Monday, August 13, 2007

Sad and Disappointing

Oliver Thomas, at-large New Orleans City Councilman and likely next mayor, a man who everyone thought was one of the good guys, will be pleading guilty to charges of a shakedown as part of a deal with Federal investigators.

I have to admit to being rather shocked at this. Thomas had always come across as a man of integrity. He surely often spoke of the need for politicians to behave with integrity. And this makes his fall all the worse.

I guess the silver lining in all this, if there is one, is that there does seem to be a wholesale cleaning of New Orleans and Louisiana politics going on. What fills the gaps remains to be seen; but at least it is a window of opportunity to try to change the culture here, to start fresh.

Most people in New Orleans and Louisiana are simply tired of and disgusted with the corruption of our politics-as-usual. Most of us want integrity and change.

What with Vitter being exposed, with Jefferson indicted and facing likely conviction, with Blanco on her way out and Nagin in his last term, with new faces on the City Council like Stacey Head, Shelly Midura, James Carter, and Arnie Fielkow, New Orleans and Louisiana can really be on the cusp of important and wholesale change. If only we can resist the temptation to give up and instead embrace this as a real opportunity for change and make it so.


Schroeder said...

I wonder if I'm not too harsh on the guy. He is, after all, a husband, father, fellow citizen. On the other hand, the very foundation of our democracy depends upon elected representatives serving the people, not themselves. I never thought the man could be trusted. He was too closely connected with the culture of the Morial administration. How could anyone have expected different from him. I think he had an obligation to distinguish himself from Morial, instead, he proved to be the same.

Huck said...

What is shocking, I guess, is not that he ended up being the same as they all tend to be. After all, he did come out of New Orleans machine politics. What was shocking, I think, is that he didn't seem to wear the machine on his sleeve and, in fact, often seemed to speak out earnestly sometimes in ways that made one wonder that he didn't buy wholesale into the machine politics that others, like Morial, flaunted proudly.

And precisely for that, he perhaps deserves even more the scorn that is also being heaped on him.

So, Schroeder, what say you about a run for his now-vacant at-large seat? I'd go door-to-door campaigning for you. ;)