Viewpoint: Parish and statewide candidates queue up for qualifying next week

Judge Monique Barial is ready to move up. For almost 10 years, she has handled family-law cases at Orleans Parish Civil District Court Division H, Domestic Section 2.  A graduate of Xavier University and the Southern University Law Center and a former attorney adviser for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Barial believes that she is well-prepared to take on new judicial challenges beyond the domestic arena. She recently announced her candidacy for the open seat in Division D previously held by Judge Nakisha Ervin Knott, who was elected to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. Barial is one of the dozens of candidates who will begin qualifying next Tuesday (Aug. 8), for judicial, legislative, regional and statewide offices.

Dr. Sharon Latten-Clark Announces District 2 BESE Candidacy (sponsored)

Longtime educator and school leader, Dr. Sharon Clark, is officially announcing her candidacy to serve as the District 2 member on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). “The essence of a good education is the belief by leaders that every child regardless of circumstances must have a quality education that will transform their present circumstances and expand their future opportunities,” said Clark. “This belief will be my guiding principle as I serve the students, teachers, administrators, and families of District 2.”
With a career in public education spanning over a quarter of century, Clark began as a para educator and English teacher in the Houston Independent school district before coming back to teach English at Fredrick Douglass High School. She went on to serve as an Assistant Principal in Phoenix, Arizona, before coming back home to take the reins Sophie B Wright Public School. Clark led Sophie B Wright prior to Katrina and transformed it into a high performing, open enrollment school for generations of families in New Orleans.

Viewpoint: Citizens weigh in on picking a police chief

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has been conducting meetings across New Orleans this week to receive public comment on what citizens want to see in their next police Chief. NOLA Messenger queried more than a dozen residents to get their ideas of what attributes and policy directives are most important. The responses were wide-ranging and touched on many areas. 

“We need a Police Chief who is committed and laser focused on New Orleans with a clear vision of what is needed. He or she also must to be able to express that vision and get the job done,” said Irma Muse Dixon, former chair of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. 

“Citizens have a strong desire for a police chief who represents change. A leader who is forward thinking and open minded when it comes to evolving within the current state of policing in society.

Viewpoint: Re-election as a moderate Republican in Louisiana is futile

Political observers were not surprised Tuesday (April 11) when Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced that he will not seek re-election. In a state where former President Donald Trump is still revered by a large number of voters, overseeing elections as a living, breathing moderate Republican just isn’t easy. 

Ardoin will have served five years when he departs at the end of the 2023. He first ran for the position after the 2018 resignation of then Secretary Tom Schedler, who was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal. Detractors said at the time that Ardoin, as a long-time employee in Schedler’s office, should have been aware of Schedler’s misdeeds and supported the victim. 

Ardoin might not have been the best Secretary of State Louisiana ever had — but he certainly wasn’t the worst. Generally speaking, the elections Ardoin and his team managed worked as well as could be expected.

Viewpoint: New and old faces lining up for fall elections

Though qualifying does not take place until early August, candidates for legislative and judicial races are already making their interests known. Perhaps the most exciting race will be in the newly created Louisiana House District 23 — which includes portions of Mid-City and Bayou St. John along with the Hollygrove, Dixon. Gert Town, Esplanade, Tulane-Gravier and the Cemeteries neighborhoods. The voters in the new district are 67% Democratic, 6% Republican and 27% Independent.

City changes polling place for some 12th Ward voters

The City Council on Thursday (March 23) approved several location changes due to construction, name changes or buildings becoming vacant. Many of the polling changes are in Uptown’s 12th Ward, which stretches from the river up to Broad Street and from Toledano Street to Napoleon Avenue. It includes part of the Broadmoor and the Milan and Touro-Bouligny neighborhoods. For precincts 1,2,3, 4 and 5 in the 12th Ward, the name of the voting location has changed to Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics & Science School.  The address of the polling location is still 3649 Laurel St. In precincts 6,7 and 8, voters will now cast their ballots at Sophie B. Wright Charter School, 1426 Napoleon Ave.

Viewpoint: The four teens must bear responsibility for their actions in deadly carjacking

The family of Linda Frickey visited her grave this week, a year after the 73-year-old was brutally killed in a Mid-City carjacking. “We want justice for our family member, but it’s not just for Linda. We want this for all elderly people. For all the victims of  juvenile crime,” said Kathy Richard, Frickey’s sister-in-law. 

Three of the Frickey Four — the teenagers who laughed in Frickey’s face as she bled to death on the North Pierce Street on March 21, 2022 — are expected to go to trial in April. Lenyra Theophile, one of the four defendants in the case, was found to be incompetent and too depressed to stand trial.

Viewpoint: Cleaning up Louisiana’s voter rolls is long past due

Many supporters of the campaign to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell may have been surprised Tuesday (March 14) when the mayor and Lower 9th Ward activist Rev. Willie Calhoun filed a challenge to the negotiated settlement on the recall case. Because of the settlement, 25,000 New Orleans voters were temporarily moved to the inactive voter list, which eliminated them for the overall number of authenticated signatures needed to trigger a recall election. After all, the Registrar of Voters has until March 22 to review all the signatures. If the recall’s goal is not met, the recall campaign is automatically over.  

Attorneys for Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and had arbitrarily agreed to the 25,000 number when, in fact, the data consultant for the recall determined the number of voters who had moved away, died or are inactive is considerably higher. A quick look at voter turnout in recent elections illustrates that many New Orleanians do not prioritize voting.

Viewpoint: Judicial and legislative elections really do matter

How many readers can name the candidates who are running for the two judgeships and the state House race on the March 25 ballot? Probably very few. Wedged between Mardi Gras and the St. Joseph and St. Patrick festivities, these races have gotten lost in spring fever.