Housing and Urban Discord

Dec 21, 2007 by

I spent a significant chunk of my day today sitting it work down in the Bywater listening to the pounding of torrential rain on the window behind me. It was about 11:30am that a text message alerted me to the fact that strange things were afoot at City Hall. Moments later I was making the prior post.

Now I have had some time to dig through a variety of footage and punditry, windbags of the internet and the cathode tube alike. As usual I found jackal like barking on both sides of the argument. Sound and fury and extremism with little evidence of reason. In short a true bipartisan effort.

I would be a liar if I claimed to understand all of the intricacies of the situation, and a fool if I honestly thought I had the solution. What I do know is that I am weary with the vitriol that New Orleans has produced so copiously since that fateful August of ’05.

As usual the few voices I found making sense were in the local blogosphere. If you want intelligent analysis I highly advise going to the source posts these excerpts are taken from and read them in their entirety. Lets start with Schroeder over at People Get Ready:

I hope to have time to say more about what is shaping up to be one of the worst defeats in the history of New Orleans for racial harmony — the public housing controversy. For now, I’ll just say that I think that the most egregious offenders against the interests of public housing residents have been the uninformed lefty white poseur anarchist intellectuals who swooped into the city to save it from the uninformed right-wing white reactionary bourgeoisie.

True — there are a number of locals in the mix as well — white and black — who have called for action, and action is necessary to force people to the table in search of compromise, instead of yelling at each other. I guess I’ve just decided that I won’t make a fool of myself by standing again with braggard activists who wouldn’t themselves choose to live in the public housing projects, and who aren’t so much struggling for better lives for public housing residents as they’re trying to champion their own egoistic hero complexes, and to confirm their distorted world views inspired by some manifesto they read somewhere.

On the other hand, I’m equally repulsed by the rhetoric issuing forth from conservative ideologues, mainly heard sqawking their boot-strap doctrine on Clear Channel Fox-affiliate 99.5 FM and the redundant Entercom stations 870 AM/105.3 FM/1350 AM.

He goes on to make a statement that I believe everyone reading should take to heart and work towards:

Once again, the presidential candidates who emerge to represent their respective parties need to commit to an additional debate in New Orleans, to debate the future of New Orleans as the most important venue where the future crises of the rest of the nation are being staged today.

So that is a small fragment of a passionately brilliant post from our favorite Peanuts Character. Now on to my favorite bivalve, Oyster from Your Right Hand Thief (a former HumidCity contributor), as he waxes eloquent on the photo from todays Times-Pic which shows Sharon Jasper, who wishes to return to her public housing. “I might be poor but I don’t like to live poor. I thank God for a place to live but it’s pitiful what people give you.” This is the quote that appears under a picture of her sitting next to a HUGE widescreen TV that most of the people I know could not afford. Instead of quoting him I’ll just send you over to read the post (its short) and see the picture. Draw your own conclusions. I’ll wait here for you.

Back now? Good.

Let’s check in on Varg over at The Chicory, shall we? The pertinent post (go read it all, you know you want to) starts off kicking:

But one theme is emerging above all others:

Don’t depend on the government for housing. As we learned in August of 2005, don’t depend on the government for ANYthing. It’s a losing proposition. Nagin said there was no win-win situation. The Chicory says for the residents, it’s a lose-lose situation.

We have all seen it. We have all done the paperwork, endless reams of paperwork. The powers that be have been worse than useless, they have been self serving at the expense of the people they are supposed to lead. They are, as Frank Zappa so eloquently put it, jumped up used care salesmen in bad suits whose paychecks are drawn from our taxes. They work FOR us and need to be reminded of it.

He goes on to sum things up beautifully:

I saw another photo that claimed housing as being a basic human right. This further drove me away from the protesters. It’s a responsibility isn’t it? I understand the situation many people find themselves in. I understand the various circumstances that can lead to someone finding themselves homeless. What I can’t understand is the point one reaches when they feel as though the government has a responsibility to provide them housing when they don’t accept that responsibility themselves. The government is an uncaring, globular institution which can be swayed in many different directions and will often leave its dependents without roofs over their heads. People of all classes should be strongly encouraged to become independent of it.

So leave a comment, even if you are a confirmed lurker leave a comment. Give me some more viewpoints. It is a complex issue and one that we all need to get a grip on ASAP.

HumidCity Founder

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