Archive for October, 2007

Well, he’s gone.

He didn’t drag it out and make it a spectacle. He just made mention of spending more time with his family and something else about not being a quitter, then he quit. He finally did an honorable thing and resigned from a job he lacked the heart and possibly even the skills to perform.

Then he stuck the city with the $3.7 million tab. It’s a hefty price to pay. But perhaps it is worth it because no more lives will be lost as a result of his malfeasance. They will be lost for other reasons of course.

And actually, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Will it make a difference? Was the crime rate any better during the later years of Connick’s administration?

What was amazing to me throughout Jordan’s tenure, especially after Katrina, was how much crime didn’t go up. I would expect that, with no consequences facing the armed robbers and murderers, that the city would be something akin to the City of God. I know our crime rate and its recidivism are sky high but think about it, this is based on humanity alone as a deterrent. That is, the justice system was a failure, so if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who wasn’t a crime victim, it wasn’t because the justice system was working, it was because the morality of the populace kept the crime rate from becoming something insane. In effect, your neighbors didn’t rob you because they didn’t want to, not because they feared going to jail.

What happened in the Jordan era is a good case study of what life would be like with no criminal justice system at all. We were living on humanity there for a while.

I wish I could feel happier about the resignation of a man who I once stood in the 6 a.m. rain and protested. But this isn’t the sort of thing I celebrate.

Perhaps instead I’ll celebrate that we have Keva Johnson to take his place. I wish her luck. I like that she mentioned working with Chief Riley more closely. If she does a good enough job before the next election, I may even want her to stick around. But I’m just not so sure she’s going to make a difference one way or the next.

Sources: Talks underway for Jordan to step down


EDIT: He up-and-did it
.

an exit strategy for Jordan that could potentially involve a commitment from the city and possibly other parties to cover the $3.7 million judgment against Jordan’s office

I wonder who some of the possible ‘other parties’ are? I mean, in addition to myself and my fellow New Orleanians of course.

Both sources said details remain to be ironed out, such as whether entities other than the city might be persuaded to chip in to cover the judgment, and perhaps whether the plaintiffs might accept something less than the full judgment. Other ideas are on the table, including the idea of a payment plan.

I wonder if the Plaintiffs would be willing to accept a lower judgment? My first instinct says no but then again perhaps I am underestimating the ire they have towards Jordan. Perhaps his resignation might cool their jets a bit? How about maybe giving them their jobs back?

By law, First Assistant District Attorney Keva Landrum would become interim district attorney if Jordan were to step down. A source said that Landrum has agreed not to run for the job whenever an election is held.

Behold! A fresh start! A whole new opportunity to screw it up!

Comedy Central has recently posted a ton of Daily Show videos to their Web site www.thedailyshow.com. One could spend hours browsing through the archive. I do miss some of those old correspondents.

Anyway, I”ve embedded some of the ones that pertain to us below…

Armed robbery suspect fled to D.A. Jordan’s house

When I first read this story I thought, “Well damn, that’s some tough luck there. You are running from a crime scene and you just happen to pick the DA’s house to hide in.”

But as I read further I discovered he was associated with the DA. So associated in fact that he had been at Jordan’s house moments before before he decided to try and rob a man at a gas station on Gen DeGaulle. So associated that he spent the day with Jordan’s girlfriend in Baton Rouge and dropped her off at his house. So associated that he hid in his backyard after the crime and Jordan questioned him about what was going on and said he “looked innocuous.”

Come to find out he had just committed an armed robbery.

Now, I don’t think Jordan has anything to do with the robbery but…

WHO IN THE HELL IS THIS DUDE HANGING AROUND WITH?

As a hilarious bonus, the story also features a breakdown in communication between Jordan and Riley. If they can’t even communicate about a crime that actually INVOLVED Jordan, how do you think the rest of New Orleans’ victims will fair?

UPDATE: The Times-Picayune has updated their story and it gets more insane. Turns out the kid in question is a suspect in the home invasion of NOPD’s Thelonious Dukes a while back. The new version of the story also includes the most hilarious Jordan quote ever. In response to why it took him so long to call NOPD back he said:

I don’t know if you’ve been reading the papers lately, but I got some things going on

You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet Hat.

Update 2: My neighbor came running over this morning and said Jordan was on with WWL’s Bob and Monica this morning and his girlfriend was yelling something in the background and got put on the phone by Jordan. Neighbor said it was something akin to Whitney and Bobby. I’ll post the podcast when it’s up. :)

Update 3: Podcast is up.

varg in fire

It was my 30th birthday in 2003 and I was giddy from just having celebrated it by seeing one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Guided By Voices, play at a beach bar in San Diego. As my fiance picked my friend and I up from the show, ash was falling from the sky. In my euphoria over the show, I joked that the city of my birth had set itself on fire in honor of my turning 30.

