Landrieu foisted the monument debate on a city that was not focused on the issue. He used an unrelated tragedy as an excuse to introduce this very divisive issue. On Thursday, there will be another heated debate with participants on both sides trying to influence the decision of the City Council.
Incredibly, before the City Council has even decided the fate of the monuments, it has been reported that the Landrieu administration has given the demolition contract to H & O in Baton Rouge, but it is not known whether this group is certified to handle historic monuments. How can this be done without a public bid?
While there may be a private donor willing to pay for the removal, the amount mentioned, $144,000, as the offer is totally insufficient to do the job properly. The experts on this issue, the Monumental Task Committee, report that it will cost over $1 million to properly dismantle the monuments. There is also a report that the Mayor will store the monuments at a warehouse on Claiborne Avenue, not a very good location for priceless pieces of art.
In a city teeming with criminals and suffering with the usual woes of pothole littered streets, high unemployment and homelessness, it is a horrible diversion for the monument discussion to be taking up so much energy and time. It is a debate that should have never started in the first place as Landrieu created a problem that did not exist before he introduced it.
It is just another example of a power hungry Mayor trying to influence everything that is happening in the City of New Orleans. He is very covetous of his power, just look at how he deals with boards such as the Wisner Foundation or the Sewerage and Water Board, where he has installed his unqualified crony and Deputy Mayor, Cedric Grant. He also picked another crony, Police Chief Michael Harrison, to lead the NOPD, but it has not helped the organization recover from a horrible manpower crisis and a crime epidemic that shows no signs of abating. The rate for murder and other violent crimes this year will exceed the rate from last year. This is the city’s real problem, not monuments.
While there are positive signs with ongoing construction and the promise of the new medical corridor, there are many warning signs as well. The oil and gas industry will cut back even more in the future, costing New Orleans precious high paying jobs. Obviously, there is a real need to replace these high paying jobs, but what is Landrieu doing? Instead of trying to lure more companies to New Orleans, he has been a globetrotting climate change fanatic. In just the past few months, he has attended three global warming junkets in Rome, Paris and New York. These taxpayer financed trips have not resulted in any progress for New Orleans residents on the important issues of job creation and crime reduction, but they have served to lay the groundwork for Mayor Landrieu to land a nice paying job with an international climate change organization.
While Landrieu may be able to garner a great gig after his mayoral term ends, there is nothing on the horizon for the vast majority of African American males in New Orleans, where the unemployment rate exceeds 50%. Sadly, Mayor Landrieu put his selfish priorities over the real needs of his constituents.
Regardless of the outcome of the monument debate, Mayor Landrieu has proven to be an utter failure. Before he does additional damage to New Orleans, he should be removed from office via a recall election.
While it is a drastic move, it is necessary for New Orleans to unite and grow together as a community on the way toward its 300th anniversary in 2018. As New Orleans recognizes such an historic occasion, it would be an outrage for the city to be led by someone who has declared war on the city’s history.