YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

yatpudit's pub

YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

Ranting about Short Term Rentals and the French Market this week.

Programming note: Yesterday’s Red Beans and Rice Monday moves to YatCuisine next week! We’re tweaking the present pod lineup. I created a “YatCuisine” group on Facebook. The pod fits better that way.

Short Term Rentals

With respect to the “strict” short-term rental ordinance passed yesterday by the New Orleans City Council:

1. This was not a final-passage. The ordinance will come back before the Council in a couple of months.
2. in the interim, the forces supporting unlicensed hotels in the city will open their wallets and dilute the ordinance.
3. It’s likely that, by the time of final passage, the ordinance will no longer contain the “domicile” requirement, where you can only short-term-rent the house you claim a homestead exemption on (i.e., you can only AirBnB the house you live in).

How the City Council screws New Orleans

4. By the time the ordinance comes back for final passage, the Councilmembers figure you think they did the right thing back in May. The unlicensed hotels continue on as if the vote yesterday never happened.
5. Advocates for limiting short-term rentals to the renter’s domicile, banning unlicensed hotels must remain vigilant. Demand any changes and amendments proposed to yesterday’s ordinance in advance. Watch the Council’s calendar. Don’t be sandbagged on the day of final passage.
6. Do not trust the Councilmembers who you believe are on “your side” – they know how this works, voted how you wanted them to yesterday, with confidence you won’t be looking when they vote the other way in a couple of months.
7. Follow the money.

Think I’m overreacting? This is why you fail at fixing things in New Orleans. Enjoy your protests, podcasts, and blogs.

French Market

yatpundit's pub 21-may-2019

New Orleans French Market

Mayor Cantrell considered some research on Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her staff looked into re-purposing public facilities in other cities. Da Paper published a good article on the status of the city’s research. Unfortunately, the headline was click-baity.

Mid-City  Condos – Is $200K “affordable”? Would you buy one?

Mid-City Condos – Is $200K “affordable”? Would you buy one?

Mid-City New Orleans – housing is a challenge

mid-city condos

Rendering of NORF’s 3100 Banks development (NORF via NOLA.com)

Mid-City Condos New Orleans real estate

Are $200K Mid-City condos “affordable” for young professionals? Ilse Falk Stough, project manager for New Orleans Redevelopment Fund, think so. I agree. The company (a private equity real estate firm) plans a 21-unit building at 3100 Banks Street, in Mid-City. That’s the part of Banks between Jefferson Davis Parkway and S. Broad Street.

The developer thinks they can market this development to, as reported by NOLA dot com. Banks Street below S. Carrollton Avenue offers more opportunities such as this lot. Above S. Carrollton, the neighborhood is more gentrified. Property owners fix up multi-family dwellings, converting them into unlicensed hotels.

From movie theater to condos

mid-city condos

Escorial Theater, 3100 Banks Street, 1910s

The 3100 Banks Street location offered the neighborhood the Escorial Theater, from the 1910s to the 1950s. The building operated as mixed retail/commercial space until the 1990s. It burned down at that time. The property has been an empty lot since.

$200K per unit?

I’m not an expert on real estate, but my instinct says this price range is reasonable. The developer targets the right demographic. If the old calculations still hold up, the theory was, don’t take on a house note that’s more than one-third of your take-home pay. A 15-year mortgage (with a 20% down payment) on one of these condos means a monthly note around $1350. That puts the income needed to fit the one-third plan at between $55K-$60K.

Is this realistic? A quick google of “NOFD Starting Salary” comes back with $45,955. Let’s assume a brand-new firefighter needs a few years to get to the point of home ownership. A young professional in the private sector earns a higher salary than a firefighter, so yes, this is in line.

Another aspect of this discussion is single vs. couple. Certainly a two-income couple can afford the note on a $200K condo.

Condo vs. House

This is an ages-old consideration. Condo closer in the city? Die and go to the suburbs? It’s possible to get a $200K house in the burbs. Living in the city means paying more for fewer square feet. While there are fewer neighborhoods where a “young professional” finds a fixer-upper, it’s not out of the question. Therefore, the condo/city vs. suburban/front-lawn debate continues.

