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Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Public Servant, The People, The Promise....

10/23/2005 - Letter to Mayor Ray Nagin
Dear Mr. Mayor:
I know that you get many, many e-mails daily and may have only seen one or two of my unsolicited (many pardons) messages.
I was pleasantly surprised with one reply from your office, but never expected acknowledgment of that one. Thank you for taking time to answer.
Certainly do not have to tell you that your life and all there are in the news (CNN) about every day.
It is a blessing that news media keep their eyes and ears on and around you and the city's' people. Which all along was a personal fear, that all the media would abandon the area and things would just blend in to the scenery behind new national events.
A sinking feeling when I hear that nothing seems to be happening with emergency housing for returnees. Can't imagine New Orleans without the true and rightful souls who populated it before the hurricane.
I am not a political person, a pacifist of sorts and a humanitarian through out. I did vote for Governor Ventura, who represented some of my and others sentiment about the business of politics. Governor Carlson, before him, acted on behalf of the people not a party and did a really good job. Governor Ventura did 'get' and 'keep' the eye of the public on our governmental goings on. Which often sent the two other parties out on the capital steps to make sure people knew what they were up to. Lot's of sharing of who was doing what and what that was. There really couldn't be any minimizing or white washing of the day to day government happenings. Especially when the two other parties were so irritated by a third person. Governor Ventura may have been running under the Independent party, but he belonged to the people of Minnesota, not a party. I still marvel at the message the voters sent in electing him. It was a landmark time, when all politicians in our state were willingly accountable to their constituents. Keeping the lines of communication open.
What a wonderful injection of energy into our communities. I was lucky enough to know people / residents who personally knew and supported Governor Ventura as Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Even then there were people of a strict conservative puritan base who tried hard to tear him down and tried to make him look unworthy of his elected role.
He, however, had the support of the citizens overall. Great stories, showing how anyone who truly cares about what government 'Is' and what it 'Isn't' just by using a basic rule of thumb. A guy full of substance and a talent for relating to the 'people.' Governor Ventura wore his heart on his sleeve and sometimes said things that others became embarrassed by or angered at. Nothing gave this man a greater advantage, then being himself. We, who elected him, were NOT looking for a slick politician or a popular party. We were just looking for a leader we could trust to be forth right with us. Good deeds and all, our Governor knew his stuff and who was most important....The people of Minnesota.
You are your peoples leader and will be again, if the voices of the people can be gathered for a vote in 2006.
But pure political apathy from the top 'of some kind' seems to be creating a mountain of new obstacles for the city and state of Louisiana. Truly hope that climate of hill top politics doesn't sap you of your desire to stay with the job you have been given. I am not suggesting you abandon your party obligations, but I cannot imagine the frustration within your ranks at the sheer slowness of a naturally expected service, paid for by all states and cities taxes to the federal level.
I do know that the best way to get people to eventually go away and give up is to withhold what they most want, while using words to pacify and / or absence of action to cause repeated temporary retreats. And as a person builds back their steam, they start to doubt their initial purpose, each time they try to pursue an answer or action. Still met with the same response. With all that pushing from one side, it is a drain on the individual seeking justice. My work in human services has provided witness to this fact in life. There has to come a time when the strategy must turn into strength of numbers, rather than being a lone ranger.
When a service or department or anything is wrapped up by a maze of tools that are meant to repel rather than invite, people -- lone rangers eventually give up. It happens all the time. Unfortunately it looks as though it happening to the entire state of Louisiana at a time that most would never expect.
One off beat way to get the attention of the hill, is to invite in those they would be most irritated by. If you want to watch people scramble to protect their interests, invite the underdog or the nonconformist or the grassroots. If its one person, they better be pretty controversial. A person who goes against the grain, but again, has "All" people in mind.
What most of us little people want, Is for an elected official to tell us straight up, this is what it is. We do expect that person to have their finger on the pulse of the citizens needs.
What kind of initiative could cause the people on the hill, the two parties system, the most headaches. What ever it is, be ready to back it up with the show of numbers of people. Lots of people with one purpose in mind, to help find justice for the people.
Since race, class and age was one of the original concerns, I thought there would have been quicker action to help get things going. That hasn't seemed to produce effective action. The importance of the port of commerce hasn't seemed to get results. The history of the city and its place in American culture, has not enlisted the methods and tools needed to repopulate at a better pace. Once you have the people back in one place, the power of the people will be your greatest advantage.
Just another unsolicited message and I may be completely off base about how I am interpreting information through the media and rumors. And, not being from the area, I have only an outsiders observation. Wishing you and all the people of New Orleans the best. Thank you again for your time


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