Road Home changes announced…and a FYI for George Will and WSJ

This weekend Iposted about problems with the Road Home Program. It appears some changes are to be made in the program following the outrage from NOLA residents about the program’s lack of progress and the revolt in the state House which voted 97-1 to fire ICF, the contractor administering the residential rebuilding grants program. On Monday, state Rep. Charmaine Marchand, D-New Orleans, even pitched a tent on LA Capitol grounds vowing to stay until ICF made progress or was fired.

marchand tent

( AP photo at thetowntalk.com)

As a result Gov. Blanco convened a meeting Tuesday evening “with her top advisers, ICF representatives, Louisiana Recovery Authority leaders and angry legislators” to discuss changes needed in the program. On Wednesday several changes were announced…

Scrambling to head off another broad revolt over Road Home grant calculations, state officials said Wednesday they have overhauled methods used in estimating pre-storm values of homes. The new procedures shift emphasis from computer-generated assessments to traditional appraisals by human beings. […] Rather than the automated appraisal methods, officials now will use a combination of pre-storm appraisal obtained from private assessors or government agencies.

Another important change is in the appeal process…

In a separate policy shift, Road Home officials expect to quickly finalize details of a new policy that will allow homeowners to accept an approved grant and still retain the right to seek a higher amount on appeal.That change was a key element of a wide-ranging agenda for change in policies sought by the New Orleans-based Citizens’ Road Home Action Team, a loosely-organized lobbying group, and Byrne conceded they were influential in the matter. (emphasis mine)

The Citizens’ Road Home Action Team or CHAT has relied on the net for their outreach strategy (Link for their wiki) and a couple of the founding members are also NOLA bloggers. Someone should pass this on to George Will who recently said of blogging “It’s about narcissism” and the editors of WSJ who opined today on the fools and imbeciles comprising the “Blog Mob.”

I’ll bet anyone who gets their grant and is able to actually start rebuilding yet retain the right to appeal would not characterize CHAT as a Mob of narcisstic imbeciles. It’s once again another example of how the wise men of Washington don’t get the net.

As for the changes to the Road Home let’s hope that ICF actually delivers. Time will tell.

UPDATE:

Oyster points out that at the end of the Times Picayune article it’s noted that ICF began offering its stock for public sale after getting the Road Home contract. Oyster asks…

Who is benefiting most from this unpardonable contract? Breach victims, or ICF? Also, who wants to make the case that Louisiana wouldn’t have fared better had the Bush administration not submarined Rep. Baker’s innovative recovery plan nearly a year ago?

I have no doubt the Baker plan would have been far better. Also the “Katrina” response and NOLA recovery would have been very different were it not for the outsource government Prez.

One thought on “Road Home changes announced…and a FYI for George Will and WSJ

  1. I was trying to look for Rep. Marchand’s tent as I drove by the Capital building this week, but wasn’t able to see it. The Town Talk article explains why–the area between Huey’s grave/statue and the parking lot isn’t really in view from the road.
    Fortunately, while there was some rain, it wasn’t all that cold.
    For the life of me I can’t understand why Blanco would end up carrying ICF’s water–I guess she’s feeling the heat, and is willing to go to bat for anyone not delivering rhetorical smackdowns…but in doing so, she’s playing right into the hands of the “she’s-in-way-over-her-head” crowd. Ugh.
    What’s sad is that she’s not a terrible governor, particularly compared to her predecessor, Mike “I’d-rather-be-hunting-or-fishing…and-I-am” Foster. But it looks like she’s going to let herself be defined by the wingnuts, who are salivating at the prospect of electing the utterly abysmal Bobby Jindal next year…

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