Elections

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gambit's endorsements for mayor, city council and other races on the Oct. 14 ballot

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 7:00 PM

LaToya Cantrell.
  • LaToya Cantrell.

Early voting starts this Saturday, Sept. 30, across Louisiana — but nowhere is that date more important than in metro New Orleans. Voters in New Orleans will elect a new mayor, at least three new City Council members, and two judges. They also will decide the fate of three important school board millages.

In Jefferson Parish, voters in Council District 4 will choose a new parish councilman, and voters parishwide will decide whether to renew two transportation millages. Statewide, voters will elect a new treasurer and consider three proposed constitutional amendments.

These are vitally important decisions, yet early indicators suggest a low turnout statewide — and only tepid interest locally. With so much at stake for New Orleans, we hope voters heed the “wake-up call” described in our upcoming Sunday cover story.

As we considered whom to endorse in these critical elections, we looked for candidates who not only had the skill sets to get things done, but who also understood the sense of urgency that will be needed to address the challenges facing our city, region and state. Whether you agree with our recommendations or not, we hope you’ll take time to vote. Our recommendations in the election are below the jump.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cassidy vs. Sanders headed to CNN Sept. 25

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Bill Cassidy join Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar to debate health care legislation Sept. 25 on CNN. - PHOTOS BY AFGE & GAGE SKIDMORE/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • PHOTOS BY AFGE & GAGE SKIDMORE/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Sens. Bernie Sanders and Bill Cassidy join Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar to debate health care legislation Sept. 25 on CNN.


CNN will air a "town hall" Monday, Sept. 25 with U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham debating Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar over proposed health care legislation.

Anchor Jake Tapper and chief political correspondent Dana Bash will moderate the 90-minute event, aired live at 8 p.m.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

If the candidates aren’t inspiring voters, maybe voters should inspire the candidates

Posted By on Sun, Sep 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM

CREATIVE COMMONS/MRS. GEMSTONE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/MRS. GEMSTONE

We’re now less than two weeks away from early voting in the New Orleans citywide elections, and so far no mayoral candidate has captured voters’ imagination or articulated a message that resonates. In fact, most voters’ reaction to the field of would-be mayors is a collective yawn.

That’s scary, because one of those candidates will be New Orleans’ next mayor.

Former Jefferson Parish Sheriff-turned-WWL radio host Newell Normand offered an interesting remedy to that situation last week: If the candidates aren’t inspiring voters, maybe voters should inspire the candidates.

It’s not just a clever turn of phrase. Two citizen-driven organizations are making moves right now to disseminate candidates’ specific stances on hot-button issues: Forward New Orleans (FNO) and the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR). Voters should use FNO’s and BGR’s reports, which are available online, to light a fire under candidates at the numerous forums being held around town.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Email shows local short-term rental industry sought to raise funds for City Council candidates Ramsey, Maklansky

Posted By and on Sat, Sep 16, 2017 at 1:59 PM

coverstory.jpg
Editor's note: This story has been revised to include the information that District A candidate Joe Giarrusso returned a $250 contribution by Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity president Eric Bay on Sept. 2, the day it was made. Maklansky also contacted Gambit to say she did not remember receiving a check from the Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity in early July, and that she was returning the money. She had declined to accept a $1,000 check from the organization in August.

Less than six months into implementation of the city’s short-term rental (STR) ordinance, the leading local proponent of expanded STRs is raising money for some City Council candidates “who have pledged to work with us,” according to an email sent by the pro-STR Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity (ANP). In the email, ANP makes clear that the organization seeks to expand the “footprint of inclusion” for STRs and increase “both day count and occupancy permitted” in the city’s STR ordinance.

An ANP email sent last month titled "Call to Arms and Action-All Members City Wide" asked the group’s members and supporters to help raise campaign money by attending fundraisers for two council candidates in particular — District C incumbent Nadine Ramsey and District A hopeful Aylin Acikalin Maklansky, who until recently served as Ramsey’s legislative director. In addition to hosting fundraisers for Ramsey and Maklansky, ANP and its president have contributed to several other council candidates directly.

"Both are Equally important to our futures," the email said, "as their contending opposing candidates have announced anti-STR sentiment and prioritized restrictions going forward if elected. Please make every effort to contribute online and if unable to attend. Support your future by supporting those who have pledged to work with us."

Asked about the efforts by ANP, Ramsey told Gambit she initially didn’t know about the fundraiser, which is scheduled for Sept. 19 at Schoen Funeral Home on Canal Street in Mid-City, which is not in District C. Ramsey said after she became aware of the email’s language — particularly its suggestion that she was committed to expanding STRs into the French Quarter — she told her campaign to cancel the event. If it is held anyway, Ramsey told Gambit, she said she would not attend.

“We didn’t know they were doing it with the intent to change policy,” Ramsey said.

Maklansky told Gambit that the email came to her campaign’s attention only after she had committed to an event scheduled for Aug. 29 at a home owned by Michelle LeBlanc in the Black Pearl neighborhood, which Maklansky characterized as a “meet and greet” rather than a fundraiser. The property, known as Oulala House, is listed on the short-term rental website VRBO and is advertised at an average price of $680 a night. The email listed the event and address and asked STR supporters to “support your future by supporting those who have pledged to work with us.” Maklansky said the event had no bearing on her support (or lack thereof) for short-term rentals.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

School board votes to limit law enforcement interaction with students

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Mary Moran with Nuestra Voz at a New Orleans rally to preserve DACA Sept. 7. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • Mary Moran with Nuestra Voz at a New Orleans rally to preserve DACA Sept. 7.

