Friday the 13th of January
How fouled up is the government infrastructure down here?
Well, I’m glad you asked that.
There are currently only 3 electrical inspectors in the city of New Orleans. They have 4 on staff, but one is out with shoulder surgery. He’ll be back Tuesday. But then one of the others is going out that day for foot surgery.
Only 3 inspectors in a city where 80 percent of the buildings need to be inspected, which is well over 100,000 locales.
The electrician on one of our jobs down here called in for an inspection on December 30th. We are ready to close in the walls and finish the building. But since we are doing the things the “right” and “proper” way, we have to wait, and wait, twiddling our thumbs. It’s not like they need housing or anything down here.
So I went and talked to the electrical department at the end of the day yesterday. I explained that we wanted to move ahead with the house and that the electrician had called in on the 30th of December. He pulled out the list and confirmed that yes, he had called in on the 30th, but that they were only doing inspections on things called in up until the 23rd of December. The “list” was a handwritten list on a notedpad. So the city of New Orleans is keeping track of their entire electrical department on some parchment in longhand.
Meanwhile, 80 percent of the city is renovating their houses without permits moving right ahead and completely disregarding the rules. The slumlord next to the building we are working on/staying in just had some electricians grab power from a hanging line and hook up his meter. He has tenants living in his building without gas, so no cooking, hotwater or heat. He didn’t properly tear out the inside of his house, so the mold and rot will basically eat the house apart from the inside. He has run wires, gone right over walls with new sheetrock and has hired the lowest common denominator of “workers” who as my brother says “put in their 4 hours everyday.”
But, he drives a Lexus, has a house on St. Charles, the nicest street in town and runs the local title company and has connections so he has nothing to worry about. Meanwhile the schmucks like me who follow the rules get delayed and lose money.
Apparently, the building department has a contract to subcontract the electrical work. In other words, some connected official or contractor is going to get to make money off of another government contract where the city is basically at a loss for funds as it is.
Here is the solution. Have the Mayor call the 20 biggest cities in America, or maybe all the cities with an NFL franchise. Ask if they could borrown an electrical inspector for a couple weeks. My feeling around America is that people and cities want to do their part if only given the opportunity, hey New Orleans let us Help!!! Instead, it would seem as if the powers that be just see this as another opportunity to make money off of tragedy, and the common people get screwed again. That or just absolute incompetence.