Staying Alive in NOLA

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Primary care clinics, in the form of six double-wide trailers, arrived in New Orleans nine months ago to provide non-emergency care to the poor and uninsured. So far, the free care has reached no one:

"It looks like the city's own bureaucratic roadblocks have prevented health care from being delivered," Ben Mount, a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, said Thursday…

It wasn't until last week that the New Orleans City Council agreed to temporarily waive the city's zoning code to allow the trailers to be located at six schools around the city—three on the east bank and three in Algiers—for two years.

It'd be easy to blame government-provided health care, but the council is too inept to allow government-provided health care to begin malfunctioning. So how close are the clinics to go time?

In between fell more than 100 meetings and dozens of e-mails about the issue involving LSU executives and officials at the city, state and federal levels. And the journey is not over. The zoning waivers still need approval from Mayor Ray Nagin, which cannot occur until next week at the earliest, as well as permits from the city that could take up to six months to acquire.

Whole thing here.  

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  1. I’m beginning to believe that Katrina may have been the best thing to happen to the evacuees who permanently left town.

  2. You know, despite all of this there is still a lot to love about the Big Easy.

  3. Zoning is good!
    Government is good!
    Expertism is good!

    People are pathetic and helpless without them!

  4. So…when is the free market going to provide the care?

  5. Dan T, go fuck yourself.

    The issue is that the mayor of NO said on national TV that the federal government wasn’t doing enough to help. Now the local government is actually preventing the federal government from providing that help.

    This has nothing to do with the success or failure of free market solutions.

  6. It’s all Bush’s fault!

  7. Lighten up there, jake, and remember that spin can go both ways.

  8. Too bad they can’t set the trailers up, start using them and sort the paperwork out later.

    Asshats.

  9. In other New Orleans/FEMA related news:

    From a 3 page WAPO article(grain of salt).

    HAMMOND, La. — Shortly after noon, FEMA agents began rapping on the trailer doors, their knocks resounding inside the tinny white homes. Everyone in the park, the agents announced without warning, would have to pack and leave within 48 hours.

    Almost all of the trailers’ occupants were renters before the storm; unlike homeowners, they received no direct rebuilding assistance from the federal government.

    The evacuation of Yorkshire March 3-4 had its roots in the three-way political and legal wrangling among the site’s owners, local officials and FEMA. That tension is mirrored across Louisiana and Mississippi, where scores of trailer parks have opened since Katrina.

    Now, far be it from me to suggest that these people have the “right” to stay in FEMA trailers rent free for years but I am pretty sure there is a state law covering eviction, 30 days notice, or some such. Just another downfall of relying upon the Govt. to provide for you.

  10. So…when is the free market going to provide the care?

    A Healthy Dose of Anarchy
    After Katrina, nontraditional, decentralized relief steps in where big government and big charity failed.
    Reason | Neille Ilel | December 2006

    Common Ground’s initial incarnation was a medical clinic in an Algiers mosque. Algiers is a decidedly poor and drab cousin to the rest of New Orleans; it’s hard to believe that its sprawl of nondescript homes and apartment buildings is just across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter. But unlike the city across the river, Algiers didn’t flood. And within a few days of the storm, several young men on bicycles started knocking on doors in this unremarkable place, asking if people needed medical help. They called themselves street medics.

    “A street medic,” explains Iggy River, a Common Ground volunteer, “is a person with an indeterminate amount of knowledge, usually from mass gatherings or street protests, of acute need first aid”-treatment for dehydration, cuts, broken bones. With his dark disheveled hair and giant wooden ear spools, Iggy looked like he would be more at home at a World Trade Organization protest than coordinating supplies in the ruins of a poor black neighborhood. Indeed, it was for such protests that the street medics learned their craft. After Katrina, street medics provided first aid and basic medical services such as blood pressure and diabetes testing.

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/116789.html

  11. Lighten up there, jake, and remember that spin can go both ways.

    Dan, you say you come here to provide an opposing point of view so that H&R isn’t an echo chamber. That is a noble concept.

    Unfortunately, you rarely provide anything more than snide, moronic comments.

    If you want to participate, then participate. But you need to bring something useful to the discussion.

