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New Orleans Demolition Begins despite Mass Action while Senate Dithers on 1668

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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:24 AM
Original message
New Orleans Demolition Begins despite Mass Action while Senate Dithers on 1668
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 07:26 AM by Leopolds Ghost
Despite the fact that DU all but ignored this issue in the past two weeks when Swamp Rat
and others pleaded with folks here, to speak up and insist the Senate pass S.1668 to halt
the demolitions, I am posting this here for the minority of us who support saving public
housing in New Orleans.

This is undoubtedly a temporary halt since the city officials know that the majority of
the public is on their side. That will only change if people on forums like DU start to
speak out to their neighbors and officials about what is happening this week in New Orleans.
Your choice.

Only mass arrests or Senate passage of 1668 will stop the demolitions now. Given public
sentiment in favor of HOPE VI demolition and against allowing the former PH residents to
return, here on DU and across America, it is frank to say neither is likely.



http://neworleans.indymedia.org

Protest Bring Demolition Activity At B.W. Cooper To A Halt
by mike howells Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007 at 2:07 AM
howellnow@bellsouth.net 04-587-0080 1031 Barracks St. #2 NOLA, 70116

Supporters of public housing staged a protest that brought HUD demolition activity at the B.W. Cooper development to halt Tuesday Afternoon.

Protesters Bring Demolition To A Halt At B.W. Cooper.

By Mike Howells

Direct action by supporters of public housing brought HUD authorized demolition to a halt at the B.W. Cooper Housing Development in New Orleans today. Tuesday afternoon a picket of dozens of public housing supporters prevented a truck from carrying a huge demolition crane into the new section of the development.
Neighbors of the B.W. Cooper area alerted housing activists late Tuesday morning that demolition equipment was being brought into the development. And, in fact, demolition did begin on one of the dozens of public housing apartment buildings that make up B.W. Cooper. However, soon after protesters formed an anti-demolition picket line in front of an entrance to the new section of the development demolition activity ground to a halt.

Sam Jackson, a resident of B.W. Cooper and a long time housing activist, thanked everyone who participated in the anti-demolition action. He also urged supporters of public housing to come back on Wednesday to help step up the fight against demolition. Cooper contains about 1,300 apartments designed to provide housing for poor, working class people.

The need for the reopening of all these apartment units could not be greater given the dire shortage of affordable housing that exists in post-Katrina New Orleans. Unfortunately, HUD authorities issued the go ahead for the demolition of more than 4,600 public housing apartments last October. Most housing activists in New Orleans believe that the demolition of local public housing is part of a broader effort by economic and political elites to block the return of the 150,000 African-American Katrina Survivors who are still in exile.

If you are interested in participating in the struggle to defend New Orleans public housing feel free to contact the Coalition to Stop Demolition at action@peopleshurricane.org or call the author at 504-587-0080
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. Preservationists Only Allies in Struggle to save Public Housing in NOLA
New Orleans Housing Committee: No To Lafitte Demolition
by Michael Steinberg Monday, Dec. 10, 2007 at 9:03 PM

http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2007/12/11552.php

Due to strong resistance from public housing residents, and the Coalition To Stop Demolition, the city's Housing Conservation District Review Committee did not approve a demolition permit for the 896-unit Lafitte Public Housing Complex.

December 10, New Orleans-Today is International Human rights Day, and public housing residents, and their supporters in the Coaliton to Stop Demolition, can claim a victory in stopping the demolition of the Lafitte Public Housing Complex-for now.

After a raucous over-two-hour hearing in an overcrowded, overheated City Hall room, where the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) and its selected demo developers blew lots more hot air at the city's Housing Conservation District Review Committee, the committe voted 3-3 on Lafitte's HANO proposed demolition permit-meaning it did not meet approval.

However, after this decision, the committee immediately voted-by a 4-2 margin in each case-to approve demoliton permits for for the 723-unit CJ Peete complex, and the 1550-unit BW Cooper complex.

Another public housing complex slated by HANO for demolition, the 1436-unit St Bernard development, is not in the Conservation District, and so was not included in the committe's deliberations.

Despite the no go vote on the Lafitte complex, HANO and its gang of developers can appleal to the City Council for approval of the demo permit.

Nevertheless, it was one clear victory for the public housing residents, who have been fighting an uphill battle for return to their homes since Katrina forced them out and HANO subsequently refused to allow the vast majority of them back in.

Ironically, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights recognizes housing as a basic human right, and the right of return for all refugees, including internal refugees like New Orleans public housing tenants. New Orleans' public housing residents were almost all African American working class people.

Besides this HANO violation of human rights, the agency-which was taken over by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2002-responded to residents' demands to return to their apartments by instead pushing plans to knock them down.

That plan includes replacing them with "mixed income" housing that would result in an 82% loss of low income public housing in the city, at a cost of $400,000 per unit.

