Showing posts with label our next mayor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label our next mayor. Show all posts

Thursday, January 14, 2010

#Nolamayor piques national attention

The campaign to elect the next mayor of New Orleans has attracted a wave of national attention. The AP, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times all wrote reports within the last week to brief readers about the mayor's race and the real possibility that New Orleans will elect a white mayor for the first time in over a generation.

Check them all out and see if you agree with the analysis:

Campbell Robertson of the New York Times, "Race Assumes Central Role in New Orleans Vote"
Richard Faussett of the Los Angeles Times, "In New Orleans, a white candidate leads the field"
Kevin McGill of the Associated Press, "Mostly black New Orleans could pick white Mayor"


State Senator Ed Murray's exit from the race and the collective gasp of many members of the city's African American political elite when he did, seems to have been the impetus for the wave of national dispatches.

The three stories are not appreciably different, but do emphasize different reasons for the loss of African American political unity.

McGill points to the decline of African American middle class neighborhoods as a result of the Katrina tragedy as "undercutting efforts by black candidates to raise money and build voter support."

Faussett describes "buyer's remorse" in the African American community and points to universal disapproval of Mayor Nagin in polls and ongoing federal investigations.

Robertson's piece similarly discusses "buyer's remorse" and - I love this line - the "low wattage" of most contenders prior to Landrieu's entry. Robertson's description of "the franchise" and the significance of political power for the African American community is also very interesting.

Black professionals refer to the office as “the franchise,” the counterweight to the economic power of New Orleans’s white elite. For the past three decades, the black private sector — the lawyers, businessmen and architects — has relied on the franchise: they may not always be able to become board members at the city’s white-owned firms, but black professionals turned to the city government for contracts and jobs.


I think these are damn fine write-ups all things considered. How about you all? Any nits to pick?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Rabid John Georges demonstrates comedic value to Dems

Update: Now with video below

This was recorded at tonight's meeting of your Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee.

John Georges goes rabid at OPDEC endoresement forum from Eli Ackerman on Vimeo.




Apparently, Georges flew off the handle.

There should be even crazier audio or video floating out there. I will see if I can get it.

And by the way, OPDEC has officially endorsed:

Troy Henry for Mayor
Arnie Fielkow and Cynthia Willard-Lewis for Council at-large
Susan Guidry for Council District A
Corey Watson for Council District B
Kristin Giselson Palmer for Council District C
Cynthia Hedge-Morrell for Council District D
Austin Badon for Council District E
Dwight McKenna for Coroner
and Karen Carter Peterson for State Senate District 5.


Now, here is some video of John Georges exhibiting no shame whatsoever. It is amazing.


John Georges untethered from Eli Ackerman on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Punchline: Omg omg, a press meme

First, let's talk briefly about how and why Ed Murray left the race and what it means electorally and symbolically.

Clancy D's narrative of events is similar to what I have heard. Apparently, Murray disappeared for a few days after seeing some pretty dismal poll numbers and returned with the decision not to continue his run for office. He then announced the decision to the press without consulting his political bffs or his campaign staff.

The rest of Clancy's story - that advisers told him he'd have to find a half million bucks, make the election about race, and that Murray refused to go there after some soul-searching - leaves some stones unturned.

Chris Tidmore then went live with a story about a possible buyout from the Georges campaign.

Oyster gives us a cathartic profile of the reactions of some lovely conservative blogs who, of course, immediately reached the conclusion that everything is the White House's fault.

Clancy also accidentally (in the comments of this post) sort of confirmed that Georges' people have been pushing photographs and/or video that might be embarrassing to Mr. Murray. Since nobody else will, I will add a little bit of detail. There may be some embarrassing material circulating about Mr. Murray's fondness for wine. But considering that we generally accept politicians who drink, and even make drinking a standard benchmark of the campaign trail - see Batt, Jay or Clinton, Hillary - nothing that has been described to me would end Senator Murray's career. Even the worst rumor I've heard would just be really embarrassing and politically harmful if it were released at the right time, but not something that would make me think Senator Murray is a dishonorable human being.

So my sense of Murray's decision was that, despite the general sense from a couple of leaked internal poll numbers that he was running in second place, he didn't think he could win the election.

Let me say that again: HE didn't think he could win the election.

Clancy DuBos insists that Murray came to some sort of moral realization.

Murray’s top supporters and close friends are hurt, and most don’t understand his logic. But anyone who looks at Murray’s decision as a moral choice — particularly anyone who knows Murray — should have no difficulty understanding his decision. I spoke with Murray on Sunday afternoon and, while the conversation was “off the record,” I got the clear impression that he wanted to follow his inner moral compass, not his steering committee’s political advice, on this one.

