Debate Dreams

MussoliniDonald Trump

I’ll come back to the really important issues – neighborhood association mischief, exclusion v. diversity, racism, crypto-racism and general local ratbaggery in Downtown New Orleans (not to let Uptown off the hook – they seem worse, but I’m busy) all of which I have seen scary examples of this week.

But first some small screen stuff.

 

Did you see the Republican “debates” last Thursday? I was in a comfortable chair. At first I thought it was a re-run; I gently nodded off. I’ll have to pick the rest up on YouTube.

But I got the message.

It was Commander-in-Chief night. The undercard three were even crazier than the main event. I guess they need attention more. Three because the party and the polls relegated Rand Paul, but he declined. Quite right too. His position is a funny mixture of Paul family Libertarianism and Republican policies, which makes him wrong about most things, but he is a real Senator. Does he need to stand in public arguing with the unsavory likes of Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina?

To keep you safe and snug in your bed, these aspiring Commanders in Chief are going to kill a few million people. Most of them should be Muslim Arabs, but Russians and Iranians are okay too. Killing the right kinds of foreigners Keeps Us Safe, because they are Terrorists. Or rapists. When the US bombs cities by airplane and drone, we are defending freedom. We will be even more free when more brown people are dead, and so will they. Republican candidates say they are good at this important work. Carly Fiorina can do it better because she knows the presidents of the people she is going to kill. Cruz is going for carpet bombing as his weapon of choice. Trump – he might want to kill Cruz first, then make a deal with ISIS.

I have to go out and buy some guns before:

  • Jackbooted Obamacratic thugs come to take them away. (Wait – did I get that right way ’round?)
  • ISIS terrorists turn up in Bywater. If I am not packing, they may start gunning people down with those AKs and we’ll all be as dead as a Frenchman. But if I am quick on the draw with my Glock (that’s something like a “9” for white guys) and if Sergio Leone is with me in spirit, it’s all over for the jihad.
  • In case I catch any immigrants in the act of stealing the jobs of proper, gun-carrying natural-born Americans. I am not sure whether I am supposed to kill them or just run them out of town. It might be in the instructions for the gun. I’ll check it on YouTube.
  • To support our job-creating corporations against maligners, especially if the maligners are also terrorists, Muslims or immigrants, or are rude enough to ask where they are creating these jobs. This can get tricky. Muslims in expensive Bedouin-look costumes who arrive in Gulfstreams, run oil companies and sovereign wealth funds are very superior, important people. Islamophobia does not apply to them. But Muslims on the streetcar instead of in a motorcade . . . . it’s still a bit confusing. Thank God for YouTube.
  • The Second Amendment uplifteth my soul. When I get my concealed carry permit, you will be safe if I am in the room, because I will show those so-called IS caliphate Islamic jihadis who is boss. Trump and Palin expect no less of me. Cool as a cucumber, I take careful aim while the AK ack-ack is raking the room, and with a steady hand put one right between the eyes. saving everybody’s life. Of course, when they hear I am packing, they may not turn up. Either way, I’ve got you covered.
  • Even as a Second Amendment-toting red-blooded American, I can’t personally send the Marines and the Seals into Syria to finish off Islam once and for all. We need one of those Commanders in Chief to do that for us. When they get rid of that wimp in the White House, America will be Great Again and Putin will wet his pants.
  • We will be great again too. You, me and Joe the Plumber. When the Empire kicks ass, our lives must be fine too, right? Those ragheads in Raqqa will fear us. We will have our Family Values back. Congress can defund everything and finally put an end to gayness. Wedding cakes won’t be so confusing. When abortion is terminated, we will have more faith-based proper White babies to fill the labor gap created by deporting 30 million immigrants by throwing them over the Mexican wall. Let’s just hope they can make a decent taco.
  • The money will got to dropping bombs instead of funding schools or bringing the country up to standard, but so what? We’ll all be Chinese in the end anyway.
  • Taxes will be easy: everybody will pay 15%. Me, Sheldon Adelson, Martin Shkreli – 15%. Equal rates will make us equal, right? No more 1%.
  • Black Americans being unfair to police – our CinC will put a stop to that! If black people want their lives to matter, well, they can watch their step. Or find a way to become more white; maybe get a cowboy hat Head over to Oregon.  Stop saying “systemic!” Just comply. Eyes down, and shut up. For the sake of PR, though, we will coach police to shoot a few more white guys.
  • Blow off those regulations! Look at Beijing – all that smog and people wearing breathing masks – if we can’t have that here too, how can we compete? Child labour – come on, be a patriot. Do you want to be able to compete on even terms with Bangladesh or not? Because everybody is beating America. And that’s not how the world is supposed to be. The Exceptional Nation is supposed to beat them, then put military bases in their countries, and run their democratic elections properly, so they elect the right people.
  • No more vilifying worthy Republican governors just for refusing Medicaid money and letting a few people die. What’s that about? America is not for wimps. If you’re a limp dick that can’t take a little lead poisoning, piss off to France. You might live, but the language sounds foreign. Europe is finished anyway. No financial management. Here, I f people can’t pay, well, they die. Sorry. Living while poor is just careless.
  • State of the “Union.” Ha! You saw Paul Ryan’s face up there next to Biden. You know there is no Union. Just real Americans taking their country back and Making America Great Enough Again.

