In The News › Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post says economy limits Hurricane Katrina response

Dec 8, 2009

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish

Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post says economy limits Hurricane Katrina response

Tuesday, December 08, 2009
By John Pope
The Times-Picayune

Praising Louisianians’ “unbelievable resilience and perseverance” in recovering from Hurricane Katrina, a Washington Post editorial writer said Tuesday that most Americans still have “a reservoir of goodwill” toward the still-struggling region.

But “the goodwill doesn’t matter much when you don’t have serious, substantial money to back it up,” Jonathan Capehart told hundreds gathered at the Marriott Hotel for the Bureau of Governmental Research’s annual luncheon.

Capehart blamed the sour economy and the many initiatives the federal government must underwrite.

“Unfortunately, there are going to be some projects, some things that just won’t be done,” he said. “The things we were doing in the past, we just can’t do anymore.”

Given this climate, Capehart had nothing but praise for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who got as much as $300 million in Medicaid financing for Louisiana in return for voting to let debate proceed in the Senate on health care reform.

Critics claimed Landrieu had sold her vote, and condemned it as the “Louisiana purchase.”

But Capehart took a different tack.

“I loved that spunk,” he said.

Besides, Capehart said, “it was the least the nation could do for Louisiana.”

Capehart’s first trip to New Orleans was in 2007, about two years after the notorious storm.

After seeing the vast area that Katrina had savaged, “I returned to Washington more determined than ever to make things right,” he said.

To carry out this pledge, Capehart wrote about the importance of helping the region, including supporting the unsuccessful attempt to land a presidential debate during last year’s campaign.

After a tour on this trip, Capehart said that even though much remains to be done, “there’s a world of difference” from what he had seen previously.

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which sponsored Capehart’s appearance, is a private, nonpartisan organization whose goals are informing the public and working with elected officials to improve government.

Its deeds have has not gone unnoticed. In August, the Government Research Association, the national organization of similar groups, gave it the Outstanding Policy Achievement award recognizing the bureau’s efforts to reform New Orleans’ decision-making on land use. That effort resulted in a City Charter amendment to give the city’s master plan the force of law.

The group on Tuesday also announced the officers for its 2010 board of directors. They are: Hans Jonassen, chairman; Sterling Scott Willis, vice chairman; Robert Brown, secretary; and J. Kelly Duncan, treasurer.

The bureau was founded in 1932. To mark its 75th anniversary, the organization launched a capital campaign with a $3 million goal. Anne Milling, the committee’s chairwoman, reported Tuesday that the drive had raised nearly $3.1 million.

Dec 8, 2009

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish

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