Democrats & Liberals Archives

The New Orleans Referendum

There has been a lot of argument on these pages about what post-Katrina New Orleans should look like. Why not let the residents of NO, including the displaced ones, decide themselves? One could come up with a budget and solicit different proposals for how to spend it. Then the voters choose between them in a referendum, allowing for a runoff (perhaps an instant runoff) to keep a tiny plurality from pushing through a quirky proposal. Here are some models for what the plans could like look (some more serious than others):

Preservationist – Reproduce the pre-Katrina state of the city as closely as possible, within the bounds of safety.

Libertarian – Basically just write everyone a check. They would not necessarily be equal, but could be proportional to how devastated the person’s neighborhood was. The market decides what gets rebuilt.

Libertine – Unlimited strippers, hookers, and gambling. There would be no need to rebuild the levees, because the danger would give visitors an edgy thrill. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow ye shall swim!

Social Science – Have Hillary Clinton and a bunch of Ivy League sociologists and urban studies experts come up with their vision of a perfect city. It might just be crazy enough to work!

Nerd Land – Free laptops and Wi-Fi everywhere. Free college tuition. Indian guest workers provide technical support for the whole US.

Lousiana Heritage – Give it all to the politicians and their cousins.

The Parish of Saint Rudolph – All laws are made by the Maximum Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. There are two mayor’s residences (one for the wife and kids, one for the girlfriend). Upon his demise, a giant King Cake is made for the whole city. Whoever finds the baby takes over.

Posted by Woody Mena at December 20, 2005 6:30 AM