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Will and Jackie’s One-Two Punch

By Green Coast on 20 Dec 2016

What’s pertinent info and what should be on your radar? Like you, Green Coast President Will Bradshaw and GCE Services’ Managing Partner Jackie Dadakis spend a lot of time slogging through the mounds of data, articles, papers and reports.

Jackie pays close attention to the latest energy policy news and what it means or can mean. Will monitors affordable housing news and policy improvements and changes. Their “One-Two Punch”; connects you with what they’re reading and seeing on a New Orleans level and national level.

If you want to add to the conversation, drop them a note at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). And if disagree with them mildly or vehemently, they would like to hear that too, because neither of them ever shies away from a good debate.

Will’s Punch

Twenty years ago, I went to a lecture by Grover Norquist, organized by the Koch Brothers before either had become household brands in our ever more polarized politics. I got in an open and full-throated argument with Mr. Norquist over his premise that he wanted to make government so small that you could drown it in the bathtub. This seemed profoundly shortsighted to the 20-year-old me.

Twenty years on, with President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration one month out, and I think Norquist is on the precipice of success.

This reality is no more apparent to me than in two of Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks:

Dr. Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development and
Governor Rick Perry at the Department of Energy.

By nearly any measure these two men are remarkably unqualified for these posts. Dr. Carson has built a significant and accomplished career… in medicine. Last I checked medicine has precious little to do with housing or urban development. Putting him in charge of the critical functions at HUD would be like entrusting me to perform surgery on your critically ill child. I haven’t trained for it and I shouldn’t be responsible for doing it.

Governor Perry has had almost nothing to do with energy throughout his career, and his single most prominent connection to this department is when he forgot its name during a presidential debate, when asked to name cabinet positions he would eliminate.

Look at the last three people to hold this post:

• Dr. Samuel Bodman was appointed by then President George W. Bush and holds a PhD from MIT in Chemical Engineering. He had worked in very large energy and chemical firms and had significant federal government experience in Treasury and Commerce before he became Secretary of Energy.

• Dr. Steven Chu won a Nobel prize in physics in 1997. He is an internationally acclaimed scientist and educator who has focused his career specifically on issues of energy and the environment.

• Dr. Ernest Moniz (current secretary of energy) was a professor at MIT and the director of the interdisciplinary Laboratory for Energy and Environment. Like Dr. Chu, his life has been dedicated to research and education on energy.

Nothing like this can be said for Governor Perry or for Dr. Carson at HUD. And this lack of preparation is really just the Norquist plan in its most insidious form. When government is rendered incompetent by putting ill-prepared people in charge of critical positions, it becomes that much easier to kill, in the bathtub or otherwise. And there are a number of things that government does more efficiently than any private market ever will. Two areas that come immediately to mind are: provide national defense and public education, but the list goes on from there.

We would be wise to recall the critical importance of government in a well-functioning society and economy. By hollowing out its functions and eroding its capacities through the appointment of people unqualified to serve, we ultimately only harm ourselves.

Jackie’s Jab

Last month, the Regional Transit Authority in New Orleans kicked off its first strategic planning process in over a decade. As a long time board member at Ride New Orleans, I could not be more excited for the City to take a hard look at our residents transit needs.

One great recent example for us all to watch is Houston, TX. Earlier this year they launched a completely redesigned transit network. This redesign started from scratch to ensure the system served the places residents lived and worked in the city. Since the relaunch, the system has experienced a surge of 175,000 new riders a month! Here’s hoping New Orleans new strategic plan sets us up for a similar surge in new ridership!

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