The city secured a permit to tear down the house in November 2011.
James, who had driven down from Baton Rouge to attend a prior code enforcement hearing, said she never received notification of the hearing at which the city’s demolition request was considered.
According to city spokesman Tyler Gamble, the city’s Code Enforcement department does not send letters to property owners to inform them of such hearings. The Neighborhood Conservation District Committee, he said, “would have posted the notice of hearing on the building itself and the agenda would have been published in The Times-Picayune as the journal of record.”
However, city code says that when the city submits a demolition request to the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee, “no less than ten business days prior to the first hearing, a letter shall be sent to the property owner via regular or certified mail to the last known address verified by the tax assessor records.”
In October 2010, the Landrieu administration put blight remediation at the top of its to-do list, a goal that appears to have collided with James’ effort to renovate her property.
In announcing his plan to rid the city of 10,000 blighted properties, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “I’m putting you on notice now: Today is the day to start bringing your property into compliance.”
It’s a warning James-Hayes wishes government agencies would heed when it comes to helping people rebuild. “They should have the same timeline for the government programs in regards to helping people,” she said.
I was listening to public radio tonight, and on The World they were comparing the levee systems built before and after Katrina to the ones built in the Netherlands. I’ll save you the trouble of getting to the end of the story by saying the US came out of it looking pretty damn shaky. But what interested me was how hard the program’s hosts were swerving around certain topics.
For example, they went to a great deal of trouble to describe how the Dutch don’t view global warming and rising sea levels as controversial … and avoided the topic of just who in the US thinks science is the devil.
They talked about how the Dutch have paid for their levees with taxes … and failed to mention the political movement which views all taxation as theft.
They talked about how non-controversial basic protections government can provide were to the Dutch … and it must have slipped their minds, the name of the political party that hates government with a virulence most people reserve for spiders and penis drug commercials during football games.
Everybody all week long was shocked and outraged by this, but honestly, with a journalism dedicated to never even once squarely placing the blame on anyone for anything, can you really blame people for just listening to the voices in their heads? I mean is it any wonder, with reporters and commentators every day writing extended shrugs as to the question of responsibility for anything, that people have actually LISTENED and decided that yes, indeed, fuck it and let’s just drink beer and not think about this too hard?
Which if this was only about ignorant-ass ‘necks’ answers on opinion polls would be kind of okay, but the culture this nurtures leads to situations like the above, where the rules don’t mean anything and nothing makes any sense and everybody just fends for themselves. Where we are not accountable to one another for the things we promise to do, and you blink and your home is gone.