Propaganda machines - running in high gear

Since the presentation of the Kaufman-Hall report, very little has changed regarding the proposed UMC hospital in Lower Mid-City.

But you wouldn't know that from all the official propaganda that's been spewing forth from City Hall, LSU, and the various state agencies working for Governor Jindal.  In the wake of the Kennedy/Tucker/Vitter alternative proposal, all those institutions have been working overtime to bamboozle the public into thinking that the possibility of rebuilding a new hospital inside the existing Charity shell is somehow "off the table" or that "the time for debate has passed."

Let's make one thing clear right now: the Charity option remains viable.  It should be considered in full by the UMC Board and it should ultimately be pursued for the benefit of taxpayers, New Orleans, and the health of regional healthcare.  The powers that be continue to make it seem like the UMC plan is just rolling right along.  It's not.  Nobody has proposed a real way to overcome the $400 million financing gap.  There is still no actual business plan in place.  The UMC site is not cleared - over two dozen historic buildings remain in the site, along with several other modern structures, like the Blood Center.  Over 100 lawsuits pertaining to expropriations have not just magically disappeared.  There are still no plans for the dozens of vacant buildings in the former Charity and VA complexes in the CBD.

Now, Charity Hospital appears on the grand design for the proposed redevelopment of the Iberville projects - in the midst of a gargantuan, delusionally ambitious plan that gives HANO - and really, Pres Kabacoff - control over vast swaths of the city.  It's really disconcerting.  And, of course, Mayor Landrieu is as gung ho as ever about the "return to splendor" that stands to make New Orleans lose its cultural soul.

Taken together with the DDD, the LSU/VA hospitals disaster, the continued pressure from BioDistrict New Orleans, and the Iberville Redevelopment trapezoid, one almost begins to see New Orleans after the storm as Africa in the 1880s - put on a platter and carved up by the various colonial powers at a conference in Berlin.  Each project/district fiefdom in New Orleans has its land-grabbing lord.  And each lord has in turn pledged fealty to the Mayor, who, in turn, permits them to operate with impunity.  It's a bad system, one that's called economic development, but which more often actually based on expropriation, displacement, destruction of perfectly useful buildings, homes, and businesses, and unsustainable reliance on federal funds.

Notice that at the Mayor's press conference two weeks ago in support of the UMC project...the Mayor did not have a sea of residents or neighborhood groups behind him.  It was instead a bunch of figures, many of whom are reliant upon the state, who are ultimately dependant upon mega-development to retain power and wealth.  That's telling.

The media myths that are taking hold through repetition are ripe for rebuttals from Charity supporters.  Remind media outlets and public officials that attracting top talent and forming a great healthcare facility is not about Houston envy and short-sighted buildngs that require excessive land development.  Its about what you put inside of a hospital - and how that hospital can be sustained.