It’s no surprise to us that the OIG and the Legislative Auditor have been bearing down on the New Orleans Police Department. Once people know you are weak, everyone comes around to take a punch. The OIG’s claim of police “marking down crimes” in the 8th District, the French Quarter, is nothing new. That kind of stuff has been going on since the 1980s.
But the French Quarter is not your normal neighborhood. It’s filled with tourists who get drunk and loose things, leave their wallets in bars, etc. Often they find things too. Those “21 Lost and Stolen,” as known in police lingo, are just part of the tourist scene. If tourists and locals didn’t drink too much, they might be less likely to misplace their wallets.
To find out if under-reporting is a real problem citywide or just a French Quarter anomaly, a sample should be done from another police district. That would give the public a clearer picture. This is also another instance where Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux is all over the place with his analysis.
Today’s Budget Committee meeting (Serpas Round II) will bring more tense exchanges between the Council and the NOPD with funding and execution of the Consent Decree on the agenda, as well as the highly popular Office of Secondary Employment. The OSE of course wants lots of money to run their operation. We don’t see how this is a winning situation. Police officers depend on their secondary employment to support their families. They are earning less these days and it is costing the city more. Somehow someone in power thinks this is good government!
We’re glad we told you last week about Councilwoman Morrell’s idea to give the NOPD a raise. Though it may not get funded in this year’s budget, it should become a priority for discussion during the upcoming campaigns.
TRAFFIC COURT RACE WINDING DOWN
It really isn’t a surprise that Steve Jupiter and Clint Smith are in the run-off for Traffic Court. Both were aided by strong women. Steve has his sister Judge Clare Jupiter, who could not personally campaign, but provided the family name and tradition of service. Clint has two women behind him: his talented Ochsner physician wife, Cheryl, and Anne Redd, arguably the most politically powerful non-elected woman in New Orleans.
Anne has known Clint for many years and has gone all out for him. Clint even won Anne’s precinct in the Garden District. Clare and the Jupiter family legacy is moving Steve forward with many constituencies. Only two weeks to go and then on to the mayor, council, sheriff races!!
IS KRISTIN GISLESON PALMER RETHINKING RE-ELECTION?
Rumors are running in political circles that Kristin Palmer is rethinking running for re-election for Council District C and could be instead considering the At-Large race. We hear Mayor Landrieu has been looking for a candidate to support for At-Large against Stacy Head. Whoever would step up for that task would have a tough fight on their hands. Stacy is moving beyond her Uptown base to events in New Orleans East this weekend and is on a roll.
CHARLES FOTI – CANDIDATE AND ENTREPRENEUR
Run for citywide election or open a new restaurant — most people would only try only one of these things at a time. But not Charlie Foti. He is doing both. He’s a partner in Rocket Fire Pizza, a new concept pizza bar opening on Veterans just next to Dorignacs, and he is running again for Orleans Parish Sheriff. Look for both these ventures to kick off in the next few weeks. Danae and Allan have worked with Foti on and off for decades but we’re still technically free agents at this time.
NEW ORLEANS MISSION RAISING FUNDS TO BETTER SERVE WOMEN
It doesn’t take rocket science to know that New Orleans needs to better care for homeless women. Just look under the Claiborne overpass any evening to see women who regularly face the threat of physical abuse or worse. Life is not easy when you are homeless. New Orleans Mission director David Bottner has done a good job with the resources available to him. He has talented and committed staff who live on-site. How many people do our readers know who are one step away from losing their homes? We all should step up to help the Mission reach their goal of raising $300,000 to add 20 more beds for females.
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.