Check out the latest pod from YatPundit’s Pub.

YatPundit's Pub 2019-04-11

Trusted Talents by Edward J. Branley (cover art by Elizabeth Person)

Mid-City New Orleans is the main neighborhood setting for Edward J. Branley’s Urban Fantasy novel, Trusted Talents. Check it out!

Jerome Smith, Baldwin, and RFK (via @JarvisDeBerry)

Jerome Smith was a young civil rights activist and Freedom Rider in 1963. Arthur Schlesinger, in his book on RFK, recalls that CORE described Smith as a young man beaten more than any other CORE worker at the time.

Jerome Smith stood up to RFK

It was no surprise to anyone that Smith had no kind words for Bobby or his brother:

“Mr. Attorney General, you make me want to puke.  I don’t care what you think, and I don’t care what your brother thinks either.”

Smith was a man of the streets, not academia, or the entertainment world. He’d been in the streets, on the buses, working to register voters and advocate the cause. In the 1963 meeting Jarvis DeBerry mentions in his article about the film, “I Am Not Your Negro”, he was arguably the wokest person in the room.

Baldwin Documentary

jerome smith

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but having seen “Hidden Lines” last weekend, it’s time I did. The movie is about Baldwin, so it’s not surprising that some things get left on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Jerome Smith (assuming they shot his remarks at all. Jarvis explains it:

Because that section of the documentary focuses on Baldwin’s friendship with the playwright Lorraine Hansberry and her premature death at 34, it is Hansberry’s disgusted response to Kennedy’s hemming and hawing that is given attention.  But Hansberry’s decision to snub Kennedy by standing up, bidding him goodbye and exiting the room wasn’t the most demonstrable display of disgust.  The most disgusted response, which isn’t in the documentary, came from New Orleans’ own Jerome Smith.

So, it’s no deep conspiracy that the woke young man got left out of the documentary. He just got overshadowed. I learned something new today, that Smith was from New Orleans. I’d not read Schlesinger’s book (it came out in 1978) when I was teaching American History in the early 1980s. I certainly would have highlighted this encounter, if for no other reason, because Smith was a local guy.

Now I want to go back to the classroom. Gotta win dat powerball.

(cross-posted to NOLA History Guy)

Orleans Parish Prison is not a place for teens

Orleans Parish Prison

Inmates exercising at Orleans Parish Prison (Bart Everson photo)

 

Suicide at Orleans Parish Prison

Seventeen-year old Dexter Allen is in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Facility in Gretna. In the city, the incredible mess that is Orleans Justice Center took another life. What makes this particularly sad is that this latest jail suicide was a juvenile.

Jaquin Thomas was pronounced dead at University Medical Center at 10:11 p.m., OPSO spokesman Philip Stelly said, after using a mattress cover to asphyxiate himself in his cell. The teenager had been jailed inside the Orleans Justice Center since his July 28 arrest on suspicion of second-degree murder and aggravated burglary, records show.

No Place for teenagers

Any suicide or attempt is a sad affair. Worse yet, locking up a teen in this prison is a terrible thing. Yes, he was charged with second-degree murder as an adult. That’s a serious situation. Jarvis DeBerry nails it, though, in his article on the suicide:

Jaquin was suspected of committing a crime more serious than Jerde’s, but if jail was considered inappropriate for the 21-year-old, it should have been considered the wrong place for the teenager. Charging a child as an adult does not magically transform him into an adult. It does not make that child any less vulnerable when thrown into a facility with people who are bigger, older and more hardened criminals.

Jailing teens in an adult prison is wrong. Still, it’s not a good idea to toss an alleged murderer into a juvenile facility. Teens accused of much more minor crimes are totally different. There has to be a way to balance this. Perhaps isolating serious juvenile offenders in one type of facility or the other.

Read the full article–Jarvis compares the situation Jaquin Thomas was in to that of a twenty-one-year old Tulane student. He demonstrates what #whiteprivilege gets you these days in New Orleans.

 

What’s DA Cannizzaro’s Motivation?

