Dirty South Bureau

December 19, 2007

Alphonso Jackson’s Xmas present to New Orleans

Filed under: Class,Media,New Orleans Politics,Race,The Feds,UNOP,We Are Not OK — christian @ 8:06 pm

So the DSB is back after a lengthy hiatus… actually in the interests of full disclosure I got a new job working for the teachers union. And let me also say that anything that I say here on this blog is my own personal opinion and should in no way be connected to the union.

And what’s new on the horizon (drumroll please…) Alphonso Jackson send us bulldozers for Christmas! And the City Council lacks the guts to do anything about it! Maybe this is because in our electoral apathy we allowed a devout gentrificationist and a woman who epitomizes hatred of poor people to be elected?

Where to start? Alphonso Jackson’s compromising relationship with Columbia Residential?

12,000 homeless people on the streets of New Orleans?

Blatantly biased reporting from that paragon of journalism that we know as our daily paper? (Love those 64-word lead sentences with no clear connection between clauses, guys.)

All I know is that I have sent my letters to Midura and Fielkow, and I am going to be at the City Council Meeting tomorrow morning, Thursday, December 20.

My letter to Shelly Midura:

Dear Councilwoman Midura,

I live in your district in the Bayou St. John neighborhood and I am asking you to vote not to allow HUD to demolish the CJ Peete, Lafitte and St. Bernard Developments.

Though I lived in District C at the time, I was glad when you defeated Jay Batt. You seemed like a person of compassion and integrity. This vote will be a test of those qualities.

We all agree that public housing in this city needs to be improved. But HUD’s plan is privatization, not improvement. It will waste hundreds of millions of dollars in senseless destruction and will not provide enough low-income housing for New Orleanians who want to come home.

There are other plans that have been approved by the city government, including your office, such as the Unified New Orleans Plan, which provide for some demolition but also renovating and improving much of the city’s public housing instead of wantonly destroying it. This plan was arrived at in a democratic and inclusive manner and is supposed to be the official plan for rebuilding the city. I implore you to follow our city’s plan instead of arbitrary and destructive measures put forth by a federal government which has repeatedly shown a lack of care for this city and our people.

There is an article in the art and design section of the New York Times which describes better than I can what a waste destroying these buildings is. Before you vote you should read it— the historical and architectural value of these projects, especially Lafitte, is immense.

But it is the people, not the buildings, who are the real issue. There is a housing crisis in this city of epic proportions, and tearing down thousands of units will make it worse. It will take at least three years to rebuild any of these developments, which will only contain a fraction of the affordable housing. Many poor people simply cannot afford to move back to this city. The failure of the federal and state government to provide for a way for these internally displaced citizens to come home is a violation of international human rights law. If you vote for demolition, you will be a party to that crime.

Please make the right choice, the humane choice, the compassionate choice. Do not allow these demolitions.

Christian Roselund