Nation: Oliver Thomas is not backing down and says he has strong support.
|It may be causing an uproar in Houston, but New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas said Friday that he has encountered solid support at home for his view that only employed residents, or those willing to train for a job, should be allowed back into the city's public housing developments.
Since Thomas expressed that position at a Housing Committee meeting on Monday, he said, his opinion has often been misconstrued.
For example, he didn't mean to imply that the elderly and disabled should be excluded from returning to their homes in the developments. But he does believe that residents of publicly subsidized housing must display the moxie New Orleans needs during its gravest crisis, instead of a sense of entitlement. And he will not "back down" from a view that resonates across the town's political and racial spectrum, Thomas said.
"Out of more than 50 phone calls to my office from black and white residents, only two were opposed," he said. "Look, I'm as bleeding a heart as anyone, but people know where I'm coming from, and I think black leaders need to say what has to be done, not what some people may want to hear.
"We need to teach our people independence," Thomas said, again addressing the city's African-American community and citing Malcolm X's argument that the welfare state was a modern form of slavery. "If someone is given a chance to better their life, why would they say no? What does that say about them?" |
Houston is pissed, perhaps because they realize they are stuck with the worst of Orleans?
|For example, former residents who want to return to their previous units or take occupancy of a deserted one must exhibit a desire to go through training programs or provide a prior record of employment, said Nadine Jarmen, the receiver in charge of HANO. It remains unclear how long the new requirements, which officials say are an emergency measure, will remain in place.
HANO's new rules -- along with Thomas' comments -- drew an immediate rebuke from officials in Houston, which has absorbed more Katrina evacuees than any other city. There, City Councilman M.J. Khan said Thomas' statements smacked of selective engineering, and he questioned why any city should be able to dictate who lives there. He also questioned why New Orleans, which relied on the graciousness of other cities during a time of crisis, would now cavalierly assume some residents should not be allowed to return.
On Friday, the Houston Chronicle joined that fray, ripping the New Orleans City Council in an editorial titled, "No welcome home."
"Everyone who fled from New Orleans during the storm deserves the same warm welcome back that they received upon arriving in Houston and other host cities during the emergency," the paper wrote. "If New Orleans is unwilling to do that for its own, to the best of its ability, then the Hurricane Katrina disaster has shattered its sense of community in a manner no engineer or architect can ever repair." |
Lets cut the pollyanish views and get to the reality of the situation. There are people in N.O, black and white who see this as an opportunity to start over. Yes, there is social engineering going on because its not every day a city known for this much corruption and crime gets the chance to make good with a second chance.
That will mean people who are working and willing to bust ass to make it work. If you get back the welfare addicts, it will just fail again. Houston can put on a show, but they realize that Orleans has given them their poor and its now their problem.