The removal of the Confederate monuments was never raised as an issue during the 32 years of African American Mayors of New Orleans. Presumably, these Mayors believed there were more important issues to address. Sadly, Mayor Landrieu is a master of distraction and by introducing the monument issue he turned attention away from his failures in many other areas of city government.
In New Orleans, there is rampant poverty, homelessness, blight, unemployment and, of course, crime. In the five-year period ending in 2015, New Orleans was the Murder Capital of the United States. Since that time, the murder rate has only increased and that trend is continuing in 2017.
With a depleted and demoralized police force and an underfunded District Attorney’s office, New Orleans is facing a mountain of public safety troubles. The Mayor just released a $40 million crime fighting plan that does nothing to help the hard-working District Attorney, but does give extra funding to parking enforcement, and especially, the dreaded meter maids.
Mayor Landrieu is obsessed with bringing in more revenue to New Orleans through additional taxes, fines, tickets or any means possible. Instead of addressing the public safety challenges, the Mayor is focused on extracting more money from hard working citizens.
He has also been concerned with making a name for himself nationally. Thus, he has been an advocate for climate change, Hillary Clinton, a frequent speaker at the Aspen Institute and an attendee at international conferences.
Landrieu can gain plenty of credibility in liberal circles and possibly line up future employment by pushing for the removal of the dreaded Confederate monuments. Thus, he has made this a signature issue, all in the name of fighting supposed symbols of racism and hatred.
Clearly, this is misdirected attention for the monuments never killed anyone or uttered racist remarks. The monuments have only served to attract people to New Orleans. In fact, tourists who love history have enjoyed these monuments for decades and in a recent ranking of New Orleans attractions, Lee Circle was placed in the top ten in the city.
All four monuments targeted for removal are historical treasures. Instead of recognizing their value, Mayor Landrieu succeeded in labeling the monuments public nuisances and received rubber stamp approval from the city council, city commissions, and the courts.
The latest decision by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals now clears the way for the monuments to be removed. Historic preservationists are still battling in federal and state court. There will also be an attempt to pass a bill in the Louisiana Legislature this spring to protect all historical treasures in the state, but it will probably be too late.
The Landrieu administration has already issued a call for bids to remove the monuments. The bids are due on April 4 and the proposal calls for the monuments to be removed by May 19 and stored in an undisclosed city warehouse.
Citizens do not know who will be bidding on the monument removal project for the process is secret. The city will only make an announcement after a company has been selected. It is not known whether the winning bidder will have the necessary credentials and expertise to remove these priceless treasures or will be a city landscaper masquerading as a qualified bidder.
In addition, the identity of the mysterious individual paying for this expensive monument extraction project is also not being revealed to the public. Thus, the Landrieu administration has established a process that flouts any concept of good government, the hallmark of which is transparency.
The fastest and easiest way to stop these monuments from being dismantled and mothballed is for President Donald Trump to issue an executive order. With the stroke of a pen, the President can save the monuments for at least the time being.
It is imperative that the Louisiana congressional delegation contact the President to alert him about this option. Another way to generate the President’s attention is for people who care about history to sign this online petition: http://bit.ly/2m2NdwK
Without action from President Trump, history in New Orleans and other communities in the South will be destroyed, all in the name of political correctness and fighting so called racism. Unfortunately, this “feel good” measure will do nothing to improve race relations, instead it will strain them.
This is just the type of issue that Donald Trump likes to dive in to, battling political correctness is one of his specialties. Let’s hope the President will hear this plea and decide to take resolute action. Otherwise, New Orleans will make a terrible move that will only make the city’s problems worse.