Friday, December 18, 2009

Perry outclasses those that bothered to show in CJ reform debate

What an outrage! I cannot believe some campaign produced a largely unoffensive YouTube video! I give the story that an anti-Mitch video was online for all of an hour a big fat who cares. The Gamblog called it "virtual mud," but I call it unnoticeable dandruff. The only thing I don't understand is why a campaign wouldn't just stand behind the video. It's not a swift-boating, it's a PG-rated parody.

I could be wrong though, I noticed Landrieu skipped out on last night's Mayoral forum. Maybe poor Mitch was still crying about that meanie meanster video.

In other news, there was indeed a forum for the Mayoral candidates yesterday on the issue voters and every candidates agree is the most important issue facing the city, criminal justice.

Only James Perry, Troy Henry, Nadine Ramsey, and Ed Murray made it. Seems a bit odd that there would be any no-shows for a forum on the hottest issue in town, let alone three. The Landrieu and Georges campaigns sent representatives with statements. The Couhig campaign avoided it entirely. I guess they felt it was too risky to send someone across State Street after dark.

To dispense with the sarcasm, last night's forum was very interesting. I wish it had been televised. The candidates were asked to sign onto a ten point platform prepared by the host organizations, which included Safe Streets/Strong Communities and the Juvenile Justice Project. The platform is far from radical, it reflects a lot of the principles that a comprehensive community policing strategy ought to entail. Since most candidates profess to support something called "community policing," it was helpful to have a forum in which some of the ideas that actually make "community policing" different from what we have now were spelled out in at least a little bit of detail.

I will paraphrase the platform that candidates were asked to endorse.

1. National search for a reform-oriented police chief
2. End incarcerations for traffic violations and/or municipal offensives; end incarcerations for people charged with "marijuana 1st offense."
3. End practice of charging suspects of simple solicitation with felony crime against nature
4. Prioritize youth/recreation programs, access to drug treatment and mental health services as part of crime prevention strategy.
5. Create incentives in city contracting process to encourage employers to hire formerly incarcerated individuals
6. Establish certificates of good conduct to help those with criminal records find jobs
7. Establish Office of Formerly Incarcerated Affairs in Mayor's Office
8. Convert vacant properties into housing opportunities for formerly incarcerated and low income families
9. Create a public-works style program to improve public transportation
10. Increase youth opportunities by investing in alternatives to incarceration including employment programs, recreation programs; building positive behavior supports in public schools, and rebuilding the Youth Study Center in way that respects human dignity of inmates.

All pretty benign and unobjectionable, don't you think? Certainly, some planks, like the suggestion of a public works style program for public transportation, are entirely vague, but why would a candidate have a problem endorsing a reform platform like this? Wouldn't this platform seem to generally outline what a real community policing strategy would look like?

Strangely, in addition to those candidates that weren't even there, Ed Murray and Nadine Ramsey refused to endorse the suggestions, saying they don't make campaign pledges as a matter of principle (amazing). Only James Perry and Troy Henry did.

James Perry put on a clinic at this debate. He is well-versed in criminal justice reform issues and spoke very decisively, drawing applause on several occasions.

Henry was also a confident speaker but his constant reiteration of his executive experience and desire to bring a CEO's mentality to the Mayor's office did not play particularly well with an audience more geared up to hear about criminal justice reform than economic development. He also left himself open to Perry's implication that certain candidates (Henry) were "empty suits" and "Nagin third-termers."

I don't know Perry's campaign is really up to the challenge of actually winning an election but he certainly won last night's debate and won it pretty damn emphatically.

Murray was totally uninspiring. He is not a good public speaker at all. His mumbling cadance is one thing, but his closing statement, in which he talked about realistic political expectations, was so bad it was almost funny. Even allowing that Murray was providing an genuine reality check, nobody has ever won an election with a message of 'lower your expectations.'

I was surprised that no-show candidates didn't juggle their schedules to attend and astonished that some candidates refused to sign onto the reform platform given the shamefully low approval ratings for the NOPD and the current direction of our much-maligned CJ system.

