Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Great Boilerplate Debate

Just got home from debate number 1. I do have some summary thoughts but first I thought I would publish, unedited, my shorthand version of tonight's debate.

I typed while they talked. I had intended to just write a couple of things down but found it enjoyable to just try and type everything I heard. The fluffy words of the candidates came into my ears but my fingers were only able to type the distilled essence of the product. So if you don't have time to actually watch the debate because candidates spend too much time thanking the moderator, you can just read this summary of the most popular and repetitive catch phrases and buzzwords.

I didn't catch everything and my notation may be a little confusing. I apologize.

I tended to transcribe rote boilerplate when candidates delivered their statements clearly and forcefully and tended to stop typing when candidates began to drone.

Italics reflect cheap thoughts of mine, regular font reflects the candidates' intonations.

Again, these are my actual, almost entirely unedited notes from tonight's candidate forum:

6:01 Norman in.

6:04 Introductions over. Apparently everybody’s poll numbers say crime is the biggest issue. Good for Troy Henry and the intentional comedians to think of something creative.

6:05 Leslie Jacobs gets her first crack at it. Crime on. We need leadership, accountability, collaboration, trust. “Community policing experience.” It’s not just police… I want all NORD centers reopened.

6:06 Ed Murray wants national search. “Community Policing,” knowing people in neighborhoods. Long term it is about education. I’m going to create an office of education in the Mayor’s office. NORD.

6:07: Jerry Jacobs – Look at reasons for crime, not the manifestation of the crime. The law is incorrect. The law of prohibition of marijuana is the worst thing ever. Legalize marijuana! Repeal marijuana laws. Glad Georges and Copelin got this guy in.

6:08 Nadine Ramsey – My solution is “neighborhood policing.” It’s a long-term commitment. We must listen to our neighborhoods. Get the faith-based community engaged, after-school programs, old people.

6:09 Troy Henry – I’m talking about reengineering city government. A comprehensive approach that’s a five legged stool. We need transparency, more jobs, housing/blight. I missed some of his legs, sorry.

6:10 Jonah Bascle – Equal access. New Orleans is dysfunctional for everyone. St. Charles street cars need to be handicap accessible now. You can just switch 5 streetcars from Canal line to St. Charles line. Honest and transparent government. I had to run for Mayor because I’ve been trying to get this done for months and this is my last resort. This kid is just got himself some streetcars moved.

6:11 James Perry – I’m the only candidate that has made a real commitment. I won’t run if I can’t bring the murder rate down 40%. That same day I kicked ass in a debate when people didn’t know a jail from an after-school program. I am going to invest in NORD.

6:12 Manny Chevrolet – I want to go on the record right now by saying I’m against crime. How can we fight crime when police themselves are criminals? Nice. Also let’s grow lots of pot and tax the hell out of it. Two people! Yes!!! Soon they'll stop laughing...

6:13 John Georges wants leadership. Our leaders are in the private sector. With strong leadership we can do anything!

6:14 Some guy named Lambert says we need lots of transparency.

6:15 Mitch Landrieu loves this city with his heart and soul. He’s going to fix it with the children. This is regurgitated word for word from his internet message. We need a national search and hold the next chief accountable. I’m going to stop kids from getting into crime in the first place. I want a public-private partnership for NORD.

6:16 Rob Couhig – I love you Dr. Francis! Police chief needs integrity. Integrity again. New chief. New chief.

6:17 for Leslie Jacobs – re: what is the criteria for a new police chief – national search, for someone with experience leading major change. Someone who will drive accountability up and down. Three I want someone who embraces technology. One time I had a hard time getting an accident report filed. It sucked. It was like the 1950s. We need hiring standards. When the head of PANO that the police can no longer police themselves, it’s time for a new commission..

6:18 for Murray re what the mayor can do - I am going to open up an office of education that is going to coordinate all of the issues between and amongst the different school systems. Times-Pic wrote article (Sarah Carr series, go read G-Bitch) about how difficult it is for parents… We need to coordinate funding for public education. I think that I can get more money for education from BR and DC

6:19 for Mr. Jacobs – what about the racial divide? – Finances really matter. Crime matters. If we had more money, we would be able to do whatever we want. What I want to do, legalize pot, and raise money, we can reduce crime and give everyone money to get whatever resources they need.

6:20 Norman. If we have weed legalized, everyone can just chill…

6:21 for Ramsey- what about more revenue? We need a comprehensive review of our budget. There is a distinction between what we want and what we can afford. We need to see if there are any millages out there.

Norman – what about raising taxes?

Ramsey – No.

6:22 – What is your strategy for blight reduction?

Henry – I have a 2fold approach. Let’s use enforcement tools we have – liens, sheriffs sales, etc. Two is to do what we did in Ponch Park. Use incentives to help residents buy homes.

Perry – Murray made it harder for NORA to buy blighted property, so bad that he had to rewrite his law. We need properties put back into commerce. I have leadership skills.

Bruno – I am also against blight. One way to redevelop blighted neighborhoods is to bring Amish down here. They can build barns in a day. Imagine what they could do with a city block.

Georges – We should do what Jeff Parish does. We need coordination between code enforcement and other departments. I want citizens to be able to go around NORA to buy these homes. We need to add more people to code enforcement but we need to add this step before NORA so that people can buy these things. NORA adds cost to the process.

Lambert – I cannot solve any of these problems. It’s a we thing. There is no I in team. I’m going to use code enforcement. We thing. No I.

Landrieu – This is an experience issue. City Hall is dysfunctional. Blight is strangling us. We have to stop demolishing homes by accident.

Couhig – The Mayor made life hard for me at NORA. We need a Mayor who is disciplined and hard working. We need someone who wants to be Mayor. Livability is a big issue. Blight.

