President Bush has announced a ‘surge’ of troops in Iraq. The violent criminals in New Orleans have already begun their surge, albeit without any formal announcement. If you live here then you know about the crime, and you know about the march on City Hall that’s about to start in a few minutes. I’m going to try to attend, but I’m tied up with something at the moment so I may not go.
Frankly, I’m not that eager to see Nagin bloviating from a podium. I hear some citizens, including a few local bloggers, are going to be given some podium time. Marching and talking are great, but what are we missing?
Significant action is what we’re missing, and we’ve been missing it for a long time. Oh, and there’s one other thing we’re missing, something that’s become a cliché theme. The Times Picayune article blurb hits on this thing in talking about Nagin’s supposed ‘plan’ to deal with the crime crisis:
Peter Scharf, a criminologist at the University of New Orleans, said the conversation among city officials about crime offers hope, but he expressed skepticism at the plan laid out Tuesday, saying it lacked focus. "We are in the middle of a crisis, without a long-term plan," he said Wednesday. "They are putting out these initiatives without knowing if they will have results."
So let’s review. What’s the common theme of the Nagin administration? Lack of leadershpi and, more importantly, lack of any effective plan.
Before Katrina there was no effective plan to evacuate poor people and sick people (‘just go the Superdome folks and hope for the best’). Before Katrina Nagin failed to order mandatory evacuation at the appropriate time. After Katrina we’re facing the same administrative deficiencies: (1) a lack of leadership and (2) lack of proactive planning.
Everything with this administration is about reacting to what’s already happened. When are these guys going to learn how to anticipate problems? How hard were these problems to anticipate? Now that the violent crime problem has (once again) reached a critical scope, the solution, if there is one (and if the administration can –in its ‘blind hog searching for an acorn’ mode– find it), will be astronomically harder to implement.
Update: By the way, here is local blogger Bart Everson’s speech which he gave at the rally. (Bart knew some of the recent victims). I agree with pretty much everything he says, especially the part about feeling ashamed. I feel ashamed that this violent and broken city is something I belong to, something that I’m responsible for.
If I were the mayor of this city I’d feel overwhelmingly ashamed. Who knows, maybe Nagin does feel some shame. But, if he does, he sure doesn’t show it. What a poor excuse for a leader he turned out to be.