[Marxism] new orleans land grab

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Mon Jan 9 10:30:01 MST 2006

i don't understand all the implications, but in the last few days there
have been several articles about the plan to rebuild New Orleans, and it
sounded like there was a move to freeze out re-development of the
poorer, lower-lying neighborhoods. ethnic cleansing new orleans style.

in today's paper of record, there is an article about the plight of one
family from the ninth ward, in their attempt to get back to their home.
an interesting quote at a moment when the family was standing in front
of their ruined home surveying and taking in the loss:

    At that moment, a car rolled slowly down the street, its passengers
    taking photographs and notes. "That's all you see back here," Mr.
    Reddick said. "Nothing but white folks who want our land."


meanwhile, we see things like this:

    A Big Government Fix-It Plan for New Orleans

    Published: January 5, 2006

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Into the void of the post-Katrina policy
    landscape, littered with half-ruined proposals, crumbling
    prescriptions and washed-out initiatives, an obscure and very
    conservative congressman has stepped in with the ultimate big
    government solution.

    Representative Richard H. Baker, a Republican from suburban Baton
    Rouge who derides Democrats for not being sufficiently free-market,
    is the unlikely champion of a housing recovery plan that would make
    the federal government the biggest landowner in New Orleans - for a
    while, at least. Mr. Baker's proposed Louisiana Recovery Corporation
    would spend as much as $80 billion to pay off lenders, restore
    public works, buy huge ruined chunks of the city, clean them up and
    then sell them back to developers.

it's that "sell them back to developers" i'd like to see better
anaylyzed. and next:

    Fight Grows in New Orleans on Demolition and Rebuilding

    Published: January 6, 2006

    NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 5 - With activists, planners and residents
    squaring off over which neighborhoods will be demolished and which
    will be rebuilt, state officials are warning that some low-lying
    neighborhoods may not be eligible for federal rebuilding assistance.

    Sean Reilly, a member of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state
    body formed partly to manage the flow of federal money to the state,
    castigated city officials on Wednesday for assuring residents that
    every neighborhood flooded after Hurricane Katrina would be rebuilt.

    Mr. Reilly made it clear that federal money, at least in some forms,
    was unlikely to go to those areas.

    "The L.R.A. will not fund an irrational and unsafe rebuilding plan,"
    Mr. Reilly said in Baton Rouge. "Someone has to be tough, to stand
    up, and to tell the truth. Every neighborhood in New Orleans will
    not be able to come back safe and viable. The L.R.A. is speaking the
    truth with the money it controls."

and finally:

    All Parts of City in Rebuild Plan of New Orleans

    Published: January 8, 2006


    Many residents of low-lying neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward
    and New Orleans East have said they are determined to rebuild their
    ravaged blocks, while some experts have argued that such areas are
    better returned to marshland for safety and economic reasons. Some
    civic leaders who had hoped the mayor's panel, the 17-member Bring
    Back New Orleans Commission, would take a firm stand on the issue
    expressed disappointment.


    Mr. Canizaro, a prominent real estate developer here, acknowledged
    the possibility that Hurricane Katrina could spell the death of more
    than one New Orleans neighborhood. He cited a study by the Rand
    Corporation that estimated that in three years the city would have a
    population of no more than 275,000, down more than 40 percent from
    its pre-hurricane population of 465,000.


    Yet deciding which neighborhoods should not be rebuilt involves far
    more than the cold rationale of geographic and demographic data, Mr.
    Canizaro said, especially considering the historic racial tensions
    in New Orleans. The hurricane devastated the lives of white and
    black alike, but the waters that roared though much of the city
    disproportionately flooded its predominantly black eastern half.


    It is not clear, though, that people who choose to return to
    devastated neighborhoods will find much to surround them. The city
    has not promised full services to every neighborhood, and there may
    be no grocery stores or schools for miles.

    It is not even certain that lenders will agree to grant mortgages in
    those neighborhoods without some guarantees that residents will be
    there for longer than a year.


    The most contentious issue, however, will be the redevelopment of
    neighborhoods. That battle began in earnest in November, when the
    Urban Land Institute, a prominent planning group based in
    Washington, proposed that the city temporarily ban redevelopment of
    properties in those areas hardest hit by flooding, including large
    tracts of New Orleans East, the Lower Ninth Ward and Lakeview.

    The suggestion was rejected by residents of those neighborhoods and
    their political representatives. Last month, the City Council passed
    a nonbinding resolution stating that residents should be free to
    rebuild immediately wherever they choose.

    The notion that residents have a right to rebuild anywhere proved
    too starry-eyed for Alden J. McDonald Jr., a member of the mayor's
    commission and the chief executive of Liberty Bank and Trust, the
    city's largest black-owned bank. Though most of the bank's customers
    lived in the most damaged parts of town, and though Mr. McDonald
    himself owns a home in New Orleans East, he said it would be cruel
    to encourage people to move back "without first giving them all the

    "We really need to ask what kind of community it will be if there
    aren't adequate services," he said.


    Critics of his plan say that if the city floods again in the near
    future, damaging rebuilt neighborhoods in the same places, there
    will be little sympathy and few federal dollars. But Mr. Canizaro
    said the prospect of a fortified flood control system, promised by
    the Bush administration, made him confident that the city would not
    suffer the same devastation from a storm similar to Hurricane Katrina.

    That confidence, however, is not universal. Michael M. Liffmann, the
    associate executive director of the Louisiana Sea Grant College at
    Louisiana State University, which studies land-use issues along the
    Gulf Coast, said most experts agreed that the roughly one-quarter to
    one-third of the city located dangerously below sea level should not
    be rebuilt.

    "There are parts of New Orleans that are not fit for human
    habitation," Mr. Liffmann said. "They never were and never will be.
    But these are as much social calls as they are scientific ones."


    les schaffer

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