For Email Marketing you can trust
Mayor Is Out of Line AGAIN
By Jeff Thomas
New Orleans is a great city. New Orleans has not only rebounded from Hurricane Katrina, but has surpassed all previous highs. The population in Orleans Parish is over 500,000. The entire housing stock damaged by Katrina has not only been renovated, but new developments in New Orleans East have been built. The surge in hiring local men and women lowered the unemployment rate in the city to below 2%. Crime is at an all time low and the city no longer has the distinction of being murder capital of the world. All the roads have been resurfaced. The street lights are all lit and all streets have bright new signs. The mayor implemented a fix our streets campaign and hired local men and women to repair our crumbling infrastructure.
Any graffiti is removed within 24 hours by the by the graffiti removal contractors. Our city has smartly hired a small paint company run by an aspiring young African American entrepreneur who has grown from 2 to 25 employees to remove all graffiti in town. And the young white woman who started a litter removal company won the public bid and has turned every neighborhood in New Orleans into a Disneyland like theme park. She too has employed local men and women at living wages to clean our streets The police and the citizenry work together to solve drug crimes and help steer the young offenders to the highly successful program that takes non violent drug offenders and places them into an eighteen month program that provides much of the labor for the graffiti and litter companies. And we can all thank our great and highly creative mayor Mitch Landrieu, who showed that he was right when he said he knew what to do and how to do it during his campaign.
And when I rolled over and opened my eyes the sweet dream became a harsh reality.
Mayor Landrieu has fallen short of most the modest goals set by his administration. None of the above ideas are anywhere close to reality. Murder is still a huge problem in New Orleans. Housing blight is everywhere. Roads are bad. Missing street signs. And on and on and on.
Culture of Violence Myth
Mayor Landrieu does not understand the people of the city. The constant attack on the poor by disparaging a whole class of people as beset by a "culture of violence" sounds more like a FOX news distortion than a serious analysis by an elected city leader. Too many black people are mired in systemic and generational poverty. In New Orleans, Black men are discriminated against (the unemployment rate amongst black men is around 25%) and oppressed (even when employed these men often work jobs that pay under $9.00 per hour on average). The state of Louisiana has the worst education system in the country, and in this city the RSD and OPSB school system offers little options as black boys are expelled at rates 10 times that of white boys. Louisiana spends over $200 million more on prisons than education, and Louisiana leads not only the country but the entire world in incarcerating African American men. So by age 18, too many young African American men have had little
contact with their fathers, who are often incarcerated, had little or the worst possible education, have few job options and if they are lucky enough to find one the job, often they bring home a check of $200 a week. Study after study links poverty and violence. Sprinkle in drugs and you have a New Orleans street light out special of murder and gun play. The violence is a part of the drug trade, and 65% of murders in New Orleans are drug related.
We have a problem with poverty and a lack of opportunity.
Mayor Without Focus
The city Charter is clear about the role of and power bestowed upon the office of mayor. Click Here to See City Charter . But we have a mayor who wants control of every branch of government. He wants complete control of the Sewerage and Water Board, and is attempting to control the Orleans Parish Sheriff's office (Click Here) and now Landrieu wants to control the criminal court judges. The tragic Mother's day shooting exposed the dangers of a nice celebration in New Orleans. Allegedly, Akein Scott is seen shooting at a crowd of innocent men, women , and children. And if Scott is found guilty, he should be absolutely and severely punished. Scott was free on a $15,000 and the mayor attacked the judges in Criminal Court for allowing the "violent" Scott to have such a low bond. The mayor should probably pay closer attention to his no bid contracts because his hypocrisy is clearly on display.
Mayor Landrieu gave a no bid and over a half million dollar contract to a group from New York called the Vera Institute, whose stated purpose is to help the judges properly screen arrestees before they go to trial. Their job is to insure that the people who will likely be low risk are not detained for up to 60 days as Louisiana law allows. Often innocent people are in jail for 45-60 days before the DA decides to drop the charges. The effects are catastrophic for a guy making $9 an hour.
Akein Scott was deemed a very low risk by the Vera Institute. Though the Vera Institute refused to turn over the document, SYNC504 was able to obtain the actual Akein Scott Pretrial Report. Despite the tragic consequences, Judge Arthur Hunter was correct when he placed the $15,000 bond on Scott. Scott's previous actions and the fact that he appeared to be a fulltime college student warranted the bond level. The Vera Institute rated Scott the lowest possible risk. They recommended releasing him on his own recognizance or with a very low bond. And the Da's office did not object.
Yet the Mayor politicized and attacked. Akein Scott was not a product of any culture of violence. Akein Scott was not a product of criminal court. The mayor claims to want a minimum bond of $30,000 for any gun crime. Many, including judges at Criminal District Court, have advised the mayor that such thresholds are unconstitutional. The Mayor spent over $500,000 of taxpayer money to bring in a group that uses the gun charge as one weighted factor in assessing risk and helping to determine bond. And that group rated Scott as a very low risk.
The Colorado movie Theater shooter and the Sandy Hook shooter committed more horrific acts. They all had easy access to guns. The mental state of Akein Scott has not been determined, but the arrogant smirk belies any semblance of shame or remorse. There are bad guys in the world. The system we have in New Orleans is not perfect. Much work needs to go into improving it. But the Mother's Day shooting allegedly by Akein Scott could not have been prevented. There were police in the parade. The $15,000 bond was justified. But not much can be done to prevent a guy who picks up a gun and fires repeatedly into a crowd of innocent men, women, and children. Let's all hope he gets what he deserves.
The Power of Intention