Monday, March 9, 2009

The Imploding Mayor Ray Nagin

Since moving back to New Orleans, La., I've watched Mayor Ray Nagin make all the wrong moves for public accountability. Really, who does that man's media strategy and talking points?

I've resisted writing about Nagin's folly at all because it's a headache to read and watch. Writing about it requires more patience and time than I have because I'd like to be fair and not blast him just because my gut says he deserves to be blasted.

I got the following alert in email today from WWL TV:
NEW ORLEANS - A civil district court judge ruled against Mayor Ray Nagin, City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields and the city of New Orleans in a suit brought by WWL-TV in regards to public records requests for copies of Nagin’s e-mails and calendar for 2008.

In her ruling, Judge Rosemary Ledet found, ‘the defendants actions not only unreasonable and arbitrary, but in flagrant violation of the law they have been sworn to uphold.’ (WWL TV)
Prior to this run-in with WWL-TV, he waged war against the city council (they've got members on the council I don't like either) about not having to reveal documentation on city contracts. I shook my head thinking Nagin is angry. Knowing he's in the KMA lame duck mayor class, he's not going to do anything that he doesn't have to do.

During that controversy and associated kerfuffle two weeks ago about city contracts, Nagin hid behind city charter mayoral protections. Bad move. When you refuse to reveal information about what's being done with money, people get suspicious. They say, "You must be hiding something."

Here's video on that, and I've met that sister with the red hair, Vanessa Gueringer, before, the one who calls Nagin "a psychopath," but I think she meant sociopath:

Regarding his problems with WWL, I can only assume Nagin didn't want to share his calendar and emails with the station for the same reasons he didn't want to share city contract information, something's incriminating in them or he's indignant that he should answer to anyone, much less the people, or both. Maybe he's remembering how communications records were Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's undoing.

My family down here tends to split on Mayor Nagin with one elderly aunt thinking the white people are always picking on him. She refuses to hear anyone criticize her boy Ray, while the rest of us grumble that Nagin seems to be on testosterone overload. He's not a stupid man, but one drunk on power, it seems.

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