Landrieu and the Alliance
The Alliance of Good Government was formed in 1967 as an organization dedicated to electing candidates from the metropolitan New Orleans area who would promote the principles of "good government." From its origin as an Orleans Parish group, the Alliance has since created chapters in St. Tammany, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes. In a recent poll of voters in the New Orleans area, the Alliance scored high marks for integrity, and its endorsement was shown to be influential. Needless to say, candidates strive to not only receive the backing of the organization, but also to have the benefit of the army of volunteers that becomes committed to the endorsed candidates.
In the 1996 U. S. Senate race, Republican candidate Woody Jenkins scored an upset by receiving the Alliance endorsement over native New Orleanian and Democrat Mary Landrieu. On Wednesday, incumbent U.S. Sen. Landrieu made her first debate appearance along with six of her challengers. One of those in attendance, Elections Commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell, has always received the Alliance endorsement in her previous races. The debate was uneventful, which undoubtedly helped Landrieu. In fact, a key Landrieu insider commented, "If all the debates are this boring, we won't need to go to a run-off."
His point is crucial in light of the Southern Media poll that shows Landrieu at more than 45 percent of the vote and Terrell, her nearest challenger, at 15.5 percent, with 24.6 percent undecided. With a sizeable number of undecided voters being African-Americans, Landrieu is already at 50 percent-plus of the vote, enough to win without a run-off. Therefore, her challengers need to press her into making a mistake or at least peel some votes off her current total. Unfortunately for the opposition, this did not occur at the Alliance debate, and Landrieu received the organization's endorsement.
Last Minute Maneuvers
Supporters of Congressman John Cooksey are hoping that Jefferson Parish Assessor Lawrence Chehardy will mail a letter to the voters in the parish endorsing the Monroe representative for U.S. Senate. Chehardy has been helping Cooksey for months, and supporters believe that a letter of endorsement will help Cooksey receive a sizeable Jefferson Parish vote on Nov. 5.
Cooksey has been working with Gov. Mike Foster on last minute fundraising calls. Foster is trying to use his extensive network of donors to give Cooksey a boost at the end. For weeks, Landrieu and Terrell have owned the airwaves exclusively, and the exposure provided by Terrell's fundraising advantage has nudged her into second place in the polls. Landrieu is looking strong and basking in the surprise endorsement of Republican Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon. A key campaign official confides that he believes she will win on Nov. 5 if she can get her votes to the polls and if she can get through the week of debates without a major gaffe.
Jefferson Parish Charter Revisions
Four charter amendment propositions will be on the Nov. 5 ballot in Jefferson Parish. Proposition 1 allows the parish president to make line-item vetoes. Proposition 2 changes the Council structure from the current 6-1 lineup to a 5-2 lineup, with two being elected at-large. Proposition 3 makes just technical changes and corrects language. Proposition 4 creates a petition method that will give an elected official a way to extend a term past the current two-term limit.
A 15-member group that met for one year, the Charter Advisory Committee was chaired by Pat LeBlanc and conducted public hearings seeking citizen input. The committee reported to the Council in late spring, and the Council chose the four propositions for the ballot in November. Some committee recommendations were not included on the ballot, and some that were not endorsed by a majority of the committee -- such as the propositions involving the Council structure and the petition -- were added to the ballot.
During the last several weeks, State Rep. Jennifer Sneed has been leading the charge against Propositions 2 and 4 especially. Sneed has been speaking to groups and to the media about her opposition to these propositions. In return, no Council members have wanted to take a public stand in favor of the propositions, with the exception of Councilmember Nick Giambelluca.
Charter Advisory Committee member Larry Katz strongly supports Propositions 1 and 3 and stated that there was near unanimous support for those propositions on the committee.
The Bureau of Government Research only supports Proposition 1.
One of the major business leaders in the metropolitan New Orleans area and a resident of Jefferson Parish, Joseph Canizaro says he is fully committed to helping President George W. Bush secure a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.
Last week's "Inside Jeff Parish" reported that Canizaro "has maxed out in donations to Landrieu." In fact, Canizaro has not contributed to her since 1998. Canizaro has been donating to several Republican U.S. Senate candidates throughout the country and is a major donor to the state and national Republican parties.
Canizaro has been friends with the Landrieu family for many years and calls Landrieu a good friend, but he has not made an endorsement or contribution to her for this election. In fact, his key aide, retired Gen. James Livingston, who works for Canizaro at Columbus Properties, is actively supporting Suzanne Haik Terrell and recently has been traveling with her on a tour of the state. When asked who he is supporting in this election, Canizaro did not mention a particular candidate, but responded, "I am working for President Bush and the Republican Party and trying to help the President get 51 Republican seats in the U.S. Senate."