Monday, June 13, 2011

UMC Situation: Now More Fluid Than Ever

According to this brand new Times-Picayune piece, just published tonight, it's even more unclear what the UMC will look like.

The uncertainty continues.  At every step of the way, this project continues to morph, and it seems like most people in Baton Rouge are in denial about just how dicey this thing has become.

This particular facet about considering alternatives but nonetheless bulling forward makes no sense - and continues to convince me that Governor Bobby Jindal is irresponsible, far more irresponsible than I could have imagined in 2008:

Yet the governor also insisted that such an effort, which would involve commissioning another outside consultant, not upset the existing timeline of approving a business and financing plan by late summer and beginning construction in earnest in the succeeding months.

"I don't think this has to slow anything down," Jindal said.

Even with the size, scope and financing still not finalized, the UMC is projected to open in 2015.

That's it - keep expropriating and bulldozing even though we don't have the money and we don't know what the overall plan will actually consist of in the end.  This approach is so antithetical to my understanding of conservatism, especially fiscal conservatism, that I don't even know what to say anymore.  Jindal is so wrong on this issue that it blocks out just about anything else he does.

And then there's David Vitter's comment in the article, which is quite ironic since he's been pushing for a full and fair consideration of all alternatives:

Jindal, Landrieu and Vitter, meanwhile, said the participants in the meeting agreed that any new hospital would involve new construction. Vitter said he saw an overhaul of the old Charity building as a viable option "earlier in the process." But, he said, "practically, it's fair to say that closing out that possibility is where we are."

So now that the UMC Board will finally consider alternatives... ""It's the governor making clear that (the board's) mandate isn't to be put into any box by LSU or anyone else," Vitter said."...Vitter is going to pre-emptively foreclose the alternative of going back into Charity?  Again, I don't understand his logic here.  I hope the newly-empowered UMC Board ignores the attempt by the meeting attendees to box them in.

I will speculate, though, that the mayor was likely the most ardent opponent of going back into Charity at today's meeting.  All signs indicate he's now fixated on making the existing Charity building into a grandiose new city hall.  And he clearly can't stand most of the individuals and groups that support retrofitting Charity because they represent dissent, something that's clearly not welcome in city discussions these days.

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