Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Important NOLA/Katrina News

For all you folks that have been following my NOLA/Katrina posts
I have a story up at First Draft that I think is very important
and I hope you will read it.

I'm reposting the story here as I tried linking to it for another post and the link goes all F##kity....

The BBC has a good article on the rebuilding plan for New Orleans which is to be unveiled over the next 9 days. The plan sparked controversy a few weeks ago due to recommendations from the Urban Land Institute to focus on only rebuilding some areas which many feared would virtually eliminate black neighborhoods.

In the BBC story is this....

The main author of the plan, Joseph Canizaro, says the commission will propose that the city should discourage homeowners from rebuilding in the hardest-hit areas, but will not forbid them from doing so.

I did a post on Mr. Canizaro in early September when WaPo ran an article on people flocking to the Gulf Coast. I thought they were a bit heavy on the people's demand for Gulf Coast land and a bit light on the role developers and certain elected officials (Lott) had played in creating that demand. It sparked me to do some research on developers and I discovered one such developer that stood out....Joseph Canizaro. Here's some background on him from that post (unless otherwise linked)....

-- Former President of the Urban Land Institute

--CEO of Columbus Properties of New Orleans and one of the 4 Loiusiana Bush 2000 Pioneers and 2004 Rangers.

--In 1998 ranked #30 in the Mother Jones campaign contribution profile with $587,250 to the Republican Party

--Canizaro was one of 22 wealthy business leaders whom President Bush invited to lunch in 2001 to discuss his tax cut for the wealthy

--Canizaro founded Coporate Capital in 1998 which invested in Automated Technology Machines or ATM machines, owning 1,000 ATM's in the US.

--In February 2000, Canizaro contributed $240,000 to the Republican National Committee. He offered reporters a succinct explanation for his generosity: "You have to participate in this government if you want to get something." Six months later he gave another $250,000.

I just knew this guy would end up at the top of the NOLA rebuilding pyramid. I also thought the ULI was a front for real estate developers. In a November article on rebuilding NOLA (do go read this), makes just that claim, among others, and backs it up quite well.

Katrina was a tragedy for New Orleans. Bush Cronies will now make a travesty of New Orleans. And they're going to get rich doing it. Like Mr. Canizaro says...."You have to participate in this government if you want to get something."

Actually that should read....."You have to OWN this government if you want to get something." He does. And he will.


UPDATE: The Times Picayune has the plan......

Residents of New Orleans areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters would have four months to prove they can bring their neighborhoods back to life or face the prospect of having to sell out to a new and powerful redevelopment authority ...........

In perhaps its boldest recommendation, the panel says Nagin should impose a moratorium on building permits in shattered areas covering most of the city.......


Addressing the debate about whether planners and politicians should declare areas off limits or allow market forces to determine the city's future, Nagin's panel clearly sought a compromise by instead proposing a process to gauge residents' intentions to return to their neighborhoods. But ultimately, commissioners say, not every neighborhood will be sustainable and there will be a need to use eminent domain to seize some property.


Ultimately, the rebuild blueprint, the product of three months of work by hundreds of participants, also must pass muster with the White House and the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

There is a lot in this article to digest and analyze but on first glance I see many problems. I will have more later. BTW Bush will be in NOLA tomorrow to discuss the plan.

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