29th October 2012 · 0 Comments
In 2008, minority voters did something that pundits had long ruled impossible. African-Americans voted at levels at—or above—Caucasians. They had a motivation, healing an ancient national wound by putting the first Black President in the White House.
Four years later, apathy, though, is in danger of returning. Despite a close presidential election far closer nationally and local key Council races in Districts B and E at stake and the very composition of the Orleans School Board in play—some voters, particularly some Black voters, have muttered that they might not take the trouble to vote.
That potential apathy marks not only a betrayal of those heroes who sacrificed to gain the franchise for all, regardless of skin color or national origin, but of the generations living now—who will live to see the impact of the candidates elected.
Fight the apathy. Vote on November 6, 2012.
President of the United States: Barack Obama
In the 2008 presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton asked, “Who do you trust to answer the phone at three am,” in a crisis?
Four years later, the answer clearly is Barack Obama. “Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors lives” is a campaign quip, but also a truism of a President willing to act decisively.
Fundamentally, that is why the incumbent President is winning this election, and deserves your vote on November 6, 2012.
He deserves our vote not, as pundits would have everyone believe, because he is Black. He deserves our vote because of all he has accomplished.
And the President deserves to be re-elected for all that still needs to get done.
The local media has mostly ignored how the Health Care Reform Act will help poorer states with large, uninsured populations, in particular ours.
And they have failed to inform you that if Mitt Romney is President, the projected funds scheduled to build dozens of community health centers and help fund the operation of the new UMC Medical Center in the BioDistrict and the Hospital in New Orleans East will evaporate.
Rarely has your vote counted more. Vote for the Re-election of Barack Obama on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Please vote.
Second Congressional District: Cedric Richmond
In just two years, Cedric Richmond has become the talk of Washington. Ranking under the “‘who’s who’ 40 under 40” list of DC movers and shakers, Richmond has achieved what few U.S. House freshman can, making his name known in key national policy circles. His first term has set a trajectory of distinction on Capitol Hill. He deserves a second.
ORLEANS PARISH ELECTIONS
New Orleans City Council District B: LaToya Cantrell
Of the many candidates in this race, several impressed us. Eric Strachan, a longtime Council aide, was particularly articulate in his reformist ideas. But, when the final decision came, our editors had to choose “the Savior of Broadmoor,” LaToya Cantrell.
Ms. Cantrell would be first to give credit to others in her Broadmoor Improvement Association, yet the fact remains, when the Urban Planners planned greenspace for the neighborhood, it was LaToya Cantrell’s call to action and her tireless coordinating efforts that brought back New Orleans first integrated neighborhood to vitality.
She has been a leader in the recovery, fighting City Hall and apathy, whenever necessary to help people getback in their homes. Her “main street program” ideas could bring much-needed retail commerce back into District B.
New Orleans City Council District E: James A. Gray II
This race is blessed with a myriad of good candidates that under other circumstances we might have endorsed. Jerrelda Drummer Sanders provides a font of passion and ideas for the recovery of New Orleans East. And, State Rep. Austin Badon, who we have supported in the past, is one of the clearest reformist voices in the New Orleans political world.
Yet, District E, from the Ninth Ward to the East, is at a crossroads over seven years since Hurricane Katrina. This most devastated region of New Orleans must go from post-storm triage to a return to normalcy. This means increased retail presences, and a restoration of those quality of life elements that make neighborhoods grow.
In the view of our editorial board, James Gray has demonstrated a unique ability to work across political and business boundaries to create progress. In his legal and public careers, few people can boast of the civic accomplishments that Gray can.
The former Marine and first African-American Law Professor at LSU is also an expert in a crisis, helping those with nowhere else to go. During the Haitian refugee crisis, his work on behalf of many refugees, even fostering one of the children in his home, brought widespread acclaim.
Member of School Board District 1: Ira Thomas
Ira Thomas is the “rock of the School Board,” the man who his fellow board members look for strength in either difficult reforms, or in calling for a return to local control. He deserves another term.
Member of School Board District 2: Cynthia Cade
Cynthia Cade is the board’s conscience. She has kept the plight of those who have had extreme difficulty navigating the bureaucracy of three separate school systems. Her fight for the disadvantaged in the school system qualifies her for re-election.
Member of School Board District 3: Karran Harper Royal
We were deeply impressed by public school parent Karran Harper Royal’s passion to return public schools to local control. It is a desire born of her own struggles with a disabled child who has had to fight for what most take for granted–the right to take a seat in a class room.
The experience of trying to get her own child in school made Harper Royal an advocate for parents trying to navigate the labyrinthine of bureaucracy that has become the Charter School registration process. Many children are in school today because of Ms. Royal’s efforts.
Parents and Children need an advocate on the OPSB too. There should be at least one member of the board who knows the problems of access first hand–and has shown a willingness to find a solution.
Member of School Board District 4: Lourdes Moran
Mrs. Moran has been the voice of consistency on the board. Arguing for years for better practices, and at the same time keeping the calls for local control going on the OPSB. She has worked closely with her colleagues and deserves another term.
Member of School Board District 5: Seth Bloom
Seth Bloom runs unopposed.
Member of School Board District 7: Thomas Robichaux
Thomas Robichaux was the key player in straightening out the moribund finances of the School District, a key component to restoring local control In fact, no OPSB member has argued more loudly for an end to the RSD and restoration of Board, and community, oversight of public schools than Robichaux.
