Sep 202018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When Mayor LaToya Cantrell addressed the Bureau of Governmental Research on Tuesday, she was quick to talk about her desire to add currently exempt property to the tax rolls while also re-distributing other tax dollars that are generated in New Orleans, especially those collected by the tourism industry. Even though the City Council recently proposed new millage to support senior citizens, Cantrell told the packed house that New Orleans could not tax our way into prosperity and has been clear that a budget shortfall of at least $24 million is anticipated for 2019. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Mayor Cantrell needs Gov. Edwards’ help to keep more tourism taxes in New Orleans
Sep 062018
 
Dr. Tammy Savoie will challenging incumbent Steve Scalise for Congress seat

Dr. Tammy Savoie, a psychologist and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel challenging incumbent Steve Scalise for Congress, speaks at a Democratic fundraiser in the Warehouse District on July 24. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With a stunning victory Tuesday night against 22-year Congresssman Mike Capuano, Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley is the latest candidate to upend the traditional political party system in America. An avowed progressive who was endorsed by the Democratic Party structure, Capuano is the fourth House incumbent to be defeated by a fresh face who was able to connect with voters in a very real way. An African-American female, Pressley is a former aide to Rep. Joseph Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry who has worked her way up by keen networking and strong performances. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Will Louisiana’s elections follow national anti-incumbent trends?
Aug 232018
 

Louisiana Secretary of State contenders A.G. Crowe, Gwen Collins-Greenup and Renee Fontenot Free address the New Orleans Coalition earlier this week. (photp by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Thousands of women candidates across the country — like two running for Secretary of State in Louisiana, Renee Fontenot Free and Gwen Collins-Greenup — will be celebrating Women’s Equality Day on Sunday, August 26. During the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment, Congresswoman Bella Abzug introduced a resolution in 1973 recognizing the August 26, 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the constitutional right to vote. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Women’s Equality Day celebrates passage of 19th Amendment
Aug 162018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

What do Julie Stokes, Richard Perque, A.G. Crowe, Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Marie Williams, Heather Cloud and Omar Mason have in common? All are candidates for state or local office in the November 6, 2018 elections who made sizeable personal loans to their campaigns. By beefing up fundraising totals, these candidates became more viable which in turn helps future fundraising. Several other contenders – Kyle Ardoin, Kenneth Plaisance, and Renee Fontenot Free – also loaned themselves the fees needed to qualify and were quickly reimbursed. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Can’t raise enough campaign money? Loan it to yourself  Tagged with:
Aug 092018
 

New York City’s progressive mayor, Mayor Bill De Blasio, speaks at the Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

“It could be a toss-up,” said former Congressman Bob Livingston when asked Monday if he thought the Republican Party would stay in power after the November 2018 mid-term elections. “I believe the GOP will remain in control, but I have been wrong on occasion. The Ohio congressional special election will be a good test of Republican strength.” Readers probably know that Republican Troy Balderson, 35, declared victory over Danny O’Connor, 31, after narrowly leading Election Day voting in Ohio earlier this week. The outcome could change — or not — after thousands of provisional ballots are counted. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Which party will control Congress after the mid-term elections?
Aug 022018
 

Need to Impeach organizer Tom Steyer talks with voters who attended his town hall meeting last night at the Audubon Tea Room. (Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

An anti-Trump spirit was clearly in the air last night as a standing room only crowd participated in the “Need to Impeach” town hall meeting at the Audubon Tea Room. The event was sponsored by billionaire investor Tom Steyer, the founder and president of Need to Impeach and NextGen America, thought to be U.S.’s largest progressive political operation aimed at the 2018 midterm elections. Barnstorming the country as part of a well-funded national outreach, Steyer will address the Netroots Nation conference currently underway at the Morial Convention Center later today and is sponsoring a Pub Quiz Friday evening. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: “Need to Impeach” anti-Trump effort comes to New Orleans
Jul 262018
 

Dr. Tammy Savoie, a psychologist and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, listens as she is introduced to a crowd of Democratic fundraisers at the Calcasieu event space in the Warehouse District on Tuesday, July 24. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The difficult odds of upsetting U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise cannot be understated: the nationally-known Republican has never garnered less than two-thirds of the vote in his Congressional district.

Nevertheless, Tammy Savoie is persisting. And, for the first time in what may be decades, Democrats in New Orleans believe they have found a candidate who can make the race for the seat competitive.

