Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Would Leslie Jacobs, Ed Murray, Troy Henry, John Georges or their campaigns like to dispute the accuracy of the Perry campaign's account of the following exchange at today's debate sponsored by the Afterschool Partnership?

Gina Warner, CEO of the Afterschool Partnership, asked:

“What is your position on the Youth Studies Center?”


Troy Henry: I am in favor of the Youth Studies Center. I am in favor of using the youth studies center in collaboration with all the revised library systems that are also being built. So we want to be smart and prudent about how we use our current resources today so where it makes sense to consolidate lets do that but where it makes sense to keep them separate and individual, let’s do that. But we need to make sure we have the Youth Studies Center.

(Nervous laughter)

John Georges: I’m for them as well. We have to be about our facilities. Libraries are certainly one group. It’s all about budgeting and available dollars and the idea is to do like the board of regents ... it’s also a budgetary issue.

(Nervous laughter)

Leslie Jacobs: I think it’s critically important for kids, our students to have a place to go outside of school. Schools have a $1.6 billion rebuilding plan, we need to look how to locate each of these youth studies centers inside our of our school buildings. I think they are important but given the budgetary crisis the more we can co locate with a library, school and other civic centers the easier it will be to staff them and the easier it will be to maintain them."

(Nervous laughter)

Edwin Murray: I too am in support of youth study centers i think it would be great if we could somehow figure out a way to put them in schools and figure out how to just keep the schools open a little longer and also use Library systems across the city. Its important also to try to work in in recreational activities some kind of way to make sure that after school Youth Study Centers to be involved as well to encourage kids in extracurricular activities

(Nervous laughter)

James Perry: I want to be clear because I think some folks misunderstood this issue. The Youth Studies Center is a jail. It is a prison. The subject of some very difficult litigation. Children have been imprisoned for long periods of time with no access to quality eduction at all. We need children to have access to education despite incarceration. If you are locked up for 24 hours a day there is no chance we can decrease the rate. It’s how we define When it comes to juveniles in this system making sure they have a real educational opportunity so that the prison they are in does not define the outcomes of the rest of their lives.

(Raucous Applause)

This is sad. You don't need to be an expert on criminal justice policy generally nor or own local criminal justice system to understand the ongoing plight of children flushed into the hellhole that is the Youth Study Center, you just need to read the news. This is a criminal facility, not a facility appropriate for the detention of accused juvenile criminals. One of the best nonprofits in the city, the Juvenile Justice Project, has a dead serious lawsuit responsible for forcing the concessions made in the treatment of young people held there. Some of those changes include things like prohibiting the denial of medical care, halting 21-hour lock downs, and keeping the place free of rats and mold.

This is not a place to "support" without explanation. If you wanted to give an unsubstantial answer answer to this because you don't really know what you're talking about, the only acceptable statement would be "SHUT IT DOWN."

Now, the account above comes from a Perry campaign press release. Other candidates should feel free to offer an explanation for their ignorance.


Anonymous said...


This question was slightly misleading as stated by the moderator: Under the 10 for 2010 platform (, point 6 says: " New Orleans will open a Youth Leadership Development Center..." The candidates were responding to this particular point, but because the question was about the youth "STUDY" center, not the "Youth DEVELOPMENT center," many were confused.

James noticed the wording carefully, and NAILED it. But, to be fair, they were under the impression they'd be discussion the Afterschool program's initiative.

All how you spin it, and Perry's smart to do it this way. The room LOVED his answer. He was right.

Kevin said...

I was there. This sounds right, though I don't have an exact transcript. And Anonymous sets the context very well in the comment above.

But the applause actually came not after Perry's entire answer, but immediately after Perry noted they were discussing a jail, not an after-school center.

Superdeformed said...

+1 for Perry

-1 for the candidates

-20 for the moderator

Anonymous said...

it's pretty amazing the only place reporting this is wcbf. thanks eli.

jeffrey said...

"Amazing" isn't exactly the word I would use, Anon. I got the same email blast from the Perry campaign Eli has reprinted for you here. This post appeared maybe within 45 minutes of my having received the email. The Perry campaign has also produced a video of the event complete with audible commentary from someone just near the camera.

The whole thing appears quite orchestrated. I wonder if Eli could clarify for me his relationship with the Perry campaign.

E said...

I have no relationship to the Perry campaign. That's stupid.

Superdeformed said...

ooo intrigue.

jeffrey said...

