Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nothing Fishy Here, Just More Red Dots for Bingler

Steven Bingler's company, Concordia, will be receiving $3.8 million to plan for the rebuilding of public schools. Hopefully they'll bring in the same type of community involvement they did with the Unified New Orleans Plan, and we'll get to stick red dots on a map to show where we live, and then go home. If we as a community can put more red dots in Mid-City, we just might get a better school. Thanks for listening. I would only have charged $2.8 million for that type of community involvement, but of course the bids will never be released to the public. I wonder just what it would take for Concordia to read the recovery plan crafted by the people who live in Mid-City?


Anonymous said...

Well then. Here's a letter I sent via USPS Certified Mail, and received the return receipt but no furter response:

Amy Lafont
PO Box 51153
New Orleans, LA 70151

Dr. Robin Jarvis
Superintendent, Recovery School District
1641 Poland Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70117

November 27, 2006

Dear Dr. Jarvis,

At the charter conference on Saturday, November 18, in Baton Rouge, it was stated that you are meeting weekly with Steve Bingler of Concordia Architects who is coordinating the UNOP plan. It was also stated that you had not yet hired long term planning staff and the decisions being made for our schools are all considered temporary decisions, locations and facilities. As a resident, planning participant, and parent in New Orleans, I am concerned about disparities in neighborhood plans and RSD plans for our communities’ schools both short and long term.

I ask that your meetings with Concordia follow public meetings laws. I am very concerned about the lack of transparency in the process you are engaged in. Please publicize the dates, times and locations of your upcoming meetings with planners as they are scheduled from now forward.

Further, I ask that you welcome community members to sit at the table with you and participate in making decisions as the people most affected by your actions. Many communities in New Orleans have education resources and are ready to serve our children. Everyone who cares about children suffered under our old system, and many hopeful and dedicated residents are stepping forward to contribute in our community schools. People are naturally going to be attached to particular schools, and you may not understand the rhyme or reason of that, and you do not have to. We ask you to respect our relationships to our schools and not pursue policies that estrange communities from their local schools.

Before a charter entity is placed in any community, the community should be able to review the charter application and meet with the applicants’ board members and management company. The charter’s plan and RSD’s plans should match the goals of the neighborhood’s plans for their schools.

As you conduct facilities planning with FEMA and Alverez & Marcel to determine which buildings will be renovated, razed, and replaced, please involve community members in this process also. We understand it is complicated and cumbersome, and we still want to participate. We want to be continuously updated, in detail, about your negotiations. We will attend your meetings. We ask you to attend ours. We are engaged like never before in designing our futures and taking responsibility for ourselves, and school design is central to neighborhood planning. Every wet community in New Orleans is very anxious about the conditions of our schools right now. Please allow us to meaningfully participate in the recovery and transition to a functional public school system.


Amy Lafont


So, what do you think they were discussing last Fall? The on-going planning process, or writing the RFP for the bid Mr. B just won?

Do you also know about GNOEF funding Concordia to develop community centers? I would like to know how much money is at play.

Bottom line is I can no longer consider this system in any way legitimate. This contract absolutely ends any credibility the "RSD" has. The Governor should be incredibly ashamed of how these people have served themselves at everyone else's expense, at the expense of children and families recovering from Katrina.

This system is completely illegitmate, created to concentrate power and money, control resources and keep the popoulation in confusion and instability. Governor Blanco, this is your responsibility and your legacy. Will you continue to stand by and allow Bingler and Smithberg to advance themselves at the expense of the well being of the people of New Orleans? Haven't we been through enough? You need to ACT. FIRE THESE PEOPLE!!!!!!!! They are out of control. Otherwise we will have no choice but to reject your system entirely.

Anonymous said...

Parsons Corp: fresh from Iraq, I see. I hope they do better than their infamous Baghdad Police College...