Wait a minute – did I nod off before or after I thought that stuff? Could it have been a dream?

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Then the Dems had a debate. You might have missed it, because the DNC tucks them into Saturday night so no one watches. That is supposed to help Hillary Clinton. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairman of the DNC, was Hillary’s campaign manager in 2008. Maybe she wants the job back if HRC wins the nomination.

The Dems were less stupid. They didn’t pretend that one of the death cults (possibly another symptom of the popular urge to upheaval behind Occupy, the Tea Party, BLM, Trump and Sanders) that have grown up like buboes on victims of a plague outbreak within the Islamosphere, clever enough to take some landscape off of Iraq, broken to pieces by the Neocon invasions, and Syria, the brittle hold of its dictator shattered by civil war, had become the major threat to the security of the most powerful and frequently violent military force in history, and that what was needed to fight an enemy that has no planes or ships is more planes and ships. The position of some of the fox-like punditry gets quite funny when they are confronted with the fact that the ISIS threat here is statistical zero compared to what America does to itself,with bad gun law, bad driving and the pervasive attitude of violence linked with anxiety. It doesn’t matter, they say; the people think it is, so the politicians have to put it at the top of the list.

The Dems did finally show us some clear blue water between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary is doubling down on her mainstream ID by saying she is going to keep Obama policy on the same rails. (Not sure even he would say that if he were running.) She wants to control banks by regulation, Bernie by breaking them up. (Neither will work.)  Clinton wants to improve healthcare by incremental tinkering with Obamacare and the private insurance system; Bernie says just take it to the next stage, single payer. (Sanders has the economic advantage; Hillary’s shovels money down the pharmaceutical and insurance gullets, but dodges another civil war between the healthcare cartel and the government – which usually puts up a show of resistance, but they know what Citizens United says. And Hillary wants to make college more affordable; Bernie proposes for free for public colleges.

Obamacare made a crack in the protective wall around the corporate medical establishment, but any scheme that plays into the profit nets of drug, insurance and medical care cartel is doomed to perpetual conflict and ultimate failure. The only country left in industrial/post industrial civilization that does not have “single payer,” national health or full national insurance is We the People/Left Behind, not because we outsmarted them, but because American corporations were more vicious and aggressive in beating back democracy and populism with bribery, force and its allies in government – and We the People chickened out.

Alan Grayson, always worth listening to, said this weekend – I’m paraphrasing – “The essence of the Democratic Party is Progressivism, and the essence of Progressivism is progress. Hillary Clinton’s message of just bumping along, continuing the Obama trajectory instead of going for decisive progress is just not an inspiring message.” Sounds right to me. Tells us who the right guy is. Unfortunately, when the Clinton polls reflect this and her team gets up the courage to tell her why, we can expect her once more to snatch Sanders’ positions, claiming she had always adhered to these principles and in fact thought them up herself.

(Today, Paul Krugman, a Clinton type, said you have to be realistic. Half a loaf is better than none. Robert Reich quickly responded, The loaf you are trying to get has be a goal worth trying to get, so half of it is progress.)

One of the screeching harpies of Fox News implied that the Dems were unpatriotic for not mentioning ISIS in the first hour of the debate. ISIS is playing Satan in Fox’s national religion service. They may settle down now, with Sarah Palin performing Redneck Rap on Trump’s stage, promising to kick ISIS’s ass. With one of her Family Values getting arrested the same day for smacking his girlfriend around and flashing weapons while drunk, Tina Fey may be cancelling her appointments.

The yahoos of Fox remind us of two meta-principles of politics, inclusiveness and exclusiveness. Inclusion and exclusion, shutting people out or bringing them in. But lets hold out that for when NOLAscape loops back to our own cracked streets.

