May 182017
 

City council members Susan Guidry and Jared Brossett pose for a photo with Caroline Fayard at a rally for Fayard in 2016. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

It’s official! District D Councilmember Jared Brossett will run for re-election rather than entering the growing field for city council at-large.

“After much praying and introspection about what will best benefit the citizens of New Orleans, I decided to continue to serve in District D,” Brossett told a pack crowd of supporters last night at the Maison du Lac. “There is more work to be done. We have made great investments and by all coming together the city will continue to improve.”

Brossett, who will turn 35 just days before the October 14th election, is one of the youngest people to be elected to the City Council. He has already put in 15 years of service at City Hall. Brossett previously served as chief of staff for former District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge Morrell and also worked for her predecessor Marlin Gusman, who Brossett considers a mentor and close friend. Gusman was among the many in attendance at last night’s event.

Brossett considers continuing to build support for public safety is the biggest challenge the next Council will face. “I view public safety not just law enforcement but workforce development to reduce crime and build infrastructure by creating jobs.” Brossett’s position is similar to that of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, with whom Brossett is often associated. Landrieu also came out for Brossett yesterday evening.

Others in attendance included Clerk of Court Dale Atkins, Constable Ed Shorty, Judges Robin Pittman, Mark Shea, Kern Reese and Rachel Johnson, Lynn Luker, Darlene Jacobs, Joe Giarrusso, Jacques Morial, James Carter, Mike Valentino, Sidney Barthelemy, Charles Kennedy, Roy Glapion, J.C. Patin, Anthony Irpino, Phyllis Landrieu, Karen Coaxum, Rhonda Nabonne, Moe Badr, Vincent Marcello, Richard Cortizas, Darrel Saizan, Telly Madina and St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom.

Education is also one of Brossett’s top priorities. “We want all children to succeed whether they are in public or charter schools. The City can do more to invest in Pre-K education.” Brossett’s concern about Pre-K ed stems from his service on the board of Total Community Action (TCA) which works heavily in that area.

Though Brossett has been active in many Council initiatives, his greatest accomplishment is probably the living wage legislation which he authored in 2016 to address the economic inequality and poverty faced by many New Orleanians. Brossett correctly realized that the federal minimum wage was too low to lift working families out of poverty. “Everyone deserves a reasonable standard of living and all children deserve every opportunity to thrive,” he said.

Brossett also weighed in on affordable housing by implementing the use of impact statements as a measurement tool. He played a leadership role in successfully separating the Office of the Inspector General, the Ethics Review Board and the Office of Independent Police Monitor. Brossett opposed the short-term rental ordinance because of its tendency to displace existing renters, possibly driving up housing prices and compromise the integrity of residential neighborhoods.

Finally, Brossett has been active in eliminating blight and is proud of his work as chair of the Council’s transportation and airport committee. His commitment to the airport’s North Terminal project is helping bring a significant number of jobs and creating economic opportunities for local small subcontractors and minority and women owned construction-related companies.

STATE REP JOE BOUIE – OUTSPOKEN ANTI-MONUMENTS LEADER & POTENTIAL CITY COUNCIL SPOILER

As chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, popular State Re. Joe Bouie grabbed the national spotlight this week for his leadership on the Caucus’ anti-monument position, their walk-out after the Legislature’s pro-monument vote, and their subsequent well-covered press conference.

For months now, Bouie has been toying with the idea of entering the City Council race either for the open at-large seat against already announced candidate State Rep. Helena Moreno or against Jared Brossett who Bouie ran against four years ago. Moreno smartly aligned herself with Bouie on the monument vote. Aided by his new national stature, it appears that Bouie might wait four more years and run for the open District D seat in 2021 when Brossett will be term-limited.

CHARBONNET’S ANNOUNCEMENT FOR MAYOR WILL DRAW BIG CROWDS

Former School Board president Seth Bloom poses with Judge Desiree Charbonnet at a fundraiser for Judge Paul Bonin. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

When former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet makes her formal announcement for mayor Monday evening at the Sheraton Hotel, all the city’s political eyes will be closely watching. Charbonnet has assembled a strong, diverse team in an effort to leave no stone unturned. She immediately becomes an early favorite.

By no means will this election be an easy one. LaToya Cantrell quickly jumped into the lead with her down-to-earth campaign style. Since his announcement last week, former Judge Michael Bagneris has been out beating the bushes as the most experienced candidate. Wildcard Frank Scurlock has new billboard and could be attractive to younger, more liberal voters. Although currently caught in the crosshairs with the Vieux Carre Commission, trash mogul Sidney Torres IV could still jump in the race.

What political pundits all agree is that this year’s race will be an extremely expensive one for prospective donors who need to curry favor with the next mayor. Get out your checkbooks early and often!

MONUMENT REMOVALS GAINING STEAM ACROSS THE SOUTH

TIME reports today that cities in the South and midwest are contemplating the removal of their own Confederate memorials. Though New Orleans has been in the forefront on this issue, attention is shifting to other cities like Charlottesville, Virginia and most recently Orlando, Florida. In all these locations, removing monuments has significantly divided communities. Healing will be a long-term process.

WELCOME BACK, ARNIE FIELKOW!

Yesterday’s announcement that former City Council President Arnie Fielkow will return to head up the Jewish Federation of New Orleans was greeted with much excitement. Though Fielkow will be quite busy with many Federation duties, he will surely get involved with the NORDC and could eventually dabble in politics. Former patients of Ochsner pediatrician Dr. Susan Fieklow will also be happy to have her back as well.

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and work for City Council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Foster Campbell, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. Her current clients include judicial candidates Suzanne Montero and Paula Brown.