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Day 739: Be The City Council Change

… you have worked so hard over the past two years to see. 

At the Rising Tide conference, one of the post-K citizen achievements we applauded was voting in a fresh City Council, mostly unbeleaguered by the recycling of family and political ties.  Oliver Thomas’s recent resignation in disgrace served the bigger blow of pondering his successor and the ignominy of even having to consider the usual suspects.

Those who live in New Orleans know by now who has qualified; you who don’t need not be burdened.  Suffice it to say that a somewhat cleaned-out space may once again house that which we voted to get rid of.  For instance, in 2006, this city voted in Arnie Fielkow over Jackie Clarkson as the second Councilmember At Large only to see her run again this year.  Gah.

Looking at the list of candidates – career Louisiana or New Orleans politicians, relatives of known criminals and cranks – I start to see blockades they will set up for a citizen-driven recovery.  Experience with politics is not what is required for this position, but a clear understanding of and empathy with what the neighborhoods of New Orleans need to come back.  In this time of rebuilding, New Orleans needs someone with a proven track record of serving the city and not themselves.  

Should she choose to run, VatulBlog proudly supports LaToya Cantrell, current head of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, as our next Councilmember-At-Large.  LaToya offers initiative and cooperation that has helped her community come back from near death to the forefront of New Orleans recovery.  As I said earlier this year in Day 628: Spotlight On Broadmoor,

Broadmoor is a neighborhood I really respect from a civic standpoint – its organization (online and off) is a model and source of inspiration for neighborhoods anywhere attempting a difficult rebound from the edge of extinction. Along with the MidCity Neighborhood Organization, Broadmoor was one of the first neighborhoods to compile a comprehensive neighborhood recovery plan

Do you really think Clarkson, who screams at her constituents, or Bajoie, who has enjoyed much more power than on a City Council, will return your email from their Blackberrys like OT did?  Never once have I received a response from either of the Cynthias on citywide issues.   And please don’t bother bringing up Dyan French or Malcolm Suber.  Yes, City Council definitely needs one who works everyday at the neighborhood/community level, but, like Oyster says, someone with “competence, professionalism and [a] creative approach to solutions for neighborhoods.”

Read more about LaToya Cantrell in the articles below.  If she is someone you would like to see in City Council, please send her a note of encouragement and support.  New Orleans deserves such a Councilmember.

USA Today: … And Power Of Initiative
Gambit Weekly: 40 Under 40
NPR: New Orleans School Signals Reborn Community
New York Times: A New Orleans Neighborhood Rebuilds
NOLA.com: Don’t Sacrifice Our Homes To Flooding
The National Trust For Historic Preservation: HGTV Restore America Gala
Harvard University Institute Of Politics: Katrina – One Year Later
The Boston Globe: Planning A Comeback
PBS Online NewsHour: Community Leaders Discuss Future of Gulf Coast

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