Viewpoint: It’s hard for law-abiding citizens to get justice these days

It probably was a case of mistaken identity that could have turned deadly for Jhamal Shelby Jr., a soft-spoken St. Augustine High School star athlete and honor student.  

One recent afternoon after practice, Shelby drove to his father’s home in New Orleans East. Before he could park his car, a young man jumped out of a nearby vehicle and began shooting. Eighteen shots were fired before the perpetrators fled the scene. One bullet visibly grazed the side of Shelby’s head and damaged his eyesight.

Viewpoint: Returning tourists drive New Orleans business recovery

City College of San Francisco biology professor Jonathan Siekmann was enjoying his visit to New Orleans when he spotted Meyer the Hatter, known to be the South’s largest hat store. Within minutes, Siekmann was sporting a new Panama-style straw to shield him from the Louisiana sun. “The pandemic has been a struggle. It was the worst business climate I’ve ever seen in my 46 years selling hats,” said Paul Meyer, a fourth generation hatter. “We depend on tourists and, until recently, there just weren’t any.”

Meyer’s great-great grandfather Samuel H. Meyer started the business in 1894 on St.

Troy Carter leads congressional field, pollster Silas Lee finds

In a recent poll of 450 chronic voters in the Second Congressional District, state Sen. Troy Carter has a nine point lead over state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, 28 percent to 19 percent. Polling third at 6 percent was Baton Rouge activist was Baton Rouge activist Gary Chambers Jr.

Small business owner Desiree Ontiveros came in fourth at 2 percent followed by Gonzales Republican challenger Claston Bernard, who also polled at 2 percent. Collectively the 10 remaining candidates — Chelsea Ardoin, Belden Batiste, Harold John, J. Christopher Johnson, Brandon Jolicoeur, Jenette Porter, Lloyd Kelly, Greg Lirette, Mindy McConnell and Sheldon Vincent — polled at a combined 6 percent.  District-wide, 38 percent of voters are still undecided.  In a heads-up competition between Carter and Carter Peterson the undecided vote dropped to 9 percent. Paid for by Sen. Carter’s campaign, the poll was taken Feb. 12-14 by Silas Lee using landlines and cell phones.  The margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Viewpoint: Term-limited Jared Brossett leads City Council in campaign cash

District D Councilman Jared Brossett almost has as much cash on hand in his campaign account than all the other council members combined. Brossett, who is term limited and expected to run for an at-large City Council position later this year, reported $103,471.61 in available dollars on his 2020 annual campaign finance report, which was filed last week. 

The other five City Council members (excluding newly appointed at-large member Donna Glapion) show a total of approximately $116,000 in available dollars.  

Brossett started 2020 with $102,178 in the bank and took in $1,750 during the year. Though his only donation in 2020 was to St. Augustine Church, Brossett’s 2019 expenditures included Biden for President, Kamala Harris for the People, JBE for Louisiana Leadership PAC and the McDonogh 35 Alumni Association. In 2019 and 2020, Brossett’s biggest donors include Liberty Bank President Alden McDonald, attorney James Williams, the Motwani family, the Helis Foundation, Eli Khoury’s Southeast Restaurant Group and Chase Catering & Concessions, which operates a restaurant at the Armstrong International Airport.

Viewpoint: Business leaders courting state Rep. Royce Duplessis for mayoral run

With qualifying for New Orleans municipal races just five months away, New Orleans business leaders are still scrambling to find a candidate they consider suitable to challenge Mayor LaToya Cantrell. District 93 state Rep. Royce Duplessis recently rose to the top of that list after a poll showed he would be viable in the race. 

Duplessis distanced himself from the poll and denied any current mayoral ambitions when asked about it Wednesday (Feb. 17), stating that, while he may be considering his future options, “challenging the incumbent mayor is not one of them.” 

Duplessis is one of the few elected officials who supported the election of DA Jason Williams, who is one of Duplessis’ closest allies. Business Council Chairman Henry Coaxum and Executive Director Coleman Ridley are both Williams’ donors along with HRI’s Pres Kabacoff. It’s no secret that many members of the business community are disappointed in Cantrell’s style and decision-making process.

Viewpoint: Troy Carter leads fundraising in race for Cedric Richmond’s seat in Congress

In documents filed yesterday with the Federal Elections Commission, state Sen. Troy Carter reported a fundraising haul of $405,118, far exceeding any of his opponents including state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who raised $301,140 and Gary Chambers Jr. who reported $106,463. Carter, Carter Peterson and Chambers are among the 15 candidates vying to replace former Congressman Cedric Richmond, now a top aide to President Joe Biden. 

The filings covered fundraising activities through Dec. 31, 2020.  Political consultants estimate this race will cost about $1 million.    

During the reporting period, Carter spent only $26,687.50, leaving him with $378,430.50 in cash on hand. Carter received $48,350 in contributions from political action committees and $353,968 from individuals – almost evenly split between “high” donors who contributed more than $250 and “low” donors who contributed smaller amounts.  Almost 90% of Carter’s donors are Louisiana residents. What is impressive in Carter’s report is the dozens of individual donors who made the maximum contribution — $2,800.  Richmond’s endorsement of Carter’s candidacy almost certainly led to the steady flow of funds. 

Individuals in the $2,800 category include a Who’s Who of New Orleans legal and business community including Rico Alvendia, Cherie Teamer, James Garner, Anthony Irpino, Gladstone Jones, Leopold Sher, Bob Ellis, Joey Murray, Anthony Marullo, John Litchfield, Sundiata Haley, Troy Henry, Chris Coulon, Nathan Junius, Moe Bader, Dr. John Hamide and Ronald Bordelon.

Viewpoint: Candidates offer new voices for Second Congressional District voters

Charter school co-principal Mindy McConnell and small business owner Jenette Porter —along with state Sen. Troy Carter, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson and Baton Rouge activist Gary Chambers — all qualified yesterday for the open Second Congressional District seat recently vacated by former U.S. Rep Cedric Richmond, now a high-ranking aide to President Joe Biden. Qualifying continues until Friday (Jan. 22) at 4:30 p.m.  The race will be fast, furious, expensive and very competitive. The entrance of McConnell and Porter into the race will make the campaign more interesting to a wider range of voters. McConnell, 37, is a Libertarian who believes that it’s time to break up America’s two-party system.