  12. Thanks, LarryA. I remembered the article, but couldn’t remember where.

  13. I’ve noticed that, since the spoofing has stopped, Dan T. is back to the witless one line trolling. Or maybe Dan has since left and this is the spoof … huh? Either way, suck it Dan, or sock puppet Dan.

  14. Any they wonder why this city is dieing?

    Between the corruption, licensing and zoning regulations (crazy how often those all go together!), New Orleans would be a ghost town if not for the culture.

    I am still glad i got to see it pre-katrina though. Celebrated my 21st there 2 weeks before it went under.

  15. I’m beginning to believe that Katrina may have been the best thing to happen to the evacuees who permanently left town.

    The sole Katrina “refugee” I’ve spoken with said the very same thing. He was sayin how it gave him the impetus (and a bit of FEMA money) to move his family out of ‘that shit hole’. And then he started talking about how he doesn’t have to live next to black people, and how dirty the blacks were and how they would steal. Shit floats and Katrina blew it all the way up here. Wonder how Houston is doing?

  16. If these clowns had been in charge of the Normandy landings, the Allies would still be in England today waiting for a decision whether the landing craft should have puke buckets or have the GIs puke on the deck.

  17. jake, my point here is that Reason is fond of pointing out how every government problem is evidence that government itself is a bad thing.

    But yet, the same people who are not being served well by the government are also not being served well by the market. Katrina not only exposed how lousy government is when it’s run by people who don’t believe in it, but it also showed how the free market doesn’t work out so well for everybody.

    But we can’t say that around here – it’s blasphemy.

  18. But yet, the same people who are not being served well by the government are also not being served well by the market. Katrina not only exposed how lousy government is when it’s run by people who don’t believe in it, but it also showed how the free market doesn’t work out so well for everybody.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have time to look up the examples, but the only success stories that I have read coming out of NO are about people that bypass the local and state governments and just do stuff for themselves (see the street medics reference above).

    So it looks like the only thing that is working is the free market.

  19. Dan, I disagree with you, but the last post had value and is worth discussing.

  20. But yet, the same people who are not being served well by the government are also not being served well by the market. Katrina not only exposed how lousy government is when it’s run by people who don’t believe in it, but it also showed how the free market doesn’t work out so well for everybody.

    Perhaps the problem is that the government is subsidizing a living choice that would not otherwise be made by market standards. Most of the former NO residents have started new lives elsewhere–probably a rational market choice. NO had high unemployment, poor education, high crime, & other factors making life there less pleasant. Many who stay can or will recieve government subsidies in one form or another–housing assistance, subsidized flood insurance, etc. By promising to rebuild NO, the government encourages people to make a choice that is irrational by otherwise free market standards. Thus, there is higher supply of health care clients than providers.

    This is not to say that private charity might not have achieved a similar result (look at how aid to the third world sometimes discourages industry), but that government interference screwed with the market’s workings.

    finally, a caveat that for PR reasons, the government may have had little choice but to interfere in the way it has.

  21. Multi-millions dollar home are at risk of burning to the ground at this very instant. California has earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires, and so on. The whole gulf coast is a risk every year from hurricanes. Yet these are “cool” places to live so people keep rebuilding.

    New Orleans is unique in that it combines some of the most corrupt local government with one of the most “at risk” environmental location at the same time that the changing economy is pulling the rug out from under those living at the margins.

    The correct free market response is to let the place go under.

  22. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to look up the examples, but the only success stories that I have read coming out of NO are about people that bypass the local and state governments and just do stuff for themselves (see the street medics reference above).

    So it looks like the only thing that is working is the free market.

    But that’s because we tend to judge the government and the market by different standards – we’re prone to talking about the government only when it screws up and the market only when it succeeds.

    The government’s response to Katrina was at least somewhat effective. Plenty of people were rescued from the flood waters by the government, FEMA provided trailers for people to live in, the national guard did keep at least some semblance of law and order, etc.

    Katrina would have been a whole lot worse if not for the government’s efforts.

    This is not to say that we shouldn’t expect more but then again we elected a bunch of people who don’t believe in government.

  23. This is not to say that we shouldn’t expect more but then again we elected a bunch of people who don’t believe in government.

    Sadly, this last statement has not been true of the executive office since 1984.

