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Nagin: Class and race issues killing New Orleans' recovery

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Luke Hodiak
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« on: January 30, 2007, 01:48:59 am »

Nagin: Class and race issues killing New Orleans' recovery
POSTED: 3:28 p.m. EST, January 29, 2007
Story Highlights
NEW: New Orleans mayor asks committee to change rules to speed up aid
NEW: Obama says omission from State of Union questions commitment
Committee members scheduled to tour devastated areas


 
 
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Mayor Ray Nagin told a Senate committee Monday he doesn't see the will to fix his hurricane-battered city when compared with the billions spent on the war in Iraq.

"I think it's more class than anything, but there's racial issues associated with it also," Nagin said.
Nagin also asked for Congress to change the laws and regulations to speed up the flow of federal aid.
"From my perspective, not having the resources at the local level is the absolute killer of this recovery," Nagin told the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is looking into the government's hurricane response.

As of January 18, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay for $334 million for infrastructure repairs in New Orleans, but the state only has forwarded $145 million to the city so far.

State officials have said city leaders failed to provide required documentation, which called cumbersome.
"I strongly urge you to return responsibility and accountability to the local government," he said.
Nagin's testimony comes nearly a week after President Bush drew fire for failing to mention recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast in his State of the Union speech.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat and presidential hopeful, addressed the committee, saying the president's failure to mention the disaster contributes to questions about whether the government is committed to helping New Orleans rebuild.

"I hope we get some answers to the questions today because rebuilding the city of New Orleans is not just good for the Gulf Coast or the state of Louisiana, it's good for our nation," Obama said.

Donald Powell, the president's coordinator for the Gulf Coast recovery effort, pledged long-term support.
"President Bush is committed to rebuilding the Gulf Coast and rebuilding it stronger and better than it was before hurricanes Katrina and Rita," Powell told the committee, but he added that it would take a time to finish the job.

Earlier, a protester shouting "Stand up for Justice" interrupted committee chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman as he opened the hearing.

The man yelled, "Stand up for justice! We want somebody to stand up for justice!" before a law enforcement officer led him out of the hearing room at Louisiana's Supreme Court building.

"It's hard to come back here more than a year after Katrina ... without feeling that emotion," Lieberman, I-Connecticut, said after the interruption. "We're here to say that we understand the work is not done, to put it mildly."

The committee was to take testimony from other federal, state and local officials on a broad range of housing, public assistance and other storm-related programs. Members were also scheduled to tour affected areas later Monday.


http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/29/katrina.hearings.ap/index.htmledistributed.

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Matt
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2007, 03:42:28 am »

New Orleans mayor: Where is the promised money?
POSTED: 8:36 p.m. EST, January 29, 2007
 
 
 
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- About half of New Orleans' residents have returned since Hurricane Katrina, but red tape and race and class issues have held up recovery efforts, Mayor Ray Nagin said Monday.

"I'm not asking for more money," Nagin told a Senate panel. "I just want the money you've already allocated to my citizens to help them."

He and other officials involved in reconstruction efforts appeared before a Senate "field hearing" on Gulf Coast reconstruction efforts, 17 months after Katrina devastated coastal Louisiana and Mississippi.

He said analysts at the University of New Orleans and a private research firm estimate the storm-ravaged city's population at between 230,000 and 250,000 -- little more than half its pre-Katrina population of about 455,000.

Those who have come back face a shortage of inhabitable homes and a spike in violent crime, which Nagin said police are working to address.

He said Katrina exposed "an ugly underbelly" of poverty, particularly among the area's black population, and he questioned whether the country had "the will to fix it."

"I think it's more class than anything, but there are racial issues associated with it also," Nagin said.

Billions have been allocated to rebuild region
Congress has allocated more than $110 billion to rebuild the region, but state and local officials have complained that the funds are not reaching residents who are trying to rebuild homes and businesses.

Nagin said more money would likely be needed, "but what I am more interested in is getting this money flowing quicker."
"This recovery is not moving as fast as it needs to move, and you are going to hear lots of justifications as to why it's not happening," he said. "But from my perspective, not having resources at the local level is the absolute killer of this recovery."

The August 2005 storm flattened beachfront towns and breached the protective levees around New Orleans, leaving more than three-quarters of the city under water. More than 1,500 people were killed across the region, about 1,300 of them in Louisiana, and hundreds of thousands lost their homes.

Don Powell, the Bush administration's reconstruction coordinator, told the three-senator panel that President Bush was committed to rebuilding the stricken region, as he promised in a nationally address after Katrina.

"I have spent countless hours with the good people of the Gulf Coast, and I have to say that this has been one of the most challenging, mind-boggling and frustrating times of my life," Powell said.

He added he was "humbled and inspired" by residents' persistence, and said his own frustrations "pale in comparison" to theirs.

The panel of three senators -- Connecticut independent Joseph Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Barack Obama, D-Illinois, a 2008 presidential hopeful; and Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu -- criticized Bush for failing to even mention recovery efforts during his State of the Union speech last week.

