Friday, January 12, 2007

Question: Which Mayor Would You Vote For? [J. Mark English]

Since the Eagles and the Saints square off tomorrow evening, I thought I'd add some further fuel to the fire before the big game.

Who would you rather have as Mayor?

New Orlean's Mayor C. Ray Nagin.


Philadelphia's Mayor John F. Street.

Before you answer take some of these thoughts into consideration...

As recently as September of 2006, it was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer: When it comes to violent crime among America's largest cities, Philadelphia is the worst, the FBI reported this week....

Last year, towards the end of September, the Guardian Angels released a report which said: 371 men, women and children have been murdered in Philadelphia this year and there is still a week-and-a-half to go in 2005.

Mayor Street has himself been apart of criminal probes in this crime driven city. The Washington Times reported two years ago: Federal law enforcement officials yesterday confirmed that listening devices found in the offices of Mayor John F. Street were planted by the FBI — a discovery that touched off a political furor just weeks before Election Day....Three federal law-enforcement officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the FBI was responsible for the bugs, but refused to comment on whether the Democratic mayor is the target of an investigation or to provide any details about the nature of the probe.

But now turn your attention to Mayor C. Ray Nagin. He was Mayor during the city's catastrophic storm, Hurricane Katrina. Under his watch, the city sank into an abyss that this country had a front row view of on national television. A few days after the storm, the Mayor lost his cool on air and said: I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count...Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

For a city, which faced desperate times, this was hardly the confidence tha the city needed from a leader. His stewardship has been full of criticism and he has continued to disgrace any Mayoral office.

Instead of embracing a unified city he made the bizarre declaration last year: We ask black people: it's time. It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. And I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.

This city has struggled to rebuild since the storm.

Although the murder rate is not nearly as high as it is in Philadelphia, just yesterday folks took to the streets in New Orleans: Several thousand people marched to New Orleans' city hall on Thursday to protest a wave of murders that has gripped the city and put in danger its halting recovery from Hurricane Katrina....They angrily urged local officials to do more to stop crime and to speed up the pace of rebuilding the city that was 80 percent flooded when Katrina struck on August 29, 2005.

And so, the only hopes of these two cities reside in their football teams. But if you had to pick the Mayor you'd rather have guide your own city, which would it be? Mayor Nagin or Mayor Street?

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