Thursday, August 16, 2007


From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

GO Zone bond money flowing, but not in N.O.

Projects in New Orleans are getting only a tiny fraction of the low-interest bond money aimed at jump-starting Louisiana's post-Katrina economy, and officials plan to ask for a larger share, commensurate with the city's massive flood damage, recovery director Ed Blakely recently told a City Council panel.

Blakely's beef relies on the numbers: Just one New Orleans GO Zone project has gotten off the ground. That project, listed on State Bond Commission records as "Carrollton Revitalization," has a price tag of $4.5 million. That amounts to 0.1 percent of the $4.5 billion in projects that have received final approval from the commission.

The Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone Act aims to spur private projects that provide housing or jobs by offering developers low interest rates, courtesy of the government. Though the money benefits primarily private developers, the bonds must be issued by a "conduit issuer," a public agency such as the city's Industrial Development Board.


The biggest roadblock, he said, has been the acquisition of property insurance at reasonable rates, the lack of which can call into question credit for the project, Kling said.

More here.

This insurance obstacle is just red tape, which the Feds could clear up with a few finger snaps. But they're not. And that really pisses me off. I mean, of course, there continue to be problems at the state and local level, as well, but Bush's agencies have treated NOLA like, well, black people under Jim Crow.

I think that's a rather appropriate comparison.

Especially because of who's actually getting GO Zone money.

From the AP via the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

Katrina Aid Goes Toward Football Condos

With large swaths of the Gulf Coast still in ruins from Hurricane Katrina, rich federal tax breaks designed to spur rebuilding are flowing hundreds of miles inland to investors who are buying up luxury condos near the University of Alabama's football stadium.

About 10 condominium projects are going up in and around Tuscaloosa, and builders are asking up to $1 million for units with granite countertops, king-size bathtubs and 'Bama decor, including crimson couches and Bear Bryant wall art.


The GO Zone was drawn to include the Tuscaloosa area even though it is about 200 miles from the coast and got only heavy rain and scattered wind damage from Katrina.

Click here for the rest.

What the fuck?!? Why the fuck is 'Bama getting this break while the Big Easy continues to get the big fuckover? You know, Louisiana's got a longstanding reputation as a corrupt state, but it seems to me that the only reason that's the case is due to incompetent corruption. That is, corruption appears to be all over the place, but in Louisiana they don't have it together enough to write such grand larceny into law, legalizing the criminals.

When NOLA was so fucked up during the week after Katrina, when FEMA sat on its ass doing nothing, I never imagined the nausea I was feeling then would still be biting me two years later.