Saturday, March 21, 2009

Breaking Down the New Orleans Email SCANDAL

As we constantly refresh, looking for the stories that will have the most outlandishly racist comments, stories about some sort of email scandal within the city government kept showing up. Email? Haugh? Now, I'm not a member, but does that have something to do with the Whole Food?

Inside jokes aside, at first this looked too boring to read about, but after enough repetition we finally gave in and read enough to understand this tedious scandal. Since you have a life, we will simply give you the gist of it:
  1. Stacy Head, known in some circles as a City Council member and in others as the recipient of the 2006 Mitch Landrieu consolation prize, wants to score as many easy political points as possible before losing re-election and running for a statewide office that a majority of white people vote for. So at a city council meeting she accuses Sanitation Director Veronica White of not sharing every address receiving sanitation service, even though she totally asked for it a bunch of times before. In the parlance of The Wire, this is known as "pulling a Carcetti". Veronica White says that she didn't and after having her job threatened without any good comebacks, leaves in a huff.
  2. What could possibly get to the bottom of whether Stacy Head had asked for list before or not? Email! Enter Tracie Washington, activist lawyer, rabble-rouser, citizen journalist, provocateur, ironic Bill Jefferson-supporter, who puts in a public record request for emails sent by city council members, but not all of them:
    After all, her request did not apply to the three black members of the New Orleans City Council, only to their four white counterparts. Likewise, she sought the e-mails of the highest-ranking white member of the recovery office, Jeff Thomas, but not his boss, Ed Blakely, who is black.

    Washington declines to directly say why she sought only white council members' e-mails. That's "beside the point, " she said.

  3. Veronica White cuts through all the bureaucratic red-tape, and goes above and beyond her duties as Sanitation Director. She personally goes straight to the IT department, gets the requested emails, and sends them to Washington. Logic may indicate that she wouldn't be so quick to fulfill this request unless she thought something incriminating would be in them, or maybe she is just still angry. Washington wants to put them online for the sake of government transparency, and totally has a Xerox machine that can scan to .pdf really fast ready to go. But then then some bureaucrat shows up and tells her she can't release them yet.
  4. Nagin who has likely been under federal corruption investigation since Katrina, without nary a Pampy uncovered, isn't corrupt. But nobody likes having their email read by strangers, and seeing the writing on the wall he pre-emptively deletes all of his old email. Everyone has a new reason to hate on him all over again. We're guessing his day-to-day life is depressing like a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode lately. Another term as Mayor and he could probably give Joe Lieberman a run for his money in a Droopy Dog contest.