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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

About that NIMBY "thing"

So – now that I’ve been in one of those trailers, I am absolutely sure that I could not spend an indefinite amount of time living in one. Furthermore, I totally fail to see a family living in one of them for more than a very short span. Long-term, it would seem to be incredibly damaging to the fabric of a family.

These things are not – by any stretch of the imagination – homes. They’re big campers! They aren’t “trailers” as in.. “trailer parks”.

To my mind, the fundamental problem is not (as has been said) “Who would live in those trailers?” or “They need background checks”. And "Where will those trailers be?" would be totally irrelevant (and I'd joyfully stomp on those NIMBY'ers) if the underlying question was addressed. It all boils down to one thing: What the heck is the plan???

  1. Would the FEMA trailers house homeowners who are trying to rebuild? If so, then could one assume that when power comes into the currently unlit neighborhoods, these folks could move the trailers to their own property? (Strikes me as pretty unlikely.)

    And has anybody made a decision on whether all areas of the city can be rebuilt? Until somebody does, would all homeowners be in those trailers? To what purpose? Because at that point, they would be the same as #2:

  2. If it’s not homeowners, then would it be residents who formerly rented in the city? Is there any reassurance that former renters will be able to afford the prices in the new market-driven economy? Are jobs paying enough? They didn't pay much before Katrina... remember?

    And how long, after one has acquired the Holy Grail (a job) should someone be staying in a FEMA trailer? What if there isn’t enough rental property in a year?

  3. Or (the real hot potato here) are the FEMA trailers intended to house those who formerly lived in subsidized public housing around the city? (Note: this does not by definition mean “the projects”.) Unsurprisingly, this has the same questions as #2, but with an additional caveat: when are they going to get that public housing opened? A fair amount (like the Iberville Project) is apparently livable…!

All of these people are New Orleanians. Period. They deserve answers to these questions, just as the paranoid folks do.

The real problem with the FEMA trailers is that they are, by nature, intended to be VERY temporary. Until the city delivers a real live Plan, people are likely to continue objecting with cries of NIMBY.

It’s too bad (pathetically so) that many of the objections are so obviously prejudicial, and Jackie Clarkson totally missed the boat here:

She dismissed worries that the trailer squabbles will disgust Congress and the nation when the city and the state are lobbying for record amounts of recovery aid, a concern of New Orleans resident Amanda Phillips.

"It absolutely gives us the wrong image after people have given to us so generously," said Phillips, who rejected neighborhood pleas to fight a trailer park planned at Uptown's Wisner Park.

Ms. Phillips is right. It gives NOLA a very bad image… and people are absolutely disgusted.

Unfortunately, the attitude displayed by uncharitable people all around the city is a symptom. The root cause of this entire debacle (imho) comes right back on the failure of the city’s “leaders” to articulate a plan.

Suck it up, Mayor Nagin. Stop talking out of both sides of your mouth and do what needs to be done already. Either the city intends to bring everybody back or it doesn’t.

What’s it gonna be?


  • At 1:10 AM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said;

    I agree with you totally, I just go a little further. Most of the objections to trailers are based on prejudice or at least (short sighted)selfishness, but the mayor needs to start stating his plan,or at least answering specific objections. If someone says why this park instead of that vacant lot, it's wrong to say NIMBY until the city says what's wrong with that vacant lot. When I make that argument, people react as if I'm supporting racists. I just think that the mayor is showing the same disdain for answering questions that he showed when it came to question about re-entry into damaged areas.

  • At 6:09 AM, Blogger Mark said;

    Have you read about the FEMAville's for Florida? Unless there is a plan for housing, which should include rent controls, the trailer parks are very likely to become the new bricks. The NIMBY people are taking the path of least resistance by opposing the trailers. But they are avoiding the real issue: where will everyone live a year from now? Until Congress and Mr. Bush come forward with real assistance, I think the National Mall would make an excellent trailer site for the displaced. But it's not the Federal failure alone that's the problem. Mr. Canizaro's boneheaded idea to let people rebuild anywhere and then condemn, for example, shows an almost complete collapse of political will locally to address the problem. People need to know where they can rebuild or buy. Homeowners needs insurance. Renters need protection. Funding for housing construction of all sorts is needed. Until these things are forthcoming, then people should fear the trailer parks, because they will become the new projects.

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