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Day 779: Vote Early And Vote Well

Downtown New Orleans is eerily beautiful by twilight and, tonight, I was lucky enough to catch the fixed neon sign on City Hall with the Superdome and a large, low storm cloud as its backdrop. “For enough money to buy a great portion of the CBD,” I mused while driving towards the Crescent City Connection and across it to Gretna. “With it, I’d fix it up and make it shine. What I could do with these abandoned buildings before they fall into themselves. New Orleans deserves a better and bustling downtown.” Snap out of it and keep your eyes on the road, kid.

Mentality, not money, is the true savior of this city, however, and how we vote is an important piece of that messianic puzzle. Although voting is often the easiest and most pedestrian of citizen activities and little will change with my advocacy over email and a blog, I’m a strong believer in the power of an individual upholding his or her signature of the social contract. This, to someone who has been an American citizen for only half of her life, is the most exciting part (especially when my first presidential vote ended in the proverbial goat rodeo with everyone from Katherine Harris to the SCOTUS joining the party). So, without further ado, go vote this Saturday. Louisiana and Orleans Parish elections are a guaranteed good time.

Check Who am I to urge you to vote one way or another? Think of me as the Gambit Weekly, except when I tell you on page 21 of the Election Guide 2007 that picks for the Judicial Elections are on page 39, they are on page 39 instead of ads for Juan LaFonta and Metairie Park Country Day. Official VatulBlog endorsements in order of importance to me –

Governor: None in the primary. Waiting until runoff to vote against Bobby Jindal – anyone who thinks that this man’s ethnicity somehow equates to racial harmony needs a long mental enema with Lava Soap.  Edit: Normally, I do end up casting a vote in a primary this important; this time it will have to be for Walter Boasso, even if I don’t relish the thought.

Lt. Governor: Mitch Landrieu

Senate District 5: David Williams. Sorry, Congressman Jefferson, I am for real. Never meant to make your daughter cry, but I can’t vote for her. Also, smart as she is, what has Cheryl Gray done for New Orleans lately? For a couple of hours this past Sunday, Becky Houtman, Craig & Kim Giesecke and I had a chance to talk with David Williams, an energetic public servant with judicial and legislative experience who deeply cares about the fair treatment of New Orleans in the state legislature. Williams spoke generically of everything from insurance reform to the coexistence of coastal restoration and economic revival, but his sincerity was most palpable when speaking of New Orleans (“our singular lack of political clout”), the healthcare needs of workers in this city and our race relations. He would put a lot of effort into affordable housing, decentralized delivery of primary healthcare to those without travel options beyond the RTA and building a bridge between us and Baton Rouge at a time when this city gets 70 cents on every dollar we pay into the state and “our delegation has not been unified” by those currently in office. “We are so much better than the people we elect.” New Orleans needs more helping reformers and less dealmakers – my vote’s with him.

City Council At Large: Tommie Vassel. Yup, I “nutted up,” thought about it and picked one. Vassel is the only who, as far as I know, hasn’t backpedalled on liking or disliking Nagin, speaks coherently, doesn’t smack of self-righteousness, lacks deep dynastic roots and is not Jackie Clarkson. To give credit where it’s due, Cliff cinched it for me: “These days I need to make sure that whoever is in office is going to support what my community needs regardless of where they are politically.”

Judge of Criminal Court Section A: Laurie White, whom I have come to realize has a more comprehensive platform and community supporters than runner-up, Gary Wainwright.

House District 93: Karen Carter, even if she is a BOLD princess.

President Of The United States: Stephen Colbert (give me a break, he’s on TV right now and more inspiring than most of the Louisiana candidates)

Now, about that Kimberly Williamson-Butler billboard: Who wants to climb up there with me and change it to read TIRED AND PROVEN GUILTY? As they say, this is about the future of Louisiana.

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18 comments… add one
  • mominem October 16, 2007, 11:49 PM

    If you want a run off vote ABJ. an non vote is a half a vote for PBJ

  • pistolette October 17, 2007, 8:16 AM

    I have a problem with not voting in the primary. If one doesn’t want Jindal then they should vote for someone else. Not only do they expect Bobby to win the primary without a runoff, but even if he doesn’t the choices will only get narrower.

  • celcus October 17, 2007, 8:51 AM

    This reminds me…I’m going to have to make a decision myself soon.

    Vassel is not a bad choice for at large. He did come across as quite competent, like he actually knew how to do something other than talk and raise money.

  • Blair Tyson October 17, 2007, 9:06 AM

    OK, we have our own problems such as a legislature that will not pass a budget, but you have piqued my curiosity so I went to Jindal’s web site.

    He claims “doors walked 1,798,498”. What the hell is that? From the distance he comes off as smart but smarmy.

  • Alex Wacha October 17, 2007, 6:11 PM

    I think its funny how everyone screams for change and yet the endorse Mitch Landrieu…. Cant have change if you endorse more of the same.

