Friday, January 14, 2011

Ed Blakely now swindling Aussies

Remember the "Recovery Czar Ed Blakely"? One of Nagin's little pals who was paid an enormous amount of money to help bring back New Orleans after Katrina.

Doesn't just SEEING Nagin make your blood boil?

The same Ed Blakely who said that New Orleanians are lazy and racist.

The same Ed Blakely who enjoyed touring Katrina's devastation on a bike but never did a fucking thing about the recovery.

The same Ed Blakely who inspired this excerpt from an article in 2007 from CNN dot com money

The man behind the rebuilding effort
On the eighth floor of the rundown, 1950s-era New Orleans City Hall, at the end of a long corridor, is an office with no number. Beside the doorpost, taped over whatever sign was there before, is a single sheet of 8½-by-11-inch photocopy paper that reads, "Office of Recovery Management."

This is the redoubt of Edward J. Blakely, Mayor Nagin's point man for rebuilding New Orleans. Blakely, 69, is a longtime professor of urban planning and an expert on disaster recovery. He coordinated the relief efforts in Oakland after the 1989 earthquake, and Nagin hired him to craft and implement one plan that would decide where the city would and wouldn't rebuild.

Blakely inherited more than 50 plans that had been drafted by numerous consultants and community groups, and in March he presented his blueprint for spending $1.1 billion over five years on 17 "targeted areas." He promised fast results, predicting "cranes in the sky by September."

Blakely fancies himself a man of action. He leads reporters on Saturday-morning bike rides through blighted and recovering neighborhoods, both to show citizens that the mayor's office is paying attention to their plight and to familiarize himself better with New Orleans. He arrived Jan. 8 of this year, "the day of the Battle of New Orleans, a providential omen," he tells me. In his spare time he is developing a residential real estate project near Riverside, Calif.

On his desk sits a plaque that reads, footprints in history aren't made sitting down. For all his biking and planning, however, Blakely has yet to spend any money.

For one thing, he's not certain he'll be able to find the billion dollars. He intends to get about a quarter of the money from a municipal general obligation bond passed before the storm, though it isn't legally clear whether that money can be spent on hurricane recovery.

He intends to use $117 million of federal housing money from the state, and he also hopes to float a so-called "blight bond," using condemned properties as collateral for borrowing an additional $300 million. The state may be able to supply the balance.

Blakely lately has begun to acknowledge that there'll be no cranes in the sky by September. (Locals cluck that only a newcomer would have promised construction projects during the heart of hurricane season.)

The delay and the uncertainty over funding highlight an unfortunate fact: Blakely, too, has only so much power. He explains that some traffic lights in the eastern section of town are administered by the city and others by the state. The board that runs the sewage and water system is a separate entity over which he has little control. So despite the existence of a workable plan that generally is supported by residents, Blakely is in a holding pattern.

"It takes time to build things," he says. "They don't appear overnight. It also takes a certain process to put things in order." New Orleanians I talk to admire Blakely's intellect and his ability to look at the situation dispassionately. It's impossible, however, to overlook the contradiction between his professed love of action and his calm, measured approach to what in many areas remains a crisis situation.

Well, now. After this assclown left NOLA in 2009, he returned to Sydney as the Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney.

And today he's the "recovery czar" down under.

Hope those Aussies get wise to this douchebag.

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