Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"There have been some very big concerns about the state moving ahead with the new teaching hospital after Mayor Mitch Landrieu criticized some of the specifics of the state’s plan for the proposed $1 billion design."

Right - and it's good to see the local television media questioning Governor Bobby Jindal about just how he plans to pull off the project given all of those concerns.

And there were concerns even before Mayor Mitch Landrieu questioned the UMC design for the LSU Footprint.  Many of them remain.  And they extend far beyond the design alone.  They extend beyond the conveyance computer crisis.

For one, the size of the site itself is still excessive.  The design changes may alter the chess pieces that sit on various spaces on the board, but the board size itself remains in place.  The UMC Footprint boundaries have not been altered.  Rehabilitating the existing Charity Hospital building is not back on the table - or, really, finally on the table for the first time since Katrina - from what I know.

Additionally, the question of funding remains.  The UMC Board likes to talk as if the funding will fall in place - but it will take months to determine whether HUD will be able to back the remaining financing necessary to actually build the proposed hospital.

Beyond that, the continued demolition of historic structures that contribute to a national historic district continues.  There is no concrete house moving plan for the UMC Footprint, unlike on the VA side of the project.

There are also people who continue to reside in the UMC Footprint - a fact that seems lost on Governor Jindal and others.  There are also numerous working businesses in the site, some of them multi-million dollar enterprises - a security company, a guest house on the streetcar line, a uniform shop, an electronics firm, an independent auto parts store, and auto mechanic shops.  The massive Blood Center will also have to relocate, as well as a charter school, Priestley, where students will be dislocated and moved to modular units halfway through the school year (over the holidays).

In fact, I wonder how many conservatives and Republicans across the nation know that Governor Bobby Jindal is backing an urban renewal-style government project that entails widespread use of eminent domain (expropriation here in Louisiana).  I wonder if property rights advocates know that Jindal is backing a project that is now contemplating retail - private enterprise - as a direct beneficiary of the land acquisition in the UMC Footprint. 

I bet they'd find that interesting.  I know I do.

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