10-Year Sentence for Nagin Shows Compassion, Reason

Ray Nagin
Ray Nagin

With the 10-year sentence handed down by Judge Ginger Berrigan in the case of former mayor, C. Ray Nagin, it seems that reason and compassion have finally met justice and the law.

To be sure, with sentencing guidelines that ranged from 15 to 20 years, today’s sentencing was a success for Nagin.

The government’s prosecution team, led by Matt Coman, objected to the sentence. They had essentially asked Judge Berrigan to throw the book at Nagin and cited the public corruption cases of former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, and former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, as examples of the type of sentence that Nagin should receive. Blagojevich is serving a 14-year sentence for soliciting bribes for political appointments while serving as governor. Kilpatrick is now serving 28 years for federal mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering.

There was, of course, one problem with the government’s call for stiff sentencing for Nagin using Blagojevich and Kilpatrick’s crimes as the standard. Nagin did not commit the types of crimes of which those two former public officials were guilty. It seems that no one wants to say it, but we have and will again. He was not ring leader or mastermind of some criminal enterprise. He did not raid the public coffers. And quite frankly, the trips, and gifts of granite and other items he was found guilty of taking in exchange for favors apparently did little to make him rich. Nagin was more foolish and unwise than he was felonious. He may very well be guilty of many things—not the least of which was putting his trust in folks he should not have; but nothing he was found guilty of warrants a 20-year prison term from what we could see.

It seems Judge Berrigan agreed. Though 10 years is still a long time to be imprisoned, we hope that he, his family and friends find some comfort in the relatively mild sentence. It certainly has renewed our faith in the system.

Nagin is set to report to prison on Sept. 8. Of course, we expect Nagin to continue to avail himself of the appeals process and wish him and his family the very best as this tragic chapter of his life continues to play out.

New Orleans Not Yet Ready for Uber

It’s not very often that we agree with the city’s administration. When it happens we tend to pinch ourselves—just to make certain we aren’t dreaming. Ouch! Nope, this is not a dream.

The city of New Orleans is right to move slowly with regard to Uber, the internet-based car-for-hire service that seems to be sweeping the nation. Questions of how this operation will be regulated must be answered before Uber is to start service in New Orleans, if it should be allowed to operate at all.

But make no mistake about it, the reason the city must move prudently as it relates to Uber has everything to do with onerous regulations the city has placed on the local taxi cab industry.

Some local drivers have had a hard enough time staying afloat with vehicle-age limits laws and ordinances requiring security cameras, GPS systems, and credit card machine. Adding Uber to the mix without making certain that the cars and drivers that operate through this service will be held to the same stringent standards as local taxi drivers and their vehicles would be downright unfair.

So yes, Uber needs to wait. Maybe it should not be allowed to operate here at all. To all of you Uber-maniacs—locals and tourists, alike—that just can’t wait to Uber to make its debut in New Orleans, you have the city administration and its tedious laws governing the taxicab industry to thank.

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