The next day, the ash was worse, and news began to spread that much of East County was on fire, friends’ homes were being threatened and others were being lost. People were dying.

The following Monday, at work in La Jolla, miles away from the fire, I stepped outside and took a picture around 2 p.m. It looked like sepia tone.

My mother and I took a ride out to where the fire was a few months later and I found myself thinking something I would say to people about Katrina a few years later, “It’s hard to imagine the scope unless you see it.”

Now, it’s the same time of year, San Diego is burning once more. People are comparing it to Katrina.

The two events are much the same actually. Both happened before. Both are in disaster prone areas. Both prompted mass evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people.

One of the differences is detailed in this article:

Civility Reigns at San Diego Stadium

I tried to think of what the other differences might be. But the satirical site Fark.com figured it out for me, They headlined the article like this:

You simply get chills every time you see these evacuees – so many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so rich and so white

I’m not going to come out and make any generalizations about these two evacuations. There are other differences. Qualcomm is in the middle of a suburban area and many miles of parking lots, subdivisions and communities stand between it and the fire. It isn’t threatened. The Superdome was surrounded by water, torn up and without power while all hell broke loose outside. The city of San Diego still has its infrastructure and chaos won’t descend on it.

So the two scenarios are different and don’t merit comparison so much.

But I do want to point something out.

This is the second time in four years that this particular area has been ablaze. So it isn’t a large leap in logic to say that they face the same situation many of us face here in New Orleans – their home is prone to disaster. Steps need to be taken to prevent such disaster to happen and every now and again, it may happen regardless.

The only question is, how many people will step forward in the midst of this disaster and make statements that these people deserved it for living there? How many people will advocate not rebuilding it? Who will suggest bulldozing all of San Diego County?

Nobody will. Because to suggest that would be inconceivable.

But for some reason, folks seem to think it is okay to do so with New Orleans.

Why?

Well, it comes down to, and I must say I am usually (for lack of a better word) conservative in my use of this word, but it’s simple racism.

I would like to ask the cretins who occupy my Enemies of the State list what their thoughts are on the situations in San Diego and New Orleans. I wonder why they advocate the forcing out of 1.5 million metro New Orleanians but suddenly become bashful if such an order is contemplated about rural San Diegans.

There is another difference between the regions though.

Money.

Not the cost of each threatened home but the cost of protecting the homes. A levee system would cost America 40 billion dollars. I’m not sure what improved fire protection would cost but it seems like less than that. So people probably don’t want to spend so much to save a city full of black folks and coon-asses. Nevermind the busiest port in North America.

I’d prefer it if neither region was forced to leave their home actually. I’d love to see Americans unite when disaster strikes like they did before the whole country become divided amongst greed and cynicism.

I also wish the best for my former neighbors in San Diego.

lucky dube

R.I.P. Lucky…

You grooved us at Congo Square in 2004, shortly before the thunder and lightning.

Vigilante attacks after Dube murder

short shrift – NOUN: 1. Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss. 2. Quick work.

I couldn’t help but notice the short shrift given to certain Council at-Large seat candidates in the latest Gambit article by Allen Johnson Jr. After including large images and multiple paragraphs for Diana Bajoie (six paragraphs, 1 picture), Virginia Boulet (5 paragraphs, 1 picture), Jackie Clarkson (6 paragraphs, 1 picture), Cynthia Willard-Lewis (6 paragraphs, 1 picture), Tommie A. Vassel (6 paragraphs, 1 picture), Kaare Johnson (3 paragraphs), Thomas L. Lewis (4 paragraphs, 1 picture), Malcolm Suber (4 paragraphs, 1 picture) the article rounded out the remaing candidates with this…

Former Clerk of Criminal Court Kimberly Williamson-Butler received 1 percent of the vote in her race for mayor last year. Butler, Nagin’s former CAO, now seems to be running to clear her name, reminding voters that a grand jury last year exonerated her of criminal malfeasance charges. She says the allegations were politically motivated.

Rounding out the field are: Joe Jones, a cable television producer; political newcomer Gail Masters Reimonenq; Dyan ‘Mama D” French, who refers voters to mentions of her in Douglas Brinkley’s book, The Great Deluge; and Quentin Brown, a self-employed landscaper.

I guess there is no such thing as an equal ink law.

