Two sitting members of the New Orleans City Council and all of their challengers said the city needs a new police superintendent in a response to a question asked by the Alliance for Good Government at a Jan. 15 forum.
Councilwomen Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell — who are running in separate races for at-large seats on the City Council — both answered "yes" in a yes-or-no lightning-round question that asked whether a new police chief is needed. All three of their challengers — Jason Williams and Freddie Charbonnet, who are running against Hedge-Morrell, and Eugene Green, who is running against Head — answered "yes" as well.
In the District A race, Councilwoman Susan Guidry was the lone vote of support for Superintendent Ronal Serpas, answering "no." Three of her opponents — Jason Coleman, Stephen Foster and David Capasso — all answered "yes." Her fourth opponent, Drew Ward, was not on stage at the time the question was asked, but said afterward he thinks the police chief should no longer be appointed by the mayor.
The answers by Head and Hedge-Morrell leave support for Serpas on the Council difficult to gauge. The Alliance already had interviewed candidates for the Districts C, D and E races (including sitting councilmembers Jackie Clarkson and James Gray), but did not include the question on those evenings. District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell is unopposed for re-election and thus did not appear before the Alliance, but has been openly critical of Serpas' leadership in the past. Because of the lightning-round format, the candidates did not have the opportunity to explain their answers. — Robert Morris | Uptown Messenger