After a rally and press conference in front of City Hall Monday morning, over 100 people filed inside for a 10 o'clock meeting of the housing committee. The Coalition had put out a call for national and international support, since HANO/HUD recently let it be known that the bulldozers could start rolling by December 15. As a result, people came from near and far to help stop the demolitons.

Inside in the overfilled lobby, Martin Suber of Peoples Hurricane Relief, one of the many groups in the Coaliton, told the crowd that organizers had asked for a larger meeting room, and that the proposed public housing demoliton discussion be moved to the top of the agenda. "There'll be no business as usual while people are being threatened with the loss of their homes forever," he said.

The group first moved to meet in the City Council chambers, on the ground floor, but eventually agreed to meet in a room on the 8th floor. That room, across from the Office of Homeland Security, turned out to be too small. More than half of the people did not have seats. In addition, there were no microphones, making it often difficult if not impossible to hear what was going on up front. Frequent requests by people for speakers to talk louder were ignored by the committe chairman.

After the meeting had droned on awhile with its original agenda, which had the public housing demo discussion listed last, Bill Quigley, the public housing residents' attorney, and a profesor at Loyola University School of Law, asked that the residents be heard.

Quigley's previous appearance at City Hall last Thursday resulted in his head being bashed into a wall in City Council chambers by a "security" during a protest of that body's refusal to act on a request to stop the demolitions.

The committee asked that two other pending demo cases to be heard first. One is for Lockett School, of historic importance to NO's African American community. The other is for the former site of Linday Boggs hospital. After some discussion, because both cases were both of interest to public housing folks, both applicants said they would wait until the next meeting for their hearings.

The committe chair next announced that HANO, the demo applicant for bringing down the pubic housing complexes, would present its case first. It's customary for the applicant to go first.

Not this time though. Voices raised up , signs and banners waved, fingers pointed, and when the dust cleared the public housing tenants and their advocates finally had their chance to speak.

Debra Falls, formerly of Lafitte, told the committee she was "here for everybody. There's no place to live. We can't afford the rents now."

Samuel Jackson, who said he used to live at BW Cooper, called for a corruption investigation into HUD's boss, Alphonso Jackson, and blasted the one person HUD/HANO board consisting of Donald Barbera, that makes decisions "for thousands of people. Half of the homeless are from public housing, living across from City Hall and living under the freeway now. I want to know why Barbera can't make a decision to help working class people and show some kind of heart."

Addressing HANO, Sharon Jasper, a former St. Bernard resident, declared "We didn't have the right to participate in what happened after we were forced out by the flood. You had the opportunity to do what you wanted to do for years--force us out forever, and you've been trying to keep us out since the day you made that decision.

"What do you have for us? Our mayor, our city council has done nothing," she said, as a mayor's rep and several city council members looked on.

"Our people are dying ," she went on. "We're sick of going to funerals every day.

"Open up your hearts. We want to come home. Look at the diamonds on your hands from all the bribes you took. We want our homes back. We're all human beings. We're all US citizens. Treat us like that."

Next two reps from building preservation groups spoke. Both groups had been invited to and did participate in HANO'HUD's discussions of how to redevelop the city's public housing. Both reps reported that HANO/HUD did not want to hear any proposals except for total demolition, even though the reps tried to introduce alternative ways to redevelop the structures.

City resident Jean Maven followed that testimony by pointing out that the garden apartment model used for NO's public housing in the 1940s and 50s-the very structures HUD/HANO is so intent on tearing down now-is what HUD is favoring today in other places.

"Don't throw them away.Don't keep people out of this city for another five years," she urged the committee. "People will sit down and converse about it. Just give us time. You can't just take these buildings down. There's not even a Master Plan yet."

Bill Quigley spoke next. He revealed that a city ordinance provides that each building proposed for demolition is supposed to be inspected before the demo hearing. "Have you inspected each of the 207 buildings proposed for demolilton" ?" he asked. The committee couldn't say yes to that.

Quigley also said that HANO/HUD might have interested developers, but no
one of them had actually signed a contract with them.

In additon, Quigley spoke of the architectural significance of the public housing complexes. "The New York Times architecture critic recently wrote of Lafitte as 'some of the finest examples of these kinds of buildings in the US-they should be preserved.' "

Finally Quigley spoke of the impact the demolitions would have on New Orleans housing crisis, "the worst since the Civil War. Hundreds across the street, 12,000 around the city are homeless. Fifty thousand families in FEMA trailers are being kicked out. And 100,000 homeowners have yet to receive their Road Home money. And at this precise time a federal campaign to demolish public housing?"

After a brief recess, HANO/HUD and their developer friends got their chance to put on their dog and pony show. Claiming to be nothing but friends of the poor, they insisted that said poor would lose out on federal housing money, which is contingent on approval of the demolition, if the developers didn't get their-uh, that is-HANO/HUD's demo permits.

Finally the house committee voted, and as soon he was physically able, the chairman immediately adjourned the meeting.

HUD/HANO and its friends left to plot their next moves. And so did the public housing tenants and their supporters. Their sturggle is rapidly becoming not only a local, but also a national and even global movement, because we're all in the same boat, baby, and if we don't stick together we all goin down in that same ol flood again.

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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:48 AM
Response to Original message
2. ...
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. They want to "Disney-fy" New Orleans..and this is the start.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:14 AM
Response to Original message
4. cost to preserve is said to be many times cost to rebuild - why preserve?
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. . .
:eyes:
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
19. Where do you get your numbers? The Public Housing was un hurt by Katrina. The people could just
move back in. What cost are you thinking of?
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #19
37. Ward nine fungus/mold reports/city hospital can't be repaired - I don't know
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 07:35 PM by papau
the details for the units involved in the 5000 unit tear down. I only "know" the usual tourist areas plus Tulane and Saint Charles Ave where some relatives lived - its been decades since I've been there on a visit. But if this is not Katrina mold damage - just normal wear and tear - how is replacement in N.O. different than the St Louis and Chi town tear downs? But these buildings are listed as "mold-infested" - is that wrong? Others say the units are "structurally sound property " - who is correct?

Where is this less dense, modern housing (I presumr Section 8 investor built) going to go up in the next few years - on same land as current housing I assume? Why is rehab rejected and tear down the response to deteriorated buildings/units? The St Louis/Chi Town units were too expensive to repair and maintain due to crime and indifferent tenants - are these different ? - the St. Bernard Housing does not seem a crime problem.


St. Bernard Housing Project just after being built in the 30's - Gibson Street is now paved of course.


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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 01:40 AM
Response to Reply #37
43. "how is replacement in N.O. different than the St Louis and Chi town tear downs?"
Edited on Sat Dec-15-07 02:25 AM by Leopolds Ghost
They are not.

Are DUers in favor of indiscriminately tearing down public housing units,
without respect to livability?

The economic factors involved are simple: gentrification (which many Americans support --
against their own economic interests, or at least the interests of anyone who doesn't
currently own rehabbed housing in the inner city.)

Then, instead of bitching about how they'd never live in the inner city because of crime
(which will only be alleviated in most Americans' eyes if ALL the working class tenants
are thoroughly gone -- they expressly say so before they will consider moving in to
an area -- check the stats -- that is what "on the up, but a ways to go before it is gentrified,
you'll find yourself living next to your maid" means) -- instead they start bitching
that they can't afford to live near the city.

Americans hate public housing not because it is "ugly"
but because the poor are "ugly" to them.

There are a limited number of projects that were poorly designed and irreparable. They were either torn down decades ago (Pruitt-Igoe) or ignored because tearing them down would not benefit property values for wealthy investors nearby (which is the only reason Chicago's Old town projects are being torn down and replaced by subsidized MIDDLE CLASS housing for "nest egg" types.)

Note: I'm a student of urban planning and architecture. I am perfectly aware of the difference between good quality housing stock and bad. HOPE VI is a program to eliminate ALL public housing in the US. If you want to know what to "do about" public housing in my opinion,
including poorly designed public housing, read Jane Jacobs.

There is a lot worse housing than the NOLA projects. Crime in NOLA is endemic to poverty and has nothing to do with the old, high quality building stock, which has been left to rot across the board wherever the wealthy aren't.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #43
54. Thanks for the info - Old Town Chicago is near and dear to my heart from the 60's but few of my
relatives still live there (Housing costs have got out of hand) - other relatives that lived near Greek Town were of course blasted away by the State for the interstate and IIT.

I don't even know what ethnic comunity is living in what area of Chicago these days (the Polish community around 100 south still around?) - and I agree much "urban renewal" has been for "gentrification" and not to help the poor.

But the Hope VI launched in 1992 was $5 billion that was to address ONLY the replacement of severely distressed public housing projects, occupied exclusively by poor families, by building redesigned mixed-income housing - with housing vouchers to enable some of the original residents to rent apartments in the private market. It is Bush41's gift of gentrification to the nation.

But when passed I thought it was a small program that would only look to replacing roughly the 86,000 of the 1.3 million public housing units nationwide - only 86,000 were thought to qualified as severely distressed per the 1989 report.

It sounds like the definition of "severely distressed" got changed with not enough media attention to make the change known to me.

I wonder if any of our candidates - perhaps the one living in Chicago with a public housing background - will speak to this changing of the program.

:-(

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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-17-07 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #54
58. Thanks papau. You are right HOPE VI got expanded. I don't know enough about Chicago
But I know Chicago and DC are two cities that have suffered from
gentrification, culturally and economically (when you look at it
from the perspective of a family with children trying to stay in
the city, or a small businessman trying to pay rents while the
city gov. subsidizes big box stores to be built which get free
rent because they are "anchor stores")

We are building Potemkin villages where there used to be
diverse neighborhoods. Even if the only thing keeping them
diverse was fear of crime (which is a sad commentary on the
people moving in from the suburbs who insist on living in a
gentrified area.)
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #37
44. "too expensive to repair and maintain due to crime and indifferent tenants"
Edited on Sat Dec-15-07 02:28 AM by Leopolds Ghost
You could say the same about the levees. But, to reply:

* Government owns them, has money to maintain them. They are public weal.

The first sign of corruption is when a Housing Authority doesn't maintain buildings -- public property -- that WERE well-built.

Are the tenants responsble for replacing burnt out street lamps
and burying ugly, sub-standard electrical wiring?

* Housing agencies use explicit slumlord tactics to confront tenants
who are not "indifferent" by buying off association leaders, planting
ringers in tenant associations, and threatening outspoken tenants.
It's sad, it's corrupt, but true.

* Most HOPE VI developments occur in gentrifying areas,
WHEN gentrification is called for, and NEVER before,
no matter how "bad" they subsequently make us believe
those particular units are (which we had no cause to
think about unless we live nearby -- and most nearby
homeowners assns lobby against ALL public housing --
often at the request of an ultimatum from nearby developers
who "cannot" build their stadiums and office buildings
and nearby luxury housing otherwise (a matter of public record).

In other words, "we CAN'T increase property values and raise rents in
NON-public housing unless you tear down all the public housing nearby
and replace it with "mixed-income" (33% working class, 5% poor, with
subsidized units segregated from market rate units.)

HOPE VI has nothing to do with individual Cities' awareness of
what projects are architecturally unsound.

* indifferent tenants -- read: the city didn't want "dead beats"
to have the right to live there, especially to justify rehab
the "dead beats" (anyone without credit) HAD to go.

They can't MORALLY justify rehab if these people ("Welfare moms") in any way BENEFIT.
Getting them OFF THE ROLLS, "forcing them into the workplace" (where they already
are, BTW) is the metric of success.

You think suburbia is architecturally sound? What about the suburban cul-de-sac Clinton built in the Bronx, to illustrate the benefits of
HOPE VI?

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #44
55. I agree with your points - the ones I understand at least - but my knowledge here is very
limited - obviously.

The only Clinton cul-de-sac that comes to mind is the one they live on in Chappaqua. What did he build in the Bronx with Hope VI money that was a poor decision?
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:38 AM
Response to Reply #4
49. Mold Remediation is not "fungible" to use a pun. It is a do-it or don't-do it procedure
And a lot cheaper than demolition costs alone.

The case for demolition is when a building is

(a) structurally unsound or swept off its foundation, or
when the floor joists (not necessarily random parts
of the building frame, which can be replaced!) are totally
termite rotted

(b) so poorly laid out w/ respect to surrounding area
that tearing down most of the units can actually
allow an INCREASE in density.

Which HOPE VI all but prohibits, it is a program to
DECREASE the number of overall units by defining the
number of rebuild units as equal to "currently occupied"
units in pasrtially-abandoned buildings, then dividing
that number between one-car garage, upper middle class
tenants with good credit and no children -- "executive
housing" types looking for a cheap place to lay their
heads while on a 2 year stint somewhere as a police
officer or an engineer -- and a token number of family
units. Families with children in urban areas are
universally assumed to be poor, or else expected to
send their kids to private school (in which case they
may need to live in a HOPE VI development to afford the
mortgage payment.) So family housing is limited to the
small number of so-called "welfare mothers" allowed to
return.

(which as Nagin said, they have limited tolerance for.)

The only honest approach to redeveloping public housing
is to increase density in these often modernistic
developments to the point where you have a real city
neighborhood -- with the same number of poor as before.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
6. I do not support taxpayer funded rebuilding efforts on any residential part of NO that is subject to
flooding.

I'm open for taxpayer support for rebuilding NO key infrastructure, e.g. port facilities, after independent cost benefit studies have been completed.

I also don't support taxes being used to subsidize house insurance on beach condos that are high-risk, farms that are on flood prone areas, and other projects for which the benefits are high for a few individuals and low for society.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. People need places to live. All of NO is subject to flooding.
two points:
1) people need places to live. Structure here is sound, just needs fixing up and there could be housing for people to live so they can help rebuild and can work.
2) Most places around the world are subject to flooding, ice, fire, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #12
23. Let individual's assume the risk of flooding and pay to build houses. That's not a legitimate use of
taxes for an avoidable risk.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Anywhere? Is any public housing a legitimate use of taxes?
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. "Is any public housing a legitimate use of taxes?" Yes, but the issue is government subsidizing
residential housing in an area with high risk.

If you are anyone else wishes to rebuild NO with your money, go ahead, but don't hold a gun to my head, force me to pay taxes, and use my taxes to subsidize houses in known high-risk areas.

Nothing I said above is limited to "public housing".
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Everywhere is risky, and these didn't flood.
Most places around the world are subject to flooding, ice, fire, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc. All areas are risky. You do realize that the housing in question did NOT flood when the levees broke, right?

And I took your comment to be non-public housing, since "Let individual's assume the risk of flooding and pay to build houses." implies individuals who are not in public housing. I am expanding it to public housing since that's what the topic here is.

I wish there was a place to say where taxes went to, what percentage where. I'd sure use that.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Re: B.W.Cooper, the demolition was approved before Katrina.
The nexus of protests this week is the B.W. Cooper public housing units, 14 buildings which had been ordered demolished two years ago, before the storm.

The demolition is part of a $750 million plan by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to tear down about 4,500 public housing units at four of the city's largest complexes and replace them with mixed-income neighborhoods.

* * * * * * * * *
In court documents filed last week, HANO said a poll found that 70 percent of former residents at one development liked the agency's plans. HANO added that some of the very people named as plaintiffs in the 2006 lawsuit now support the agency's efforts.

"I think it's a good thing to consider tearing down those complexes. They are no longer livable for anyone," one resident says in an affidavit, according to court documents.


If 70% of former residents approve demolition, what's your problem?
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #30
35. Before Katrina, New Orleans didn't have an acute housing shortage.
Housing was almost the lone bright spot among the litany of social ills that has shadowed the city for decades. Then came the Federal Flood. Rents in the city have nearly doubled. And if you're one of "those people", good luck finding a place to rent in most of the surrounding area.

HANO said a poll found that 70 percent of former residents at one development liked the agency's plans.

Deconstructing this:

* HANO is now basically an arm of HUD, whose leader said in public that "New Orleans will never again be as poor or as black as it was". (He himself is black.) Do you trust them?

* 70 percent of former residents at one development. Which development? It doesn't say.
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:02 AM
Response to Reply #30
45. "70 Percent of former residents" WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO RETURN under HOPE VI.
Get a clue. You have no understanding of how corrupt New Orleans is.

HANo is one of the most corrupt.

Of COURSE NOLA had pre-existing plans to tear down all public housing
under HOPE VI, just as they planned to build casinos in Ward 9 before
the storm. Katrina just gave these plans a leg up.

This is an organizing thread. DUers who support HOPE VI, DUers who
support Welfare Reform Act, DUers who don't support public housing
or the right of return should start their own thread.

It has nothing to do with whether there is a "housing shortage" for
middle class DUers' perspective. There is a housing shortage across
America for non-property owners. Tearing down public housing and
replacing it with owner-occupied housing, or a reduced number of units,
is a crime.
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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. Dec. 10. Human rights Day should be a reminder of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 25.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.


There are far more alarmist posts about erosions of middle class "rights" than human rights.



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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Good point but a related question is should "everyone" be required to work for minimum elements of a
standard of living or should they be allowed to do nothing while those who work pay their bills?

Simple reflection on that question shows that there is limit to how many non-working people the working segment of society can support.

On the other hand, the working segment can easily support some non-working people so the question is what is the breaking point?

I don't know the answer but I do know that most workers from every segment of U.S. society do not support permanent taxpayer provided "a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood".

The key in your citation is "circumstances beyond his control" and for most of the working segment of society that means people who can but won't work will not live off society.
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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Repeatedly watching long lines after job announcements in my area
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 11:27 AM by flashl
suggests to me there are large numbers of unemployed seeking work. Our government simply hides true unemployment statistics that would present an overall view of the number of Americans languishing without jobs.

Years ago, I read a study that suggests that an economy model based on full employment is a fallacy. I will search for that study to provide more details, if necessary. If we are indeed using a model that requires full employment, then it is in our collective interest to fully employ citizens.

U.S. businesses removed jobs, outsourced jobs, and purged payrolls for profit. Our society did not create replacement jobs with living wages. We find ourselves today with college graduates competing with high schools graduates for jobs. If we value the college degree we would not have a large population of underemployed college graduates.

We need to reflect on the realities of scio-economic classes in America as we seek answers.
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syberlion Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
33. Reagan's Economic Folly...
When Reagan became president, he was faced with massive unemployment. Instead of fixing the problem, he fixed the indicators. Back when I took Macro Economics, I learned how Reagan was able to "shift" the unemployment numbers so quickly.

Initially, unemployment was measured by figuring on all those within working age, typically 18 to 65. Of those, there were those discounted for disabilities, and other issues, so they are classified as "Unemployable." From the "core working population" you had those that didn't look for work, so they are not classified as "unemployed." Also, there are those no longer looking for work, they are also not counted (it's been a few years, this is a rough sketch).

The problem facing Reagan was there were many people looking for work and not very many giving up, so that kept the unemployment numbers high. Well, the Reagan administration had a brilliant idea. When a person filed for unemployment, they became eligible for unemployment benefits. When the benefits run out, that person drops off the list, regardless if they become employed or remain unemployed. That was not something tracked by the unemployment office.