The entrance to the Louisiana State Penitentiary (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user msppmoore)

The entrance to the Louisiana State Penitentiary (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user msppmoore)

At a time when so many eyes are on Angola, which is widely regarded as a plantation run by slave labor, it’s odd that the DA would bump up a guy who steals candy to the point where he’ll end up doing 20-to-life:

On Feb. 3, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office chose to charge Grimes under a statute that boosts the alleged candy theft to a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. The statute applies to people who have been convicted of “theft of goods” at least twice before.

This isn’t something that one needs to do to retain elective office in Orleans Parish. Look at the judges, they’re elected officials, and even the judge presiding over this case is incredulous:

Grimes appeared Thursday for arraignment before Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich, pleading not guilty.

“Isn’t this a little over the top?” Zibilich wondered aloud over the threat of a “multiple bill,” an approach that leaves little discretion to a judge.

“It’s not even funny,” the judge said. “Twenty years to life for a Snickers bar, or two or three or four.”

Judge Zibilich should nullify this with a not-guilty verdict, it’s that ridiculous.

But to the point, does anyone know what Cannizzaro’s endgame is? Is he looking to run statewide, where impressing white people by being tough on candy bar thieves is considered a good thing? Does he have a financial stake in Louisiana’s for-profit prison industry? Is he just a jackass?

Governor Edwards made reducing the prison population in the state a priority and a major promise in his campaign last November. He seems poised to make good on this, as his term progresses. Sending a nonviolent offender to the plantation to be a slave isn’t who we are. This has to stop.

Diversity in Social Media conversations

I am all about diversity.

Boromir star wars-star trek meme demonstrates diversity

Disagreement and Diversity vs. hate speech

It’s important to recognize the difference between encouraging diversity in the public discourse while rejecting hate speech. I take great pride in the fact that my online friends are quite diverse, coming from multiple religious and ethnic backgrounds, many of which have little to nothing to do with New Orleans. There are numerous topics we can discuss that show this diversity:

  • Which is better, Star Trek or Star Wars?
  • Should you read the book before or after seeing the movie?
  • The extent to which historic preservation should be carried
  • Antoine’s or Galatoires?
  • Government supervision of public education: federal, state, or local level?
  • Starbuck or Number Six?
  • Are leggings acceptable as pants?
  • Priorities for government spending
  • Wine Pairings
  • The role of the US Military in fighting terrorism

All these and so many more are subjects that generate a wide and diverse range of opinions, making for wonderful discussions.

  • There are some subjects, however, that just don’t make the list:
  • Basing public policy on religious faith rather than scientific fact
  • The virtue of interring people whose ethnic background is different from the majority
  • Inciting violence in political discourse
  • Threatening people because they disagree with you
  • Demanding everyone adhere to your religious beliefs

There was a time when the two political parties in the United States reflected the diversity of the country. In the last thirty-five years, however, the parties have split to the point where it’s a challenge to have a discussion about partisan politics without the participants shouting past each other. The biggest problem in this election cycle is the disconnect between people who identify as “conservative” and the incredibly hateful rhetoric their candidates put forth. Look at the current top four in the Republican field:

  • Trump wants to lock up Muslims like we did the Japanese in WWII, while barring entry to the US to Muslims from other countries.
  • Carson doesn’t think Muslims should be allowed to hold public office
  • Rubio wants to class LGBT citizens as being in a lower class than straight citizens
  • Cruz openly advocates Christian Theocracy as a form of government for the US

It’s one thing to say you support many of the traditional conservative positions that are part of the public discourse. It’s another to espouse one religion over others, advocate discrimination, and espouse outright hatred that incites violence. We’ve come to that point in our national political debate where one of the two political parties does these things. When you vote for Republicans at the state and local level, it enables the horrible things we see at the national level. That’s a discussion we can have as rational human beings.

Those who openly support internment of people for their religion, those who demand we all follow the specific tenets of their religious faith, and those who are OK with violence to further their political goals are unacceptable to me. Those who enable these various types of hate are unacceptable to me. If you show me that you hate, or enable hate, I’m done. That includes saying you “Like” Donald Trump on Facebook.