Friday, March 4, 2011

Hate To Say I Told You So!

I have been saying for YEARS how the corruption and dysfunction in New Orleans city government was unlike anything you would ever see in your life. To that I would normally get the response of "Well, so does Chicago and Detroit..." I normally have to say no, this is STILL unlike any of their politics. And now, it has finally come to light, well sort of. If you go to in the politics section, the link to this article is WAY at the bottom of the page. I guess they wanted to put it out there but not make it too blaringly obvious. Or maybe they just didn't want to distract from the articles on Mardi Gras festivities. I'm sure they'll hoping this article will just fade away but at the same time say that they did in fact report it and that it wasn't their fault if no one was paying attention.

I admit I'm extremely hypercritical of my hometown, but for good reason. Sometimes it needs it. The same way I sing its praises, people need to be aware of how incredibly dysfunctional it is. This has been going on for generations, and I mean generations, to the point where it's the lifestyle.

There is the constant cycle of those voicing their discontent with the system yet they are very ones who perpetuate it (re-elect Nagin, are you kidding me?) I'll give credit and say that things have picked up after Katrina but it's at a glacial pace. Just go about an hour east to Gulfport and Biloxi and you'll see what I mean. There are cries for growth and progress in New Orleans but just about everyone in that city is a saboteur. Many are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to really improve things. You may have to go without, things may need to be realigned, departments may need to be closed, and YOU MAY HAVE TO EXERCISE MORE PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY and BE MORE PROACTIVE.

As the article states, everything is mired in red tape. They complain that businesses are leaving or not coming at all, it's because it's too difficult to get started and/or too hard to maintain. In my recent visits I've noticed that the vast majority of people who are even remotely well off own their own business. But for those who are not at luxury of starting their own business and need to go and work for someone else, they're all but SOL.

The minimum requirements for almost all the jobs are almost impossible for the average resident to obtain. They want the maximum amount of education and experience for the minimum pay. It's either you have a bachelor's or masters and may just get a job that's mediocre at best, or you don't have a degree and have to basically resign yourself to waiting tables in the French Quarter forever. Civil service gigs may be the next best thing around to owning your own business, but even those are difficult to come by. The test alone serves as a huge roadblock if you're not able to drive to Baton Rouge by 7:30 AM to take the test, seeing as though the dates are floating and pretty much quite rare in parishes like Orleans. There are very few civil service jobs you can even apply for without it. And if you're an out-of-towner trying to apply for a civil service position yet can't make the crap shoot to fly down for one of the tests, forget about it. You may be turned away because the testing center is full. It makes absolutely no sense that someone like myself should have such a difficult time finding meaningful employment (yes, I'm taking this quite personally).

Instead of actively cutting taxes, they decide over and over again to RAISE them. Tell me what sense does it make for people to be making average salaries in the $20-35k range to be paying combined state and parish taxes of 9% ALONE? And WHERE on earth does the money go? Certainly not towards the potholes, I can tell you that!

They say admitting it is the first step to recovery, and I am certainly hoping that Landrieu makes good on his promises and at least brings New Orleans to maybe 15 years behind the times instead of about 30.