So, the Reagan administration seized on this and changed the method of reporting unemployment. When someone applied for unemployment, they were counted. So far so good, right? Well, once their benefits ran out, they were relegated to the "no longer seeking employment" column. This shrunk the numbers which caused the unemployment numbers to shrink as well. Pretty slick, eh?

Once this was implemented, no successive administration has changed the way the unemployment is tabulated. If they did, it would be such a shock, that administration would be vilified for having such high (but true) unemployment!

So, now you have an idea why there was such a big fight over extending unemployment benefits. The longer the unemployed stay on the "books" the greater the chance the numbers could rise, because you have more people filing for unemployment then those having their benefits ending.

So, going back to the Pre-Reagan (read: Real) way of figuring unemployment is pretty slim. What administration would want to do that and then try to explain what they did and why.

You're seeing the reality, not the fantasy the Belt-way people live by and it's a sad commentary on what is happening to this country.
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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Thanks for your exquisite reply.
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 05:53 PM by flashl
Welcome to DU syberlion!
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Why do some view folk who live in public housing as evil incarnate...
and not treat the parasites in our ruling class who reap huge profits off the sweat and blood of working people the same way?

Open your eyes to the systemic racism which is built into our society if you want to understand the "circumstances beyond his control" that forces people into poverty and keeps them there.

Your attempt to characterize the ones involved in this struggle as leeches on society reflects the attitude of the conservative right-wing leaders who at this very moment are planning to bulldoze them out of New Orleans, all together.

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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I see we disagree, you support "leeches on society" and I don't. IMO we tax "leeches on society" if
they have wealth and we provide government work for minimum wages for those "leeches on society" who don't have wealth.

I assume you would tax wealthy nere-do-wells and let those without wealth remain "leeches on society".
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. oh bullshit. eom
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Have a nice day. n/t
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
22. People who live in public housing are not leeches on society.
I support Black Working People in their fight to end racist government policy in my country, always!
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. See #10 for the first use of "leeches on society" and my reply in context to #10. If you have a
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 02:46 PM by jody
problem with countryjake's use of "leeches on society", take it up with her/him.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. psst, you ARE replying to countryjake.
"If you have a problem with countryjake's use of "leeches on society", take it up with her/him."
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. I know that! countryjake has a personal problem, let her/him to herself/himself.
:rofl:
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. "See #8 for the first use of "leeches on society" and my reply in context to #8. "
"If you have a problem with countryjake's use of "leeches on society", take it up with her/him." posted by jody

Slip of the numbers there, eh? Ironic, because your post #8 is the reason that I am taking up your depiction of this struggle by our American WORKING CLASS as something to be qualified.

Your statement that people are "allowed to do nothing while those who work pay their bills" is conservative blather used to drum up reactionary sentiment against poor working Blacks in our nation and is the mind-set of the very officials who are bulldozing long-time residents right out of New Orleans.

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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Thank-you!
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
13. Why do you say there is public support for this? There is corporate and
governmental support.
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. well after reading the posts, I got my answer. I was not aware anyone
was in favor. I cannot understand how anyone could possibly not be disgusted by this. This is absolutely criminal. unAmerican. treasonous. greedy. as wrong as wrong can be.
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countryjake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
17. "Their feet are on the necks of the poor...
and they are NOT going to get away with it!"

HANO to demolish New Orleans Public Housing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXJLzS4__BM


I made phone calls earlier, when you and Swampy first posted about this, but nobody seems to be listening. Just as we watched the travesty of government-imposed disaster after the hurricane enabled it, this newest conspiracy to evict the Black working class from New Orleans is also being seen from afar, for exactly what it is.

I would be there to help stop those wrecking balls and dozers if I could, but I can't, so more telephone action this afternoon is all I can do. Publicity, getting the word out to local news and activist groups, and expressing Outrage to our representatives on their non-action regarding S.1668, is the least any self-respecting person should be expected to do.



What a fine, merry xmas gift our country is bringing
to the Working People of New Orleans...

:banghead:
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ShaneGR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
18. Several questions I have.....
#1: What is the condition of this housing? How old are the buildings? How badly damaged are they from the floods? Are any of the buildings habitable before demolition or did they require repair? Are there actual plans in place to build any structures in their place upon demolotion? Or just guessing?
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. quick answers
These were not flooded when the levees broke, but were closed up. They were habitable, people were living in them before evacuating for Katrina and having them boarded up. The bones, the structure, of the buildings is good, they just need cleaning and a bunch of upkeep. No plans to build structures that I am aware of but rumor has it people will buy the property and build more expensive homes.

Housing is dear in NO now, especially affordable, safe, single family apartments. My stake in this is I've been involved with recovery groups on the coast, keeping contact with people living and working there.
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:49 AM
Response to Reply #24
51. Me too -- also I'd like to add that
Edited on Sat Dec-15-07 02:50 AM by Leopolds Ghost
I heard first hand accounts of housing meetings, of people who snuck in
to their public housing units after the storm to get a few necessities
and supplies,

And everything was in place exactly where they had left it. Cereal boxes etc.