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The pictures up top: Fascism does not need a strutting clown like Mussolini or Trump, but it accelerates the degeneration to have one. Fascism needs a lockstep alliance of corporations, government and the military, with a scapegoat or two so we all know who to blame for everything. The US corporatocracy is tooled up to provide that anyway. Trump is trying out a few scapegoats for popular appeal. The other candidates are trying to figure out whether to try to pass him in assholery, or oppose him. It looks increasingly like they are going to nominate either the urban oligarch Fascist or the religious Fascist from Texas. Any candidate who can pretend to be a sane person in the normal range should be able to beat either one of them, so discounting (which is not realistic) all the weird factors like race, religion and all the strange cultural irrelevances Americans can throw into the sausage grinder, you get to choose between a progressive who wants to make things better for the 99% and the bank-supported candidate who wants eight years to kick the can gently down the road.

But don’t give up, Trumpeters (I nicked a Palinism.) Keep cheering and jeering while your hero threatens people, instructs bouncers to sling people out of rallies and says Americans earn too much. You know you are going to be ashamed in the morning, but you can’t get off the roller coaster, right? And it all pushes the envelope – someday you will get to elect a real Fascist, who will develop a new special salute for solidarity. Against them.

I guess I can understand how some cynical people are attracted to the Trump show, but Cruz is amazing. A guy of no warmth, universally disliked, with a face and expression in the line of succession of Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon, who openly derides separation of church and state and would cheerfully turn America into an end-times Dominionist theocracy – are there really people crazy enough to support that?

Robert Scheer, a great journalist with a fine memory and excellent debunking instincts can tell you more: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/hillary_blames_bernie_for_an_old_clintonite_hustle_rotten_shame_20160119

All right – next time, let’s see if we can’t find even worse people right here.

© Bob Freilich January 2016

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Monuments: The Lawsuit

Let’s take a little walk around the mischief Louisiana Landmarks and a few followers are up to. We can look at it from a couple of angles to see which donkeys to pin the tails on.

I said it was hard to find humor in the monuments debate. The raw shared emotion of so many people trying to get out from under the ugly intention of the things would have taken the giggle out of anyone except maybe the yahoos of Fox News, practiced in fascistic tomfoolery. And of course our Tea Party-ish “preservationists” and Lost Causers, studiedly ignoring all that searing, flashing expression at Council. Maybe they think not acknowledging, or pretending not to notice, shows determination, toughness, grit, keeping your eye on the true White goal – as opposed to plain ignorance, denial and moral obtuseness.

The Politics of Suing the City
If there is comedy in this part is in anticipation: the jeers and satire New Orleans will get, and deserve, if we let private litigation usurp representative government and political process.

If you had any lingering shreds of sympathy for the private interest clubs who claim the right to override municipal government and the legislative process with sleazy little lawsuits, this is a fine opportunity to free yourself of it.

We are being sued by Louisiana Landmarks in at least two lawsuits, but let’s try to focus on monuments here. Who is “we”? You are. If you live or work in New Orleans, if you vote in New Orleans elections, or if you might one day, you are a target of this lawsuit. Even if you would prefer another solution than relocating the Civil War monuments; even if you are one of the shriveled souls who could look at the council chamber packed with excited people expressing social distress on this highly charged issue and say, as some did, that there was no problem, this lawsuit is against you and your interests. You may have sacrificed the ability to recognize it, but it is still against your interest.

At election time, we go out and vote for Council Members and Mayors. We have to find out what the candidates are about. We have to listen close to separate campaign carny talk from the hints of reality. You may have to wrinkle up your nose and pick the lesser of two weevils, but you do it. You don’t know yet what kind of three dollar bills they might hire on for staff, but you keep your fingers crossed and your eye on ’em. If they’re lousy, we can vote ’em out. If your district is too dumb for that, they get termed out after a while.

It doesn’t always work right. Jackie Clarkson, not very bright and an insufferable bullshit artist, managed a career as a pain in the ass for years, driving other CMs and the legislative process crazy in front of our eyes. (Just in passing – Cheron Brylski, who coached VCPORA/FQC to go around city government to get their way against the democratic process, used to carry sleaze buckets for Clarkson.) With Clarkson and her chorus gone, even the veterans of the last council are okay. A miraculous cure, as if the Great Politician in the Sky cleared away the cobwebs and swamp gas so they can breathe again.

Keep your fingers crossed – these guys are doing pretty good.

