After the speaker read from a text he said had been prepared by his boss, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, a HUD spokeswoman said the department knew nothing about the man. ...
In his speech, the man who called himself Oswin said HUD had planned to demolish 5,000 units "of perfectly good public housing," even though housing in the city is in tight supply. Nearly all of the units -- many of them built on high ground -- had emerged unscathed from Katrina, he said.
Former occupants have been "begging to move back in," he said. "We're going to help them to do that."
The government's practice had been to tear down public housing where it could, because such projects were thought to cause crime and unemployment, he said.
But crime rates in the city are at a record high and there is no evidence that people in the projects are more likely to be unemployed, he said. "These were real communities, not the crime-ridden 'hood."
The man added that opening doors to public housing would not be enough, but that it also would be essential to create conditions for prosperity.
Toward that end, he said, Wal-Mart would withdraw its stores from near low-income housing and "help nurture local businesses to replace them."
The man added that the federal government would spend $180 million to fund "at least one well-equipped public health clinic for every housing development."
And the feds would reverse plans to replace public schools with private and charter schools, and instead create a national tax base to supplement local taxes.
"With your help, the prospects of New Orleanians will no longer depend on their birthplace, and the cycle of poverty will come to an end," he said.
Finally, to ensure another hurricane does not inundate the city, Exxon and Shell have promised to spend $8.6 billion "to finance wetlands rebuilding from $60 billion in profits this year," he said.
In Washington, HUD spokeswoman Donna White called the hoax "sick."
Describing what the feds should
be doing in New Orleans, as opposed to what they are doing, strikes HUD officials as "sick". Go figure.
(Methinks this bears the hallmarks of a Yes Men operation.)
Of course, New Orleans could just call in Hezbollah... they might get faster results.
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