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New Orleans CPC - what were they thinking!?!

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
The New Orleans CPC has done it again! They consistently make bad decisions, of which the new director selection may be its worst decision ever! The ineffectiveness of the CPC is one of the many reasons that quality planners such as Planderella, myself, and many others have sought and acheived employment elsewhere, particularly in the private sector.

http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/metro/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1081328141236040.xml

I'm appalled! :-{
 
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biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Doh!

Two questions: Not only how could he be so insensitive to use the term "tar baby," but why did he use it in that context? It really makes no sense when you think about it.

There's really no excuse for my past ignorance but I honestly didn't know that term was a racial slur until my late teenage years. Having never heard derisive and racist terminology from my parents, I thought that a tar baby was nothing more than the tar made trap Brer Fox made when trying to catch Brer Rabbit in the Uncle Remus Tales. :-$ Now I know better I can see why the people of NO would be so upset about this.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
I've said it before, I'll say it again:

WOW

Just WOW
 
Messages
5,352
Points
31
The CPC has been searching for a REAL director ever since 1999. With the exception of the interim directors, no one has been able to run that office since then.
 
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Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
That's got to be one of the worst first days on the job ever. Like Biscuit, I have no idea what he meant by that - but it doesn't sound too good. :-\
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,796
Points
61
Would he set the NO record for the shortest time in office ?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,704
Points
69
8-!

Being a Northerner, I've heard "tar baby" used -- rarely, at that -- in only two contexts. About 75% of the time, it was an offensive term used to describe a black infant. I think it was used in the South to describe black licorice shaped like babies. That other 25%, the term was used as the equivalent of "quagmire." Let's Google ...

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
tar baby
NOUN: A situation or problem from which it is virtually impossible to disentangle oneself.
ETYMOLOGY: After “Bre'r Rabbit and the Tar Baby,” an Uncle Remus story by Joel Chandler Harris.
Googling around some more, I see some usage of "tar baby" by pundits and newspaper columnists to describe the Iraq war, the Middle East in general, or some overly complicated inside-the-Beltway affair. Still, though, the audience is different.

"Tar baby" isn't like "*****rdly," though, which isn't based on or rooted in a similar sounding racial slur. "Tar baby" has a racial connotation in either context; the roots are the same. It doesn't just sound like a slur, but it is a slur.

The PD's background:

Emrick, who has a master's degree in urban and regional planning from Auburn University in Alabama, was planning director in Asheville from 1974 to 1994. He later was planning director for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from 1995 to 1997 and director of planning and development for the Orlando, Fla., Housing Authority from 2000 to 2002.

Until this spring, he was a senior planner for Keith and Schnars, an engineering and planning firm with offices throughout Florida.

He also is president of V. Emrick & Associates, a consulting firm that has worked for communities in several Southeastern states, and vice president of Osage Co., a family-owned company that designs and distributes rehabilitation medical equipment.
With that background (and a name like "Verl"), it's obvious he's a Southerner. He should know the term has an offensive meaning. If it didn't cross his mind when he uttered the term, he's either very ignorant, or he exhibited an extraordinary lapse in judgement.

I'm going to say this is a huge "oops"; one deserving of a reprimand, but maybe not career-crushing condemnation. To use the term like a policy wonking pundit -- with no offensive intent meant -- Mr. Emrick created his own tar baby.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,704
Points
69
From the City of New Orleans Mayor's Office:

C. Ray Nagin
MAYOR FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2004

Mayor Responds to Insensitive Comments Made By Director of City Planning Commission

“I can't imagine that in 2004 that someone would make those comments. As far as I'm concerned, we need to continue the search for a City Planning Commission director. I'm weighing in on this because it is absolutely unacceptable for someone to make these comments at all,” Mayor C. Ray Nagin said.

[snip]
From WDSU Channel 6:

Official Can't Shake 'Tar Baby' Remark, Resigns
Nagin Sticks It To New Director Of City Planning Commission


POSTED: 5:00 pm CDT April 7, 2004
UPDATED: 7:15 pm CDT April 7, 2004

NEW ORLEANS -- The new director of the City Planning Commission resigned Wednesday after being accused of making a racially insensitive remark during his first day on the job.

Verl Emrick, who is white, was hired last week as the commission's new executive director. He said during an introductory meeting on Monday that he intended "to grab the tar baby by the ears and jump right in" on his new work.

Some staff members reportedly notified Mayor Ray Nagin's office that they found Emrick's use of the term "tar baby" offensive.

[snip]
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Hope this joker has enough money in the bank to retire. He is I hope out of the world of urban planning.

Damn it, makes those of us from the South look bad!
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,704
Points
69
From today's New Orleans Times-Picayune[/url]

Tar baby' phrase dooms new hire
Planning director won't fight for job


Thursday April 08, 2004

By Bruce Eggler
Staff writer

Verl Emrick, hired last week as executive director of the New Orleans City Planning Commission, will not try to hold onto the post in the face of growing controversy over a comment he made his first day on the job, commission Chairman Marshall Truehill said Wednesday.

The commission, which is legally independent of the city administration, will hold a special meeting today to decide what to do next in its search for a director.

[snip]
 
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