This week the Fool of the Week is Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans.
Last night I watched a New Orleans Mayor's Debate on C-Span. It was simulcast with WWL-TV in New Orleans. The debating panel was made up of the top 7 money-raising candidates. The two front runners are Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu, the current Lt. Gov. of the state.
It is important to know that at the end of May the city will be completely out of money. No money and the hurricane season begins on June 1. The levees are not fixed and no one guarantees the levees will be able to sustain a Cat 5 hurricane until maybe 2010. Makes you ponder who would want to be the mayor, doesn't it.
My pick, if I was a voter in the election tomorrow, would be Peggy Wilson, a former city council member who has innovative fresh ideas on getting revenue into the city other than the age old crutch of tourism dollars. She was all but openly ridiculed by the members of the press asking the questions of the debaters so that confirmed my inclination to go with her.
Mitch Landrieu is the brother of Mary Landrieu, now senator representing Louisiana in Washington, DC. You won't see her as one of the Democrats in Washington using the term "culture of corruption" to bash Republicans. She wouldn't dare. Her father was Mayor of New Orleans much too long for that. She began as State Treasurer after a stint as a State Rep in Baton Rouge. Her husband is a lawyer/lobbyist with offices in Monroe, LA and Washington. As I said, Mitch is the current Lt. Gov. How much longer must this family continue on with the family business? I don't know but Mitch may very well win the governorship. Common thought is that there will be a run-off after the election tomorrow.
Poor Ray Nagin. He just doesn't get it. He wants to keep on keeping on. He had no answers other than wanting to name commissions to solve problems and no firm answer on how to bring in jobs or solving the housing crisis. People can't come to work if they have no place to live. And he had no answer to solve the problem of abandoned houses where the owners are not responding to fix them or not. He just thinks he is the person of experience and that is good enough.
Keeping the status quo is what brought New Orleans to its knees. The status quo is what kept the levees weak without the proper maintenance from the corrupt levee board of commissioners. All political appointees. The federal government has given millions to maintain the levees over the years and President Bush increased federal dollars pre-Katrina yet the proper work was never done. The dollars went somewhere, though. That's the status quo in Louisiana. As a kid in Louisiana we all heard that one day a big storm would hit New Orleans. It's is not like the thought wasn't there. Nagin still refuses to admit the lower 9th ward will probably not be built back. That would be a huge improvement to New Orleans and the city it can be.
Runner up this week is Priscilla Slade, President of Texas Southern University until a few days ago. She has been fired due to her practice of using University funds to pay her personal expenses. The Board of Directors is looking into $260,000 worth of expenses and questioning if they are proper for her position. She used University funds to repair her old house so she could sell it and built a new mini-mansion as she is expected to entertain and raise money for the University. She charged over $100,000 for landscaping at the new house. She charged thousands of dollars at a high end furniture store for furnishings, including a $9,000 sleigh bed for herself. She charged the University for spa treatments, and things of that nature. Manicures, too. She used university help fulltime at her home for housekeeping and yard work.
I know many universities have a President's House. Many universities have expense allowances if entertaining is expected of the President. No problem, it is always in a written contract. She had an allowance of over $4,000 for housing expenses. All the other things like car allowance,
travel, and the like were written into her contract.
The worst part of this is that Ms. Slade was hired to increase enrollment at this historically Black university and increase revenue. She has been in the position for 7 years now. I think she got carried away with arrogance and thinking she is owed more than what she was. She has a master's degree in economics and knows better than to do the accounting tricks she was doing.
Dana Milbanks, reporter for the Washington Post, is all upset today about the treatment President Hu received at the White House yesterday. He blames the White House with shabby treatment of Hu by not giving him a state dinner. And how dare they allow a Fulan Gong protester to interupt the President of China. Never mind it was the Secret Service in charge of okaying her press pass. The Secret Service is a separate entity from the White House, Dana. Since when did liberals ignore the whole human rights aspect of countries like China and advocate for royal treatment of Communists? I say bravo to that 47 year old woman brave enough to risk all to yell at Hu. He got the military welcome and the upper Cabinet people at the ceremony. He got a fancy luncheon with business leaders. That was way more than he was entitled to as far as I see it.
About little Kendrick, the 3 year old missing from here. His father posted bond but was re-arrested on gun charges so he is still in jail. The search has been called off by Texas EqquSearch due to running out of leads.
"When in doubt, tell the truth." - Mark Twain