  24. But yet, the same people who are not being served well by the government are also not being served well by the market. Katrina not only exposed how lousy government is when it’s run by people who don’t believe in it, but it also showed how the free market doesn’t work out so well for everybody.

    1. See my post above.
    2. The main reason the free market isn’t working out well in NOLA is the same reason the Federal clinics aren’t up and running. From the same post:

    When locals trying to rebuild asked Common Ground for help getting the proper permits, the group’s policy was to help rebuild, building permits or not. “We’re essentially breaking the law,” Kon? told me, pausing for emphasis. “That’s civil disobedience.” If it keeps people from living in mold-filled houses, he said, then Common Ground will do it. The logic of the approach became clear to me after I spent weeks trying to get in touch with anyone at the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits. I was hoping to get the department’s reaction to Kon? and other critics who called it inefficient and unresponsive to ordinary residents. No one ever returned my calls.

    A case of “no answer is the answer.” The free market isn’t working because homes can’t be rebuilt without permits the city won’t issue.

    This is not to say that we shouldn’t expect more but then again we elected a bunch of people who don’t believe in government.

    Explain how the New Orleans liberal Democratic Party city government “doesn’t believe in government.” Show your work.

  25. But that’s because we tend to judge the government and the market by different standards – we’re prone to talking about the government only when it screws up and the market only when it succeeds.

    I travelled to Moscow almost 20 times after the Soviet Union fell and it became Russia again. I’ve seen what it looks like when the safety net begins to unravel.

    Very few people that post on H&R are firm believers in anarchy as the best solution. Most people here think there should be some level of government — quite a few have talked about the government providing a safety net for the poor and the unwell.

    Yet, almost all the posters here blast the government when it screws up because the government deserves it when it screws up — particularly when the government shouldn’t have been involved in the first place.

    Everyone in at every level of government knew that New Orleans was going to be under water at some point. New Orleas was a man-made disaster. The disaster was made worse by turf-battles between the various levels of government and the on-going conflict has a continuing impact on the survivors.

  26. Didn’t read all the comments but: is anyone actually going to enforce the ordinances? Are the code enforcement goons actually back out on patrol before the health clinics?

    What I’m saying is: if you just put up the damn trailers, who’s going to show up and issue you a citation?

    Reminds me of the old saying: it’s a lot easier to ask for forgiveness later than to ask for permission ahead of time.

  27. The lack of a free market solution in this instance is probably partially due to the fact of the zoning issues. If two governments can’t work this out, how do you expect a private enterprise to do?

  28. Multi-millions dollar home are at risk of burning to the ground at this very instant. California has earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires, and so on. The whole gulf coast is a risk every year from hurricanes. Yet these are “cool” places to live so people keep rebuilding.

    Not to gloss over your point there but many other factors are at work than just the “cool place” one. Like N.O. and “flood insurance”, states like Florida insist that EVERY house must be insured(if a note is carried on it) and at the same time the state places a cap on the amount an insurance company can charge for the premium, regardless of risk. The result when a massive catastrophe occurs is that insurance companies cannot cover all of the claims and the taxpayers end up on the hook for it. If insurance companies were allowed to charge higher premiums for those with the most risk, I suspect that fewer people would be building in disaster prone areas. Interestingly enough in CA and FL the most disaster prone areas coincide with the highest home values (beaches and hillsides). New Orleans was a bit of a fluke because of the levee construction the “hillside” became “just above sea level” and the lower, more disaster prone sections were the lower valued areas of the city.

    That said, you are correct. The proper market response is to let the city rebuild itself or go under as the individuals see fit.

  29. The government levees that were designed, maintained, and supervised by the government failed at far under their rated load. The disaster that is New Orleans was caused by government failure.

    The feds and the state government with unlimited resources and staff can’t get the City of New Orleans to give them permission to install four medical clinics. Note they did not want money or resources all they needed was government permission. Once again the government in New Orleans fails the city’s residents.

    This shows why New Orleans has been an economic basket case for decades. If it is this hard to open free health clinics for underprivileged residents in new orleans can you imagine the obstacles faced by those who wanted to open a business?

    After looking over the government caused disaster that is New Orleans Dan T concludes the problem is the market.

    the mind boggles

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