WWL>Topics>>5-28-14 2:10pm Angela: on NOLA's potholes and burnt-out streetlights

5-28-14 2:10pm Angela: on NOLA's potholes and burnt-out streetlights

May 28, 2014|

Angela talks about why so many streetlights and potholes go unfixed in New Orleans with St. Charles Avenue Association board members Laura Claverie and Odom Heebe and concerned citizen Robert Lupo.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well since we started this program eight months ago we've invited each local neighborhood in New Orleans. To come on and talk about how their area has progressed since Katrina. And there have been wonderful uplifting stories. But to a neighborhood the cry for help for better lighting and drivable streets has been loud and consistent. It is a cry our guests to say our guests today say have fallen on deaf ears and they are tired of not being hurt. Robert LeBeau who was a well known develop urban identifies himself today as of tax paying citizen and voter. He has started a campaign called fix my streets. Just. -- music jumped to music my new best friend who was working social media and the website for fix our streets. Laura Slattery an old and he beat both board members at saint Charles avenue association. Have been fighting to get the lights turned on saint Charles avenue. A battle they have waged well over a year literally counting every light that's not functioning. On one of the most famous and beloved streets in this country. I welcome all of you. And I want to paraphrase. From one of my favorite movies broadcast news. Am I wrong in saying your man is telling -- not gonna take. Anymore that's got a perfect -- really isn't Greece that in a couple of times and some little meetings we had with some civic organizations are ready and at that everybody understands what that means. Yes this is a show on calling citizen power mark Calabria and I've known each other many years and we are in total agreement that it is alive and well. And -- think Charles avenue as you know it's considered one and it's beautiful streets in the world. It's constantly being -- -- -- beautiful nice residential street and that's important street. And yet here we are in year 2014. And we had ten -- stretches of of the avenue with 80% of the light bulbs are broken. How the polls have falling behind we have other stretches for 70% of lights on. This doesn't exist in -- city. We have been to City Hall we talked a department of public works we've talked to deputy mayor we've talked to our City Council persons. We've just gotten no we're we need our life -- -- Charles avenue is literally in the dark. It is in the dark and it is representative of other streets. I mean there's nothing more special than saint Charles avenue -- like an album apartment or just some very rare streets in this country. That need to be. That are special need to be treated special but there also other streets that don't have lights Claiborne avenue the work the Porsche sold that was run over. Fix the lights. Fix the streets is that not a simple message. That's the exact message that -- -- -- -- organization and saint Charles avenue are pretty hot and we're also say. It is a city -- problem it's not just limited to our streets we are the microcosm. Of the rest of the -- There's no doubt about what Laura dissent in fact when we started this whole campaign and had no idea it would grow to the extent it is right now started if you retarded your own street. Well yeah art I let everybody know in the first time I got from a lake of lake view civic improvement association. In my -- literally hit the cell would nice today and the head and get an SUV because there is. No curve no -- and no street. Surface left anymore at the corner where he lives. And this is just not the way. We need to to present ourselves and lake view especially -- you've got a situation there where. We were under between seven and eleven feet of water for the duration of almost two weeks. Yet people have come back made incredible investments in their community now only commercially but residential. -- now I have beautiful homes with young families. And they can't literally invite people over to their houses for a get together well -- friends making fun of a neighborhood they live. And we had a a a really sad situation 85 year old woman came up to our office picked up a sign. And she said this is so tough because I live by myself. And my family and friends don't wanna come visit me anymore because of the condition the street from my house so. You decided it was originally fixed my street. Can writes -- caught on and went well well what happened here as we started getting phone calls from gentility property owners associations. I think we got one from the West Bank the other day. These areas of calling us up now saying how do they join him how they come become part of his voice from the community that tells our elected officials. That it's time to do something and when -- talk about it being time to do something. Yes a lot of this damage was done by FEMA and FEMA I mean by the the storm and -- is going to supply a lot of dollars to do some of these repairs now again. It seems to have taken for ever for this to get going we've been given -- many times over the past four years that it just keep getting postponed. But this really isn't only. A Katrina damage problem I think this is really about 35 and forty years of neglect to the infrastructure in the streets of our city so. Let's not put all the blame on our current administration but they are the ones that have to stand up and speak and -- of like going a little bit longer. On you know we see the head of department of public works a great public servant -- -- very intelligent man who has a plan. But he has become the voice of this problem and I don't think that's really fair we haven't heard yet from any of our city councilman. Or I'm there