Where’s the Laugh Track?

The comedy of errors, better known as City Hall here in New Orleans, is yes at it again.  If your a member of the media in this city and have a request for “public records”, you better be prepared to wait weeks or months to get your request filled. Even then, the information you get will be blacked out, deleted or only exsist in Ray Nagin’s rather large noggin. Media outlets in this city have been complaining and some have resorted to suing the city to get public records to become actually public.

That is why I am asking why we can’t get a laugh track to go along with the situation at City Hall. You know what a laugh track is right? It is a fake audio track of a bunch of people laughing at some inane sitcom that is not even close to being funny. How the powers that be are running this city right now, with every story that is coming out, makes me do nothing but laugh at this point. It doesn’t help to get angry or mad or frustrated because not enough people in New Orleans are paying attention to make a difference.

Most people know the name Veronica White. She is the city’s Sanitation Director. The lady who has overseen the quadrupling of cost of having someone pick up the trash from in front of your house. The lady who has not been able to give the City Council a list of homes that is being serviced by the city’s trash contract holder. The lady who gave us the wonderful trash cans that dot the French Quarter landscape. At least the homeless peeps have somewhere to crash on those cold nights.

Ms White, who is not a lawyer and who does not oversee anything other than trash in this city, has been “outed” for passing along hundreds, maybe thousands of e-mails that belonged to City Council members. It looks like “community activist” lawyer Tracy Washington requested copies of the emails for Arnie Fielkow, Stacey Head, Shelly Midura and Jackie Clarkson. Along with Jeff Thomas, who is Recovery Director Ed Blakely’s first assistant. All 5 of these folks are white. No request was made for emails from any black council member.

Obviously, I am not debating Tracy Washington’s right to get access to these e-mails. Nor do I care if she only wants the messages from white folks. That’s her decision and personally I think that shows exactly where she is coming from. Most people are grown enough to read between the lines. All of that is the besides the point. And here is the point.

Ms Veronica White contacted the Mayor’s Office of Technology and requested these e-mails. No one has announced who in the technology office actually went into the server and burned thousand upon thousands of e-mails onto 3 cd’s which Ms White then handed off to Tracy Washington. Ms. White’s job is to oversee the trash contracts. A job which she has totally screwed up to this point. Her job is not to contact the office of technology and skirt not only the law but city procedures.

It’s just too funny, I’m sorry. Loyal readers know my past frustrations with the way the recovery has gone to this point. I’ve promised myself to not rail on the lame, impotent leaders of city government. So I am not. At least I know who to contact next time we have a public records request. Just contact the garbage lady and I’ll have it within 10 minutes. Only if I request it for the folks who Ms White doesn’t like though.

1 Comment so far

  1. peanut on March 4th, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

    I think the city attorney was aware of the request from Ms. Washington. If you read here statement carefully it never says that she did not authorize the e-mail request. She said that she was not aware that Ms. White has given the CD to Ms. Washington. There is a lot being said in that statement that was not said in words. I think that Pena Moses-Fields was made aware of the original request and authorized the computer tech to make the CD’s containing the copies of the council’s e-mails. Ms. White just got caught in the middle.

    As for the mayor’s e-mails being not available. Do the City’s technology people never backup the City servers? Why doesn’t Lee Zurik ask that simple question when given the reply to the original request that the mayors emails were deleted? I guess that’s what happens when you try to make a sportscaster an "investigative journalist".



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