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Planning To Fail August 20, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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When first proposed by the Bring New Orleans Back commission in late 2005, the idea of “shrinking the city’s footprint” was overwhelmingly by the citizens of New Orleans. This has not prevented the city and it’s hired technocrats from proceeding to do everything in their power to shut off entire neighborhoods from the recovery.

Blogger Eli of We Could Be Famous has followed the Recovery School District Facility Master Plan process as closely as anyone could, given that there was virtually no opportunity for public input. Read what he has to say about the Facilities Master Plan and the decision taken (essentially in secret) to cut back on schools in impacted areas. People follow their churches and schools home, as has been amply demonstrated. This plan is just another attempt to push through the BNOB footprint plan under cover of doing something else.

Read what he says about the decision to propose no schools for Gentilly, Mid-City or the East:

Planners believe that services must be improved to better serve the most populated areas after the storm. This is not an improper calculation by itself but becomes regressive when one considers the practical consequences of this seemingly rational policy. In order to receive money, attention, and services a neighborhood has to prove it’s viability through re-population estimates and projections. Sections of the city that were more severely damaged during the storm obviously repopulate at a slower pace and therefore do not qualify as viable neighborhoods and are subsequently enshrined as poor investments. Thus, it is the neighborhoods that did not flood (generally better-off socioeconomically) that are being provided the lion’s share of recovery dollars. Neighborhoods that sustained heavier flooding (generally worse-off socioeconomically), are not seen as having a large enough population to necessitate things like roads, schools, public transportation, police, and hospitals.

If you don’t agree that entire neighborhoods should be abandoned by Fiat of an unelected cabal of our “betters”, I suggest you contact the BESE Board immediately. With most of the School Board on their way out, there’s probably not much chance of getting them to vote again. Let the BESE Board know that this plan is inconsistent with the citizen’s clearly communicated intent for the future of New Orleans.

Oh, and check out Leigh’s guest post at BlogOfNewOrleans.com for another take on the master plan. And as she suggests, read every post on E’s blog tagged Recovery School District or RSD. After reading the pieces quoted above, start here.