Oh Do, DO Tell…

Is the Orleans Levee Board doing its job?
Critics allege corruption, charge the board with wasteful spending
The unveiling of the Mardi Gras Fountain was celebrated this year in typical New Orleans style. The cost of $2.4 million was paid by the Orleans Levee Board, the state agency whose main job is to protect the levees surrounding New Orleans — the same levees that failed after Katrina hit.
“They misspent the money,” says Billy Nungesser, a former top Republican official who was briefly president of the Levee Board. “Any dollar they wasted was a dollar that could have went in the levees.”


Beyond the fountain, there’s the $15 million spent on two overpasses that helped gamblers get to Bally’s riverboat casino. Critics tried and failed to put some of that money into flood protection.
There was also $45,000 for private investigators to dig up dirt on radio host and board critic Robert Namer.

Well, hush my puppy! There was never no such thing of the kind! And this is another example of Chimpy churlishness, trying to put the blame on the locals.

One Response to “Oh Do, DO Tell…”

  1. The Real JeffS says:

    I read about this on another blog earlier (and that was linked to some local newspaper).
    It’s of no surprise to me. I’ve dealt with levee boards before. These are very common, since most levee systems are in fact operated and maintained by local interests…..and have been for decades. There are even standards for levee maintenance in the Code of Federal Regulations (these apply to levees built by Federal funds, and turned over to the locals to maintain).
    But even the smaller boards are like this. Most of the boards (AKA “diking districts”) have limited taxing authority (or would that be “assessment”?) for O&M costs.
    The problem is that I’ve seldom seen those funds actually spent on maintenance, unless they were browbeaten into doing so. There are mixed reasons for this. Usually it’s just incompetence or laziness, although misappropriation of funds is (obviuously) common. When the maintenance should be simple (e.g., removing unwanted vegetation), it doesn’t happen for a number of reasons. Deferred maintenance never gets cheaper.
    But, to be fair, any sort of construction-like work near water engages a large number of conflicting environmental regulations administered by territorial guvmint agencies. It takes a stern soul indeed to navigate through the competing agencies who Wish To Save The Environment.
    I recall seeing water quality permits, issued to farmers who wished to maintain the irrigation channels to their farms, dictating exactly how to operate the tracked excavator in the water. You should see how anal those agencies are in and around natural water channels.
    But that is not a ticket for some levee board to abuse their trust. It’s a demonstration of their laziness/incompetence/corruption. They find it easier to follow the path of least resistance…….which happens to be mean that people and property aren’t protected.
    Sad and frustrating.

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