For whatever reason, the explanation that it would take some nasty racial divisiveness on Murray's part for him to win is assumed to be reasonable. Yet, the fact that his advisers were telling him he was going to have to raise another $500,000 - $700,000 is just passed over as though it is easy or even possible to raise and spend a half million dollars over the next thirty days. Nor does anyone seem to point out that Murray was the most recognizable African American candidate going into campaign season, had already spent more money on advertisements than any African American candidate, and yet apparently still couldn't crack 20% in the internal polls that have been reported.

Here's the real dirty little secret about Ed Murray - he's a horrible candidate.

State Senator Ed Murray is a horrendous public speaker. HORRENDOUS. He's quiet, he mumbles. He trails off at the end of sentenc...

Again, he was the highest profile black candidate in the race BEFORE he unloaded his campaign war chest on an expensive two minute television commercial. I didn't see every single debate, but in the ones that I did, Murray was getting destroyed. He wasn't being attacked, he was being ignored - he was barely part of the conversation. John Georges, for all the sleaze, is out there talking about getting Charity and Methodist hospitals open. What the hell was Ed Murray's rallying cry?

And even in the internal polls that showed Murray to be the front-runner among African American candidates, his lead over Henry for that distinction wasn't even outside the margin of error.

So when you consider that Murray was going nowhere fast in his own polls even though he'd spent the most and had the best name recognition, it doesn't seem like his decision to drop out of the election was against the grain.

Mitch Landrieu is certainly the front-runner in this election and could indeed obtain the votes needed to avoid a runoff but I have a hard time believing that Mitch Landrieu is substantially better off today than he was before Ed Murray made his announcement.

One could argue that Landrieu is going to earn a lot of Murray's voters but one could just as easily argue that Murray's departure heals a fracture in the African American electorate and will lead to a more unified effort to mobilize voters on behalf of Mr. Henry, Judge Ramsey, or Mr. Perry.

The reason that I think the media and others have fixated on Murray's departure is that Murray was the only African American candidate from the African American political lineage that fought so hard for a fair share of municipal power over the last five decades. That is a major development within the African American political community, which is, to throw out a major generalization, the place where white people go to try to figure out what all African American people must be thinking. When, for instance, the Louisiana Weekly the New Orleans Tribune writes that Ed Murray's exit represents a "betrayal of the African American community..."



...what the Tribune is saying is that Murray is betraying the particular political lineage that helped him get to the State Senate in the first place, a political lineage that since Katrina, has lost a lot of real political power.

But after reading that, one might come to the conclusion that Senator Murray must have been the consensus black candidate to hold the Mayor's office.

That view isn't supported by evidence.

Murray was going no where fast.

With the election a month away, the best known black political candidate, the candidate who spent the most money on signs and advertising, was only polling in the teens in a city that is two-thirds African American.

--

Yesterday, Troy Henry pulled a classic stunt to ensure attendance at yesterday's press conference so he could then lambaste local media. He is upset because he believes the media is pushing a meme that the mayoral election is over and that Mitch Landrieu is going to be the next Mayor of New Orleans.

He doesn't think that meme is fair.
He thinks that if the media spreads the idea that Mitch Landrieu is probably going to win, voters will be unduly influenced to tune out the campaign.

"What we don't want to do is begin to put in the minds of all voters that this is a fait accompli, that this is not a real race, that this is an anointment. That's not fair to any of the candidates. And the fact that some of the reports have categorized this in terms of race, it's disingenuous to all of the African-American candidates. It's not fair."

Read the whole article or watch the press conference to get a sense of what he said overall.

There are a couple of points I think he was trying to make.

1. The press is spending too much time analyzing electoral prospects and not enough time reporting the positions of the candidates, and that's not fair to African American candidates or to the African American community.

2. The analysis of the press - that it is going to be nearly impossible for anyone to beat Mitch Landrieu - is wrong.

I agree that the media tends to fixate on the theatrics of the election - the horse race itself - and not on positions and values of candidates relative to the problems the city faces. I agree that this hurts African American candidates and the African American population, but it also hurts everyone in this city. The public should know who their choices are and what differentiates them from one another. Mitch Landrieu should be forced to really prove he knows "what to do and how to do it" by being asked to provide some basic detail about what it is he's going to do and how it is he plans to do it.

But in the end, it's kind of hard not to say 'tough sh-t.' That is how the media works.

And on point two, I think it's going to be extraordinarily difficult for anybody to defeat Mitch Landrieu on Election Day. That was true before Ed Murray dropped out of the race and it is true now. It would take a sizable financial investment and an lightening fast organizing effort to mobilize enough voters - white and/or black - to overcome Landrieu. You need more than a month to build a political machine from scratch. Troy Henry maybe has the money to get his name out there but probably can't scramble the necessary field outreach. James Perry has performed very well at the debates and maybe can get some television more television exposure but the guy doesn't even have a sign on the front door of his campaign headquarters, let alone in the lawns of supporters. I'm not sure most voters have even heard of Nadine Ramsey.

We are not at the beginning of the campaign anymore, we're already approaching the end. There is one month to go. They say that's an eternity in politics but it really isn't. A month is a month. With Landrieu reportedly 20 points or more ahead of everyone else and earning significant shares of the African American vote himself, we might soon approach official dead girl or live boy territory...

With regard to Henry's assertion that writers wrongly "categorized" the electoral dynamics in terms of race, it is kind of hard to ignore the entire last half century of elections in this city.

Since the VRA, municipal elections in New Orleans have been about the realization African American political power and the mobilization of African American voters to win basic political representation for the first time. In this election, African American community leaders are struggling to unite behind a consensus candidate, to mobilize demonstrable support for any African American Mayoral candidate - but that was true before Ed Murray got out of the race.

If Henry is upset with this analysis insofar as it has resulted only since Mr. Murray ended his candidacy, well then he has a real point.

The press could have written an article about the African American leadership crisis well before Ed Murray ended his campaign.

It's a sad thing.

Mitch Landrieu is a polished, recognizable politician but it ain't like he's the second coming.

--

The Line

6. Rob Couhig

5. Nadine Ramsey

4. James Perry

3b. John Georges

3a. Troy Henry

1. Mitch Landrieu

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Stuff Real Mayors Do

Mayor of Philadelphia spends New Years' Day speaking to inmates.


On New Year's Day, while many Philadelphians were enjoying bowl games and parades, Mayor Nutter was up early and delivering a message of hope - with a little tough love mixed in - to the inmates of seven of the city's correctional facilities.

He was joined by about 40 clergy members, from a number of denominations, for the annual Ecumenical Services and Civic Engagement Visit to the Philadelphia prison system.

Part of Nutter's message to the clergy, which started at a breakfast meeting, was a practical accounting of money and choices.

He said that of the city's nearly $4 billion operating budget, 24 percent is spent on all the components of the criminal-justice system.

"We don't need more incarceration, we need more education," he said. "Some of these people don't need to be locked up, they need a job."

The message to the 200 inmates at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility - his first stop - was just as pragmatic.

"We spend a lot of money to keep track of you up here," Nutter said. He told them it cost $30,000 a year for each prisoner, compared with $10,000 for a community-college student.

"Where do you think I'd rather spend our money?" Nutter said.

--

Before he left Curran-Fromhold, two inmates, Lynwood Ray and Alex Naranjo, presented Nutter with a portrait of him they had painted. He told them he would hang it in City Hall.

Later, Nutter said that it was "painful and personal" to see talent wasted in prison and that the city could be doing more to help inmates.

"It just shows you, when properly motivated and directed, every one of these men and women can be doing something totally different and don't have to be in prison," he said.

When the entourage arrived at the Riverside Correctional Center for women, Nutter received a foot-stomping, hand-clapping, rock-star welcome.

His message was the same. Have a reentry plan. Play by the rules. Stay away from bad influences. And don't return.

"Never, never, never come back to this place," Nutter said to the about 125 women in attendance.


That's all for today's installment of Stuff Real Mayors Do.

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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And then there were... fewer than before

Leslie Jacobs has abandoned her campaign for Mayor.

"I'll be going on a mini-vacation," she said. "I want to read a book of no intellectual value and watch the waves for a few days."


This was not unexpected. It had been widely rumored that Mitch Landrieu's last minute entry in the race would ultimately force Jacobs to yield.

In an interview, Jacobs said she made her decision after reviewing results from a poll she commissioned last week.

"Those numbers confirmed what I thought: Once Mitch entered the race, I could not win," she said. "I am a Democrat, he's a Democrat. And I think it's safe to say our bases overlap -- very much so."

Jacobs, a wealthy businesswoman who had been waging an aggressive television campaign, confirmed earlier reports that she consulted with Landrieu before announcing her candidacy on Nov. 18, about three weeks before qualifying opened.

At the time of their meeting, Jacobs said Landrieu told her "there was a possibility, not a probability" that he would run after announcing in July that he would not.

"He said the odds were low," Jacobs said, "but that he would leave that door open. So I took a calculated risk on my part. Mitch had the luxury of name recognition so he could decide at the last minute. I didn't have that luxury."


What does this mean for other candidates?

On the face of it, it would appear that Mitch Landrieu is the most direct beneficiary of Jacobs' decision to sit out. The two were essentially competing for the same pool of voters. I'm sure Jacobs' poll showed Landrieu way out ahead of the field. That he no longer has a well-heeled challenger biting at his heels, he has less work to do.

