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New Orleans: A Snapshot

Society & Culture  (tags: New Orleans, Katrina, society, politics, crime, culture, americans, usa, humans, interesting, news )

- 3464 days ago -
Jobs. Tourists. Housing. Crime. What the numbers say about the area and its recovery four years after Katrina's devastation.


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Kathleen Hilliker (293)
Monday August 24, 2009, 6:24 pm
I watched the most recent of Joan River's new show, "How'd You Get So Rich?", on the TVLand channel. This episode had "Mr. Mardi Gras" featured on it. Blaine Kerns is his name and he owns 2/3-rds. of New Orleans, being worth $100 million dollars! Yes, he made his money himself, is 8o yrs. old, and lives in a house with the roof peeling. (His kids all live in million $ homes). He does have a fund set up for cops & firemen, but sheesh!!!!! ...could he maybe spread the other millions of $'s around to renovate his beloved city?

Am I crazy? Why, oh why, do we tolerate people living in such devastation whle Mr. New Orleans/Mardi Gras is living there??

Oh, and here's the website you can watch Blaine Kerns & Joan Rivers on!

sue M (184)
Monday August 24, 2009, 9:58 pm
Corrupt all the way to the White House! What has Obama done about this? NOTHING

Cheree M (46)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 1:23 am
Sadly Noted. Thanks

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 2:57 am
Agee with Sue. There is no end of corrupt officials involved in this.

Carol W (119)
Tuesday August 25, 2009, 10:24 am
If voters are unhappy with the state legislature now, wait'll they hear that four members are collecting both salaries and pensions for their service to the state. The New York Times finds that assembly members Harvey Weisenberg, Rhoda Jacobs, John J. McEneny and William L. Parment, all Democrats, have passed retirement age and started drawing pensions of between $66,000 and $73,000, but continue to draw salaries of between $94,500 and $104,500.

For balance, a Republican state senator is found, George H. Winner, who left the assembly after winning his senate seat and draws an assembly pension of $80,000 along with a senate salary of $89,000. Such double-dips were curtailed by a 1995 law, but it only applies to officials elected thereafter -- the Times' subjects, like many members of our calcified legislature, have been serving a long, long time.

The hero of the story is Democratic assembly member Bob Reilly (pictured), who draws a pension but donates his salary to charity. He's also the sponsor of a bill to prohibit officials convicted of crimes from drawing pensions. Kevin Parker and Hiram Monserrate (and -- we can dream, can't we? -- Pedro Espada Jr.), take note.

Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs and Jamestown Assemblyman William Parment, both Democrats, also receive pensions, stipends and a base salary.

Citing that difference between private and public sector work, some legislators argue it's reasonable to expect the benefits that come with a career of low wages. The base salary for a lawmaker is $79,500. Many collect additional stipends for service on committees.

Republican Sen. George Winner, 60, of Elmira, takes a pension from his years of state service in the Assembly, and collects his Senate paycheck.

"There are lots of people in the Legislature receiving pensions from prior public service, retired police officers, teachers," Winner said, noting that he's saving the state money because it no longer contributes to his pension accrual.
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