Sadly, a term of decency in Council can’t kill off Louisiana Landmarks and the other civic nuisances of the Brylskigate tendency. They survive, with that whiff of mixed decay and brimstone, lawyering up to override the political process. The toolkit this time includes specious argument and bizarre claims to twist some state or federal statutes to seem relevant to the issue and to block city government from making the decisions they were elected to do – unless of course Louisiana Landmarks or VCPORA/FQC for FMIA or some Civil War aficionados say it is okay. Unelected, self-appointed, unregulated clubs, sometimes reeking with back stories that would earn a public official a ride in handcuffs, claim veto power over your elected representatives. Do you really want that?

Landmarks, a gentrification club selling a notion that history means stasis, and its followers in matters monument, the Civil War hobbyists, are promoting symbols over real people, not for real people. If you – we – let them win, it will get worse.

In this and other lawsuits, these harpy covens seek to nullify your vote and your direct political activity. They don’t hide it. Refer to the Brylski memo. It was not meant to go public, but they were clear about the policy. All you have to do is believe them.

All the investment and effort that went into getting the crazies out of the Council, and now Sandra Stokes and Whatsisname, the other old stick that makes the pair look like they stepped out of American Gothic with just time to change clothes on the way to Council to bore for the Lord, want to trash that work.

Some of this dominance of private interest over democracy might glide past us, used to the ways of a city whose laws were partly set up under aristocracy, and in the general numbness or denial of most Americans to the erosion of democracy as income and asset inequality has increased and the political tool of scaring people with threats and eroding freedom in the name of security has moved from acute demagoguery to a collective emotion people crave. Read Republican critiques or listen to Fox New on the President and others on non-Islamic violence: “He didn’t mention terrorism!” The miss their frisson of danger. The shock of the Shock Doctrine has become an expectation.

The Plaintiffs
Clubs like Beauregard Camp no. 130 may just be Civil War hobbyists who like Trekkies need to spend some trance time in another century, whose deepest feelings are aroused by gazing dewy-eyed at a bronze Beauregard in a Confederate hat, who probably get sentimental or indulgently understanding when the most distasteful of the diehards turn out in pointy hoods. Even if you want to give them a pass for a silly game, they have allowed themselves to be sucked into an immoral act, so they have to be slapped down.

Landmarks and their lawyer, James R. Logan IV, who is also a Vice President of Landmarks, are the drivers.

Foundation for Historical Louisiana is a Baton Rouge-based outfit. “Safeguarding” is their game. They protect history from the movement of time.

The Monumental Task Committee, inc. seems different. They actually do something. They list monuments – hundreds of them – and they do real work to take care of them. Their web site has a page of suggest new monument sites and monument parks. I suspect they are ore realistic about the options, ready to live with a Civil War park or outdoor monument museum where the memorials of the Supremacy period can be sited and properly identified. It doesn’t seem a bad happy or avocation. Maybe they have just fallen among bad company. They would be better citizens for dropping out of the lawsuit and working with the CIty to be part of the solution.

At Council, spokesmen for these outfits seemed to take a grim pride in showing armored insensitivity to the feelings of the many who wanted the monuments moved to end their career as badges of the city. They put on expressions of cold detachment, like Wayne LaPierre talking about a school shooting.

Ownership claim
Here is a link to the action. http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/wvue/documents/MonumentsLawsuit.pdf  It is clearly written, well structured, built on a foundation of liquefied bullshit. Logan et al claim that because the plaintiffs are committed to the aesthetic and cultural well-being of the City of New Orleans, they have an ownership interest in the statues.

On page 38 (para. 147) they denigrate the Mayor’s decision to relocate four monuments as having originated with Wynton Marsalis. The statement is clearly false; people have spoken about the supremacist origins of these things for years, and even got the Liberty monument off the street for a while until a lawsuit to bring the obscene thing back by – Yes! You guessed it – Louisiana Landmarks and James R. Logan IV.

Logan’s implication is that the Marsalis family has inferior concern for the aesthetic and cultural well-being of New Orleans than his plaintiffs. But the Marsalises are even among the creators of the cultural and aesthetic value that these clubs claim they are committed to.

I wonder what the difference is.

Do you want to give a moment’s thought to what makes people like Logan and his clients put such rubbish in a legal document to be presented to a court? Probably because they actually believe it, and for the same old reasons that put the Liberty Monument on Canal Street in 1891. The committee to set it up was made up mostly of ex-Confederates, including Behan, who had been mayor when the Lee Monument went up. The Liberty Obscenity was not even a Civil War monument. It was a White League monument, made by a tomb designer to honor the White League dead in a street battle to overthrow the City government by force. Maybe that is why Logan and Landmarks like it.

