Filed Under:  Local, Opinion

Get free or die tryin’

8th April 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis
The Louisiana Weekly Editor

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is a Bad Boy. How else might you explain his recent impersonation of hip-hop impresario Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, dancing around the issues like a lizard on a blazing summer sidewalk and talking smack about Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman and any Black elected official or community leader who gets in his way? With multiple wars of words between the mayor and his ever-growing list of critics, an ongoing debate about NOPD racial profiling, an undermanned and outgunned police department and a city administration that thinks democracy and plutocracy are the same thing, these are some turbulent times.

But a little turbulence never hurt anybody, right? In fact, what some consider turbulence or static might actually be labor pains as the Crescent City prepares to give birth to a new era, one in which the constitutional rights of each human being who lives here are fully guaranteed and protected and the skies are not cloudy all day.

To that end, let’s shake things up a little bit with some questions:
• Who told this mayor that he has the authority, expertise or the right to tell an entire community of Black people how to deal with Black-on-Black violence and that he doesn’t need input from any Black people in the city with their boots on the ground, and why can’t he admit to himself or the public that City Hall plays a role in the downward spiral of Black people by failing to expand educational and economic opportunities for people of color and failing to address a blatant, decades-long effort to deny Black people equal protection under the law?
• Why is the New York Police Department on trial for racially profiling Blacks and Latinos but the New Orleans Police Department is being allowed to continue its reign of terror on Black New Orleans and poor residents?
• Who thinks the Landrieu administration and NOPD would handle the case of missing second-grade teacher Terrilynn Monnette the same way if she had been the daughter or granddaughter of King Rex or one of those young, promising debutants from the Upper Garden District?
• Why are there still eight automobiles submerged in various bodies of water in City Park weeks after they were discovered during the search for evidence in the Terrilyn Monnette case?
• What are the odds of the Rev. Charles Southhall showing up as special counsel for a prospective team of applicants (Hilliard Heintz) vying for the lucrative contract to reform the NOPD?
• Do you think Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard is losing any sleep over the recent flap about a major pattern of theft that has cost the school system an estimated $2.7 million in stolen laptops and other school property?
• Why do you think the executive director of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, resigned so abruptly from his post after it was announced that State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is launching a probe of the state’s Medicaid program?
• After Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest move that will ultimately end the success the state’s film industry has enjoyed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the governor’s refusal to expand Louisiana’s Medicaid program, have the state’s white residents finally had their fill of Piyush?
• If the mayor decides to raise taxes and cut city services, who does he think is going to vote to re-elect him or any member of the New Orleans City Council who supports that kind of nonsense?
• What makes this mayor think he has the right to tell Black New Orleans residents that have to choose between ending NOPD racial profiling and addressing Black-on-Black violence?
• How many Black New Orleans residents would embrace the idea of voting for a mayor of any color that places greater value on ending NOPD racial profiling and finally ensuring that people of color who live in this city are guaranteed equal protection under the law?
• When are Black voters going to get tired of the Louisiana Public Service Commission’s Lambert Boissiere III, who has shown complete disregard for families with incarcerated loved ones living within the prison industrial complex by siding with companies that charge them exorbitant rates for phone calls?
• With so many Black people with the wherewithal doing and saying nothing about the racial injustice in this city and many of the city’s elected officials of color willingly allowing themselves to be used by the powers that be to oppress communities of color, hasn’t New Orleans really taken on the feel of St. Domingue just before the start of the Haitian revolution?
• Whose fault it is that the larger society has been getting away with violating the constitutional rights of Black New Orleanians for so long that many people who live here believed that the City of New Orleans would never have to worry about paying the karmic and financial costs associated with routinely depriving tax-paying citizens of their human and civil rights?
• What kinds of games are Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his cronies playing with the release of that ridiculous OPP inmate video last week?
• Are there still any residents of this city who doubt that the mayor will go to any lengths to get his way or assassinate the character of anyone he perceives to be a real threat while painting himself as the Second Coming of the Messiah?
• What’s up with the brothers and sisters at Dillard University who reportedly took a stand last week by insisting upon flying a red, black and green flag on campus?
• Anybody shocked that Louisiana residents, living in a state with a homicide rate that doubles the national average, are adamant about not enacting gun-control laws even after the Newton, Connecticut massacre?
• Have you already started emailing, writing and calling your city councilman and letting him or her know how you will vote in the next City Council election if he or she is myopic or weak-minded enough to support the mayor’s call for higher taxes and a cut to city services to pay for the NOPD consent decree?
• Black New Orleans, are you ready for Freedom Summer 2013?

This article originally published in the April 8, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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