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  1. #1
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    cynical view of rebuilding of NO;with added bonus-CAPITALISM

    ETA:I CHANGED THE THREAD TITLE TO ENCOMPASS THE EVOLUTION OF THE CONVERSATION.

    disclaimer- this is just my own cynical speculation ahead:

    so, i keep hearing tidbits about the rebuilding of NO...bush's various quotes, a figure of $200 billion in funding, and the fact that halliburton (among other cronies' corporations) are going to be doing the rebuilding.
    and i'm left thinking that not only will NO never be the same, it WILL be gentrified, at the expense of the american people (the $200 billion is being added to the defecit, which = higher taxes), and, a lot of that $200 billion is going to go right back into the pockets of cheney and other bush cronies. with me so far?

    i hope i'm just being a pessimist, but i have this terrible vision of a NO that- aside from the wealthy french quarter and garden district and a smattering of other historical spots that can be preserved- will look nothing like the old NO. as in, martin luther king jr. blvd. may as well be renamed george w. bush blvd. and they'll never get around to building affordable housing for the displaced poor, because, well, things are really working out so well for them elsewhere *snark*.

    i have this fear that bush and co. is seeing this disaster as an opportunity to leave some sort of legacy- the Rebuilding of New Orleans- to distract from the rest of his administrative failures, but that it will in reality be another way to make money and boost already obese egos, while doing a little "ethnic cleansing" in the process.

    prove me wrong, tell me i'm off-base, give me some hope- anything...because this is just making me angry and sad all over again.

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  3. #2
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    disclaimer...(In the same spirit as Honeybee's)
    I'm not American, and I am not a self-satisfied, superiorly smug, brainier than thou Canadian either. I'm just a Canadian who's concerned about my neighbours.

    I love NO, but I'd have to say I agree with your cynical outlook. I understand the need to rally the masses into action, one country rebuilding one city, etc...(not that NO is the only place in trouble, it just seems to have become the poster city for the media up here), however, I have to question the oportunities offered to Haliburton, et. al. Were other companies even offered the opportunity to bid on the rebuilding projects?

    Obviously something has to be done for the poor folks of NO, but I fear you may be right. It's hard for me to believe the city will ever have the same spirit. I guess we'll see what happens come Mardi Gras.

  4. #3
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    Oh definitely. No, I think you're on the mark with this. I nearly died when I saw that Halliburton is getting a HUGE amount of the work from this "cleanup". How completely ludicrous! How do they get away with this?! Why not put the people who've been unemployed by the disaster to work rebuilding their own neighborhoods! It seems to me that this is already being used as a grandstanding effort, a great example of how generous the company is, (and the government they have in their pocket), and how a "community" can rebuild itself (Halliburton has put tons of money into animal shelter efforts in N.O., in a transparent attempt to win back some "concern for the people" credence!) It's sickening. It's a little too much for me to even get my head around.

  5. #4
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    I'm confused by what you mean by "ethnic cleansing".

    I've been to some of the neighborhoods that were under the most water where some of the shittiest,completely substandard housing projects stand along streets and streets of houses also in bad shape and fast food joint after liquor store after liquor store–I have to say that I certainly hope that some parts of the New New Orleans don't look quite like the Old New Orleans. And I'm sure a lot of the residents do as well.

    I also hope that, at the very least, some of the historic homes in the Ninth Ward are saved. I hope every home that can be saved is indeed saved.

    Also, these neighborhoods in NO have already been gentrifying*-which isn't always entirely bad. At any rate, I don't really think that masses people of means that could easily live elsewhere would choose to live that far below sea level after all of this. If they do indeed rebuild in those areas, I doubt the homes will be wildly expensive.

    *Article from NYTImes: http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/09/0...ec2d66&ei=5070

  6. #5
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    Just a plug for an organization that is very near and dear to my heart: Habitat for Humanity. They have been asked to play a big part in helping to rebuild affordable housing not only in New Orleans but throughout the Gulf Coast, but what they can do is (as always) related to the amount of funding they have to do it with.

    [Incidentally, too, because Habitat homes are owned by their occupants, they are often a positive presence in lower-income neighborhoods -- a way of attracting business investment in the community without the negative side of gentrification (ie, displacing long-term low-income residents).]

    I know a lot of you have already donated to the relief efforts, but Habitat has a plan to be involved in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast for the next 3-5 years, minimum, so if you want to think about making Katrina a part of your long-term charitable giving, Habitat will be able to put your contribution to good use for a long time. (And of course, I'm sure that once things settle down they'll be looking for short and long-term volunteers in the region as well.)

    OK -- end of plug. Seriously, though, if you're concerned about how the rebuilding will go, get involved. Support the effort of progressive, grassroots and/or not-for-profit agencies that are rebuilding, as opposed to Haliburton. I've suggested one way to do so (from my own biased experience); I'm sure others on this board will have other ideas.

    Also, keep in mind the difference between support for the rebuilding efforts (ie, the long-term permanent re-creation of community infrastructure) versus relief efforts (providing short-term emergency food, shelter and medical care) and let's all keep supporting the rebuilding efforts for the next few years.

  7. #6
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    I'm confused by what you mean by "ethnic cleansing".
    first, delaying rescue efforts of the predominantly poor and black residents, and now relocating them elsewhere indefinately, and in the future (by my hypothesis) not building nearly enough affordable housing for them to return to, thereby essentially keeping them away for good. i hope i'm wrong.

    i've been to the 9th ward, too, and to most of the other areas of the city. and while- as is the case in many destitute areas- there are certainly some eyesores and homes that should probably be condemned, i don't think gentrification is the answer. i'm sure the residents of the poorest areas would like to see some improvements to their living conditions, too, but for what price? will they ever even be able to afford to return home? does gentrification ever include affordable housing for the poor? i think by definition it means displacing the poor to make room for the more affluent, which IMO is exactly what bush envisions as well.

    and xuli, thanks for a positive outlook- i totally agree, and i hope organizations such as habitat can make a substantial difference in the rebuilding efforts.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by honeybee
    I'm confused by what you mean by "ethnic cleansing".
    first, delaying rescue efforts of the predominantly poor and black residents, and now relocating them elsewhere indefinately, and in the future (by my hypothesis) not building nearly enough affordable housing for them to return to, thereby essentially keeping them away for good. i hope i'm wrong.
    Again, and I'm not trying to be an ass, but, I don't see how that's "ethnic cleansing". Patent disregard? Definitely. Racist? Likely. But "ethnic cleansing"? I guess I really reserve that term for acts much more deliberate. And, to be honest, more severe. I don't know if that kind of hyperbole is really necessary here.

    I would never deign to say that gentrification is "the answer" particularly as I seriously, seriously doubt that's going to happen. Again: not the most advantageous area to settle. Not the easiest place to sell to the upwardly mobile.

    And slightly O/T but gentrification can be done without completely displacing or pricing original residents out of communities. I know downtown San Diego has created programs that encourage new residents and developers to renovate while they've also had some of the most affordable housing in the city built in the area. It takes effort and it takes progressive thinking and planning but it can be done.

  9. #8
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    it means displacing the poor to make room for the more affluent, which IMO is exactly what bush envisions as well.
    that's right. rich people all want to live in a biohazard sess pool. lol

  10. #9
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    xuli -

    Thanks for that plug - for Habitat for Humanity. I've been waiting to fork over my donation....hesitant to give to the Red Cross....just wanting to do something a bit more personal (and yet give to a registered charity that my company will match). Maybe that's exactly where I should think about giving....

  11. #10
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    Again, and I'm not trying to be an ass, but, I don't see how that's "ethnic cleansing". Patent disregard? Definitely. Racist? Likely. But "ethnic cleansing"? I guess I really reserve that term for acts much more deliberate. And, to be honest, more severe. I don't know if that kind of hyperbole is really necessary here.
    agreed. i just couldn't think of a better phrase to describe it. i guess time will tell how accurate it is as far as whether or not the poor are ever able to return in significant numbers.

    Quote:
    it means displacing the poor to make room for the more affluent, which IMO is exactly what bush envisions as well.


    that's right. rich people all want to live in a biohazard sess pool.lol
    i thought it was clear that i meant after the clean-up. or were you being deliberately obtuse? so hard to tell sometimes.


 
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