on this subject. I don't understand why because this has been in the news on every. Radio spit on every radio station and TV station for about two weeks now. None of them is to have stood up and said. This is what's going on and they wanna put their name to this it seems like the kind of hiding behind. The department of public works and we need an answer to that as we elected them. Not the head of the public power department of public works. Actually when we first talked to Odyssey about exchange street lights on saint Charles avenue. We return all that all the lights would be fixed by the year 2018. We tell about an unacceptable and it pissed about it when I got. With a democratic and if you got an eighteen. Now we feel that there is a plane and being worked on right now on City Hall. We were told that the saint Charles avenue association would be able to -- a plan before it was presented to the public we haven't seen a plan yet. Week are very optimistic that we will get line but we want to make sure that -- like our sixth before 2018. For God's sake -- We want to make sure that our beautiful historic. Light standards. And wrought -- -- -- iconic TV avenue. Ought to remain intact which -- -- the LED like if they could be used in light standards. And then detective mark. There are people -- who could really be hurt. This the public safety issue this is the quality of life issue. Obstacles avenue is one of the fact that the second most important streak in the city for tourism. And tourist are afraid to walk on the street at night and so -- locals. Then I live in the area but by the universities and it is definitely a problem for students of talk to at least the people to in this yes they are aware of this and that they talk about this problem all the time. But also added by glitz NC a bike -- -- have no lights that. Is going to be upon a time when you talked about the accident enclave and I think that's one of many that we'll see. On going forward and so it is a matter of public safety you know. It's also a matter of having a beautiful street the street cars go down and it might as well for -- deceit and see that in light is a wonderful thing to bring stylist to the city. So the dollars being brought to the city -- tourists are something which is -- about you know we're getting those dollars because of the beautiful street let's keep it beautiful let's put those polls back up let's get lights on the and we can't wait to 2018 to do so. It's a problem everywhere you know it's not a central seven she says but. Everyone stay with this I'm so glad we've got callers stay with this we're gonna talk for talk and citizen power. They got to listen stay with the San Angelo under the anyway. Well we're talking about citizen power were talking to two organizations. That are tired of fighting. Getting no response about potholes that are big enough to really a two bedroom bath and a half title is a bit -- punch. And also are lighting the street lights throughout the community but in particular saint Charles avenue and lark clobbering an -- -- On the on the board of the saint Charles avenue association you have to live on central admin to be part of the association it's a grand street into dark. And and you all have fought for so long to get those light fixed going to City -- going through all the various things trip to go through as does Robert -- Now doing with six apostles. What I love about you Walt is that you are doing things very creatively. Mark Calabria in an -- DB have bumper stickers. Real light real fast still Stoops and have a yard signs. Robert -- you had your yard signs and T shirts now and -- -- and this is great and you know before we we get four caller Jeff. You're doing the the media. And that's really been a great source of power. I think what's really great social media obviously during as the power that by now from what I love about it is. New Orleans sarcasm. Yeah is being shown in the photos and videos in the different stories that we're getting it's we wanna do we wanna raise awareness of every one streets across the city and people can have fun. Five by poking at the pot holes by having these creative photos. By literally putting their children inside of potholes literally as adults sitting in. -- multiple size adult potholes and just having farm with and I think by spreading the word through humor. Maybe we can actually do something about getting the streets fixed. Jeff I have a friend who lives on lower lined street. In uptown New Orleans she has a pothole on the side of her house that is ten feet wide twelve feet long and twelve feet deep. And we are trying to get a group of little old ladies and the keys and holding my ties and you're saying welcome to our hot tub. -- hole that size is not possible it's a crater and it is affecting that that foundation ever home and she can't get help him. Right I think and that's that's -- we wanna do -- I think I've never heard of this possible that's what's amazing is every day we have new pictures put up. On the web site fix my streets and across the social media. And every time an opening email or click on something I I'm sitting there with my -- the game going I can't believe how big this Bible is I think I'm driving after after the show engine department of scope now for sale of it and -- -- -- -- -- -- the women in the -- yes I got a certain -- first up. And then. As in you know we yell -- talking about right now is these early art -- -- we use that sort of that as a term that in general but. We talking about the kind of thing that Morris talking about we talk about. -- -- slabs of streets that are on forty degree angles or. And and now we laughed but it's not an exaggeration. And you've got manhole covers it stick up eighteen inches. You know -- these are problems that are inherently. Wrong with the infrastructure and they are just the kind of -- you can fix with a powerful machine. And we'd like you said we really wonder what is that for 35 years because these things didn't happen overnight -- didn't have in the storm. And we're talking about timing to get these things fixed. What we're really. Kind of spurred me on -- only to a board meeting when we had a young lady who was on the board with us who lives in the -- -- -- and she came to me before the meeting she goes. Robin went to go visit some people. From who that my friends in lake view a live in the on these I am appalled at the condition and it's disgraceful conditions of the streets and lake view. And I guess I kind of was like a light switch to me I realize that you know there are people from outside now meanwhile -- outside. That that are outside our own community -- lake view that are that cannot understand why we put up with such conditions. One of my now people in my staff. They had a problem that they reported. It finally got fixed and she brought me the report that the city sent back to her and on the top of it. It is at the city's proud to let you know how long it took. To get this repair in the Alley and like you took 496. Days and that's what the city was actually present currently there -- -- Team we did in 496. States. And part of that is what. Also spurred me with the website that the city they've got this website where you can go to and find out what the programs are. I believe it's called. Restoration. Storm restoration something similar to them signed him from the and you can go they -- -- what's gonna be done in the city so I looked up lake view and lately has 38 pages of repair. They come under this program. So maybe you can click and seeing not only how to repair in your areas coming out but how it's going citywide facilities he was going on citywide. We pull it up and it's been zero started and zero completed. And the when the news release the press release came out of the administration's office it said that this programs be finished in 2013. So -- role skeptical that we keep getting these states put told to. What we're talking about is accountability. -- that the problem listen to what the people want. They are crying for help. And they want accountability. Let's go to or call very quickly you've been holding and I appreciate it Daniel. Hello hello Daniel yes. Thank you for taking -- call it it's all about representation. All there is an an intersection in Algiers. That no one seems to know or even care about that the city of new world and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and litigating and erecting a discriminatory law. And the first and the -- on call ask me what I had to do streets. And out that that money could have been use of fixed mystery. Okay. Now one other point is that masterly interest one point. That a city that body cannot move all that in regard there is divided. I don't know why not ask the previous administration. Sister city. About but they're hiding behind earlier public works because public works in the wanna put it -- Okay it is paid for by tax dollars. And it's discriminatory. In need to come there and money and that money should be used to -- history. Think the met the bigger message here is clearly. You know. I wish -- here we invite him all the time hopefully he will join us one day. Certainly that the man for public works but that's very difficult for us to get him we will always invite we invited called right now. But they're Caspian explanation of priorities and others -- budget hearing. That the public is open to Ingle win is kind of they've already made up their minds that goes before the City Council. But what we're really saying is listen to what people are saying their concerns. Not their quality of life. And this city are primarily the lighting -- the potholes. And it's the last thing on the wrong. If you all who have been so active and proactive. Or not -- it's falling on deaf ears with you all oh my gosh. This is a problem. Angelina this -- news New Orleans. Pre Katrina when things broke we ought to shrug our shoulders and said well you know that's New Orleans. It's not that way anymore. This is a theory new energized citizen led recovery. This is just a new phase of the recovery we don't. Except. Broken street lights are nasty pot holes can mean the war. We are denying ending it we are taking our our city officials story. Yeah Robert was talking earlier about. How long it took to get a 496 -- apocalyptic. I called other cities and asked how long. Talk to you what we're gonna do I really wanna hear this what are other cities are doing. Stay with this we're gonna take a break for news but we're gonna come back and answered that and our callers hang with us. With us today Robert Luke Paul and Jeff. Junior ski both were genius just genius. Both working on fixing bottles and starting it sort of -- -- citizens taxpayers movement fix our finals. Likewise we have lower Calabria -- he being both board members of the saint Charles avenue association who have been. Doing a tremendous amount of work about getting. Saint Charles avenue -- thinking it is dark as you say Laura block after block 80% or 70% are ridiculous. They also have citizens' movement. -- you have before the break -- telling us how other cities handle this. Well I did up rather unscientific survey of different cities by calling friends and and explaining our problem. And so I found out that in now handed -- If you have a broken street light and call their department of public works -- street -- we fixed that day. That day. In Lafayette and Broussard area it takes about 24 hours to have a light fixed. In Tulsa Oklahoma it takes five to seven day. In Greensboro, North Carolina. One day one day to have a street light fixed and one week -- for a pot held -- next. In south Walton county Florida one day. We don't have to live like. We've waited years