Letter to Mayor Nagin
Dear Mayor Nagin,
I know you don’t read my blog, so I write this without being concerned that you’ll hear. That’s okay, cuz it’s just one person’s opinion – an ex-Algerine, a former Ben Franklin/NOCCA student with a diploma from O. Perry Walker. Just an ordinary person, really, like everybody else.
I direct this to you, though, because like most former New Orleans folks, I never cut my emotional ties with the city, and you are who holds the reins right now – and I still care very deeply.
I absolutely believe, Mayor, that you are trying your very hardest to generate ideas and dialogue for bringing my city back. Your support (and expansion) of the charter schools idea is exciting – I see great promise in that thought process.
Mayor Nagin, expansion of the gambling (“gaming”) is simply not the same level of quality thinking. It’s just too short-sighted.
Employment to support the gaming industry is just “more of the same” – low wages with no opportunity for advancement. I have absolutely no moral objection whatsoever to the idea, but economically, it does not advance the lives of the people at all. Furthermore, the gaming economy has a culture all its own; by its very nature it would change the unique flavor of New Orleans. I don't want that.
My first job out of high school was with an advertising agency at One Shell Square. I have no idea anymore what they were called, but they were very successful – and although it was only a high school graduate level job, it paid far above the minimum wage of the time. I didn’t stay in that industry, but at least it offered interesting options had I chosen to do so. New Orleans needs an influx of businesses who provide this type of opportunity.
Mayor Nagin – with all due respect, outside business is not going to come into New Orleans when there’s a risk of replicating the Katrina disaster. While I agree whole-heartedly with your desire to kick-start the economic base of the city, you’re going to have to get some work going on safe-guarding the city first. The future depends on it – not just for the residents who are firmly committed to returning no matter what – but to attract any type of economy that provides a future for the long-term stability of the city.
You absolutely must address the problems with the NOPD. Regardless of how one viewed the post-Katrina media exposure in terms of race vs. poverty, it SHOUTED to the world that there are some appalling problems with crime and police. The world saw that, Mayor. So did any potential businesses - and they're still seeing it!
Build a solid city, sir. Make it safe. Everything else will be lagniappe.