Clerk 2nd City Court: Adam Lambert
After Hurricane Katrina, one of the first people in the Second City Court House, helping to get this center of Algiers life back up and running was Adam Lambert.
His career in recent years has shown a dedication to the needs of the people of Algiers and the Court System that serves them. Lambert spends much of his free time providing free notarial and legal services to the people of the West Bank. If anyone has earned the Clerk’s position, Adam Lambert has.
Judge 2nd City Court: No recommendation
We have decided to wait for the runoff to make a recommendation in this crowded field of candidates.
Constable 2nd City Court, Judge Criminal District Court, Section B, & Judge, Court of Appeal 4th Circuit, 1st District, Division H: None of the candidates in these races sought the endorsement of The Louisiana Weekly.
LOCAL BALLOT INITIATIVES
PW School District Local Option – Term Limits: Yes
From Governor to Legislature to Mayor to City Council, term limits have proven a popular way to limit the power of incumbents. With the millions of dollars in contracts under the control of local school boards, this measure would extend term limits to the OPSB.
Currently, other metro school boards, like Jefferson Parish, have term limits, and are no worse off because of it. New Orleans would benefit just as much.
PW Crescent City Bridge 20 Yrs. – Toll Collection – Act 865: No
When the tolls on New Orleans’ Mississippi River Bridge were renewed, it was promised that they would fund roadwork across the East and West Bank. The roadwork was never done, and money disappeared.
The Crescent City Connection is the only bridge over the Mississippi in Louisiana with a toll. The bonds are paid off, which was the reason for the toll in the first place. It is now time for the toll to end. Vote no to keep the tolls from coming back.
PW CC (HRC) HRC Amendment – CC: Yes
This was a difficult issue for our editors. The Change in the City Charter, if approved, would create two separate elections for Council At-Large candidates.
PW CC (N.O. Reg. Bus. Park) 20 Mills – CC – 20 Yrs.: No
This would renew the special tax that is paid by the residents of the New Orleans East based-Regional Business Park. The problem is that business owners in the park do not want it. And, as far as our editors can see, the money has been wasted for over two decades.
Funds that are supposed to help generate business for the park have too often gone to pay for political sinecures, and the resulting bad press that do nothing employees create.
Money that is for the politically connected alone need not come from the pockets of the voters, even the business owners of the city’s only business park.
Lake Vista Crime Prev. Dist. $220 Parcel Fee – CC – 4 Yrs.: Yes
Gentilly Terrace & Gardens Sec. Dist. Annual Fee – CC – 3 Yrs.: Yes
N. Kenilworth Imprv. & Security Dist. Annual Fee – CC – 8 Yrs.: Yes
Every citizen has the right to police protection, and should be able to count upon officers patrolling their neighborhoods to keep the peace. Tight municipal budgets often makes this impossible, which is the reason that Neighborhood Policing districts were created. If citizens are willing to vote extra taxes upon themselves to fund more police on their streets, they should have the right. And, their fellow voters should support that right.
Orleans Levee District 6.07 Mills – BOC – 30 Yrs.: No
Since Hurricane Katrina, City Government has rolled forward milliages to increase revenues. It’s been a stealth tax increase on many homeowners as property values have increased, but the tax rate has also climbed despite the Assessor’s office requiring more of the home’s value subject to the milliage rate.
The Orleans Levee district has also been the beneficiary of these stealth tax increases. Our editors are not opposed to providing more legitimate resources to protect our city from storms and flooding, but when more our hard earned tax dollars have been taken, with no explanation of their usage, it takes a bit of mendacity to then ask for even more.
The members of the Orleans Levee Board have done a terrible job explaining why a tax increase would make any bit of difference, and until they do, a higher milliage rate is worth voting against.
CA NO. 1 (Act 873 – SB 82) Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly: YES
This stops the legislature from raiding the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly from for other purposes when adjustments are made to eliminate a state deficit. It is a good idea.
CA NO. 2 (Act 874 – SB 303) Right of each Citizen to keep and bear arms: NO
The title of this amendment is a misnomer. No one is challenging the Federal Second Amendment Right to bear arms.
The amendment, instead, would eliminate all Louisiana restrictions on gun ownership, create new threats to public safety, and potentially give new legal tools to those who use guns in the commission of other crimes.
CA NO. 3 (Act 872 – SB 21) Prefiling DL/for retirement/public employee: Yes
The state constitution already stipulates that bills impacting the state’s public retirement systems must be filed at least 10 days before the start of a legislative session and advertised in the official state journal on two separate occasions at least 30 days prior to their filing.
Amendment No. 3 would lengthen the public notice requirements, mandating that such bills be filed at least 45 days before a session begins, and advertised three times 60 days in advance of their filing.
The Amendment increases public transparency.
CA NO. 4 (Act 875 – SB 337) Survivor Spouse/Deceased Veteran/Homestead Exemption: Yes
CA NO. 5 (Act 868 – HB 9) Forfeiture Retirement Benefit Pub.Off./Conv.Felon: Yes
CA NO. 6 (Act 869 – HB 497) Gov.Auth. of New Iberia – prop.annexed by the City: Yes
CA NO. 7 (Act 870 – HB 524) Provides filling appts/Vac. on Bds./Comm.: Yes
CA NO. 8 (Act 871 – HB 674) State Bd. of Comm./Industry-Tax Exemp. Contracts: Yes
CA NO. 9 (Act 876 – SB 410) Security District/Parcel Fee w/in District: Yes.
This article originally published in the October 29, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.