John Georges is also probably pretty happy that he has one less WMA (White Mitch Alternative) with whom he'll have to compete. Jacobs was going to be the only candidate capable of buying TV commercial time to the extent Georges can. He'll be able to dominate the airwaves.

James Perry might also squeeze a few votes out of the situation. Jacobs was definitely hoping to win over some of the post-Katrina young transplants that Perry has courted aggressively.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Analysis: Meh

This forum did not lend itself to serious candidates truly distinguishing themselves. As much as people are frustrated by talking points, it is kind of hard to do anything but stick to sound bites when you only have fifteen seconds to outline how you're going to reduce crime. That said, before I watch the rebroadcast this debate to see how it came across on television, I want to share my thoughts on how the candidates fared.

First of all, considering what he had to do, I thought Norman Robinson pulled off one of the slickest, smoothest debates I've ever seen. He was charming and he kept it moving. Big props.

Manny Bruno was hilarious. He should do this every year until he is dead or finally elected Mayor. Jonah Bascle did a great job with his opening statement. I think he should file a lawsuit if they don't do the obvious and switch a few of the red, handicap-accessible streetcars onto the St. Charles line.

Marijuana was also a big winner tonight. Very nice to have two people bring it up, even if it wasn't any of the "real" candidates. I was surprised that no candidate spun off of the laugh lines to make a serious point about how decriminalization of marijuana possession is a big part of real community policing policy, how simple pot arrests suck resources out of our criminal justice system, or to commend DA Cannizzaro for his progressive views on this issue. That would have been a big move for someone with direct knowledge about this like Judge Nadine Ramsey. She whiffed though. I don't know why candidates are still too scared to talk about this like grownups.


The Good:


As for the major contenders, I think that if there was a winner, it was Troy Henry.

His delivery was strong and direct and he didn't repeat himself as much as other candidates. In a forum like this, I think that you have to be unafraid to say I and me. You have to be loud and in charge. Henry did this well. I think he raised a lot of eyebrows.

James Perry also did a pretty good job. Similarly, he was not afraid to be loud and direct. He spoke firmly. He needs do more to emphasize his work as a civil rights attorney fighting housing discrimination and less to emphasize that one time he was a lifeguard for NORD.


The Bad:


Ed Murray needs to get his money back from whoever has been coaching him. You might be able to get away with mumbling one-on-one to a constituent but you can't mumble during a debate. During one answer, he started to say something about the Beacon of Hope but then just trailed off. It was weird.

On more than one occasion, Mitch Landrieu repeated lines verbatim from the youtube announcement of his candidacy released last week. I would have expected something a little better from someone with actual charisma. It came off as phony.

John Georges also had a mumbling problem and had trouble thoroughly answering questions without straying onto other topics or talking points.


The Boring:

Leslie Jacobs, Nadine Ramsey, and Rob Couhig were largely forgettable.

If I were Ramsey, I'd have rather been bad than forgettable.

Leslie Jacobs was really timid and uninspiring. Since Mitch Landrieu jumped in the race, she has had to work hard just to convince people she is still interested in the office. She should have used this opportunity to show that to people. She needed to be louder, more confident, even fiery. She seemed nervous and reticent.

Rob Couhig is just not someone I'm interested in. People told me he was going to make fireworks or something but he was stiff and I didn't pay attention to him.

Stay tuned. I will update this post with additional thoughts once I've watched video.


UPDATE: After watching pieces of the debate on television, I don't think I have much to add. Nadine Ramsey looked even more uncomfortable than she sounded.

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.


NORD

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.



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Arnie out, Eddie in

WDSU says Arnie Fielkow is undecided about seeking reelection as Councilman at-large. I hear he is decided. He is not going to seek reelection. I have also heard that the "family issues" cited cryptically by WDSU involve his wife's career and not something weird.

Meanwhile, 71-year-old former Councilman and Municipal Court Judge, Eddie Sapir is going to be qualifying for an at-large run first thing tomorrow.

Update: To be clear, Sapir is in whether Arnie Fielkow qualifies or not.

Update II: Times-Pic says Fielkow is back in! Wow dude, make a decision.

Update III: That story seems thin. I bet he's still undecided. We'll have a better idea tomorrow.

Between Sapir and Jackie Clarkson, the other candidates might have to agree to keep all debates between 5 and 7PM, after dinner and in time for bed.

Another thing the senior circuit will agree on: it's drafty in here.

--

Might James Perry also seize the opportunity and shift his meager resources from the Mayoral election into an at-large bid? It's hard to find evidence that he's gaining enough traction in the analog world to earn a fighting underdog's share of the vote in the Mayor's race, let alone seriously threaten for a spot in the runoff. He missed his opportunity to knock on doors and organize and he'll never raise enough money to play the traditional TV/radio game in any real way. It's not as hard to envision Perry making an honorable go of it for one of the two at-large openings.

