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Progress for New Orleans

N.O. City Council Moves Towards Redevelopment of Housing Blocs

The New Orleans City Council on Thursday unanimously voted to raze public housing projects in blighted areas that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina and remain largely vacant today. The vote crossed racial lines, with the four white council members and the three black council members all in agreement.

Obviously the far left will unleash its litigation machine. But it's unlikely that will get them very far. The courts in Louisiana -- at the state appellate level and at both levels of the federal system -- are pretty darn conservative, i.e., rational and reasonable.

So, this truly can be viewed as an important step for the Crescent City. If done correctly, hell, even if done half-assed, the redevelopment of blighted neighborhoods can have long-lasting, positive ripple effects. Just ask any New Yorker who's old enough to remember the train wreck of the 1970's.

BTW, as everyone reading this presumably knows there was the inevitable protest on Thursday -- sometimes violent -- by leftists, students, paid protesters, university professors, riff raff and assorted nuts and flakes. But that's okay. In some respects it's welcome. Because if the lunatic fringes are not frothing at the mouth about a major policy decision that often means it's not worth doing. Besides you know that old saying, don't you? We can make the trains run on time but there will be blood on the tracks.

P.S. -- Here's a link to a preposterously biased and agenda-driven article on this subject by the liberal Associated Press.


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Comments (11)

You can tell it's a great i... (Below threshold)

You can tell it's a great idea just by the morons opposing it.

They've been planning this ... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:

They've been planning this for at least a year. Drive by those complexes and they look more like prisons than anything else. They were, in their time, a haven for all manner of crime, and served only to keep economically "dis-advantaged" people crammed together like cattle.

For once, down here, the elected government is doing something that will actually break down the government-dependent, victim-based, crime infested culture. It's the right thing to do.

I'm on both sides of the af... (Below threshold)

I'm on both sides of the affordable housing issue. Ethicly and religiously, I feel that housing costs for those of limited incomes is simply way too high. But at the same time, I'm also a landlord myself and need to get decent rent in order to cover the many extremely high expenses involved.

Many working poor pay such a high percentage of their income for housing costs that it's wrong and immoral. But at the same time fixed costs are so high, and repair costs so steep for major repairs that landlords have little choice but to charge decent rent to cover their costs. None of this leaves me feeling very happy or good about things at the end of a long day.

I agree with everybody, in ... (Below threshold)
langtry:

I agree with everybody, in one way or another, on this issue. As a Chicagoan, I have seen public housing at its worst: highrises with narrow hallways open to the elements on one side (only a stronger version of "chicken wire" ironwork separates one from a precipitous plunge to the concrete below) and the residents' doors on the other. The resemblence between these places and the Roundhouse at Stateville Prison was astonishing! And we wondered why none of the residents had "pride of place"? The authority in N.O. is right to want to make the hosuing system better, and more humane.

But I have also seen what a city's commitment to public housing residents is -- and it sucks. Private developers who turned what was Cabrini Green into a mixed public-private housing initiative called Old Town Square are the only ones who have followed through on keeping former Cabrini residents in the city, let alone their old neighborhood. Those not qualifying for inclusion in the Old Town Square scheme were not relocated to other housing in Chicago: they were moved to far south suburban Harvey, where there are no jobs and virtually no public transportation to the city. So residents, too, are right to mistrust how the City of N.O. will treat them. The way the City of Chicago handled Cabrini is one of the catalysts behind my transformation from a believer-in-Big-Government Democrat to a a (fiscally) Conservative Republican.

Back to the events of yesterday, I think the N.O.P.D. needs to be under some sort of censure. Seriously, tasers and tear gas for people staging a sit-in at a municipal meeting? I don't care how 'rowdy' these people were -- it seems like an extreme over-reaction and demonstrates how little has changed in how the City of N.O. treats its residents since Katrina.

New Orleans, through years ... (Below threshold)

New Orleans, through years of neglecting these housing projects, has brought this about. Now that someone is willing to do something about it, the residents scream bloody murder. It's a lie that some have said there is nothing physically wrong with the buildings. Structurally they may be sound, but that's where it ends.

However, I think they should seriously consider bringing the existing buildings up to code (they weren't up to code even before Katrina) and restoring them to their original condition with some changes; interior materials to retard mold growth, which has been a problem, is one health issue. Most of the plumbing is over 60 years old.

There is a fear that the "rich" will take over the neighborhood and only they will be able to afford it. Some also seem to be against poor families mingling with middle income families calling it a social "experiment". One of the stated goals of re-doing this area is simply to end the segregation of the poor.

There are valid arguments on both sides though. It can be done without demolishing the buildings entirely.

NPR used an interesting term this morning in regards to this issue: the birthright of poverty. I'm not sure what they meant by that, but there's nothing wrong with being poor. What IS wrong is the victimhood mentality that too often is part of it. And these are the neighborhoods that are prime targets for crime and drugs. People have to change their attitudes and behaviors too.

Leftists like hellholes to ... (Below threshold)

Leftists like hellholes to remain hellholes so they can point to them and say "Look at that horrible hellhole. Redistribute all wealth now!"

Leftists also insist minorities remain at all times dumb, drugged, drunk and angry.

For a VERY accurate and IMP... (Below threshold)
Paul:

For a VERY accurate and IMPORTANT story on this topic, don't miss this story. As usual the national media screws up the reportage and the Times Picayune has to do the actual reporting on the story.


"sometimes violent -- by l... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

"sometimes violent -- by leftists, students, paid protesters, university professors, riff raff and assorted nuts and flakes". The quote simply identifies the entire democrat party. No surprise here.

"Seriously, tasers and tear... (Below threshold)
J-HO:

"Seriously, tasers and tear gas for people staging a sit-in at a municipal meeting?"

No one was staging a "sit-in"! They were trying to disrupt the meeting, violently in most instances. Many or most of the protestors not even being residents of the housing complexes in question, or of the city for that matter.

This whole circus is absurd... (Below threshold)
Scott:

This whole circus is absurd. The rent-a-mob crowd comes in to protest the demolition of slums. The race baiters scream about a "right of return" as though the dispersed people were Palestinians.

I work in San Francisco. Several years ago we went through a bunch of HOPE VI renewals of projects. When the rebuilds were complete, HUD did a review of each tenant before they were allowed back in. Troublemakers and other undesirables were not allowed to return. Also, under the new HUD rules, no federal housing developments can contain huge populations of unemployed or no-income tenants. There must be about one-third with income of varying degress, up to market level. The days of the old projects as being full of unemployed idle people are over. The N.O. underclass is about to get a lesson about the real world.

J-Ho<blockquot... (Below threshold)
langtry:

J-Ho

No one was staging a "sit-in"! They were trying to disrupt the meeting, violently in most instances. Many or most of the protestors not even being residents of the housing complexes in question, or of the city for that matter.
What I saw on TV were people loudly chanting/screaming and refusing to leave the meeting. I still think tasers and tear gas is an extreme reaction, especially considering that they knew, going in, that this would be a very emotional crowd (to say the least). There's a better way to handle these situations, even if I do agree that a lot of those protesters would have gotten on my proverbial last nerve!



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