Then workers came in at the behest of HANO to shut the utilities off and RANSACKED the place.

The residents snuck back in a second time (remember, all belongings they
didn't evacuate with are impounded in their old units, "look and leave")
and discovered this.

found all their stuff broken by HANO contractors, who treated it like an
abandoned property, when their unit had survived the storm totally intact.

Many 2nd floor units had window glass intact and everything, utilities
and upkeep may have been bad before the storm but no worse than
many private houses in New Orleans until HANO boarded them up.
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Flora Donating Member (102 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #18
39. New Orleans plans
The condition of the housing is poor at best. Run down, rotten, out of date, dirty. No flood damage. Some could be habitable if much money was put in to bring them up to code.

As far as I know, no plans are in the making to sell off the land to build condos for rich white people. (as another poster insinuated) From what I understand, the plan is to rebuild on the site. The plan calls for mixed income housing, some section 8.

The *projects* have been for years crime and drug infested ghettos that produced no hope and little else but more generations of drugs and crime. It is a system that has not worked. Mixed Income housing seems to have had success in other cities and should be given a chance here in New Orleans.

Most of the protesting going on in town are from out of towners. I'm sure they mean well, but if they are successful in their quest, they will be sentencing the poor in New Orleans to further generations of failure. The planned new housing is meant to be family friendly, and it would be a shame to send the children back to the slums to grow up.

Two local news links where you can find more info. There is still much debate going on and I'm not sure which way HANO will finally go with this project. But I sincerly believe the intent is for the good of the people who need safe, clean housing.

www.nola.com

www.wwltv.com
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:53 AM
Response to Reply #39
52. "Mixed income housing, some section 8." = the poor do not belong, a select few can wait in line
"Sentencing the poor to live in the city -- when they should be scattered throughout the suburbs, where their problems and dispersion of the criminal element's activities will become statistically unnoticeable -- and not depress our housing values."
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Flora Donating Member (102 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #52
53. I didn't say
"Sentencing the poor to live in the city". I was referring to those who want the public housing to stay *as is*. For the residents to move back into the crime infested, dilapidated building that are there would be unjust.

Can you deny the present system has failed? We can no longer watch as another generation is brought up in a failing *project*. Children deserve to be safe, play without fear of being shot, and not be preyed upon at a young and impressionable age to think drugs and crime are a normal way of life.

When generation after generation is born and raised in public housing, the system has failed. I want better for the people of New Orleans. I am not suggesting the poor be dispersed into the suburbs, but rather be given safe housing in the city where jobs and opportunities are available. The mixed income housing could work. We know the large *housing projects* have not.

I believe in the *teach a man to fish* approach, and I see a new generation of fisherman waiting to learn so that won't have to live dependent on government (public housing, food stamps, prison) the rest of their lives.

I found your response to my post insulting. Please do no dismiss me as someone who does not care just because I don't support rounding up the poor to be pigeonholed in their designated spot.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
20. The Senate is "dithering" on 1668 thanks to "Diaper Dave" Vitter
who's gone above and beyond the call of repuke duty by actively opposing the rebuilding of housing in his own state.

http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com/UpToTheMinute.cfm...

But the future of the bill is uncertain as Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie, raises concerns about provisions in the bill dealing with New Orleans public housing.

Vitter, in a press release issued Tuesday, was critical of the bill, saying it proposes to "recreate the New Orleans housing projects exactly as they were."...

"These units will include rehabilitated public housing projects and once rehabilitated, the temporary units will likely become permanent, ultimately rebuilding the old New Orleans housing projects system," Vitter said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, a sponsor of the bill along with Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said Vitter "is just misinformed."


What a douche. Maybe he'd change his tune if somebody told him there'd be hookers in the rebuilt projects. :eyes:

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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:05 AM
Response to Reply #20
46. "We couldn't get rid of public housing in New Orleans, but God did it for us"
--Famous quote from the office of Texas Governor Rick Perry, to whom many
of the public housing tenants were (forcibly) bused (they weren't allowed
to leave the bus in upstate Louisiana, which is the racist Cotton Belt.)
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
36. Breaking: HANO agrees to hold off on demolitions pending City Council review!
:bounce:

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2007/12/hano_halts_d...

The Housing Authority of New Orleans agreed in court today not to demolish the C.J. Peete, Lafitte or St. Bernard public housing developments unless the New Orleans City Council approves permits for the work.

The agreement allows HANO to proceed with demolition work, approved in November 2003 by the City Council, at the B.W. Cooper housing development.


Officials with the housing authority and attorneys for demolition opponents, who sued HANO Thursday to stop tear-downs at C.J. Peete, Lafitte and St. Bernard, reached the accommodation after meeting privately with Civil District Court Judge Herbert Cade, who said he would sign an order later today approving the deal.

