Tuesday, February 12, 2008

D-5 Meetin'

This evening I attended an open town hall meeting organized by State Senator Cheryl Gray.

It is encouraging to see an elected official make an honest effort to keep in touch with the community in an unpretentious way.

We were all encouraged to ask questions and raise whatever concerns.

Turnout was... eh.

Maybe twenty something people. Maybe thirty.

A lot of neighborhood association types, some recently-elected Democratic committee people, State Rep. Neil Abramson, City Councilwoman Shelly Midura, some of NOPD's finest, Cheryl Gray, her staff, and a judge.

A lot of shout-outs to Robert Cerasoli, our new inspector general here in New Orleans.

Anyone could have been there, though. It's not an exclusive club. I made it past the velvet ropes no problem. (None of them have any idea that I happen to be a Mayoral candidate)

State Senator Gray spoke briefly about the legislative session that Governor Bobby Jindal has called to address the ethics laws governing state officials. It was only her second day in the Senate. Neil Abramson is only on day two in the House as well.

Sounds like they're busy. They were broken into committees and tons and tons of ethics reform bills are going to be going onto the House and Senate floors this week and next. They're trying to require officials to reveal the sources of their income. One area that may be contentious may be whether or not to expand that requirement to judges.

Apparently, it's a question of constitutionality.

Yo! Of course a judge is going to find it unconstitutional!

We can't require judges to disclose the sources of their income in this state?

Shoot, that's a conflict of interest problem waiting to happen. It probably already has happened. A lot of times, probably.

Anyway, they have a lot of different bills they gotta sort through. You can watch it live here.

Shelley Midura said City Council has sent a resolution automatically applying any new state laws stronger than existing municipal laws to municipal officials. People clapped.

The NOPD officials answered questions for awhile. It was very interesting, I'm thankful to the officers for doing so. They're put on the defensive a lot, I'm sorry to say.

But they should be, people are rightfully mad about the crime, we have to ask questions.

Ed McGinnis, President of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association informs me that it was tame. Each police district has monthly open meetings, I'm pretty sure on the third Tuesday of every month.

The rest of the time Cheryl Gray just took questions from the attendees.

Questions about the ethics bills, questions about coastal restoration, questions about the new VA hospital, questions about accessibility.

(This accessibility thing where a State Senator meets with constituents to answer questions and open a community conversation is apparently new to District 5)

Senator Gray promised to look into some of the things people were concerned about, promised a newsletter to constituents, and promised to meet again with us soon.

I was a jackass and asked State Senator Gray if she was considering a bid against William Jefferson Jefferson to go to Washington D.C. to represent the city. People howled. She just started this job. I know, I know. Anyway, nobody really ate the refreshments.


Hmm, maybe I should run for his office first. Before I run for Mayor. I think I might do that. Because I'll likely lose the first race. It'll position me better for the mayoral run, no? Get some name recognition, establish my values and my character... I'll commission some polls or some test groups or hire a consultant or something... unless I win.
I'm in it to win it!

Mr. Jefferson's running for reelection.

I believe his presence in Congress is an embarrassment to this city.

If people here are going to get what they deserve under the next President, we're going to need someone that cares about the people's concerns. It's called the audacity of care. (Oh snap!)


mominem said...

Just cut out the pussy footing around and run for Governor.

E said...

"You guys are having great fun with this, and I'm having great fun with this."

-C. Lame Duck Nagin

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying reading your blogs. BUT today is the 13th and no blog...i'm waiting mr. e! ;)
--strawberry rita--

seung said...

Wanted to correct some of your facts, especially your report on Shelley Midura.

You said that "Shelley Midura said City Council has sent a resolution automatically applying any new state laws stronger than existing municipal laws to municipal officials. People clapped."

That is not what she said. She said that the Council sent a resolution supporting the state legislation to have the new financial disclosure rules apply to local and parish officials as well as to state elected officials. People clapped because that's the issue that killed the financial disclosure legislation last session. State legislators objected to having disclosure rules apply to them but not to local officials. The New Orleans City Council passed a resolution so that this objection could be muted as far as New Orleans was concerned.

Just wanted to make that clear as I think you misunderstood the issue and the context.

Legislative Director
Councilmember Shelley Midura

E said...

Duly noted. Thanks Seung. I meant to describe the exchange. I admit that I have not studied the resolution and have not kept up on the state ethics reform as much as I have other issues.