Mayor Ray Nagin: A Study in Incompetence and Politics
by Jim Kouri, CPP
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin appears to be headed for re-election despite an abysmal performance before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. While his supporters make comparisons between Nagin and New York's former super-mayor Rudy Guiliani, those in the know realize that an incompetent -- some say corrupt -- politician will be spared anything even resembling payback for a job not-well-done.
While hundreds of buses languished in hurricane-torn and flooded Big Easy, thousands of Nagin's constituents were left behind to fend for themselves while reportedly Nagin took his family to Houston to set them up in a new home. Nagin told reporters that he could not find drivers for the buses in order to evacuate those without transportation, but political analysts observed that Nagin's campaign had no trouble finding drivers and buses in order to shuttle voters to the polls.
"New Orleans voters don't seem to see the irony in Nagin busing in voters to help him keep his job. Had he only been that industrious in using the 500-plus buses to get those poor people out of the city," says GOP political analyst Mike Baker.
Nagin, who's running against Louisiana's Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu, was even honored by his peers recently. The National Black Mayor´s Conference in Memphis, Tennessee presented Nagin with a prestigious award.
Mr. Chocolate City -- his nickname since he made a racist comment about New Orleans being a chocolate city -- even lead a panel discussion focused on ´Lessons Learned from Katrina´ and preparing the City of New Orleans for the next hurricane season. In addition, he was honored with the Valiant Award (courage in trying times) by his fellow mayors, all with a straight face.
Nagin also used the conference platform to thank mayors from around the nation for assisting displaced New Orleanians after Katrina, and for participating in voter awareness in their cities.
During a campaign speech, Nagin appeared to be talking about some other mayor.
"Now is not the time to change leadership. I ask the citizens of New Orleans to let me continue this important job of rebuilding our city. We have the plan and the means to do it. I believe that my first term in office shows I have the credibility and experience to get the
job done right,” said Nagin. And not one person in the room laughed.
In an article for History News Network, Irfan Khawaja, an African-American wrote, "It’s rare in the annals of public affairs to encounter anyone with the unique combination of bravado, arrogance, stupidity and incompetence that all effortlessly seem to cohere in the person of Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans. I don’t need to make this case at any length. He’s done the work for me."
Ray Nagin is destined to be re-elected since he's suffered very little criticizism regarding his public meltdown during the disaster from the mainstream media. Some political observers note that Nagin and Louisiana's governor were successful with the aid of news organizations in deflecting blame onto the federal government, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency. One observer claims it's President Bush who's helping Nagin get re-elected.
"Had the man sitting in the Oval Office been a Democrat, you can bet your life the news media would have concentrated on the performance and behavior of New Orleans' mayor and Lousiana's governor," claims Baker.
"If Bill Clinton had been president during Katrina, Nagin wouldn't be able to get elected dog-catcher in New Orleans. Clinton and his team would have made sure of that."
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.