Plaintiffs argued that the City Council had to approve demolition work at the three housing complexes. HANO had not secured that approval for the three demolition projects.


Here comes the first major test for "new" (actually, recycled) Council member Jackie Clarkson. (factoid: actress Patricia Clarkson is her daughter) As a longtime (Jackie) Clarkson foe (I pounded pavement for her original opponent way back when), I'd sure hate to see her be the swing vote in favor of this. Looks like Midura might be the best bet to get another vote to stop it (4 out of 7 needed).
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. That's good news
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 08:04 PM by blogslut
I'm just glad this topic is coming to light. Looks like the powers that be in New Orleans had nefarious plans for that land before the storm and they're using the confusion and housing problems after the storm to justify demolition.

Why tear down perfectly good buildings? I have never understood that philosophy. Don't people realize that 30% of the waste made by the US comes from construction?

I don't know who is kidding who here. They want the poor people gone and they're willing to raze sound structures in order to make their wishes come true. Shameful. Shameful and wrong.

EDIT ADD: Better stats
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #36
40. Good! A clip from OP link about need for affordable housing.
"But passions are high in New Orleans, where homelessness has almost doubled since hurricanes ravaged the city, and citizens are desperate for affordable housing. "

And a clip from yours, which you already quoted: "The agreement allows HANO to proceed with demolition work, approved in November 2003 by the City Council, at the B.W. Cooper housing development."
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:16 AM
Response to Reply #36
48. I am a reasonable person...If saving the other three means losing B.W. Cooper
Edited on Sat Dec-15-07 02:18 AM by Leopolds Ghost
It may be what happens,

although we should NEVER lobby for less than we want to receive.

Although, HOPE VI is such a poor model for housing renewal,

it is fighting a losing battle and constant retreat.

BW Cooper is in the heart of Mid-City next to the Amtrak terminal
and yet, purely to avoid providing TOO much replacement housing for the
poor, you can be assure HANO's (HOPE VI) plans are explicitly low-density.

Low density may make sense in St. Thomas, a wealthy area of old, old shotgun homes, so they took it a step further there and built parking lots and a WAL MART on the former St. Thomas housing project. Then they built "faux" double shotguns with all the (sub-par) historical details.

In short, "multi-family" is not considered historic in the older, higher parts so they go out and tear down what little there is. Good for the environment?

The Preservationists were the ones that insisted on preserving SOME of
the original St. Thomas garden apartments, which now comprise, visually
and actually, the remaining portion devoted to public housing.

Garden apartments which, BTW, duye to perception of crime were the
only thing keeping the Irish Channel affordable.

Now yuppies who shop at Wal-Mart, and wholeheartedly love the new
St. Thomas, complain they can't afford to live in the Irish Channel
anymore... when that was the explicit reasoning behind the St. Thomas
redevelopment. Blue-collar workers aren't the only ones who "vote against
their own interests".

How is decreasing the density in the oldest parts of the city a good thing? Of course the larger buildings aren't as historic as the tiny ones. Do they want to de-densify the historic areas until they are an actual Garden District of quarter acre lots once more?
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Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:32 PM
Response to Original message
41. Direct action
nothing else matters at this point in the Empire.

K&R
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 12:54 AM
Response to Original message
42. first they allow a great American city to die . . . now they're going to steal all the property . .
and rebuild it as a jazz Disneyland . . . that's American for ya . . .
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Yukari Yakumo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:13 AM
Response to Original message
47. The "residents" best hope...
Edited on Sat Dec-15-07 02:14 AM by Aya Reiko
"Residents" is used loosely here, as FEMA is booting them out of their trailers. How can anyone be a "resident" if they are given no place to reside?

Anyway...

The residents best hope is their own "Storming the Bastille" moment. Maybe they should seize City Hall and not give it back until the government gives them a roof over their heads.
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
50. "The same number of poor as before" -- I just realized that is the litmus test.
That is the operative phrase for determining where Americans stand on public housing.

When people talk about "cleaning up the inner city", "bettering peoples
lives", "eliminating substandard housing", "can't afford to reintroduce
the problems of the past" etc.

Put the question:

"Do you want the same number of poor people as before?"

"Do you want the same group of people to continue living there,
whether they continue to be poor or not?"

This opens up a whole new frame of reference for the exact same
dry statistics and bromides about "renewal".

Cui Bono? (Who Benefits?)
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
56. .
:kick:
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Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
57. What about the kids?
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-17-07 07:37 AM
Response to Original message
59. People Power Works!!!!! Demolition Halted... For a Time?
The guys who picketed B.W. Cooper are national heros IMO.

I wish I had been there with them.

The sad thing is you know there is an organized constituency
of corp medias that will be lobbying New Orleans officials.
Expect numerous articles in WaPo and Hearst and the Picayune
about how New Orleanians are stuck in the past, longing for
the "failed" Great Society. (or is it the New Deal?)
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