Stephen Gordon and Reid Stone
New Orleans native Stephen Gordon is the owner of FlashTech, a company that designs automotive lighting, but he said his platform is simple: “Fix the streets in Lakeview.”
“We have probably the worst streets in the city of New Orleans and nobody seems to be doing anything about it,” Gordon said. “The complaint falls on deaf ears, year in and year out. … I’ve had neighbors who traded their cars in to buy SUVs so they can navigate the roads where they live. That’s a problem.”
While the problem is the worst in Lakeview, Gordon said he expects his message resonate across the district. “Everybody in city of New Orleans has issues with the roads,” he said.
Gordon is registered as an independent with the Secretary of State’s office, but he said he was raised a Republican until just before he registered. The present-day Republican Party has shifted away from some of his beliefs, he said, but more importantly, “The issues with streets should have no party affiliation,” Gordon said.
The other candidate to file on Friday was Reid Stone, a co-founder of the HERO|farm marketing and public relations firm. Stone moved to New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina, according to his biography on the HERO|farm website. Stone filed to run as a Republican.
“He felt like Council needed an injection of energy,” said Shaun Walker, a co-founder of HERO|farm. “It’s something he’s always been interested in doing.”
Coleman, a west-Carrollton resident whose family owns the Coleman Cab Company, said his frustration with the changes imposed on the taxi industry were only a part of his decision to run. More important, he said, was what he perceives as a lack of leadership in District A.
“My area, my constituents don’t feel like they have been promised anything in the next four, and they didn’t get anything out of the last four,” Coleman said Friday after qualifying.
Money has been set aside for a community center in west Carrollton for years, Coleman said, but residents don’t know its status — “It seems like another backroom deal. The only thing that has changed is the people.” And crime remains a top concern in west Carrollton — where 11-year-old Arabian Gayles was shot in September while sleeping at home.
“You shouldn’t be scared to be shot standing on your porch. You shouldn’t be scared, as a black male, to be shot by a police officer who won’t be convicted of murder,” Coleman said. “We have to invest in these youngsters in a manner that they feel respected and loved, and set them on a career path that’s going to provide them with more than the minimum wage.
“We’ve done the same thing for several years, and it’s not working,” Coleman said. “It’s time to try something different.”
* * *Meanwhile, in District B, no one filed to run against City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
The election is Feb. 1, with a runoff if necessary on March 15.