Louisiana Landmarks et al (including Logan – he is a member) claim an ownership interest in the monuments that trumps the interest of other citizens. It avoids saying outright that by definition those favoring leaving the monuments in their current sites are owners and win by definition, while those for relocation, the many officials, pastors and citizens – they somehow lack this mystical quality of ownership. Is it just a happy coincidence that all the people who have osmotic ally acquired “ownership” want the statues put beyond the reach of government, while all those for relocation just happen to be a dispossessed rabble.

LaToya Cantrell has shown very strong interest in the cultural and practical well-being of New Orleans, including taking on a tricky position on this one. Does she have a share? CM Susan Guidry told us she had been looking at the Jefferson Davis since childhood. She grew up to be a Council Member with pronounced preservationist leanings, even siding frequently with the fundamentalists. Does CM Guidry have an ownership interest? How about CMs Ramsey, Gray, Williams and Brossett? Thousands of people elected them to represent their interests in the city. Do you think the voters knew at the time that four private clubs could override a 6-1 vote on the sites of some bronze statues using Civil War figures to monumentalize the Lost Causers’ devotion to White supremacy as the successor to race-based slavery?

If they acquire ownership through concern for “aesthetic and cultural well-being,” what else do Landmarks and its co-plaintiffs own? Landmarks is suing the City about the Royal Cosmopolitan Hotel renovation. Does Angelo Farrell know he has a partner? Landmarks was in the Riverfront Alliance. The RA is concerned. Stupid, illiterate in the subject, but concerned. Are they and Landmarks part owners of the Mississippi now? Perhaps they have a share in the excursion paddle steamers – they look historical.

How about the French Quarter? Landmarks aligns with VCPORA/FQC. Can they collectively claim an “undivided” ownership in VCC or HDLC regulated properties, including private houses? The French Market? RTA? Café du Monde? Antoine’s? Or is the ownership interest a cloudy potential notion that coalesces into actionable ownership only when James R. Logan IV gets on the case?

The sculpture garden at NOMA, just a few hundred yards from the present site of the monument representing General Beauregard, is aesthetic and cultural. Imagine the consequences of a coven of scolds like Landmarks getting their hooks into that.

As part owners of the monuments, shouldn’t they pay a share of the moving costs when they lose this case, and of the costs of building the relocation park? Let’s leave it to Council to determine the amount.

Okay, the ownership claim is absurd. That doesn’t mean it won’t be upheld by a judge. In considering fuzzy ideas and arguments, judges decide. Judges have backgrounds and sympathies like other people. We’ll see what happens. If New Orleans is lucky, he will bin the ownership claim quick.

Beauregard Fantasy Camp no. 130 acquires its ownership share because it really enjoys the statues of Davis, Beauregard and Lee, and would suffer real damage to its aesthetic sensibilities if the statues were moved, says the brief. Acquiring ownership through enjoyment sounds even easier than aesthetic and cultural well-being. We all enjoy things. Maybe we should get to know lawyer Logan better.

And the thousands of people who want to relocate the statues for deeply felt and well expressed reasons – apparently ownership does not accrue from their concern for their city. Maybe Logan and Landmarks don’t think it is the same place as the White League’s New Orleans. Blocks away and worlds apart, as several speakers at Council said. But of course no bias, racial or otherwise, is implied. No, no, perish the thought. Even though it is just a teensy bit funny that this ownership interest seems to go to a few virtually all white clubs with no embarrassment about being linked to the Lost Causers and Supremacist undertow after the Civil War. Just a teensy.

The RTA attack
It is not easy to get a grip on this one, probably because it is a flaky argument. I see it boiling down to this: Lee Circle has been a streetcar stop for yonks. The streetcar could not possibly operate if the circle had a different name. How could people get to work if it were not called Lee Circle? Urban transport is part of a connected network that cannot be subdivided. Therefore nobody could get to work from anywhere if three statues and a tombstone were relocated, and since city transport is federally subsidized, the Department of Transport would have to freeze all the money and the North Rampart line could not be completed if General Beau were not seated on his horse at the southern entrance to City Park. One of the newspapers quoted a lawyer saying he thought this one might stand up.

Stand up to what? Logic, intelligence, reality? The NOLAscape verdict: if this garbage stands up, New Orleans is not an incorporated city any more. It is a division of the Department of Transport. Let Trump be president, let the area formerly known as New Orleans be administered by James R. Logan IV as satrap, let us all be servants to the streetcar or move to a smarter country.

