizenry by a competent, dynamic and honest Mayor. New Orleanians are finally realizing they needn't abide any demons in their local administration.
Nagin 'n Nola National Notice

Rod Dreher, a Looziana boy on hizzoner.