Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A trail of busted doors

Note from Eli: Everyone be nice to the letter "a."

So last night I attended a candidate forum at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. Eastern New Orleans state representative Austin Badon Jr. was the featured candidate. The talk motivated me to contribute my first-ever post to this here blog, a longtime favorite of mine. I cross-posted this at, the New Orleans Institute website where Karen Gadbois and I are regular contributors. FYI: My background is in traditional print reporting so forgive the non-blog-style blog post; I like stories with ledes and quotes sometimes too. Here goes:

We are officially living in a war zone.
Eastern New Orleans mayoral hopeful Rep. Austin Badon raised eyebrows last night with a call for a new Stazi-style approach to crime fighting, telling a roomful of District B voters that if he is elected mayor they will see “the NOPD kicking in at least four doors a day.”
The line appeared to stun many in the audience of uptown neighborhood leaders who had come to hear Badon, many of them for the first time. Upon reading furrowed brows, Badon quickly added that he would not lose track of “civil liberties and all that” and pointed out in a style reminiscent of police chief Warren Riley that most of the violence in the city was between “thugs and drug dealers killing each other off.”
The similarity to Riley was ironic as Badon emphasized throughout the talk the need to take him and other members of the current administration out to pasture.
“We are going to bring the best and brightest people,” he said. “Right now I am working to set up meetings in Miami to look at the best people, the best police chief to bring here.”
Badon appeared to have given more thought to crime than other issues, such as planning. While he did not know that the city’s master plan has not yet been written, he was prepared enough to note that the police chief he picks will be, unlike Riley, on the same page as the district attorney and the business community.
“The next police chief will be someone who has the support of the business community and the DA,” he said.
Badon, who considers himself a fiscal conservative, also noted that the City Council and the mayor “need help.”
“They are somewhere between Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless and I am not happy with what I see,” he said in response to a question about the behavior of the city council.
The married and childless Badon had no love either for Director of Public Works Robert Mendoza. He named public works as the department most in need of restructuring, as well as more funding. “I have been with the manager (of public works) and heard things I don’t agree with. They should not be treating you taxpayers the way they are.”
The nebulous statement was followed up with an explanation of why he hadn’t read any of the reports put out by the city or the Bureau of Governmental Research that describe possible restructuring. The reason?
“When there is a study, they don’t send it to us,” he said.
But if the 2010 mayoral race ends up turning on issues of personal style, New Orleanians better get used to sending their studies Badon’s way.
The little-known state representative showed up last night to the informal forum dressed to the nines with a sharply-tailored zoot suit jacket ( hello inverted back pleat!) and a four-pointed hankie in his breast pocket. The unstoppable outfit set the right tone for a campaign presentation long on big, sometimes extreme statements, and short on nuance.


jeffrey said...

What the heck is going on in Miami?

E said...

It's all about John Timony, who worked with Rudy in NYC and then did a lot of tough work as chief in Philly. I remember him being popular and competent, but I think there have been a number of things since then and in Miami that have dulled his shine a little bit.

jeffrey said...

It's also where library administrators recently traveled to "learn about best practices" I just wondered if it had become some sort of public administration Valhalla while I wasn't paying attention.

Civitch said...

Who cares about best practices when the guy wears a jacket with an inverted back pleat?

Karen said...

Miami is where Lisa Mazique of NORA fame went.

E said...

I really thought Jeffrey would have gone with a condo reference.

Papa Bear said...

Eli, you already know the quote I would add to this, :)

Jeffrey said...

Karen's got it.

Please let this man not make a serious run at Mayor.

Karen said...

Lisa Mazique is way too smart to work for this guy!