The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) has approved new guidelines that immigrant advocacy groups hope will protect students from law enforcement interaction and intimidation.

“School should be a safe place for all children,” OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis, Jr. said in a statement Sept. 15. “The Orleans Parish School Board holds this as a basic principle.”

The policies provide guidelines for school administration for what to do when law enforcement and immigration agents arrive on a campus. The policies (which apply only to direct-run OPSB schools) clarify that "such investigations should not disrupt the education environment at school sites."

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mayoral candidates tackle issues facing musicians, social aid and pleasure clubs

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 7:15 PM

Baby Dolls parading in 2017. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Baby Dolls parading in 2017.

While the New Orleans Saints kicked off their 2017 season, a crowd filled the Carver Theater Sept. 11 to hear how eight mayoral candidates plan to protect musicians and artists as the city and its cultural communities brace for another bout.

Moderator Lolis Eric Elie said music and cultural policy is "one of the most important and least discussed aspects" of the campaign. Candidates largely agreed that a lack of affordable housing as well as inequitable event fees and unsustainable payouts for gigs have threatened artists' and their families' abilities to live in New Orleans.

All candidates agreed to change the fee structures for parades and events for social aid and pleasure clubs and masking groups and echoed a “music is not a crime” mantra, though each had different ideas for ensuring protections for musicians and workers in a cultural economy and how they’d be represented at City Hall under their respective administrations.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

'We deserve better': New Orleans residents demand transparency at Sewerage & Water Board

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Flooding in Mid-City Aug. 5. - PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Flooding in Mid-City Aug. 5.

New Orleans residents from Algiers, Gentilly, Pontchartrain Park and New Orleans East sent a letter to the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) requesting guided tours of pumping stations in each neighborhood following revelations of downed pumps, broken power supplies and dysfunction throughout the agency and flood response at City Hall.

Pontchartrain Park resident Jerome Wilson’s car was flooded during Aug. 5 floods. “We have serious concerns about the functionality of pumps and drains in our neighborhoods and want to obtain a better understanding of the problems and solutions as the Sewerage & Water Board works to restore pumping/drainage capacity and mend relations with citizens,” he said in a statement.

"Had we taken the time to look at the pumps, I don't think it would've happened," New Orleans East resident Gladies Hamilton told Gambit. "It's happened too often."

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Monday, September 4, 2017

New Orleans joins Labor Day fight for $15 minimum wage

Posted By on Mon, Sep 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM

A "Fight for $15" march in 2016 rallied on Canal Street. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • A "Fight for $15" march in 2016 rallied on Canal Street.

Sabreal Ealem has worked in fast food for three years — she got her start at McDonald's, then Popeye's, then McDonald's again. Now she works while studying criminal justice at Southern University at New Orleans. "It's always been about work and school for me," she says. "I've never had a normal teenager life."

Ealam's mother and sister also work in fast food, earning minimum wage, or far less than the $15 minimum wage Ealem is calling for as part of a national movement demanding wage increases and the right to unionize. "The minimum wage has always separated my family — we've either been in work or at school," she says. "We rarely see each other. The minimum wage is separating families — not just mine."

As the U.S. celebrates Labor Day to close out a three-day weekend for many Americans, a growing chorus of low-wage workers, workers rights groups, unions, clergy and other organizations will push local, state and federal officials to raise minimum wages. McDonald's workers and supporters in New Orleans join a strike and add support behind the national Fight For $15 campaign led by Service Employees International Union. New Orleans' Labor Day protests are among other calls to action in 300 cities.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

You already know: A mayoral forum for millennials will feature Big Freedia

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 4:36 PM

Big Freedia. - COURTESY FUSE TV
  • Courtesy Fuse TV
  • Big Freedia.

A group called the Millennial Voter Engagement Initiative will host "Millennials Matter: Mayoral Forum" at Cafe Istanbul at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15 — and the event will feature a performance by Big Freedia.

LaToya Cantrell, Troy Henry, Michael Bagneris, Hashim Walters, Manny Chevrolet Bruno, Derrick O’Brien Martin, Johnese Smith and Tommie Vassel are among the mayoral candidates who have pledged to attend, according to the group, with more to follow. Whether any of them will twerk for votes remains to be seen.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Loyola to host mayoral forum on 'The Challenges of Calling New Orleans Home'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 2:55 PM

Mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet.
  • Mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet.


"Is New Orleans Worth It?' we asked in this week's cover story, and now the Preservation Resource Center and the Louisiana Landmarks Society will sponsor a Sept. 19 mayoral forum at Loyola University to ask a similar question.

“Shaping a Livable Historic City: The Challenges of Calling New Orleans Home” is the focus of the forum, which is hosted by the Center for the Study of New Orleans and The Institute of Politics at Loyola University New Orleans.

The university says the "three leading mayoral candidates" (presumably Michael Bagneris, Desiree Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell) "will address the future of the city of New Orleans on the eve of its Tricentennial. Discussion topics include housing costs and density, short-term rentals and the impact of tourism on neighborhoods, enforcement of the master plan and zoning law, preservation and its economic effect, infrastructure, and transportation."

The forum, which is free and open to the public, takes place in Nunemaker Auditorium on the third floor of Monroe Hall from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. 
Location Details Loyola University New Orleans, Monroe Hall, Nunemaker Auditorium
6363 St. Charles Ave.
Carrollton/Riverbend/University
New Orleans, LA
(504) 865-2011
University

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