Council critics blast N.O. recovery pace

Nov. 11, 2008 at 2:04 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Critics say signs erected by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin touting future construction projects in the city belie the reality of slow progress.

Nagin's administration has put up placards proclaiming millions of dollars in construction projects in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged city are coming. But critics on the New Orleans City Council say they're upset because they see precious little evidence from Nagin that significant reconstruction is under way, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Tuesday.

"I am fed up. Nothing has to take this long," said Council President Jackie Clarkson during a heated meeting Monday where council members grilled administration officials on what they contend is slow progress in getting civic infrastructure rebuilt three years after Katrina.

Nagin has said there are 450 construction projects in the design phase, under construction or completed. But City Council critics said many of those projects are merely components of larger rebuilding efforts, such as a roof on a firehouse, and there has been a lack of urgency on his part to secure funding for them.

"We're as frustrated as all of you, but we're still fighting FEMA," responded Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, the city's deputy chief administrative officer.

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