A crowd of almost 200 people packed the Lakewood Country Club last night for retired judge and former mayoral candidate Nadine Ramsey’s kick-off for the City Council District C race against incumbent Councilmember Kristin Gisleson-Palmer.
Ramsey’s strong turnout, especially by the faith-based community who laid hands on Ramsey, sets the stage for a tough race at a time when African-American voters in Algiers feel empowered by their recent big victories including newly elected Algiers Constable Ed Shorty, Algiers Clerk of Court Darren Lombard and Second City Court Judge Teena Andersen. They say it is time for Algiers white elected officials to step aside. If District C African-American voters embrace Ramsey, not just in Algiers but in the French Quarter, Treme, the Marigny and Bywater, Gisleson-Palmer will have her hands full.
Algiers State Rep. Jeff Arnold, long considered to also be making the race, will be moving instead to the private sector.
Ramsey wasted no time hitting Gisleson-Palmer about blight, crime, the lack of street lights, and economic opportunity for minority-owned businesses. Ramsey also claimed Gisleson-Palmer is selective in whose phone calls she returns. “We need change and we need it right now,” said Ramsey who also said she would be a full-time representative because the district’s problems are not “part-time.”
Ramsey explained she grew up in the Lower Ninth Ward and her parents were a clerk and a laborer on the riverfront. She said that voters need results, not talk, and that elected officials must be held accountable for the district’s problems, especially “slow economic development.” Marigny/Bywater white business owner Bill Walker testified about the alleged lack of support given him by Gisleson-Palmer.
Others joining Ramsey at the event included cab owner Monroe Coleman and his son Jason, a former school board candidate; documentary producer Bess Carrick; garbage mogul Jimmy Woods; Lombard who was MC; Shorty, who gave the fundraising pitch; former Dryades Bank President Virgil Robinson; Maple Gaines, Congressman Cedric Richmond’s mother; future legislative candidate Corinne Villavaso; former Jefferson Parish Councilmember Byron Lee; judicial candidate Clint Smith; Cab Drivers For Justice; and Eugene Green who managed Nadine’s mayoral campaign and says he is running for Council At Large against the very effective and popular Stacy Head.
NOPD woes tied to low pay
We’re not a bit surprised that voter satisfaction with the NOPD has not increased since the spring (though vastly improved from 2009). Even so, the fact remains that many of the NOPD officers are not happy campers and therefore not working at maximum efficiency. Despite their problems, the NOPD has made some excellent arrests in high-profile cases which probably contributes to the stable favorable rating.
The officers are short-staffed and underpaid, especially with the change in the lucrative police details. The city can’t move enough candidates through the recruit process to fill the ranks constantly depleted by sickness, retirement and transfers out. Even if the current residency requirement is altered or eliminated, officers working one to a car rather than with a partner are not thrilled to handle investigations in dangerous settings alone.
The NOPD need a pay hike such as the one currently being proposed by Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. Morrell says the hike can be instituted over a three-year period. Civil Service Commission officials told the City Council that although the NOPD application site might get 7,000 hits, only two or three candidates out of ten applicants are likely to complete the training process and one-year probation. While money is tight in the City’s budget, safety is more important to many families.
Jarvis DeBerry and Danatus King to face off on WBOK radio
Mayoral candidate Danatus King was not too happy when TP editorial columnist Jarvis DeBerry wrote last Sunday that civil rights leaders like King should stay in the pew and not run for office. While King was on WBOK this morning, DeBerry called in and agreed to appear with King on an upcoming show hosted by former Councilmember Oliver Thomas. Now that will be some good radio!
Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several televsion programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City Councilwoman Stacy Head, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and council candidate Dana Kaplan.