Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Square Pegs

Mayor Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back commission is proposing that residents be given four months to revive their neighborhoods. This to me seems a bit unfair. It takes the commission four months to come up with a plan and yet allows citizens that same amount of time to rebuild their houses. This is typical government thinking where people are expected to orient their lives in a way that is convient to bureaucrats.

Furthermore, the commission wants to use eminent domain to reshape the city in a manner that it sees fit.

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. The panel proposes the creation of a new public agency, tentatively called the Crescent City Redevelopment Corp., to use that power, but only as a "last resort."
This is totally contrary to my previous posts where I posit that citizens be allowed to determine the nature of their neighborhoods, not some commission. Though the article states that;
The report recommends that residents of all city neighborhoods -- whether they flooded or not -- participate in a process to help sketch out a vision for their future.
its not clear what weight resident's input will have on the commission's ultimate decision. The city needs to tread lightly when it gets into deciding where people can and can't live. By doing so, government is overstepping it's bounds and getting into the area of central planning. The city should stay away from that and just do the simple things that government should do such as law enforcement, fire protection, building inspection and zoning, providing a judicial system, health inspection, etc...

What I think the government can do is to determine where city services will be provided and what kind of government is best for our situation as proposed here. Those things are entirely withing the scope of government yet it still maintains some influence over how the city progresses.

A map of the proposals can be found here.

Let the citizens rebuild the city as they would like it rebuilt and stop trying to force a square pegs into a round holes.

UPDATE: More from ABC News.

No comments: