Adrastos moderates a politics panel that includes Greg Peters (*groan* oops, I mean *cheer*), Brian Denzer, Gordon Russell from the Times-Picayune, Ethan Brown and our very own “queen of the universe,” Dangerblond!
Who’s going to / whom do you want to run for Mayor? Boos for Jackie Clarkson and Rob Couhig. Yay for Karen Carter, Mitch Landrieu and our Eli Ackerman.
District Attorney race: Ethan Brown says that the blogosphere the law enforcement establishment in New Orleans (thanks for the correction, Ethan!) has a “zombie narrative” going that New Orleans entertains a very liberal/lax policy when it comes to incarceration. New Orleans has a high incarceration rate for drug-related crimes and Louisiana has a very high number of people in prisons. High rate of 701 releases, yet only 2% of NOPD arrests are for violent crimes. Dangerblond says we need a DA who does not spend the first term preparing for the second term. We need a DA who is not going to prosecute every low-level “jughead” with “resin and a crackpipe.” Any avenue for social restitution for these people is now squandered because now they have a criminal record in their background. Greg Peters wants our new DA to have good managerial skills, not just lawyer finesse. Schroeder reminds us that we don’t have good metrics – “making quantitative records available to the public is important.” violent offenders tend to be repeat offenders and need to be put behind bars, but crack-pipe criminals may be able to go to Drug Court, as proposed by Linda Bizzarro as well as Jason Williams, who is with us at RT3 today.
Jason Williams says we need to prosecute cases using a Quality of Life dynamic. 95% of arrests are small change offenders. “Repeat violent offenders are allowed to go back to the street very quickly. First there are the 701 releases, but the justice system here is ill-equipped to deal with all of the cases.” So violent offenders are thrown back out with the low-risk folks. All was cool until the “Vote For Me” plug at the end – so unnecessary.
2nd District Congressional Race: Adrastos refers to William Jefferson as “a tragic figure, but, man, does he like money.” To help us understand the race better, Brian “The Nerd” Denzer gives us statistics, maps and visual aids. The thrust is that the 2nd District is majority black and this is going to be a major factor in this race. Based on a Southern Media poll, Brian says that Byron Lee, Dollar Bill and Kenya Smith together will garner about 16% of the vote. The poll shows Troy Carter, James Carter and Cedric Richmond going head to head, with Helena Moreno not making it to second primary.
(I don’t know who to vote for. *sigh*)
Gordon Russell is unsure how the voting is going to play out, but agrees that race is a factor. Helena Moreno is the only white candidate and could benefit from white votes in a sea of all black candidates. Greg states that Dollar Bill is not going down because of scandal but because he is no longer adept at bringing home federal money. Dangerblond is on the OPDEC and says James Carter (?) has national appeal and has OPDEC endorsement – yet states that people don’t know whom to believe. (My indecision is vindicated.) Ethan: “I’m from California where no one cares about the garbage contracts … We have a smaller pot of money so everyone is fighting over it.” Brian brings up coastal restoration and the Stafford Act: “They all lack the ability to speak to particular constituencies.”
Senate Race: Question is “Will Obama at the top of the ticket help or hurt Mary Landrieu’s chance for re-election?” Greg thinks it doesn’t matter because “John Kennedy is as useful as tits on a bishop.” Brian: “It helps because it increases black voter turnout.” Gordon: “It doesn’t matter.” Dangerblond brings up a $50 reward for anyone who can prove a credible story of corruption on the part of Moon Landrieu or anyone in his family. At this conference, Dangerblond raises the reward to $100.
Me: “Bobby Jindal exorcised me!” Adrastos points out that the exorcism obviously hasn’t taken and introduces me as his friend with lovely eyebrows. “I don’t get them waxed, either.”
Greg: “He’s a hydroponically-grown prototype,” “fake ideologue persona who will do what it takes.”
Brian: “He’s got a long way to go as an elected official.”
Gordon: “His ambition seems to have no limit and he will run for president.”
Dangerblond: “He’s a glib phony.”
Q&A Time a la Oyster:
* Are crime cameras and traffic cameras of any political relevance? Dangerblond says that we as a nation have turned into sheep allowing ourselves to be searched before flights, on trains, etc., so NOLA is not different. Brian wants crime cameras to be taken off streets and placed outside City Hall.
* Gary Wainwright gives a rambler of a sermon. And then asks us to vote for him?!?!
* Jimmy Huck brings up shifting populations and demographics and the Latino vote. Brian is disappointed with Helena Moreno for running as a white candidate and not as an advocate of the growing Latino population. Gordon asks, “If we have more Asian and Latino voters, would we have more sophisticated politics instead of I Look Like You, Vote For Me?” Yes! Adrastos supports immigration and that we have more people identifying as other than White or Black. (Hello! Dedra jokes that they have me lumped in with the Vietnamese.)
* Cynthia wonders how to go about advertising New Orleans as a destination for living. (We need to keep crime down and grow better schools for that.)
* More Latino community discussion. It’s puzzling to me that there are people here named Hernandez and Juarez (historically Spanish folks) who don’t want Hispanic immigrants moving in here or don’t advocate for them.
Ok, I’m done with this panel. Time for the Awards Ceremony.
We have been composting y’all, Loki. S’OK.
Maitri should think of working for the Saints play’by’play.
Oh, come on, wonderful talented Greg, Adrastos cannot be alone in his cheeky malaka-ness. Got your attention, didn’t it?
I was a little disappointed that this City Business article about felony prosecutions for pot didn’t get more attention. I won’t blast other bloggers and journalists for not sharing my priorities because there were several reasons to ignore it. I was reluctant to blog about it, because I didn’t want to “blast Keva,” as one Nagin defender who accused me of racism put it; I don’t if other bloggers and journalists shared that reluctance. The article was published during a big week for NOAH news. Perhaps most importantly, if you didn’t know to look for it, you would have missed it if you read “City Business” online. It wasn’t nearly as prominently displayed as the previous week’s article in the same series. Still, it needs to be an issue in the DA’s race, and nobody should be able to get away with mealy-mouthed “of course we should examine all alternatives” answers.
See, you can get a rise out of me where Adrastos can’t. Probably because I respect you. Zing.
Slight clarification: the “zombie narratives” re: criminal justice policy come not from the blogosphere but from the law enforcement establishment in New Orleans (ie, the NOPD, the DA’s office).
Thanks to all for having me at RT III–I had a great time and you guys are all very inspiring.