If he is warm to the idea, he should get moving.

--

Though the Jacobs campaign denies it, it's hard to avoid hearing rumors that she is still considering dropping out of the Mayor's race now that Mitch Landrieu is running.

She could jump into the at-large fray herself.


--

Elsewhere:

Austin Badon has qualified for District E and Stacy Head has qualified for District B.

Marlin Gusman has no challenger for Criminal Sheriff.

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell may also run unopposed.

Coroner Frank Minyard has broken his promise not to seek reelection. I hope someone challenges him. Do other cities have elected coroners?

Tomorrow, Virginia Blanque is still expected to join the fray for District A and Corey Watson for District B. I think District A could get even more crowded. Same for District C.

--

Just one more day of qualifying. We'll know for sure who is running for what by the end of the day tomorrow.

--

Late update:

If Arnie qualifies, runs, and wins. He's signed up for four years.

If he's qualifying because he's really still undecided and ultimately decides to drop out because he wants to make more money and he or his wife want to take a job out of state, that's fine.

But if he runs and wins and then resigns, it will cost all of us as taxpayers and set up one of those undemocratic low-turnout special elections.

That would be lame.

He should really think it over.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Jerry!

I was at the courthouse this morning to check out the open of the candidate qualifying period. It was boring, just a stupid media set piece where candidates are filmed walking up steps and answering questions like "why do you want to run for Mayor."

It is exactly like a beauty pageant except all of the contestants are ugly.

Walking the gray carpet today:

For Mayor:

John Georges
Troy Henry
James Perry
Leslie Jacobs
Nadine Ramsey
Rob Couhig

For Council:

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell (D)
Susan Guidry (A)
Cynthia Willard-Lewis (At-Large)
Kristin Palmer (C)
Tom Arnold (C)
Jay Batt (A)

Also qualifying, though I must have missed them:

Mitch Landrieu (Mayor), Nolan Marshall III (At-Large), Jackie Clarkson (At-Large), Cindi Nguyen (E), Jerrelda Drummer-Sanders (E), Nathaniel Jones (C), William "Poppa" Gant (At-Large)



Georges had sign-wavers in the neutral ground for the entirety of his visit and rolled up with what was by far, the largest entourage.

He also brought his friend, some dude named Jerry Jacobs.

Jerry Jacobs is running for Mayor at the behest of Georges and former State Rep. Sherman Copelin to distract voters intending to vote for Leslie Jacobs. He qualified today. His name will be on the ballot.

Copelin and Georges telegraphed the move at a meeting of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee last week so it came as no surprise to the Jacobs campaign.

(Update: In fact, the Jacobs campaign press flack, Cheron Brylski included this tidbit in a Krewe of Truth e-blast today.)

Not that it would come as much of a surprise to anybody...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Race Race

What was once a primary campaign to determine which white person and which black person will face one another in a runoff is still a primary campaign to determine which white person and which black person will face one another in a runoff.

Mitch Landrieu's candidacy is so intriguing because he, more than any other candidate, has an opportunity to undercut this dynamic to some degree.

I don't know if it is the conventional wisdom that Mitch Landrieu is a shoo-in to be in the runoff, but it shouldn't be.

Leslie Jacobs is apparently furious with Mitch Landrieu for lying to her about his intentions. She reportedly went to him just two weeks ago to secure his promise that he wouldn't be running before she spent all kinds of money on television advertising. Her campaign staff is putting the word out that she is staying in the race and intending to win it. She will be putting in qualifying papers first thing tomorrow so we'll know by mid-morning tomorrow whether or not she has any second thoughts. Apparently, before Georges announced his candidacy, he was similarly deferential to Mitch Landrieu but I see no indication that he has any interest in quitting now.

Though Landrieu has important name-recognition and a star power quality that will give him an immediate short term advantage and the ability to tap into some real buyer's remorse from 2006, Georges and Jacobs should not be viewed as setting suns. Georges and Jacobs are millionaires. They can afford to get their names out there. Mitch Landrieu has his vulnerabilities just like everyone else.

On the surface, the three of them will be vying for different slices of similar electorates. Georges will try to capture Lakeview, old uptown families, and is going to try hard to mobilize some measure of cross-over African American support. Jacobs is going to try to capture young voters, women, and a lot of business council types who pretend to like John Georges but secretly think he's an a-hole. If Georges and Jacobs stay in, as it looks like they will, they'll have enough campaign power to capture large bases of support.

But Landrieu is still a wild card. As the only candidate with legitimate star power, he'll have the luxury of setting the debate. Depending on how he structures his platform and campaign, he could emerge as a shoe-in for the run off or he could be in for a much tougher fight.

Does Landrieu analyze this election as distilling down to a white primary, a black primary, and a runoff? Does he feel he needs to fight off Jacobs and Georges for a large enough share of the white vote to get into the runoff?

