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.
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.