From The Wall Street Journal today
Former Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted of bribery and related charges, capping a widespread federal investigation into public corruption in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
A jury found Mr. Nagin guilty on 20 of 21 counts, making him the city’s first mayor to be convicted of corruption charges. Seven city contractors and officials have been convicted or pleaded guilty to related crimes.
The case grew out of a probe of city contractors and Mr. Nagin’s administration that began shortly after the 2005 hurricane caused billions of dollars in damage and left 80% of the city under water. Mr. Nagin’s case wasn’t directly tied to Katrina funding, but the massive rebuilding effort served as a backdrop as prosecutors detailed alleged kickbacks to Mr. Nagin from vendors and other associates.
I find this interesting, strange and unsurprising, all wrapped up in a single emotion -- DISGUST.
Why disgust? It was clear at the time of Katrina's damage and the New Orleans rebuilding effort that management of New Orleans was woefully inadequate.....utterly inept, in fact. It was clear that Mayor Ray Nagin was a principal in this ineptitude and Governor Kathleen Blanco was highly ineffective as well, being said by some to be "afraid of her own shadow." I'm not sure how that description developed, but it was inexplicable, and remains so, that she failed so miserably.
However, the media-led animosity toward President George W. Bush (dubbed by many as the "Bush Derangement syndrome") took all of the focus off the principals in the inept performance in protecting the people and In the rebuilding of New Orleans. Even now, until the verdict on Nagin today, the media and pundits put more blame on Bush than others.
It's another 'sign of our times." Political bias is far too much of a controlling factor in our lives today and it worsens day-by-day. We shouldn't discount blatant ignorance and incompetence though.