Mitch Landrieu’s latest round of the blame game places the fault of a decrepit city drainage system on New Orleanians. In a one-on-one interview with Katie Moore of WWL, Mitchell was asked about the shape of the city’s drainage network.
“First of all, if you go back to 1992, when the city asked the public to pass a partial fee because we didn’t have money for drainage, the public said no. That’s what began stressing the system out, and the level of deferred maintenance.”
He blamed a vote in 1992. It’s 2017, a quarter of a century later. Mitch, in his seven years as mayor, has not pushed for another vote on it. And obvious to everyone except the career politician, Landrieu is only interested in pulling in more money for him to spend, as opposed to running a more efficient government on what he has.
“We’ve invested billions of dollars and we’re going to continue to do that. I’m going to say this again so that people clearly understand, notwithstanding that me and a whole bunch of people have been able to generate $2.4 billion for the streets, it’s not enough. Notwithstanding that we got $350 million from the federal government and more to do all this stuff.”
All that money and New Orleanians are left with a decommissioned, antiquated drainage system.
“No one can say with a straight face that we have not worked hard and successfully secured record amounts for infrastructure and spoken almost weekly about the need for more, often specifically for drainage.”
“Spoken” equals words not actions. “Need” means it’s still unfulfilled.
“We also have worked since day one to rebuild the power plant.” That means it’s incomplete 7+ years later.
Katie Moore questioned Mitchell about focusing on monuments and spending money on removals.
He was dismissive saying it will always be a topic for his critics (that’s worded better than his response), and Mitch also said the $2m city-released, not final cost to remove four historic monuments amounted to next to nothing compared to the millions and billions he has gotten for the city. Meanwhile, the product of all that money is that summer storms caused the city to flood twice in two weeks.
But a revealing sign of when Mitch quit caring about drainage is that the last S&WB Operations Report was filed in 2015. Mitch began his anti-monument in 2015.
Another topic the mayor has not clarified for the public is the pump station fire. Many are skeptical about this. It’s a convenient coincidence that the night after Mitch announces an independent third party review, a “working” drainage system component “catches fire.”
At the mid day press conference, The mayor was asked about the severity, Mitch said, “Well it was a fire. I can’t really report to you how severely damaged it is.”
A reporter asked if the Fire Department was called. “They were not, they were not. It was, it was, it was a internal fire within the turbine itself. A critical part. Handled on site.”
So it wasn’t structural, however, no one has seen any fire damage. Not a single media outlet has shown pictures or video of the alleged fire. Originally Cedric Grant then Ryan Berni said the entire system was operating at capacity. Then 7 pumps were down, then 8, then 14, now it’s at 16. The same sources telling you the capacity are saying there was a fire. Consider the source.
The circumstances are suspect. Landrieu announces an independent evaluation into the drainage system and voila, a magical overnight fire occurred that no one has seen. And with a flood of criticism over the condition of the city’s drainage system, the claimed fire covers for a worse situation than was portrayed. Now, flooding can be blamed on “the fire” not the City. And suddenly this fire now changed the situation to a state of emergency with free spending.
If the fire is not true, this is serious. This is abuse of power. It’s dishonest government. It is an indictment of lack of transparency. This is a true scandal.
Now that Mitch is back in town from his Aspen trip, he’s calling press conferences multiple times each day. But increasingly one gets the sense New Orleanians won’t be happy until Mitch Landrieu holds a press conference announcing his resignation.