One would think that candidates would fall all over each other to carry the criminal justice reform mantle. However, Perry didn't really have a whole lot of competition last night.

13 comments:

bayoustjohndavid said...

Do you know if there's any tape of that debate floating around? Listening to the audio of the IG debate, I thought Perry won that. Henry lost any chance of getting my primary vote, so did Ramsey. It may be racist, or maybe just insensitive to racial prejudice, but as a former (laid-off) city worker, I think that protecting the jobs of city employees is more important than awarding contracts to the right vendors.

bayoustjohndavid said...

Of course, that's not what Perry said. Perry talked about corruption interfering with the city's ability to help its poorest citizens, which is I why I think he won.

Anonymous said...

They should have invited Bruno to the debate.

GENTILLY YARD ART said...

yo e.

im trying to follow this mess and become a more informed voter.

to that point , i come to you because of your knowledge on this subject .

georges says he will reopen the old charity as mayor.

my mom worked in the old charity and retired from the old hotel deux , now university, when they moved the neo-natel unit over there.

she ran the neo natal joint up to her retirement.

my question is georges says he's gonna open the old charity.

how can he make this claim?

am i out of the loop or isnt that up to jindal and the feds?


thank you for any insight you have on this.


happy holidays brah , rick.

mominem said...

I can't say I'm overly impressed with the "pledge".

While it's components are inoccous enough it doesn't seem to address violent crime or drug dealing at all.

The premise seems to be that if you don't lock people up everything will be alright.

Anonymous said...

I heard, and I am wondering if it's true, that Henry had no idea what wage theft is at the CJ reform debate? Does anyone who was there remember anything on this?

E said...

Rick,

I believe Georges has endorsed the plan to gut and rebuild Charity Hospital, which as you may know, is something that I've been advocating for months as the best plan for new medical facilities. While over the short term, progress on the misguided LSU/VA is in the hands of Jindal, LSU, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is also true that over the medium term our next mayor could presumably end or renegotiate agreements the city has with LSU and the State pursuant to the hospital controversy. It is not a done deal until homes have been demolished.


Anon,

There was indeed an exchange in which Henry asked for a clarification of the definition of 'wage theft.' Perry exclaimed that candidates ought to know what wage theft is. The question went to Judge Ramsey I think. She to asked for clarification as to whether the citizen was referring to occurrences of Latinos being mugged walking away from job sites or referring to contractors defrauding day laborers out of pay. Having witnessed the exchange, my sense was that it was clear that the question dealt with the latter phenomenon. For more than one candidate, it wasn't.

I don't know... it wasn't the most outrageous thing I've seen, there was for interpretation.

Anonymous said...

As regards the John Georges Charity Hospital ad, the poster is exactly right. Sure, maybe the city could do something to halt or delay the process of constructing the new hospital but the 1939 Charity Hospital building is owned by the state and always has been. Re-opening it is strictly up to the governor and the legislature, unless somehow the city takes it over which is something I haven't heard anything about. Moreover, that ad makes it appear as if University Hospital must somehow not exist. Finally, isn't/wasn't Methodist Hospital a private facility? How can the mayor demand that it be re-opened, then? That ad is pretty foolish and, I'm sorry to say, invites comparisons between Georges and Ray Nagin, who was sticking his foot in his mouth from the get-go and not just from 2005 onward, and I know Georges is better than that.

Anonymous said...

As regards a 10-point plan or whatever, the whole issue boils down to two words: armed robbery. This is right where the whole focus needs to be. I'll vote for whoever says that they'll find and bring in a Harry Lee for the city.

Anonymous said...

The wheels are already set in motion for Charity to become the new City Hall. You guys are wasting your energy on this topic. The State has began working on City Hall move late last year but under a confidentiality agreement to not disclose this.

Superdeformed said...

Who needs a nation wide search when we have Steven Seagal a few miles away in Jefferson Parish?

Anonymous said...

get Steven m#$*&^%$#cking Segal for police chief and I'll move back to that b^&ch-a$$ town.

Puddinhead said...

Well, after the primary's over we'll all know who ONE of Perry's three thousand or so votes came from.....LOL