"I think it made a lot of people in New Orleans and Louisiana and those that are concerned all across the country wonder whether we're in danger of actually forgetting New Orleans," Obama said. "That's shameful. We should be ashamed if we forget."

Iraq war drawing funds away from New Orleans
Nagin suggested the war in Iraq, which has now cost about $400 billion, has drawn money and attention away from hurricane relief.

"I hear all these numbers, the hundreds of billions of dollars that are flowing. I hear the arguments about why they're not flowing, and then I look what we're doing in Iraq and how we can spend money at an unprecedented level there," he said.

Landrieu, who has been appointed to lead a subcommittee that will oversee the pace of reconstruction work, said that when the administration submits an expected supplemental spending bill to pay for the nearly 4-year-old Iraq war, "there better be funding to rebuild Louisiana and Mississippi."

Bush defended reconstruction efforts -- and their absence from his annual address -- in a Monday interview with National Public Radio, saying his administration has had a "very robust" response to the storm.

"I gave a speech that I thought was necessary to give," he said. "On the other hand, I have been talking a lot about Katrina and about the fact that I worked with the Congress to get about $110 billion sent down to both Mississippi and Louisiana to help them on their reconstruction efforts."

Concern over public housing
Obama also questioned when residents of the city's public housing projects can come home. Several buildings have been razed, and former residents have complained that few people have been allowed back to the units that remain.

Assistant Housing Secretary Pamela Patenaude said about 1,000 of the roughly 5,000 families who lived in public housing have returned to New Orleans, but Obama said said he was "dissatisfied" with the Department of Housing and Urban Development's response.

"There doesn't seem to be any assurance that there are sufficient affordable housing units being rebuilt for them to live," he said.

The hearing was interrupted at one point by a protester with a petition that demanded Lieberman do more to probe the White House's response to the hurricane, which was widely criticized as slow and inadequate. "We want somebody to stand up for justice," he yelled before being removed.

Lieberman said the committee delivered a "very strong indictment" of the federal response to the storm, even though the Bush administration resisted calls by Congress to turn over documents related to the hurricane.

"I think we understand what happened and didn't happen," Lieberman said.
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/29/katrina.reconstruction/index.html

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Volitzer
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2007, 07:06:22 am »

Nagin: Class and race issues killing New Orleans' recovery
POSTED: 3:28 p.m. EST, January 29, 2007
Story Highlights
NEW: New Orleans mayor asks committee to change rules to speed up aid
NEW: Obama says omission from State of Union questions commitment
Committee members scheduled to tour devastated areas


 
 
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Mayor Ray Nagin told a Senate committee Monday he doesn't see the will to fix his hurricane-battered city when compared with the billions spent on the war in Iraq.

"I think it's more class than anything, but there's racial issues associated with it also," Nagin said.
Nagin also asked for Congress to change the laws and regulations to speed up the flow of federal aid.
"From my perspective, not having the resources at the local level is the absolute killer of this recovery," Nagin told the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is looking into the government's hurricane response.

As of January 18, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay for $334 million for infrastructure repairs in New Orleans, but the state only has forwarded $145 million to the city so far.

State officials have said city leaders failed to provide required documentation, which called cumbersome.
"I strongly urge you to return responsibility and accountability to the local government," he said.
Nagin's testimony comes nearly a week after President Bush drew fire for failing to mention recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast in his State of the Union speech.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat and presidential hopeful, addressed the committee, saying the president's failure to mention the disaster contributes to questions about whether the government is committed to helping New Orleans rebuild.

"I hope we get some answers to the questions today because rebuilding the city of New Orleans is not just good for the Gulf Coast or the state of Louisiana, it's good for our nation," Obama said.

Donald Powell, the president's coordinator for the Gulf Coast recovery effort, pledged long-term support.
"President Bush is committed to rebuilding the Gulf Coast and rebuilding it stronger and better than it was before hurricanes Katrina and Rita," Powell told the committee, but he added that it would take a time to finish the job.

Earlier, a protester shouting "Stand up for Justice" interrupted committee chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman as he opened the hearing.

The man yelled, "Stand up for justice! We want somebody to stand up for justice!" before a law enforcement officer led him out of the hearing room at Louisiana's Supreme Court building.

"It's hard to come back here more than a year after Katrina ... without feeling that emotion," Lieberman, I-Connecticut, said after the interruption. "We're here to say that we understand the work is not done, to put it mildly."

The committee was to take testimony from other federal, state and local officials on a broad range of housing, public assistance and other storm-related programs. Members were also scheduled to tour affected areas later Monday.


http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/29/katrina.hearings.ap/index.htmledistributed.



Look Luke.

I don't mean to doubt what you are saying but I have stories bak up here in NYS of how national guard units are trying their damndest down there and when they try to ask for a little co-operation from the citizenry all they get it Look you're here to help us... crap.    The area has had a long standing reputation of a liberal sense of dependency on government and now the citizenry have to pull themselves up by their boot-straps and they just won't do it.  So Nagin complaining about "class discrimination" or "race discrimination" is hogwash.  Truthfully it's liberal dependency discrimination against people who want eveything done for them whom have refused to help themselves.
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