  • Maitri October 17, 2007, 8:44 PM

    Mitch isn’t the problem by a long shot. Let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face, shall we?

  • Beth October 18, 2007, 12:11 AM

    Hi, I’m not a regular reader of your blog, but I do enjoy it. You asked what Cheryl Gray has done for New Orleans lately, and I thought I’d answer that. She was a major player throughout the past budget session and worked hard to help UNO get nearly $12 million, a little more than half of which is recurring money. Not just UNO — there was a partnership among UNO, Delgado, SUNO and Nunez. Those schools have had a hard time competing with LSU (because there was sooooo much damage to LSU after Katrina?) and the ULL system and Gray’s efforts were phenomenal. She’s got my vote for that reason.

  • bayoustjohndavid October 18, 2007, 12:35 AM

    I keep going back and forth on Vassel. I know that I wouldn’t consider him if he were white, but I don’t want to see a racially divided council. There’s only one thing I want to see less than a council divided between the faux-reformer from District C and the two Cynthias on one side and four white council members on the other. That would be a fourth council member that would cause Fielkow to do the math and go back to be being squishy-soft Fielgood again. I don’t know if I can hope for the best out of a political insider and Nagin business partner just because he seems good, Nagin seemed good. What the Picayune said to assuage the fears of voters who were worried that Nagin appointed Vassel to the water board seemed a little disingenuous. He was expected to be a pro-privatization vote and he voted against it. That would be reassuring except for the fact that the privatization deal was pretty much dead by the time that vote came up. One company dropped its bid and another company had been discredited because of its operation of the Atlanta water system. Vassel has said that the council should have tried harder to avoid issuing the subpoena. Every candidate who has said that has sounded good saying it, but it means that they believe that Nagin operates in good faith.

  • Maitri October 18, 2007, 9:13 AM

    Beth, besides UNO, why are these other schools suffering from lack of funds or care unlike Dillard or Xavier? Where did the funds for SUNO go if it still looks like this? Money is great, but we need advocacy and action, too.

  • EC October 19, 2007, 10:24 AM

    Glad to see that you obviously see through Foster Campbell.

    Some NOLA Bloggers are not thinking this through.

    This is the eve of what may be the most important election ever for us in South East Louisiana.

    When have we (you) ever felt comfortable with any politician north of Laplace, Louisiana?

    What politician north of Laplace has ever shown the heart for keeping our New Orleans Saints?

    Do you understand that the majority of folks north of LaPlace could care less about us in South East Louisiana?

    As for Foster Campbell, let’s set the record straight in this guy.

    Campbell is going to get rid of the state income tax like the successful rich states have done. Has he checked the property tax rates of those other states?

    He also plans to tax oil transported through our port. The Ports of Mobile and Galveston must be heavy contributors to Huey’s… I mean Foster’s campaign.

    Seriously, you cannot support the rebuilding of S.E. La. and vote for Campbell. It is a contradiction in extreme terms.

    If one must cast a vote against Jindal, at least vote for someone with interest in this area’s recovery like Walter Boasso or John Georges and forget all the political bull shit.

  • Maitri October 19, 2007, 11:14 AM

    John Georges doesn’t care about anything but his own recovery, while Foster Campbell strikes me as disingenuous. His plans, if carried out, will have drastic consequences for Louisiana’s economy. That leaves me with Walter Boasso even if he left the Republican party in an ego-ridden huff.

  • jeffrey October 19, 2007, 1:30 PM

    I’m a bit late to this discussion but… just can’t help asking David if he would say the “going back and forth” means he has been “Vasselating” on Vassel?

  • e October 19, 2007, 3:20 PM

    I think EC’s argument about why Campbell should be avoided is decent enough.

    The problem is that its not any more inspiring than the argument that Boasso, Campbell, and Georges are conservative Bush donors.

    Nor is it any more convincing that all the candidates are ugly looking and we should vote for a sexy write-in choice instead.

    None of the candidates are even mediocre choices.

  • Beth October 20, 2007, 1:03 AM

    Maitri,

    UNO didn’t flood. That’s a major distinction you shouldn’t overlook. SUNO was essentially destroyed.

    You ask a great question, about where the money is for SUNO. But that’s been the question about SUNO for years, long before the storm.

  • EC October 20, 2007, 10:00 AM

    Perhaps 2 state universities sitting on top of each at the cost of tax payers while we are asking for more money from Congress isn’t a great idea.

  • James Gray November 15, 2007, 2:19 PM

    No update for the run-off? Just curious. I like to see people educate themselves on the issues. Too bad that is not commonplace. The attacks against Cheryl Gray on crime ad ethics are bogus as the paper desciribed today but any informed person could have looked at the bill numbers and saw that they were bogus and ethics violations are public as well.

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