Wednesday, November 20, 2013

But why stop there?

At a time when the city is faced with perennial budget crises, there sure are a lot of quasi-governmental boards running around with either bonding authority or, worse, a share of that hotel/motel tax we're always lamenting that the city itself sees so little of. 

What do they do? If you ask them they'll tell you, "Economic Development" which sounds kind of noble at first. But really it just means they do PR and networking for big wigs.  They're basically just glorified marketing start-ups.  Not surprising, then, how easily they become redundant.
The curious thing about BioDistrict, however, is what it hasn’t done.

For all of the beauty of its big vision, it hasn’t secured a reliable source of annual funding. It hasn’t successfully lured a biomedical business to New Orleans with its offer to help secure financing using its bonding authority and tax-free status. And it hasn’t yet garnered much visible political backing — including that of the mayor.

“I didn’t create that entity,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune during an editorial board meeting earlier this month when asked about the BioDistrict. “I don’t know what they’re doing. It doesn’t sound like they have any money. I don’t know what their vision is. I do know what the entity is that we created. … At this time, all of our effort related to this is housed at the New Orleans Business Alliance.”
Probably the Mayor is especially snippy because BioDistict considered working with Civil District Court judges to help them build a new courthouse in Duncan Plaza which would have undermined the Mayor's plans to move the court and City Hall over to Charity Hospital.  But whatever the reason, folding just one of these boards is a decent start.  Now if we can power down DDD, GNO Inc, NOTMC, NOCVB, and the Mayor's beloved New Orleans Buisiness Alliance too while we're at it we might be getting somewhere.

Update: The BioDistrict officially disavowed any interest in financing the proposed courthouse today. And they've decided to seek a partnership with NOBA.

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