While the Mayor is touting his successes at the Legislature, Landrieu’s only major success is getting a fall ballot initiative to increase property taxes in New Orleans. Unfortunately for Senator Mary Landrieu, it might be on the ballot at the same time as her election and could be troubling if voters strongly oppose the tax.
Just because New Orleans voters turned down the Audubon Institute’s millage doesn’t automatically mean they will oppose Mitch’s property tax increase. Everyone knows the cost of living in New Orleans has increased dramatically since Katrina. We’re just not sure voters are ready to add on another tax which would hurt property owners and renters, whose landlords would undoubtedly increase rents.
If the tax fails, look for Landrieu to request multiple cuts in city services and layoffs when he and the Council take up the budget process later this year.
TOURISM LEADERSHIP SHINES AS THEY BEAT LANDRIEU’S BACK HOTEL TAX INCREASE
You know it’s campaign season when you see Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne all over the tourism industry’s well executed campaign to beat back Landrieu’s proposed hotel tax hike. We have to hand it to Steve Perry and his board leadership.
Watch Landrieu put it to the next potential developers of the World Trade Center to feather the city’s nest even more now that the tourism industry beat back the tax.
Dardenne, who counts tourism’s 60,000 workers as an important part of his New Orleans voter base for the upcoming Governor’s race, should be pounding his chest as well. Even though he is based in Baton Rouge, Dardenne has worked hard to serve our tourism industry and cultural with economy by frequent visits and financial support.
COULD LT. GOVERNOR’S RACE FEATURE TWO NEW ORLEANS AREA CANDIDATES?
What would work best for our economy though, is for the next Lt. Governor, like Landrieu before Dardenne, to come from the New Orleans area. Two excellent candidates – Jefferson Parish President John Young and Plaquemine Parish President Billy Nungesser – are already in the mix. Young outshone Nungesser in the first poll by Bernie Pinsonat but the undecideds are still very large.
Young told us this week that he has not made a final decision yet, but is considering it very strongly. Some say that Young should bite the bullet and get in the Governor’s race where his attractiveness, pleasant personality and easygoing personal style would be a big hit, even in North Louisiana. We still expect Mayor Landrieu to enter the governor’s race next year, though he is not even hinting to it in public at this time.
HOW MANY CANDIDATES WILL ACTUALLY GRADUATE FROM THE NEW POLICE CLASS?
Thank goodness a new class or police recruits is working their way through the process. Three already dropped out in the first week, which we guess is not that unusual. How many more will leave before graduation is another question.
Even after the IG’s report and recommendations last week, we’re not sure Mayor Landrieu is considering moving all officers to the field and hiring civilians for office positions. We do believe that the ongoing problems with crime are having a negative impact on everyone’s quality of life.
CALDWELL STANDS WITH THE LITTLE MAN AND AGAINST GOVERNOR JINDAL
We like AG Buddy Caldwell and we especially like his recent recommendation that Governor Jindal should not sign his signature legislation that would prohibit levee districts from suing Big Oil. While the oil companies have created many jobs and economic opportunities in Louisiana, they should learn to conduct business without damaging our fragile ecosystem.
[Correction: An earlier version of this column incorrectly described the outcome of legislation regarding the leadership of the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. In fact, Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant will be allowed to become the next leader of the agency following the passage of Senate Bill 303, according to the Times-Picayune.]
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 council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.