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Monday, July 24, 2017

Youth who commit misdemeanors could receive warnings or summonses under proposed ordinance

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 5:45 PM

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New Orleans youth who commit misdemeanor offenses could receive warnings or summonses to appear in court with a guardian, under a proposed ordinance aimed at preventing young people from entering, and often re-entering, the criminal justice system after an arrest.

The ordinance was supported by the New Orleans City Council's Criminal Justice Committee July 24, and it also has the support of Orleans Parish Juvenile Court judges and, for the most part, Mayor Mitch Landrieu. It now heads to the full City Council for approval.

Committee chair and District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said "police have no alternative but to handcuff the child [who commits minor offenses]. I mean that is a serious, traumatic event.”

Under the ordinance, youth who have committed a status offense (truancy, running away, displaying "ungovernable behavior") would receive a juvenile warning notice (JWN). Police also would write JWNs or issue summonses for 11 types of misdemeanor crimes — including simple assault and simple possession of marijuana, misdemeanor theft, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing — at the officers' discretion.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Wide field of candidates qualifies for mayoral, City Council races

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 5:22 PM

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Eighteen people filed to run for New Orleans mayor, and another 34 qualified for the seven seats on the New Orleans City Council as qualifying at the Orleans Parish Clerk of Court's office wound down this afternoon.

Among the expected mayoral candidates were a few surprises, including a visual artist who made his announcement via a rap video; a longtime French Quarter sommelier who founded the "Krewe of Cork"; and perennial mayoral candidate Manny Chevrolet Bruno, whose never-out-of-date slogan is "A Troubled Man for Troubled Times."

Several of the council seats have no incumbent running due to term limits, though no seat went uncontested. The race with the fewest entrants is in District C, where incumbent Nadine Ramsey will face off against former District C councilwoman Kristen Gisleson Palmer, who represented C from 2010 to 2014.

The primary election is three months from today — Oct. 14 — while a runoff, if necessary, will be held Nov. 18. Also on the ballot will be state treasurer (seven people qualified), along with several judgeships, Orleans Parish coroner, Orleans Parish assessor, clerk of Criminal District Court and Orleans Parish Sheriff. The only race that attracted no challengers was that of Clerk of Civil District Court, held by Dale Atkins.

As of 4:30 p.m., here were the candidates who had qualified for mayor and City Council and were officially registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State:

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Landrieu adopts plan to combat effects of climate change in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 1:30 PM

A March for Science in New Orleans on April 22 brought attention to climate change and other environmental and health issues. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • A March for Science in New Orleans on April 22 brought attention to climate change and other environmental and health issues.

New Orleans will aim to reduce emissions by 50 percent in 2030, as Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials commit to the international agreement on climate change from which President Donald Trump has withdrawn the U.S.

After declaring the dramatic effects of climate change on south Louisiana an "existential threat" facing New Orleans, Landrieu unveiled an ambitious "Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans," which proposes 11 strategies and 25 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions citywide. He also signed an executive order committing to the goals as guided by the action plan.

"Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our coastal communities, nation and world,” Landrieu said in a statement. “In New Orleans, we face a triple threat: subsidence, coastal erosion and sea level rise. If unchecked, New Orleans, like many coastal cities, will be forced to retreat. This strategy will help us transition to a low-carbon economy that not only helps manage our climate risk, but also creates new businesses, jobs, and wealth.”

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mayor Landrieu reflects on 'foundation' and challenge of violent crime

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 10:20 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered his 2017 State of the City at the Civic Theatre July 6.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered his 2017 State of the City at the Civic Theatre July 6.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu ended his final State of the City address with a familiar phrase, one that he's used at the end of previous State of the City speeches and throughout his terms as mayor of New Orleans; "Let's get back to work."

Each State of the City has revisited the previous year of his administration — highlighting infrastructure investments, crime prevention, recreation, homelessness and affordable housing, among other issues — and glimpsed his platform in the coming months and years ahead.

But for his final State of the City before he leaves office in 2018, Landrieu started from the beginning, then landed squarely at the future as New Orleans prepares to elect his successor.

Landrieu's speech at the Civic Theatre July 6 spanned the disarray and $97 million deficit he inherited in 2010 to the balanced budgets, job programs, hospitals, recreation centers, playgrounds and road projects in the years that followed — as well as the city's two ongoing "existential and immediate threats": climate change and violent crime.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Karen Carter Peterson decides not to run for mayor, 'after much deliberation and prayer'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 3:20 PM

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson.
  • State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson.

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who was mulling a run for mayor of New Orleans, has decided against the move, according to a Facebook post and a private text message she sent to some close friends.

