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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

LaToya Cantrell would ban traffic cameras if elected mayor, she clarifies after some conflicting messages

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 8:14 PM

click to enlarge LaToya Cantrell announcing her mayoral candidacy at the New Orleans Jazz Market July 18.
  • LaToya Cantrell announcing her mayoral candidacy at the New Orleans Jazz Market July 18.

At her formal mayoral campaign announcement last night, District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell drew some of the biggest cheers of her speech when she announced, "We don’t know if traffic cameras are making our streets safer. But we do know those cameras are costing our residents money that could be spent on their families. As your mayor, I will suspend the use of the cameras until it can be proven that they actually work as intended." (In a departure from prepared remarks that had been provided to reporters, Cantrell speculated that the traffic cameras could be redeployed as crime cameras in drug-plagued neighborhoods.)

Later, though, in a short scrum with reporters, Cantrell seemed to walk back that statement at least in part, saying, "Based on the feedback from the community, it would only be those cameras that have been recently installed" — indicating that she supported the removal only of the cameras that were put in place in early 2017, leaving in place those that had been installed earlier.

In a call today with Gambit, though, Cantrell spokesman David Winkler-Schmit clarified that the original statement — as spelled out in her prepared remarks — was the correct one: Should she be elected, Cantrell would remove all traffic cameras, the fines from which account for about 2 percent of the city budget.

The cameras installed in 2017 were part of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's municipal budget for the year and were expected to bring in $5 million in revenue. That budget was approved by the New Orleans City Council, of which Cantrell is a member.

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