Once again we approach the New Year with equal measures of optimism and trepidation. We are hopeful that south Louisiana's recovery will continue — we see many indications that it will — but we are fearful that our leaders will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past. Herewith our suggested resolutions for prominent New Orleanians, public figures and public servants in 2013:
Mayor Mitch Landrieu — This year will be the run-up to his 2014 re-election campaign. This will also be the year that we see if his "NOLA For Life" anti-violence initiative gains traction. We've never seen a mayor better at multitasking, and we encourage Hizzoner to continue in that vein, but he should focus on crime and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) like never before. Between NOLA for Life and the federal consent decree with NOPD, the elements are in place to make lasting reforms in our city's troubled Police Department while simultaneously beginning to change the city's culture of violence. Both are long-term goals. In the short term, the mayor must learn to play nicer in the City Hall political sandbox, especially with New Orleans City Council President Stacy Head. It definitely means not being so "controlling" on every issue. In the longer term, we'd like to see him kick off his re-election campaign next fall by offering a vision of New Orleans celebrating its tercentennial (in 2018, the last year of his second term) with more than just a big party. It should include a reinvigorated downtown, a modernized Louis Armstrong International Airport, and more.
NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas — See above re: NOLA for Life and the consent decree. He should do whatever it takes to get buy-in on both by the rank-and-file. This is his chance to leave a legacy like no other police chief.
Jefferson Parish President John Young — He has burnished his reputation as a reformer, but he has a lot to learn when it comes to working with other elected leaders — particularly the parish council. He could start by communicating with them more openly and more frequently. Hint: Before announcing new initiatives, give them a heads-up and get some early support.
Gov. Bobby Jindal — This time last year we asked him to spend more time in New Orleans. We meant Orleans Parish. Once more, with feeling. We predicted then that he would not be vice president this year. We'll predict now that he won't be nominated for president in 2016. But, if he insists on playing on the national stage, he must recognize that his platform is Louisiana. All the things he prescribes for the GOP nationally must be put in place here at home. That means repealing the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act (allowing the teaching of creationism in public schools), putting real accountability into his voucher program, supporting anti-bullying policies that protect ALL students in public schools, and losing his tax virginity by reinstating the Stelly Plan.
Interim U.S. Attorney Dana Boente — Take no prisoners. Ditto for special counsel John Horn, who is here to conduct a real investigation into the online posting and "leaks" scandal.
President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans — Stop the bickering and the blaming, and quit kicking the can down the road. Make the grand bargain — on the economy as well as gun control. The latter should include planks dealing with video games and help for the mentally ill.
The New Orleans Hornets — Rebrand and rebuild. The New Orleans Arena has never looked better, and we still have faith in coach Monty Williams and general manager Dell Demps. The pieces are in place for a top-notch basketball team. In last year's resolutions, we told the Hornets we're still in — and we continue to believe.
The New Orleans Saints — The on- and off-field drama made 2012 a year to forget for the Black and Gold faithful. Much was out of the team's control last year, but the 2013 season needs to be a reboot. The prime imperative: Come to a new agreement with coach Sean Payton, and do it soon so the team (and the fans) can move on from a season we need to put behind us as quickly as possible.
Hubig's Pies — Reopen!
Team Gleason — Continue to embrace life to its fullest and inspire New Orleanians with your bravado, grace and courage, showing us what "No White Flags" truly means.
And to all our readers in print and online: Happy New Year!