Peterson — who also is head of the state Democratic party, as well as Vice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Participation of the Democratic National Committee — had told Gambit last week that “I’m doing all the due diligence that a serious potential candidate has to do" and promised a decision well before the end of qualifying July 14. That decision, it turns out, is no.

With nearly two decades in public service, Peterson was expected to be a strong candidate in a field that includes former Judge Michael Bagneris, District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet and businessman Frank Scurlock. Other possible candidates whose names have been mentioned are Walt Leger, Speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, and businessman Sidney Torres IV.

Here is Peterson's statement, along with the text message she sent to friends:

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Karen Carter Peterson close to decision to run for mayor

Posted By on Sat, Jul 1, 2017 at 9:53 AM

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State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson is very close to deciding whether to run for mayor of New Orleans and promises an announcement before qualifying opens July 12.

“It won’t be some 4 o'clock thing on Friday,” Peterson told Gambit. “I’m doing all the due diligence that a serious potential candidate has to do.”

Peterson, who has been in elective politics for almost two decades, stopped short of saying she has decided to run. The fact that she is giving the race this much consideration at a relatively late hour, however, suggests strongly that she is a likely entrant into the race. The last three New Orleans mayors all announced their respective candidacies shortly before qualifying, after others had announced months earlier.

Peterson’s name has been mentioned off and on as a potential candidate for mayor during the current political season, and in past election cycles, but in recent weeks the talk of her possible candidacy has increased.

Peterson said she has been “encouraged by many, many friends” to enter the race based on the current announced field. That field includes former Judge Michael Bagneris, District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet and businessman Frank Scurlock.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The 2017 New Orleans mayoral race: A familiar but unique election scenario

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:18 PM

Who's moving in next year?
  • Who's moving in next year?

No two elections are alike, but this year’s race for mayor of New Orleans reminds me (so far) of the 2002 mayor’s race. Ray Nagin won that contest, but don’t panic. I don’t see another Nagin in our future. What looks familiar is the slow pace at which the field is taking shape and the lack of a clear front runner, at least as this stage.

Now consider this factoid: the last three mayors didn’t announce their candidacies until shortly before qualifying. That’s what leads some to whisper that we haven’t yet heard the name of the next mayor.

Of course, two of those three late-entry candidates were named Morial and Landrieu. They didn’t need to start early. The third was Nagin, and he won mainly because the eventual front runner, then-state Sen. Paulette Irons, imploded in the final weeks.

I don’t see any of this year’s candidates imploding, but I do see other parallels between this year’s race and the one that gave us Nagin.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Orleans mayoral candidates Bagneris and Cantrell discuss minimum wage, law enforcement

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 3:35 PM

LaToya Cantrell and Michael Bagneris fielded questions from progressive group Indivisible NOLA.
  • LaToya Cantrell and Michael Bagneris fielded questions from progressive group Indivisible NOLA.

New Orleans mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris and LaToya Cantrell found a lot of common ground at a forum hosted by progressive group Indivisible NOLA, broadly covering wage inequity, immigration, racial justice, homelessness, substance abuse and mental health services, among other issues. Another announced candidate, Civil District Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, also was invited to the forum but had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. But the invitation-only event was this year's candidates' first large public introductions before qualifying begins.

Candidates sat in front of an orange Black Lives Matter banner at First Unitarian Universalist Church at Jefferson and Claiborne avenues June 17, fielding questions from event moderators, Indivisible members and members of the roughly 300 people in attendance.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Landrieu postpones State of the City, says 'senseless violence cannot go unchecked' in wake of Scalise shooting

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 1:10 PM

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.
  • U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu postponed his annual State of the City address this morning following the shooting of Louisiana U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and several Congressional staffers at a baseball field outside Washington D.C.

The speech was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. June 14 at the Civic Theatre. Landrieu will announce a rescheduled date for the address at a later date.

“In times like these, we have to pause and reflect, which is why I postponed the State of the City Address," Landrieu said from City Hall. "I want to ask the people of New Orleans and the country to keep him and the other victims in your thoughts and prayers. I am encouraged by reports that he is in stable condition."
Landrieu and District D City Councilman Jared Brossett both served with Scalise in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Brossett said he's glad the shooting "was not a worse event than it is."

Landrieu called the shooting an "attack on our very democracy" and called for unity "against cowardly violence."

"Unfortunately we have been here before, but it's no less shocking," he said. "This is not a partisan issue ... This senseless violence in America cannot go unchecked."

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Desiree Charbonnet plans 'important announcement' Mon. May 22

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 3:17 PM

Desiree Charbonnet.
  • Desiree Charbonnet.

Former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, who stepped down from her judgeship last month in what was seen as preamble to joining the New Orleans mayor's race, has invited supporters to "an important announcement" May 22 at the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans.

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