Is he just going to be a more charismatic version of Arnie Fielkow?

Or, does he instead aspire to earn widespread African American support?

Georges is definitely attempting to coddle together some votes in the black community but it's hard to imagine his largely appearance-based efforts will yield substantive results. Jacobs may want to put together that kind of coalition but I don't think she even knows where to begin.

Mitch Landrieu has the Civil Rights legacy of his father, Moon.

Will Mitch Landrieu run on that legacy by demonstrating his value as a bridge builder willing to fight for compromises from entrenched power structures?

Or, will he campaign for citywide office like he and his sister have campaigned for statewide office, as the consensus candidates of the Democratic Party and the chamber of commerce?

He can run as super-Arnie and either win or lose a much harder than anticipated white people primary, and then lose in the runoff to Ed Murray, who, for his part, is reaching out to white voters though his district and his allies in the developer class.

Or, Mitch Landrieu can run as Moon Landrieu's son and take a stab at a real consensus coalition.

He might still lose the election doing it that way, but I'd like him and his chances a heckuva lot better.

---

Quick power rankings:


In it to spin it:

8. Rob Couhig
7. Nadine Ramsey


Lurking not looming:

6. Troy Henry
5. James Perry


Looming not lurking:

4. John Georges
3. Leslie Jacobs


Until further notice:

2. Mitch Landrieu
1. Ed Murray

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mitch Again?

According to sources close to the Landrieu political operation, Mitch Landrieu is expected to announce his candidacy for Mayor of New Orleans.


This totally rearranges the field.

Maybe he liked what he heard out of that poll he was running a few weeks ago.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's not paradise

What a difference in just two years.

The homicide rate is down almost 24 percent since 2007. Violent crime receded 10 percent this year.

Single-stream recycling saved $400,000 in landfill fees in September alone.

The number of homeless people is down 26 percent since last year, thanks to a new partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

The city's inspector general, with more resources, is rooting out corruption on an unprecedented scale.

Members of the city's criminal-justice system have reduced the prison population 11 percent in a huge reversal of past yearly increases.

Licenses and Inspections is processing building-permit applications within two days, and customer satisfaction at L&I counter service is soaring.

The city fleet is smaller by 400 vehicles.

Since last year, filled, full-time positions in city government were reduced 705 to a total of 22,625.

We're writing a new zoning code to replace our 46-year-old version.

And the 311 Call Center has handled almost a million calls in less than a year of operation.

It's just Philadelphia under Michael Nutter.

It certainly hasn't been all roses. These are tough economic times in Philly and not everyone is happy about the cuts that he had to make, but an 11% reduction in the prison population in the midst of a 26% drop in homicides is a pretty stunning achievement for a place bit hard by tough-on-crime sloganeers. It's impossible to read Nutter's op-ed in the Inquirer and not hurt over our failure in New Orleans to come together around these kinds of pragmatic reforms. Mayor Nutter broke a cycle of racially divisive municipal campaigns by putting together a working coalition and won election by the largest margin in Philadelphia history. It was a mandate.

And now, for the first time in a long time, Philly has a game plan.

It's an important reminder not just that our issues are not totally unique, but also that solutions are not so impossible to achieve.

Just need a leader with a little vision and big enough guts to put together a coalition for pragmatic progressive reforms similar to those listed in Mayor Nutter's retrospective.

Would anyone be left unsatisfied with a list of accomplishments like this from our Mayor in his or her second state of the city address?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I'm John Georges and I hate running for Mayor (and this prop dog)

What the hell kind of campaign ad is this? Not only does the guy look like he hates the dog he's sitting with but it also looks like he hates running for Mayor. The ad is, I guess, designed to highlight Georges' aggressive desire for the office of Mayor but this ad kind of makes it seem like he hates running for office, doesn't think he should have to actually campaign, and thinks he deserves an immediate coronation.




The Times-Pic got in touch with the media consultant behind the ad:

"We wanted to show that John was willing to poke fun at himself," she said. "We're trying to re-introduce him and show all sides of him. Then we'll get to the issues."

It doesn't look like Georges is poking fun at himself. He looks authentically uncomfortable.

I'm sure Karen Carvin Sachat has all kinds of focus group info on this but it doesn't seem to me that people are skeptical of John Georges because he's too aggressive or too committed to being mayor. I think it's more like people think John Georges is a spoiled brat on a power trip. To me, this commercial explicitly reinforces that perception and as a result, might be one of the worst commercials I've ever seen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big people article alert

Last Friday I wrote sumthin for the Lens about James Perry's effing campaign.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Clueless

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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rumors, Murmurs

1. Might Congressman Cao be switching parties?

There is confirmed chatter amongst local Democrats that this may be in the works. It would certainly make things interesting and might help Cao emerge out of a primary if other contenders end up beating up each other instead of the incumbent. Really, though, I'm not sure there's much of anything Cao can do in one direction or another to retain his seat. It certainly helps to vote in the interests of the district, as he did when he finally voted for healthcare reform the other day. If Cao departs from the GOP, it would certainly feed into the GOP purge narrative that Democrats are keen on playing up.


