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Endorsements for October 19th Election

14th October 2013   ·   0 Comments

It would have been nice if the City elections might have been merged with the state/judicial elections below, to save money and our precious time. As it stands, the electorate will be back at the polls, in not just six weeks, but again in a handful of months for the Mayor’s race. The constancy of elections, however, does not mean that you, the VOTER, has the right to demur from casting his or her ballot this Saturday.

There are important races for Traffic Court, Magistrate, and Juvenile Court, in Orleans and Jefferson, and milliage and ballot measures which have long-term importance to maintaining the Sewerage and Water Systems.

So, when the polls open at 6 a.m. on Saturday, we recommend…

Orleans Parish

Judge, Traffic Court: Steve Jupiter
This race drew a slew of candidates, yet Stephen Jupiter has the most passion of the contenders. Most particularly, he had the courage to address the lack of judicial review of traffic camera tickets, stating, “Traffic camera-issued tickets deserve the same level of scrutiny and review as tickets issued by police officers. The delays in notification of a violation make it more difficult for the person receiving a ticket to recall the details of an incident, and adversely affects the driver’s ability to challenge the ticket.”

He wants to change that if elected to the Traffic Court, and our editorial board sees that as a worthy reason to vote for Jupiter on Saturday.

Magistrate, Criminal District Court: Mark Vicknair

This race had one the best crop of candidates our editors had seen in years. With the principal candidates comparable in experience before the Magistrate Court, the choice came down to Mark Vicknair’s commitment to make the position a full-time, 24/7 effort.

Considering the six-figure salary that this position enjoys, our editors do not believe this is too much to ask of the candidates. Vicknair not only seeks to upgrade the warrant process to make it electronic; his pledge to “be available at all times for the signing of warrants” made all the difference.

Crime never sleeps, as he noted, and often police need warrant applications signed at all hours of the day and night. Only someone who pledges to treat the Magistrate’s position as a full time job should be considered. Vote Mark Vicknair.

PW HRCAmd.Sec.4-102(2)(a)&4-704: Vote Yes

This provision amends the Home Rule Charter to abolish the Board of Electrical Examiners, the Board of Examiners of Operating Engineers, and the Board of Mechanical Examiners, all defunct organizations under state law. It’s a housekeeping measure to make the City’s constitution less wordy.

PW HRCAmd.Sec.5-301: Vote Yes

This is a fundamental change, but an important one. It codifies in the City Charter a state law change dealing with the appointments to the Sewerage and Water Board, allowing the Mayor and good government organizations to play the primary role in comprising the body, with council approval. It simplifies the appointment process, and makes it far more accountable to the public.

Jefferson Parish

Judge Juvenile Court, Division C:
Barron C. Burmaster

There were also several good candidates in this race, but Ms. Burmaster is the clear choice. She enjoys experience in Juvenile Court and her support for the Missouri Plan that would not eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, but would focus on constructive rehabilitation is defining. Burmaster is not trying just to lock up children; she believes in finding the path for them to have a second chance.

Cons. Sewerage Dist. No.1: Vote Yes
Cons. Waterworks Dist. No.1: Vote Yes

These two tax renewals both focus on keeping Jefferson’s water system up to date, and making sure that the Parish avoids a costly federal consent decrees to rebuild its sewerage system as Orleans fell under—and to make sure the suburban parish’s electorate would not suffer the same drastic fee increases in the future as the City will see in the next few years. It is a question of pay now, or pay later.

Our editors suggest, continue to pay what we have for years, and save lots of money later. When Jeff voters rejected this renewal earlier this year, they expressed a worry that a future administration might attempt to roll forward the milliages rate to the full five mills amount, rather than keep it at the current rates of 3.58 and 3.54 mills respectively. These revamped renewals mandate the status quo, unlike the previous vote, keeping the current rates locked in for ten years. Not one dollar in taxes goes up, now or in the future. Please support clean water by voting for this measure.

PW School Board: Vote Yes

This simply renews a seven mills property tax in Jefferson that funds public schools. Without the estimated $23,238,756, most public schools would cease to function.

This article originally published in the October 14, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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