[Paul adds as a preface: As a New Orleanian, I have a very different take on this. I think it was a good idea]
The New York Times is reporting that New Orleans officials are planning to drop millions dollars of taxpayer money on vacations. I’m sure that will go over well at the Astrodome…
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 4 – A day after two police suicides and the abrupt resignations or desertions of up to 200 police officers, defiant city officials on Sunday began offering five-day vacations – and even trips to Las Vegas – to the police, firefighters and city emergency workers and their families.
The idea of paid vacations was raised by both Mayor C. Ray Nagin and senior police officials who said that their forces were exhausted and traumatized and that the arrival of the National Guard had made way for the officers to be relieved.
“I’m very concerned about individuals who have been here, particularly since the first few days, and have been through a lot of hardship,” Mr. Nagin said in an interview.
He said most of the police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers “are starting to show signs of very, very serious stress, and this is a way to give them time to reunite with their families.”
Mr. Nagin, who has been demanding more federal assistance for days as his city struggled with despair, death and flooding, said he had asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for the trips but the agency said it could not. He said the city, therefore, would pay the costs.
It’s hard to say how many New Orleans city employees this offer applies to, but assuming a $2,500 bill for each trip and estimating that the offer applies to 3,000 city public safety employees, that’s a $7.5 million dollar bill.
(Kevin had to run, so Jay Tea is taking over)
Oh. My. God. I am dumbfounded. I can understand wanting to reward the First Responders once the crisis has passed, but IT AIN’T OVER YET. At this moment, the city is still largely submerged, powerless, and a complete disaster area. Sending away the cops, firefighters, and the like for vacations at this time is the absolutely LAST THING that they should be doing.
If there ever was any doubt of just how corrupt, how out-of-touch with reality, how certifiably INSANE the government of New Orleans is, this removes it.
“Mr. Mayor! Your city is virtually destroyed. Thousands of your citizens are dead. Thousands more are still stranded. Hundreds of thousands are homeless. Engineers say it’ll be months before they can even think about rebuilding. Where are you and your head disaster guy, who left hundreds of buses sitting empty in parking lots to be destroyed by floods instead of using them to save people’s lives, going?”
“We’re going to Disneyland!” (frantic whispering) “Er, Las Vegas!”
As I think more about it, though, maybe it’s a good idea. Give Colonel Ebbert and his cronies those free tickets to Vegas, to Atlantic City, to wherever they want to go.
Just make the tickets one-way.