to get her light fixed. We waited years to get potholes and I don't understand what the problem yes. Well I I I think we understand that the problem is money we all know that we hear it from all the different public officials. -- in July where we're all talking at the break and she said -- -- councilman made the pro counsel women made the point last week to her. That she wants to see where the dollars are actually going on if there's some. I don't know if we can call it fat but there are other ways to reconstruct what the city administration is spending their money on. You know 'cause where were all told on a daily basis that we've got. Consent decrees for both the police department and the prison system that I've -- going to be tens of millions of dollars. We're all told that the farm its pension fund was handled inappropriately in the -- got to come up with almost twenty million dollars there as well. And I know the mayor's trying to find out ways to fund that. But if we're told that there's no money for anything and there's no money for those objects those issues and there's no money for streets and lights then. Kind of where is that money going unlike the I'd like to drive down some street. Walk through the city and go there's my tax dollars whatever ideas and I'm I'm kinda hear drug illustration that. -- there's nowhere can look for. I think what's garrido either send mr. Lugo was. The original sign he created said fix my streets -- pay my taxes that's what got everybody fired up and make few. And people are reacting to that big time because. You know what's what's what's more when his home more than taxes. And last week we gave away our yard signs we have huge amendment like 200 people and I would say 100 of those folks at least 50% had a story. Of a broken oil pan or a busted up whenever. Where they've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their car seat take that the bills and I'm sure people's eleven records and and attacks don't and then up a lot of money people are spending. And nothing sees -- getting done. Well but more importantly there's not a sense of we are. This is not a sense of what you're saying matters may be in their hearts are saying yes we're trying our best. But you don't get that impression I think it goes back to why haven't you all heard. From government people right why are they picking up the phone that's right. Yeah we've been put -- where where is the plan would as the plan. Almost say that you know it's subtle avenue -- run -- city there are working are working on streets and is a monumental problem we have in this area you know we're built on -- d.s -- But lake view is abominable when you go up a different -- and I was amazed. To drive out there and see the condition there's there are street saint Charles avenue was -- at least part of it. But the last few years and it looks wonderful he can't see that night of course because it's dark but it does -- -- yeah. Right in the day it's beautiful. Bottom but so what is among republics Alexi you know we are happy with haven't planned wading into 2018. To change lights is a little long so let's let's get a real realistic plan out there. But one that's realistic not only for budgets input but from the citizens who live here who walked on the streets every day. Drunken street to -- gonna go to our callers. Eddie anymore adding. -- Could get the answer that they would take me two hours everything good. -- it is that search boat problem is talking about. To get real it's on ballot against the seventeenth street and I. For me. They used to had been put Politico points down water pre. An epidemic but the seventeenth street canal which. -- even now. That didn't Aiken indeed indeed. They cut the so why it -- actually -- Outcrop but he might. Or is calling. Lightly on. His -- his uncle god anxious but it impacted during this industry. The public well point -- reach for water and so. They can open up and so it's. -- -- call and even -- -- teensy which means there's no way do. It's got 56 feet. Widget to. Grow every so. Everything like you -- Broken because it cut off -- world war. Is just a single problem. But what can look let's say a miracle happens everybody once -- powerball and they're gonna fix all these streets. Will it happen again because of this issue. Now you know he he quickly -- says -- says right you know that that area of the city but in the whole area the whole city was really swell and things gradually do settle. I think if I remember correctly. The beautiful sea wall without along lake -- train has settled three feet since 1939. Which is an amazing. Number so that let you know that the war tables drop because of the fail. But the the fact that for 35 years nothing was done to go back -- tried to deal with. Okay tennis and that question of the settlement. OK -- night in 1988. The draw which came out -- rule. The records and it did that prince. UNC. There were particularly the government said it wanted to put patient sort it's so -- laudable it's bad. It would cause that's five million dollars say. -- served thirty K so party camps. So actually killed that the -- so intricately and been brought up you look at the Iraq. We used. Her tax. Debt. This should be. Been brought up under that table right it would be voted once again in the boat show. So basically. Did tour the department. All but the entertainment at the time was being handled by its silicon watchable. What happened happened. On this circuit -- guy. From the attorney general. Or -- So under the constitution. That it's global -- It -- dirty. Which. And there should take responsibility. Of the department of public parks what you know hot. And that the situation is still living it today and you deliberately but there. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And it acts twenty it's. Especially that could train yet commend it to its ancient. Adnan. And it did look at all these. Projects they were building this it's so. Voted for them. The pay property tax it's clear they don't pay for our beliefs. Grayish. Are anything like that and stay in its part is the bills and an active body does so what you wore bullet which is hush. Eddie I wish I could go on and I wish you would continue to call only bring up the subject I have to go to a break. That is another whole show and that's about not enough people paying taxes we're going to be talking about that stay with -- I'm Angela under the that you will. Yes we're talking about. Again people who were upset that the tax money isn't being spent where they think it needs to be spent and that is. The unbelievable potholes and our streets and the lights that don't light. The streets not -- and we have Robert -- -- -- -- Odom. Music who are on the -- Is the next move Freedom Hall on the pitch on the spot sort of a delicate and polite march on City Hall. Well what you know a lot of people ask me what was the next step and actually the first step by imagined was you know pitchforks and torches go on the City -- realize that. We don't do that anymore and that's what social media is about. But yet the next step is to see if our public officials will answer some of these questions that we all risen rose today. You know we're we're getting department heads they come out and say we have a plan a plan that has a date that have that in some cases is already expired years ago. I'd like to think you know and I think that this is what I'm hearing from the people who come to my office and and who have been on the Internet -- -- Is let's hear from the public officials will they put their name on the line and say yes this is going to be done. And the reasonable date that it's gonna be done is such as we just keep getting these moving targets. I think everything Robert he said is is. What we want we want a plan we will have planned it will work we wanted to headline and we want the work done. You know we're not asking for anything special. Or anything wildly creative what we're asking for is basic city services. Sit services that other cities get dying in a week. And we played eight years. An answer has always been it's complicated. Our wiring on saint Charles avenue is complicated. It senator shutter. No more excuses is just let's get it done up very -- but we have a call medical Margaret. Are you still there Margaret. Do it. My -- and homily on his back to this city. I have to think on the 22 years we couldn't wait to get back crawled my way back. And a year -- -- -- wonderful house on pine street the corner punt into minutes and and our -- pointed out is that it is all well -- -- partially. On the city's property and partially on our property and it says it's called city. It fixed it it's just a couple of feet deep it's no big deal. Of course we did -- the city and that cannot. What went back and forth between food and water -- in public works and -- -- public works. They're you know it is our problems after many months in many phone calls and that poll kept getting bigger. And basically -- probably collapsed drain that you know we might fix that would probably never going to be able to access. Because there are other problems that are more track and. And there's very little money and and everything that came out wonderful -- sweet time but nobody would address the issue. It's still are addressed. Well now and the last few weeks had has some torrential rains. On the floor collapsed and now not just as possible to sink hole twelve being -- content street wise. And it's except they -- half of the street and a couple of feet on our property. And hold only about sixty inside -- -- OK excellent there -- goes hand. And it makes the front page of the newspaper and then 6 o'clock news then there will be a reaction. Probably and we're very concerned about how the world that you -- I bet somebody's gonna get -- held because a car could go into now and people are still dropping by. And it's getting ready to collapse. And take apple may not sit at the street it's completely impassable. So people are just got inching. From my schedule until they could start following and -- there -- -- around. -- Not one point one and people have -- and lack. I appreciate you calling I appreciate you moving back to New Orleans most importantly hang in there we're gonna continue to follow all this. I appreciate all of our callers I just once in a last minute some final thoughts from -- wall. You can get the yard signs in the T shirts and go to social media and what is that. What is the name the web sites fix my streets Nolan dot com -- -- the only -- there. Fixed my streets -- dot com. You can get -- real lights real fast bumper stickers at the Iberia bank and saint Charles avenue at Louisiana. We will have yard signs ready send -- and please like our FaceBook page at saint Charles avenue association all written out. And you can learn all about what we're doing from our FaceBook page. Okay I feel good because you'll care so much and you're not giving up. And I think that's very important and I think ankle an awful lot of people out there who were cheering you want and perhaps will join. But we will revisit this I promise you because we've got to get the lights on and we've got to have drivable street were too good city to allow office. Stay with us we'll be right back. To Pamela and Howard I'm so sorry we did not get to your calls and so appreciated when you do call. But what is subject and not let me tell you these people are on the move. We're going to be hearing more from them again it's called citizen power. Now I hope you'll stay with this for the next hour is we're going to be talking. -- we're going to be talking to the people who worked with animals but how to keep them safe during hurricane season. Hope you'll stay with its.