Over in Algiers (Polimom’s former stomping grounds), there’s a kerfluffle about FEMA trailers. The residents have objected, the Mayor has come down strongly on their side of the fence, and now the mudfest is fully underway.
Is it NIMBY-ism?
The answer from some residents, apparently, is a literal “Yes! Not in My Backyard.” They say they are objecting on the grounds of proximity. It seems that the trailers abut directly on the backyards – within just a few yards – of the neighborhood homes, and they feel as if they’re in a fishbowl.
Nagin has sided with Algiers, and FEMA is unimpressed, saying that they will then bill the city for the incompleted work for the (now-aborted) site. Nagin, not to be outdone, is demanding that FEMA replace its officials in New Orleans.From KLFY.com:
Mayor Ray Nagin has suspended the future installation of group trailer sites for hurricane-displaced residents and is calling for the replacement of Federal Emergency Management Agency housing workers assigned to New Orleans.
Wow. For a place that everybody (as in, the MSM) completely forgot existed during Katrina, Algiers certainly has hit the headlines in a big way. Adam Nossiter with the New York Times writes,
A mayoral election is less than three weeks away, and the sympathy of elected officials for the irritations of voters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is boundless.
Yes, that’s likely part of it. There’s another consideration, however, that the mayor appears to be pondering: options other than the flimsy trailers. In particular, the Katrina Cottages have been much-discussed lately as a less-expensive but more robust solution to the housing problem. (More about the Katrina Cottages and alternative housing solutions here, here, and here.)
Polimom suspects there’s some basis for the stated objection about proximity. It would be disconcerting indeed to have a sudden influx of strangers practically in one’s backyard. But wouldn’t a fence work, if the issue is really privacy?
As it happens, Polimom agrees with New Orleans NAACP President Danatus King: whether this is or is not based on race, class, or property values – the classic NIMBY drivers – the world is likely to judge it that way. From NOLA.com:
Squabbles about trailer sites exhibit “pettiness” that is not playing well in the national media more than seven months after Katrina, King said.
“I can hear the laughter in Washington and the sound of doors being closed,” King said. “I can hear the congressmen receiving phone calls from constituents saying, ‘Don’t help those folks. They don’t want the help.’ “
Definitely not the best way to hit the headlines, Algiers.