Ray Nagin indicted
22nd January 2013 · 0 Comments
The indictment of Ray Nagin on 21 federal corruption charges including wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, filing false tax returns, and conspiracy on Friday is yet another nail in the coffin of citizens’ confidence in our elected officials.
And while New Orleanians will await whether or not the former Mayor will be found guilty or innocent on these indictments, it is a fair statement to say now, that the worst crime that Ray Nagin committed was the extinguishment of hope that a “reformer” as he campaigned on, could come from the business community and build a new and vigorous New Orleans.
And that is a crime against the countless thousands and millions of young Americans who stand for honesty and accountability in government, and who wish to serve as pure warriors against cronyism and corruption.
These are the true reformers. Yet in the wake of the indictments against Ray Nagin, that word leaves bitter ash in the mouths of Orleanian voters more cynical than ever before.
We, at The Louisiana Weekly, bear a good bit of the blame for framing him as a real reformer. Nagin entered our offices over a decade ago with what seemed a passionate intensity to open the contracting process to the public eye, to operate with more general transparency in government, and to create a new paradigm. He eventually won our endorsement in the runoff race.
To say he lied is history.
Four years later, many African-American voters castigated our editors for not endorsing his re-election, as if a historic Black Newspaper had a moral responsibility to do so regardless of his demonstrated lack of competency or credulity.
Two terms later, the city and its citizens had buyer’s remorse and a critical four years of post-Katrina recovery had been lost.
The indictments allege that he spent those years, by all accounts, attempting to enrich his cronies. That is, when he bothered to come to work at Duncan Plaza at all.
Now the courts will have their say.
This article was originally published in the January 21, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper