Stacy Head seeks re-election
13th January 2014 · 0 Comments
By Christopher Tidmore
While Stacy Head remains, according to some political pundits, a favorite for re-election to Council at-Large, she faces her most serious and best-financed opponent in years, former New Orleans (East) Business and Industrial District head Eugene Green. Unlike the other at-Large race, Head has to contend with an African-American electorate frustrated with the racial composition of a Council that went from a pre-Katrina 5-2 ratio of Black to white, to 2-5, post-Katrina.
Add to the equation Head no longer has the old “unwritten” rule of one white at-Large incumbent, one Black at-Large. Her last election victory over Cynthia Willard-Lewis created a Caucasian supermajority.
It is said that her opponent lacks Head’s money, and breadth of support. In a race broken up by the 12 days, New Year’s, and every other holiday distraction, Head’s lead in name recognition and funding could prove all the difference.
Says Head, it is her record as an incumbent why she wants and deserves another term on the Council. “I seek re-election because my work is not finished. I intend to continue to focus on the elimination of blight through stricter enforcement, to assist the continued commercial comeback of traditional commercial corridors, including Claiborne, and to fight wasteful spending and fraud in government budgeting so that services get where they are needed most.”
In the incumbent Council-woman’s view, besides being “hard working, focused and detail oriented”, she’s built, “a culture of responsiveness within my office as Council-at-Large. Constituents from anywhere across the city should know that if they call my office with any issue – from licensing and permitting to safety and blight – my staff and I will listen to their concerns, identify the best solution to the problem, and follow through to make sure their needs are addressed.”
She runs for re-election on three principal campaign planks, “First, Continue to work to improve quality of life issues for constituents, such as improving roads and infrastructure, making sure streetlights work, and eradicating blight; Second, Continue in my efforts to keep government functioning better so that the people of New Orleans can prosper. This includes improving city hall services and customer service across the board; [and] third, to continue to develop ‘business corridors’ such as those I helped get off the ground in the Freret and O.C. Haley neighborhoods, and on Claiborne.”
This last category has been the major priority of Head’s term on the Council from the beginning. “Since my election to District B, I have worked to promote the growth of traditional commercial corridors, particularly with small, home-grown businesses. After being elected to Councilmember-at-Large, I expanded this effort citywide. My past successes give me confidence that a simple model works. But this model requires follow-through and tenacity.”
Considering the $20 million cost of repairing the current City Hall, the Council-woman came out in favor of turning Big Charity into the New City Hall. But, she agreed with the CDC judges and mayoral candidate Michael Bagneris that the building has problems in conversion to a new courthouse complex. “I support the Mayor’s plan. Regarding the courthouse issue, I think this has already been resolved. Apparently there are too many columns in the old Charity to support a courthouse, where there are security issues for a judge not being able to see the entire room. But the use of Charity as a more efficient, and ultimately cost-saving city hall, appears to be a wise move.”
“My track record as an independent, fair, responsive, and hard-working Councilmember speaks for itself. Regardless of the neighborhood or the personalities involved, I study the issues, research the facts and make opinions and cast votes deliberately. True independence is necessary for a healthy city.”
Then, she recollected, “Being a public official is not an easy job. So much of it is on-the-job training, and serving while New Orleans has recovered from one of the nation’s worst urban disasters has not been easy, nor have the rules been always clear. I’ve made mistakes; I’ve had tremendous rewards.”
“There are the big issues we deal with, such as making sure neighborhoods have streetlights. But the small ones impact me too: During Hurricane Isaac for example, making sure an elderly woman got the ice she needed. I was the only Councilperson answering their phone that day, so I made it happen. You literally give your life to service once you accept this job, and there are those who want the gamesmanship to get in the way of helping the families of this city.”
This article originally published in the January 13, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.