2. What is Karen Carter Peterson up to?

She's definitely running for Congress but won't announce until after the Mayor's race or even later. The Chairman of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, James Gray, has already seemingly endorsed Cedric Richmond. This is of particular interest because Gray is the father of State Senator Cheryl Gray Evans, who is Karen Carter Peterson's BFF. That could make things weird. And what does this say about Cheryl Gray Evans ambition, or lack their of, for higher office? The KCP development may contribute to the reasons why we're not seeing the local Democratic establishment follow the lead of national progressive organizations and the Obama administration in praising Congressman Cao's vote for healthcare reform.


3. Is State Sen. Ed Murray really a front-runner for Mayor?

Yes, just take a look at his fundraising totals for the quarter. For the lazy, that's nearly six hundred grand. We'll get a better sense of what's going on after the official deadline for campaign finance reports later this week.


4. Might we find someone other than Charlie Melancon to run for Senate?

A trustworthy reader wrote the old gmail account about State Senator Eric LaFleur:


E:

He'd be the best candidate of the bunch. But his wife is pregnant with their second child, and she's due either this month or next. I don't think he'll be throwing his hat in the ring. It totally sucks, but I'd love to see Charlie get cold feet, which may be the only thing to make him reconsider. I think he's the Louisiana version of Obama ... young State Senator that gets young folks totally invested in government/politics again.

Not sure there will ever be such a thing as the Louisiana version of Obama but I'd love to hear more about Senator LaFleur.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Clown Car: Some quick notes on the Mayor's race

School Board killer and yurp magnet Leslie Jacobs is almost guaranteed to announce her candidacy for Mayor, from what I've been hearing. She can self-finance, perhaps almost to the level that local monopoly man parody John Georges can.

Jacobs' likely entry into the race means that rumors of a possible reentry by Mitch Landrieu are untrue. Jacobs would not be doing focus groups and polls and taking possible campaign organizers out to lunch if she hadn't been personally assured by the Lieutenant Governor that he was not going to be running. Jacobs and Landrieu are deferentially close.

I generally agree with AZ's analysis that Jacobs might be wiser to take on Jay Batt in District A and also with the general point about how important catering ability is for a potential Mayor.

I have not heard any inkling, however, that Jacobs is considering anything less than a full-out run for Mayor. She was also recently seen at a GOP heavyweights for Jay Batt fundraiser.

Aaaand, I've just thrown up in my mouth a little bit.

I don't understand why Jacobs (or those that are personally close to her) think it is in her or her family's best interest to run for Mayor right now. Not only do I think she has little chance of winning but I also think she could potentially undermine her efforts outside and adjacent to government.

I'm told that her focus groups indicate that African American women are open-minded to her candidacy. I don't want to by cynical but I have never in my readings about the politics ever heard of gender trumping race in a municipal election, especially a municipality with the poor civil rights record that this one has.

--

Former Judge Nadine Ramsey is actually running she says. I have seen two Nadine Ramsey bumper stickers so it must be true. Her climb is so steep - I have no idea why she's running or how she plans to compete financially.

--

Troy Henry is also running kind of sort of I think. Troy Henry was President of United Water when United Water was gunning to get New Orleans to privatize the water board. Henry was in charge in Atlanta when that city actually did. That experiment failed in spectacular fashion amidst staff problems, financial issues, and multiple instances of water contamination. There were boil orders. Lots of them. Thankfully, New Orleans learned from Atlanta's mistake.

I'd like to know if Henry has had a change of heart about whether privatizing basic and critical municipal services is smart policy.

--

Rep. Austin Badon has announced his exit from the Mayor's race and entrance into the race for District E. The pay raise likely made this office more palatable. I see no reason he won't take it easily though I am excited to see what seems at first glance to be a progressive challenge out of the Vietnamese community.

James Perry has announced a leave of absence from the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center so that he can concentrate on running for Mayor. Though he claimed a fund-raising victory for the last filing deadline, his new campaign staff is seems to be sucking up a huge share of whatever was taken in. I doubt they'll have enough money to invest in advertising. Will they have enough for yard signs or mailers?

I've seen some calls for volunteers but I'm not sure the extent to which those calls have been met. Is the Perry campaign planning on doing any organizing work? Have they been knocking on doors?

Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see much evidence that the campaign has done anything to penetrate the electorate. An underdog won't win using traditional campaign tactics.