Bill Cosby and Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Professor Dr. Alvin Poussaint were on Meet The Press Sunday (transcript | video) discussing with honesty and frankness issues facing the black community. Much of what was discussed was particularly interesting to me as a citizen of New Orleans and, as a result of my residency, having a keen insight toward to issue that very few caucasians in cities like Topeka or Boulder might.

Emphasis was given by both men to the importance of education and family values in the black community – about how those two influences alone may be what it takes for struggling African American youths to overcome the adversities facing them, the biggest being systemic and institutional racism.

Cosby said:

Let’s deal first with what people call the systemic—the, the racism that exists in this country, which is absolutely for real. But people just say it. They say, ‘Well, there’s systemic and institutional racism.’ ‘What do you mean by that?’ Well, what I mean is that the power structure can stop a person from getting a better education. It can stop them from living in better conditions. It can stop improvements from being made. For instance, if you have a slum landlord, if you’re lower, lower economic, to get that fixed, to bring the law in on this person, it, it just doesn’t happen. If police decide to ride in and arrest, if laws are made to go against you, I mean, this kind of thing is very, very hurtful. And then we move into areas of health, health care, where racism can stop a person from getting immediate attention in times of need, etc., etc. So when you look at education, it is my belief that it is there with a very ugly head. However, it is also my belief that this is not the first time my race has seen systemic or institutional racism. There were times, even worse times, when lynchings were acceptable. Sure, the newspapers wrote about it, but it happened. Juries were set and freed the, people who did the, the lynching. Therefore, we knew how to fight, we knew how to protect our children, protect our women. Today, in lower, lower economic areas, some people—not all—some people are not contributing to that protection.

It’s no revelation that much of the social problems in New Orleans are rooted in systemic racism from generations past and some that still exists today (though I think in this city, it is much less prevalent than it was years ago). Unfortunately for us, it seems that the area has entered into a state of mind where many believe an improved, stricter criminal justice system is the only solution to the problem. The city has found itself in a Catch-22. People want a quick fix, so they demand stricter penalties for criminals (I am one of these people).

The issue of aftermath is seldom discussed.

But if Cosby is to be believed, stricter sentencing will only remove more black males from the heads of households, thus diminishing family values.

Here’s where it gets very sticky and perhaps even a bit hopeless. What family values are being taught to children whose fathers are toting guns or dealing drugs anyway? It seems as if the parents are the ones who need the better educations.

That’s actually the point though. The parents do need better education. But it’s too late now. It might have helped if they received better schooling, enjoyed better family values and lived in better communities 18 years ago.

But many didn’t and now both blacks and whites are demanding they be thrown in jail. I have stood on the street with a sign and demanded it. I am ashamed for never having demanded better schooling other than on my blog.

Cosby and Poussaint are both smart enough and bold enough to task those who aren’t carrying their weight in the black community. I applaud them for that. They aren’t denying the existence of racism, nor are they letting it off the hook. They are simply thinking critically and, most importantly, demanding the right solutions be implemented by both blacks and whites.

Criminal justice is a treatment, not a cure.

Perhaps I am a hypocrite for demanding better criminal justice in two separate protests this year and then coming on my blog and stating that I think said justice will destroy families and create more criminals.

Like I said it’s a very sticky subject. I don’t have any answers, just thoughts.

I suppose if I were pressed to come up with a solution I would say immediately focus on education and, hopefully, 18 years from now, both the white and black communities in New Orleans will reap what they sew together.

But it won’t be a quick fix.

It’s been a while since I have utilized the ole WTF category but this story demands it:

Dispute over dead mother leads to Kenner killing

Kelvin Raymond lost his mother to heart failure Thursday. Three days later, he lost his life when a former neighbor stabbed him during a dispute over her, police said.

Witnesses told police that Raymond, 38, and Roosevelt “Junior” Peabody, 46, were arguing Sunday night outside the Raymond family home on Edge Court in Kenner. Peabody’s mother, Geraldine, who lives next door, said she went outside to investigate and that Raymond told her, “Junior is disrespecting me.”

She said her son was telling Raymond, ” ‘I loved your mama like she was my mama,’” and that Raymond responded, ” ‘She was my mama, not your mama.’”

Peabody retreated to his house, retrieved a steak knife and returned to stab Raymond once in the neck, said Shaun Watson, a spokesman for the Kenner Police Department. Raymond died at the scene.

Raymond’s relatives said they now plan a double funeral Saturday for Raymond and his mother, Mary Raymond, 72.

Riley said that after the police and crowd cleared early Monday, both families met under the Peabody carport and hugged. Henry said her family harbors no ill will toward Peabody’s relatives.

… and come to think of it, I haven’t seen ours in a while either.


Mired in scandal, a mayor goes missing

Hey look! They think their mayor is a national embarrassment too!