But then I’m not a judge. When in doubt, I fall back upon the verdict of Judge Politi in The Good Wife (Season 4 ep.12): “When the law is an ass, somebody has to kick it.”

Section 146-611
I’m not a lawyer or a judge, for which both professions are probably grateful, but I would say that all the action’s claims – ownership, transport, denial of due process et al are somewhere between flimsy and absurd. The nub of it is: would relocating statues be an action in accord with §146-611 of the municipal code, and is §146-611 contrary to the Louisiana state constitution?

So I read §146-611. Here it is, for your entertainment and edification. Seems pretty clear to me.

ARTICLE VII. – PUBLIC MONUMENTS
Sec. 146-611. – Removal from public property.

(a) Monuments, statues, plaques, or other structures, erections, or works of art commemorating an event or individual shall be removed from outdoor display on public property when required by and in accordance with the provisions of this section.

 

(b) On its own motion or upon presentation of a request of an elector of the city, the council may conduct a hearing to determine whether or not any monument, statue, or similar thing honoring or commemorating any person or event that is located on property owned or controlled by the city should be removed from public outdoor display. The council may, by ordinance, cause the removal of the monument, statue, or other thing located outdoors on city property covered by the provisions of this section upon a finding that the thing constitutes a nuisance in that:

 

(1) The thing honors, praises, or fosters ideologies which are in conflict with the requirements of equal protection for citizens as provided by the constitution and laws of the United States, the state, or the laws of the city and gives honor or praise to those who participated in the killing of public employees of the city or the state or suggests the supremacy of one ethnic, religious, or racial group over any other, or gives honor or praise to any violent actions taken wrongfully against citizens of the city to promote ethnic, religious, or racial supremacy of any group over another;

 

(2) Has been or may become the site of violent demonstrations or other activities that may threaten life or property; and

 

(3) Constitutes an expense for maintenance or the provision of security on a recurring basis that is unjustified when weighed against the historical or architectural significance, if any, of the thing and/or the merits of or reasons for outdoor display of the thing.

(c) In any hearing conducted pursuant to this section, the council shall solicit the recommendations of the city planning commission when required by the City Charter and comments and recommendations of the historic district landmarks commission, the Vieux Carré Commission (if applicable), other government or private historical offices or societies, the chief administrative officer, the city attorney, the superintendent of police, and the director of the department of property management. In any such hearing, the council shall also provide for the submission of comments and testimony by the public. Prior to any such hearing, the council shall request that public hearings be conducted by and recommendations obtained from the human relations commission or other appropriate agencies.

 

(d) Following a hearing, the council may by ordinance declare the monument, statue, or other thing covered by the provisions of this section a nuisance and may provide for the removal of the thing from outdoor public display. The thing removed may then be displayed indoors at an appropriate facility, such as a museum or stored, donated (if it has no monetary value) or otherwise disposed of in accordance with provisions of law.

 

(e) Whenever in the opinion of the city attorney removal of a thing is required by an ordinance of the council but such removal would apparently violate or conflict with the provisions of applicable federal or state law or a judgment or order entered by a federal or state court, the city attorney shall notify the city council and file an appropriate action or proceeding in an agency or court of competent jurisdiction seeking a decision, declaration or order compelling or permitting such removal. The obligation of removal imposed by the ordinance shall be suspended until a favorable definitive judgment is obtained.

The action claims that this contradicts Article 12 § 4 of the Louisiana Constitution:

The right of the people to preserve, foster, and promote their respective historic linguistic and cultural origins is recognized.

Seem compatible to me.

Landmarks and James R. Logan IV are engaged in their second forceful defense of the right of the Liberty Place tombstone to stand in a prominent central location. I suggest that this affirms that they not only admit, but proudly claim that their cultural origins are in the White League. And I wonder whether not only that old racist thing should be shifted, but that every public manifestation or pronouncement of Louisiana Landmarks should not be put aside and disqualified on the same basis – violation of §146-611 of our municipal code.

Prediction: the plaintiffs will lose. If they squeak by on this case, Landrieu and the six Council Members won’t put up with domination by Louisiana Landmarks. The challenge is not only to the siting of three statues and a public tombstone. It is to the City’s right to govern. They will defy, bend or appeal the ruling, or they will write and pass new laws until they get the job done. They will not go gently into that Lost Cause.

Okay – we have to get out of here before this piece is so long that WordPress turns off the lights, but it ain’t over

© Bob Freilich January 2016

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