Leslie Jacobs – Let’s get code enforcement going. Let’s invest in NORA. We need to change the constitution to make it easier to expropriate abandoned property. Beacon of Hope is a great example of awesomeness in Lakeview. We also have commercial blight. We need a master plan.

Murray – This constitutional amendment is not a problem. NORA needs proper funding. They have statutory resources but not money. We need neighborhood associations engaged. Beacon of Hope… mumbling… something about passing savings onto NORA.

Jerry Jacobs – The definition of blight can also be poverty. The city needs money. The only way is to legalize marijuana. It will reduce workload of NOPD.

Nadine Ramsey – We need to enforce existing laws. Adequate funding for NORA is one step. 58-60k blighted properties is not a small number.

Troy Henry – We need to rehabilitate juvenile criminals. Let’s reengineer YSC.

On the IG

Bascle – Let’s not just award political pals.


Perry – I think the core issue is funding. Story about being lifeguard with NORD. Less funding now than when I was a kid. The key issue is leadership for that Dept. and true investment.

Making City Hall customer friendly

Bruno – My face will be everywhere so everyone knows who is in charge. I will hire the right people. Hostesses. Friendly customer service.

Top 3 industries for new business?

Georges – we have to change our image from partying to historic. We need to enhance the tourism industry, attract airlines, we need the immediate reopening of Charity Hospital so we can redevelop downtown, etc. Healthcare jobs. Save Charity, he says.

Re: Charity

Lambert – I’d like to talk about crime instead.

Re: Public Private Partnership

Landrieu – Biomedical, Nagin blew it.

Re: Young people

Couhig – my whole campaign is young people! We will have great customer service and transparency.

Norman – what is the city’s bond indebtedness?

Lambert – Don’t know

Couhig – I don’t know.

Jacobs – Don’t know.

Mr. Jacobs – Can’t see the

Ramsey – Don’t know.

Henry – don’t know

Perry – don’t know

Bruno – A lot

Bascle – A lot

Georges – I know what the Youth Study Center is.

The correct answer is 524-525 million.

Next one: What % does the city receive in sales tax?

Jacobs – after rephrase....

Norman -Does anyone know?

32%, 31%?

Norman is sorry he went there.

Closing statements:

Leslie Jacobs – Leadership, results, regional coalition. Quality of life stuff. I lead a movement to retain youth. I took on our schools. Today our schools have a lower performance gap. We have a powerful charter school movement and it is getting better. We need our next Mayor to get results. More economic development

Murray – I am unique because of my experience in the legislator. I have been floor leader for lots of stuff and I get results. There isn’t a single business here that has asked me for help and hasn’t gotten it. (Maybe the fail of the night if I got this quote right) The Mayor and Council needs to be civil and get together. The Mayor needs to spread the word on economic inclusion. All of those things need to happen, I ask for your vote.

Jerry Jacobs – I’m a Tulane grad and did life insurance. I took a ton of courses until I retired. I learned how to look into peoples’ minds. The city is riddled with crime, economic disaster. We don’t have enough money. I have the ability to look into that. I know how to increase revenue and reduce waste. And it won’t be popular.

Ramsey – Politicians always say what they have done. But why is our city in the condition that it is in. I want a crime plan for each neighborhood, not just one for the city. It will get input. It will hold politicians accountable. We have been failed by big promises and big plans. Politicians need to trust citizens instead of the other way around.

Henry – I’m most qualified and experienced. I have managed big budgets and big numbers of people. I know the recovery needs of all departments and neighborhoods. I’m the only one who has developed an energy efficiency program. If you want experience it is me, if you want on the job training it is everyone else.

Bascle – Let’s stop ignoring handicap accessibility. If we can’t do something that takes no money and no time like streetcar accessibility, how do we fix anything else? I hate how much money there is in these things. Take campaign funds and plug the budget with them. I personally experience failing services every day, nobody deserves it.

Perry – Our best days are ahead but only if we get safer and more prosperous. Our opportunity is in less than two months. They can choose dramatic change. It is the difference between past and future… Remember Barack Obama? Hope. My name is James Perry.

Manny Bruno – Gandhi, King, me. This city is so divided. It can’t be a black thing or a white thing it has to be a right thing. We have problems. It is insanity here. We need a radical, revolutionary thing.

Georges – This is about leadership. I am optimistic. Small family business and now I’m rich! I employ locals. I will fix everything. I will make you feel proud. My name is John Georges.

Lambert – My name is Lambert. I am a working class stiff. My platform is….

Landrieu – I am running for Mayor because I love New Orleans with my heart and soul. Wow regurgitating video again…. Schools, jobs. We need to bring everybody together. AAs whites, Vietnamese, Hispanics walking in same direction. I want to lead this effort.

Couhig – I have listened I’m in talk radio. Livability, affordability, opportunity, fairness. Jobs. Hard-working, disciplined.

Norman out.


BeverlyRevelry said...

Your notes are fantastic.

I believe Lambert stated that the bond indebtedness was $710 mil.

Editilla said...

Thanks for the copious notes!
The bond indebtedness was definitely when this whole clown car went onto The Price Is Right.
Only the young actual comedian caught that one with his own "guestimate".
I'm not sure if Norm was sorry he went there but I certainly was, creepy.

Anonymous said...

Despite the fact that many people (and the candidates definitely) will say the debt and tax questions were poorly written or asked (which I agree)... I am still happy they were asked.

I'm glad a "Give me a number" question was asked rather than just all of them being "How do you feel..." questions.

And I'm glad it made them all look stupid.

Its good to bring the candidates down a notch so people aren't caught up in some more demagoguery. It takes away any argument form any fanatic that their candidate is beyond reproach.

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