Runoff candidates for the New Orleans mayor and City Council seats met Tuesday night to discuss issues of jobs, housing, and even whether the proliferation of dollar-stores in low-income neighborhoods helps or harms economic-development efforts there.
The forum was organized by the Power Coalition, a nonprofit that seeks to increase turnout in local elections through advocacy around issues that affect a wide swath of voters.
It featured separate discussions by the candidates in three runoffs that will be decided in the Nov. 18 election. Each group of candidates were asked about issues of raising New Orleanians’ incomes through jobs or wages and housing affordability, but each group also posed questions unique to their race.
LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet, running for mayor, fielded a question about choosing the next New Orleans Police Department superintendent and ensuring that he or she will maintain practices of constitutional and bias-free policing. Charbonnet said she had already championed those issues as a judge in municipal court, and Cantrell said she has been working with the City Council to make more of those policies in the consent decree part of NOPD policy regardless of the department’s leadership. (See full video of their discussion above or on YouTube.)
In District B, Seth Bloom and Jay Banks debated whether a homestead exemption should be required for permits allowing short-term rentals. Details on that discussion can be found in a full article on Uptown Messenger.
In District E, incumbent James Gray and challenger Cyndi Nguyen were asked about economic development in New Orleans East and whether too many dollar stores have been permitted. Nguyen emphatically said that the area needs no more dollar stores, but Gray said those businesses indicate to other developers the presence of a retail base in the neighborhood. Full video of their exchange can be found below: