Monday, September 21, 2015

None of these people is on your side

It's fun sometimes to see the inside baseball these cynics are playing.
The memo discusses efforts to get the Fraternal Order of Police and former Police Superintendent Warren Woodfork to come out in opposition to a proposal by Ramsey that would loosen restrictions on bars within restaurants in the Quarter, and it suggests that on some issues VCPORA and FQC should pin their hopes on the courts, rather than trying to defeat them at the council.

“It does appear we have more hope to get favorable support in court than before the council as our votes continue to dwindle and the Ramsey coalition gains strength,” Brylski wrote.

The “Ramsey coalition” apparently refers to Council President Jason Williams and Councilmen Jared Brossett and James Gray. Councilwomen Stacy Head and Susan Guidry have opposed several of Ramsey’s proposals.

Brylski also suggests Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s support might be difficult to get if she thinks she is seen as voting too often with Head and Guidry, the only white members of the seven-person council.

The memo recommends the Quarter groups continue to look for a black spokesperson. Brylski said that suggestion is aimed at combating the perception that the groups are “whites-only groups,” something she said might be hampering their effectiveness.

“It seems to be of particular concern to Nadine,” Brylski said. “She’s communicated in different ways to some of these groups that she doesn’t feel anything in common with them. Really, that’s just not true, but if that is the barrier, let’s get across it.”
Ha ha, yeah we can't have the perception actually matching the reality or anything like that.

Okay, well, to be fair "whites-only" is probably a little bit of an exaggeration.  But it's worth pointing out that VCPORA and FQC are like any neighborhood association in that they are comprised of politically active property owners.  They aren't necessarily "whites-only"  but they do tend in that direction.  More importantly, they are inherently conservative organizations.  Their membership's top concern is typically crime.. at least insofar as crime happens near their property. Their typical solution is to make it difficult for poor people to live in or visit their neighborhood.  They don't like anything they perceive as possibly encouraging that. This is why they actively seek to shut down every bar or live entertainment venue they can get their sights on.

They also aren't very fond of rental property, or affordable housing of any sort showing up within their jurisdictions. I know this is confusing since we find these groups leading the fight against the plague of short term rentals which we know to be pricing renters out of the city right now. They happen to be on right side of that issue but only for very narrow purposes. Neighborhood associations don't really care about renters.  They just don't like having tourists trashing up their lawns.

The other point this stopped clock of conservative NIMBYism happens to be correct about is that Nadine Ramsey really does appear to be in the pocket of developers and tourism lobbyists.
Putting aside the merit of the amendments, it's become painfully clear Councilperson Ramsey is catering to monied interests at all cost.  The question...what is that cost?  District C neighborhoods are by far the most volatile and threatened in "New New Orleans", it doesn't appear they have a sympathetic ear with their current councilperson who was willing to circumvent public discussion and the democratic process in order to jam power brokers' agendas, like Chris Young's, down our throats.
Sure, sure.  The more important takeaway here is that  there are "monied interests"  on various sides of these development questions. Politics in New Orleans boils down to this. Pick whatever gentrification poison you prefer at the moment.  Roughly stated, the power play is between a set of profiteers who would turn the whole city into Disneyland and a different set of plutocrats who would shut down every bar and kick out all the poors if they could.  If any of the rest of us benefit from anything any of these people do, it's only by accident.

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