Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Speaking of James Perry...

I just spoke to James Perry.

Consider it confirmed.

We have heard from the man himself that he is indeed weighing a run for Mayor and has launched an exploratory committee to examine the possibility.


The fundamental concern is that the rebuilding effort is failing. So far, the folks who have discussed running for Mayor have not had a strong record when it comes to rebuilding. Many of them are great folks with strong records but they haven't been pushing on these issues around getting the neighborhoods in New Orleans rebuilt.

On the vacuum of leadership, an example of citizens and third parties forced to pick up the slack:

The leadership really just hasn't pushed on the issues. For instance, money is not flowing adequately from the Road Home program to homeowners but it's almost impossible to find comments from the City Council or from the Mayor's office where they take that issue head-on, where they go to the state legislature, where they go to the LRA and they say "you've got to get this money into the community."

The Road Home program has been failing since its inception but none of them have tackled it. On the other hand, when I saw failings, my organization filed a class-action lawsuit against the Road Home program to force them to allocate funds in a fairer fashion and to allocate more money.

There was a report a few years back that the Road Home program was likely $3 billion short. The Mayor sent a letter to Congress and said 'we need more money for the Road Home Program,' but that's about where it stopped. I think if we were short on that program, they should have flown up to Washington DC and met with members of Congress and lobbied for that money aggressively. Well, I'll tell you what, hundreds of rebuilding advocates and non profit leaders did just that. I was one of the folks who testified before a Congressional panel that we needed more money for the program. Our local leadership didn't do that. If we didn't that extra $3 billion into the program, thousands of homeowners would have been left without enough money to rebuild.

The bottom line is that they've been focused on issues other than the rebuilding process and if we don't really get it going shortly, we won't have the opportunity to rebuild the city to its previous grandeur.

Finally, the prerequisite caveats regarding the decision to run:

This is a difficult process to make this decision and the guiding factor is making sure that this would be what's best for the city. The thing that's clear right now is that the majority of programs and activities has stalled. If this is what it takes to get them moving, then this is what we'll do. We're still in the decision making process.

I'm anxious to hear more and I'm confident that we all will.


Red said...

You guessed the "Blind Item"!:)

I think James has amazing potential to be the mayor of New Orleans. I'm a huge admirer of his work.

Jeffrey said...

James would make an excellent Mayor. Who do you guys think could be the various heads of his departments, or other quality candidates? Latoya Cantrell's name should be in the mix, too (actually, everyone at Broadmoor should have a role in policymaking in the city, especially Hal Roark). I'd also like to see a Department of Public Markets staffed by CCFM and NOFFN folks.

Any which way we cut it, it's time for the progressive Young Turks of this great city to take the reigns.