It's not a stupid question. I really am suspicious of how these candidates (particularly Perry) are expecting to use personal media to shape or parrot their message. Bloggers have spent the past decade criticizing the relationships between media and power. In a time when traditional media is diminishing and individuals are becoming direct message vectors for commercial and political power, it's up to all of us to be especially wary of slick theater like the sort of thing I think the Perry campaign tried to pull today.

I shouldn't have attacked Eli personally. I didn't mean to be so crude. I still want people to think about these issues, though.

Anonymous said...

jeffrey, bloggers aren't journalists and they often get compared as if they are competing but they shouldn't be. explicit opinion and commentary is a big piece of blogging. i think insinuations or inferences that question eli's integrity are pretty off base. granted, i agree any substantial relationship between eli and any campaign merits some kind of disclaimer, but comparing him to journalists who got waaay too close to power and helped lead us into disasters like the iraq war are both ridiculous and offensive.

and for someone who is questioning another's fairness, i think you've earned a good bit more questioning how fair you are being to the perry campaign, especially on a legitimate city hall issue like ysc.

jeffrey said...

i think insinuations or inferences that question eli's integrity are pretty off base. I agree. Inappropriate way to for me to frame the question. Bad on me. I also agree that bloggers don't directly compete with journalists but I think that people in the message manipulation buisness (i.e. politicians and advertisers) increasingly see them as a similar tool and that's something to think about.

As to my "fairness" to the Perry campaign, if I may revert to my customary flippancy, I don't think any candidate deserves "fairness" from me.

southern leftist said...

fair enough. thank you for owning up at least on eli, i respect that.

E said...

jeffrey and I emailed back and forth privately and we're on the same page. (smiley face emoticon)

Superdeformed said...

Blogger quality can range to that of a print journalist to an idiot rambling about bullshit (ie my blog).

They are a media outlet and should be questioned just as much as any newspaper or television media which are just as partisan and in the pocket of someone as any blog really is.

Anonymous said...

Hi, E. It is me from nolaradfem. I've been AWOL from blogging for about a year. I got sick, couldn't walk, am learning to walk with a cane and hoping I keep improving but doctors are not yet sure, and also my 24 year marriage may be finally failing and my heart is just shattered (sorry - yawn, I know, but it's the Cliff Notes version, I promise), and I've needed some anti-anxiety and pain meds that have made me, ahem, less than lucid - so I haven't felt like writing much. I did read your encouraging message though and have kept it in my mind for many, many months that I was actually missed (!) and am just doing a quick drive-by to say I will be back to the old neighborhood very soon.

Sure hope you are well!

Anonymous said...

One thought on this: >The whole thing appears quite orchestrated. I wonder if Eli could clarify for me his relationship with the Perry campaign.< >I have no relationship to the Perry campaign. That's stupid.<

- Actually, no it's not. Ithink it's insulting and crass to call Jeffrey's question "stupid." People should ask these questions of bloggers. Bloggers ask these questions of "journalists", judges, pols, public figures all the time. Hey, guess what, you're a public figure commenting on public issues, Eli, don't get offended and sensitive when someone asks you a question about any possible conflict of interest. I don't think anyone should apologize for anything, it was a question, not a statement or accusation.

The fact that Perry's little pr blast gets copied by you as-is without much analysis only acted as a softball begging to be batted.

Here's something Perry stated in his response: >I think some folks misunderstood this issue.<

Apparently, in a forum on education these candidates had no idea they would be asked about a jail. Do you know what they *did* think they would be asked about? *This* pamphlet, which was provided to the candidates by the forum SPONSOR beforehand, which includes this:

>6. Older Youth need safe havens to go during the hours they are not in school to avoid engaging in risky behaviors and to learn leadership, team building, and job skills. --- Recommendation: New Orleans will open a Youth Leadership Development Center in every district in the city, open during the afterschool and weekend hours, that will provide opportunities to attend enrichment programs in leadership, media arts, performance arts, college and career preparation, as well as receive health and wellness services, find jobs and obtain academic tutoring.<

Hey, you want to know why Perry ran his attention getting but superficial ad with the lousey fonts and with no statement on what his 5 changes are instead of the video with this question and answer about the YSC? - Because, as Perry said, he knew it was a misunderstanding.

---->>> You may not have a conflict of interest but try not to hand deliver gotcha pr ads from the candidates for free either, because there's REALLY NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE. We have too much riding on things these days.