18 December 2007

Sacrifice The Pawns. Bishop To Queen 3.

Those opposing the demolition of the old HANO housing projects have succeeded in stopping, for the time being, the demolition, and the City Council will take up the matter.

Why would the opponents do that? Who does this benefit? The poor? Hardly. The faster the old, squalid, Soviet-style housing blocks are taken down, the faster the newer housing units replacing them can come online. (See HANO's website for what the new housing looks like.) Demolition would benefit those who need the housing sooner. Trying to renovate the existing units and bring them into compliance will mean additional years of waiting, not to mention hundreds of millions more in taxpayer dollars. And all of this suing and posturing taking place now is only delaying the date anyone can get into a new housing unit. Remember, before Katrina there were lawsuits to have the old projects razed and replaced with livable housing. That was being done when the storm hit. Why would anyone now oppose continuing in that direction?

If your agenda is to help the displaced poor return to New Orleans in the shortest time, you wouldn't. But if your agenda is to help you, or your "cause", with increased donations, higher visibility, or in scoring some political points, it makes perfect sense. No wonder they see facts as not relevant; they are their natural enemy.

My bishop, sadly, is still siding with the opportunists, sending out this e-mail yesterday:

Action Alert:
Demolition of Public Housing

Bishop Jenkins invites all concerned lay and clergy to join him at New
Orleans City Hall at 9 a.m. Thursday, December 20th to attend this meeting.

On Friday, December 14, the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana issued a special E-DoLA covering the public housing crisis in New Orleans.

Since the release of that information, a judge has ordered a stop to all demolition until the city council holds a hearing on Thursday. In addition, the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate for a 60-day moratorium on demolition, to enable our lawmakers to be fully satisfied regarding a number of disputed facts, and to address the fact that lawmakers have yet to be shown a "full and viable" plan that addresses immediate need for units by Katrina survivors, one-for-one replacement, and the long-term goal of new mixed income developments.

The debate and vote on Thursday represents a moral crossroads for our community. The lives and well-being of tens of thousands of people are at stake, and the weight of this decision and its implications for those in tenuous housing situations or homeless looms large. This is why we urge all residents with post-Katrina humanitarian and spiritual concerns to register their request of our elected officials to be thorough and not hasty, and to approve the request by our two most powerful Congressional leaders for the 60-day moratorium.

If you are unable to be at City Hall, please phone or email city council members to voice your concern for affordable, safe housing in New Orleans.

Arnie Fielkow - (504) 658-1060 AFielkow@cityofno.com

Jacquelyn Clarkson (504) 658-1070 JBClarkson@cityofno.com

Stacy Head (504) 658-1020 SHead@cityofno.com

Shelley Midura (504) 658-1010 SMidura@cityofno.com

James Carter (504) 658-1030 JCarter@cityofno.com

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell (504) 658-1040 CHMorrell@cityofno.com

Cynthia Willard-Lewis (504) 658-1050 CWLewis@cityofno.com

Charles, why stand now? If this is a matter of morality, theology and principal, where was this kind of moral, theological and principled backbone when the very fabric of our Faith was being torn apart by those who have thrown our church to the winds of pop culture values? Why one, now, and not the other? Charles, I remember you as my rector. I remember you as a man of Faith and strength. It was you who made my family feel at home at Saint Luke's. It was your guidance that renewed and strengthened our Faith. It was you showed me once again the power, mystery and majesty of Our Lord, and why "faith, reason, and tradition" matter. What happened??

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