--

Giant Ed Murray signs are proliferating like crazy. He's the front-runner until further notice.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

First of all, Campaign Basics, OK?

John Georges is smart to make his presence known to second liners.

He's going to put his money on the line for this race - he had a drop-top and logo throws ready to roll.

But guess what?

It doesn't take millions of dollars to go to a second line.

Why haven't other candidates made it out on Sunday afternoons to shake hands and kiss babies?

Monday, September 28, 2009

"First of all, Michael Bloomberg, OK?"

Oyster had another great post this weekend.

This time, he has a laugh over John Georges' seemingly inexplicable decision to play nice around Ray Nagin in a recent WBOK appearance, contrasting it with memorable instances in which Georges has not demonstrated a penchant for respectful discourse.

Georges is not even willing to risk a lukewarm, "on the one hand/on the other" assessment of Nagin on a black talk radio station, for fear of alienating black voters. This guy is such a spineless putz. He has no political talent. He makes me want to vomit. I loathe his "if I don't offend them, maybe I can buy them later" mentality.

So, we're only looking "forward" are we? Phew, that's a relief, because I was worried Georges was going to repeat his wild claims about Bobby Jindal having "orchestrated" his child's home birth, and how Bobby intentionally put his son "at risk" so that he could play "midwife". I'm sure the Governor and his merry men have forgotten all about that zinger, among others.

And if we're looking "forward", we won't be reviewing how Georges teamed up with the odious Derrick Shepherd back in 2005 to remove Shawn Barney from the State Senate race. And if we're looking "forward" we won't be calculating how Georges tripled the going rate in street money to secure Orleans parish during the Governor's race. "Politics of the past" and all that...

Indeed, Georges is a putz who embodies the "politics of the past," as they say. And he often makes me want to vomit.

But I don't think he's totally without political talent, or if he is, he's certainly going to try to overcompensate for it. He's being very opportunistic and I don't think his candidacy should be dismissed lightly, especially given the current crop of candidates.

Observe another item from that WBOK interview, as reported by the T-P, one that I thought was far more interesting than his non-criticism of the Mayor (Georges and Nagin were Brass buddies; Nagin endorsed Georges for Governor):

Georges also addressed his relationship with eastern New Orleans businessman Sherman Copelin, the controversial former state representative who built a reputation as a wheeler-dealer during his 14-year career in Baton Rouge.

"Personally, I believe if you don't love every New Orleanian, you don't love any New Orleanian, " Georges said, adding that Copelin impressed him by opposing the push to "shrink the city's footprint" after Hurricane Katrina. "I watched his efforts to allow New Orleans East to come back. And I respect what he can contribute to New Orleans, " he said.

Georges said Copelin wouldn't be a member of his administration but that he would accept the ex-lawmaker's help in speeding the city's recovery.

"I tell you what, he is someone that I have not run from, " Georges said. "I will go to every part of this city and I will try to bridge gaps. . . . And the way to bridge gaps in New Orleans is to break bread with everybody."


John Georges is going to go all over this town with his millions and millions of dollars and break bread with people. That has never failed to be a winning electoral strategy in New Orleans.

I'm not sure if it will work this time, but it sure is a tactic with a track record.

--

Without a doubt, the best part of the T-P article was John Georges' new campaign slogan.

The way the paper published the following JG quote in response to a question about a lack of political experience makes it appear as though Georges sputtered like an engine on its last drop of gasoline before devolving into this handy distillation of what he'd like us to think when we hear his name.

"First of all, Michael Bloomberg, OK?"

You can expect that many future posts about Mr. Georges' bread-breaking will include that quote.

--

I am having a nightmare right now where I'm watching a Mayoral debate. The candidates are being asked easy questions about tough issues but are nonetheless struggling to respond. The candidates are giving these painful answers - from oversimplified to nonsensical - that demonstrate an unfortunate lack of knowledge about the city's big problems and more importantly, the possible solutions for fixing them. Then John Georges walks up to the microphone and instead of trying to answer the questions, he just confidently drops two or three word associations outside acceptable sentence structure. He's basically just using boilerplate slogans as sentences instead of trying to weave boilerplate slogans into actual sentences and paragraphs.

Norman Robinson: Mr. Georges, as you know, the NOPD is facing multiple civil rights investigations for possible cover-ups of post-Katrina homicides. There are numerous allegations of corruption and graft from the evidence room. Over n NOPD officers have themselves been accused of crimes over the last four years. Some people say we need to completely overhaul our police force, and possibly consider a federal receivership with the Department of Justice to ensure a new police culture has time to take root. Others say we just need competent administration over incumbent police practice. What do you think we need to do about the NOPD to make it a more effective crime-fighting agency?

Georges: First of all, national search, OK?!?

Georges sits down as the crowd goes wild.