“I think this is the first viable candidate in the First Congressional District in a long time,” said Bill Hammack, who hosted a fundraiser for Savoie on Tuesday that filled in the banquet room at Calcasieu in the Warehouse District. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on New Orleans Democrats rally around Tammy Savoie, “first viable” challenger to Scalise
Jul 212018
 

Second City Court Constable Edwin Shorty Jr. swears that his filing information is correct during qualifying on Wednesday, July 18. Shorty is one of six local officials re-elected without opposition during qualifying. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Four local judicial seats will be filled without elections this year, after only one candidate for each of them qualified to be on the Nov. 6 special and Congressional election ballots. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Four Orleans judicial races decided without elections as qualifying ends
Jul 202018
 

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise meets with leaders of GNO Inc. on Thursday, July 19. Scalise filed paperwork to run for re-election Friday morning. (photo via Twitter)

On the morning of the last day for qualifying for the Nov. 6 elections, the field of challengers to U.S. Steve Scalise grew again to a total of five opponents, and the race for an open judicial seat in New Orleans got more crowded as well. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Field of challengers to Scalise grows to five in Nov. 6 elections
Jul 192018
 

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond speaks during the groundbreaking of the new Odyssey House facility on South Broad Street in February 2018. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)


When the first day of filing for the fall Congressional elections closed Wednesday evening, both incumbent U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond had drawn three challengers apiece — with more possibly yet to come with two days remaining to qualify. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on U.S. Reps. Scalise, Richmond each draw three challengers on first day of filing
Jul 192018
 
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With qualifying currently underway for clerk and other positions in both First City and Second City Courts, good government advocates are questioning why Orleans Parish still operates two separate courts with two clerks and constables that basically perform the same function – handling small claims. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: Should First and Second City Courts be merged?  Tagged with:
Jul 182018
 

Jared Brossett, left, and Chelsey Richard Napoleon both qualified to run for clerk of Civil District Court on Wednesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Jared Brossett and Chelsey Richard Napoleon both officially declared their candidacies for clerk of Civil District Court, and Timothy David Ray and Austin Badon filed to run for First City Court clerk on Wednesday morning as qualifying began for the Nov. 6 special and Congressional elections.

Timothy David Ray (left) and Austin Badon officially qualify to run for clerk of First City Court on Wednesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)


Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Qualifying begins for Nov. 6 Congressional, special elections
Jul 092018
 

Mario Zervigon, left, touches on how maintaining relationships in the state legislature helped pass the unanimous jury bill during a New Orleans Coalition meeting. From left: Representative Royce Duplessis; Sarah Omojola, director of the Welcoming Project; and Senator J.P. Morrell.

Members of the New Orleans Coalition gathered Uptown Sunday afternoon to discuss the fate of – and the impact of – criminal justice reform legislation in Louisiana. Senator J.P. Morrell and Representative Royce Duplessis were on hand to recap the most recent legislative session and how each bill was successfully passed, as well as what issues will be front and center next year. Sarah Omojola, former Policy Counsel for Southern Poverty Law Center and current Director of the Welcoming Project, touched on the legislative process from an advocacy level. Mario Zervigon, of the Zervigon Consulting Group, moderated the panel.

Both Morrell and Duplessis touched on how term limits will affect the new representatives’ learning curves, since the number of experiences legislators dwindle every year. Duplessis said leaning on longtime senators helped him learn the ins and outs of the legislative process. Losing older Republicans to newly elected ones who lack “flexibility and are drunk on their election” is going to be one of the most devastating impacts from term limits, Morrlel said. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Fate of Louisiana’s criminal justice reform impacted by members’ term limits, representatives say
Jul 062018
 

California residents Teila Evans, Zena Dave’, Destiny Bennett head to the second line parade which kicked off the 24th annual Essence Music Festival. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Oakland California residents Teila Evans, Destiny Bennett and Zena Dave’ couldn’t be more excited about the 24th Annual Essence Music Festival which opened Thursday and runs through Sunday. “This is our first time to attend Essence. We’ve been planning this trip for months and are going to take in as many activities as possible,” said Evans, who manages client partnerships at a California company called Envoy. Dave’ is a marketing manager and Bennett works in social media. Female professionals are Essence’s target audience.

Since the Essence Festival began in 1994 almost 500,000 people have attended the empowerment seminars and marketplace at the Morial Convention Center, the evening concerts at the Louisiana Superdome and the myriad special events. This year will be no different. The empowerment seminars have become so popular that they are now dubbed the “Essence Empowerment Experience” and will occupy an even larger footprint. Already 70,000 people have signed up for one of the eight conference tracks. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: New Orleans is the big winner when Essence comes to town
Jun 282018
 

Jared Brossett (at left) is considering a challenge to the new clerk of court, Chelsey Richard Napoleon (at right). (submitted photos)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

With qualifying still three weeks away, the contest to replace longtime Civil District Court Clerk Dale Atkins has already heated up with two strong candidates – Interim Civil District Court Clerk Chelsey Richard Napoleon and District D Councilmember Jared Brossett. Continue reading »

 Comments Off on Danae Columbus: New clerk of court Chelsey Richard Napoleon could face strong challenge from Jared Brossett