New Orleans The uptown “go-go’s” in New Orleans have caught themselves again trying to pull a fast one. After diluting a proposition around creating a city master plan sufficiently to get an approval vote last election, this clique is now unhappy when State Senator Murray (a wannabe mayoral candidate) proposed a bill in the Louisiana legislature supported by Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis, and even ex-Mayor Sidney Barthlemy giving the voters a chance to approve the final plan once finished. Surprisingly, they are claiming the legislature is interfering with the “home rule” provisions of the New Orleans Charter. It seems to all depend on who is trying to get away with what fast and slick move now.
Of course this is New Orleans and once you add in Louisiana legislative politics, then god knows what may really be happening. The clues lead in all directions. Murray wants to run for Mayor, so he’s pitching this to find a public consensus. Willard-Lewis represents the beleaguered 9th Ward and New Orleans East, the hardest hit, darkest, and poorest parts of the city, so her concern (which I share!) is that letting the voters speaks keeps the uptown Taliban that tried to shrink and bleach the city to sneak one over. Barthlemy has worked in recent years for popular local developer, Pres Kabacoff, and his Historic Renovations, Inc. (HRI), so he could be speaking for the right to vote or a stalking horse for developer concerns on where the master plan is going. I’m just laying this out there, so we are very clear that this issue is about as transparent right now as the muddy Mississippi River all around us.
Nonetheless, the darling front folk of blueblood uptown and the business community, the Bureau for Governmental Research (BGR) is leading the screaming, and they are definitely not trustworthy on this issue, so I’m a “let’s vote!” man all the way.
The irony doesn’t escape me either. When New Orleans voters overwhelmingly passed the living wage ordinance before the storm raising the minimum wage to $1 over the federal level for New Orleans workers, it was this same group of folks that maneuver the end around with the legislature to undo the democratic vote and will of the people. None of them could be counted when we were raising the issue of home rule and letting the voters decide.
For them it is not really about home rule, but all about ruling home at least for those they are willing to allow to come home and make it once back to our fine, crippled city.