The NOPD Consent Decree, The Landrieus And How To Win Next Year

A couple of weeks ago I and a friend of mine who’s a quite prominent activist in Republican circles in New Orleans had a discussion with a director of a national conservative organization about the Bill Cassidy-Mary Landrieu race while the RedState Gathering was going on. My friend had some excellent advice for the national guy, whose organization will very likely do some third-party advocacy messaging in that race.

“Don’t come in here and run a bunch of ads about how Mary is pro-choice or that she wants to raise taxes,” he said. “Everybody already knows that, and if it bothers them they’re already voting against her. You’re going to waste your money if you push that.”

Instead, he said, find items of a more local interest to beat Landrieu up with and make the case she’s a terrible senator and that the Landrieus are a parasitical plague on Louisiana.

I concurred with that. It’s relatively easy to find evidence that Mary and Mitch are both disasters when it comes to actually governing or getting things done, and it’s not all that hard to come up with examples of colossal Charlie Foxtrots which ensue when they’re around.

Here’s an example. From WWL-TV

A judge has selected the firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, to oversee the New Orleans Police Department’s Federal Consent Decree.

However, the Landrieu Administration has some concerns that the Washington, D.C. based firm will get $8.5 Million, while another firm was willing to do the work for over a million dollars less.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued the following statement following the selection, noting that the competing firm’s cost was $1.4 million less than Sheppard Mullin’s.

“We are very concerned about the taxpayers of New Orleans paying the high cost of Washington, D.C. lawyers’ billing of up to $491 an hour, plus their travel expenses and incidentals.

“Every dollar we pay a high-priced monitor is a dollar we cannot spend on more police, NORD, or fixing our streets. If the firm had met the more competitive cost of the other proposal, the City would have saved $1.4 million. That’s $1.4 million that could have instead fully funded a new NOPD recruit class of thirty for a year or an entire twelve week NORD summer swimming program, or the repair of more than 75,000 potholes. That’s why we are fighting so hard to negotiate the best value for taxpayers.

“We are particularly leery of this firm’s history of overcharging municipalities. In a separate case, a judge called Sheppard Mullin’s billing excessive and unreasonable…transcending beyond the stratosphere into deep outer space.”

The entire consent decree mess with the NOPD is a testament to Mitch’s complete mismanagement of police reform. If you’ll remember, one of the first things he did as mayor was to invite the Justice Department down to New Orleans to help reform the NOPD. And to make a complicated story fairly simple, what has resulted is something not dissimilar to the scene in Goodfellas when the restaurateur gets mixed up with Paulie’s mob (warning: not safe for work)…

Bringing Eric Holder down to help reform your police department is very similar, because what’s going to happen is DOJ will wrap everything around the race narrative and blow any semblance of cost controls out of the water.

Now the NOPD is all but defunct as an effective police force, which isn’t a major departure from what it was before – except for the fact that it’s an even more expensive defunct police force thanks to Holder’s ministrations. And now you’ve got a D.C. law firm with political connections out the wazoo getting $500 an hour to manage a consent decree to reform the police department.

And why? Because Mitch’s choice, which would have saved the city a few dollars, was a head-shaker

Most of the public discussion about the finalists focused on Hillard Heintze. Hillard was accused of failing to investigate credible allegations that Chicago police officers had tortured numerous African-American criminal suspects before he became the city’s police chief.

Hillard, in his official capacity as superintendent, was named as a defendant in five federal cases involving police torture and wrongful convictions, and three of those cases were settled for about $17 million total, according to a letter from prominent Chicago civil rights lawyer G. Flint Taylor Jr.

Local civil rights attorney Mary Howell filed that letter into the NOPD consent decree court record, along with her own missive outlining “serious concerns” with Hillard and his firm.

In response, Hillard Heintze flooded the court record with letters that vouched for Hillard’s professionalism and competence. Among those who wrote letters in support of Hillard were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who used to be President Barack Obama’s chief of staff; Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey; and Arnette Heintze, CEO and co-founder of Hillard Heintze as well as a retired special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s field office in Chicago.

Hillard Heintze drew the ire of citizens who followed the selection process when it indicated it intended to partner with two men accused of being too closely aligned with the mayor: Tulane criminologist Peter Scharf and the Rev. Charles Southall. Southall and Scharf denied any bias in favor of Landrieu.

The Shepard Mullin-Hillard Heintze thing was actually decided by federal judge Susie Morgan a month ago. Mitch is still whining about it, which makes him look like a buffoon, frankly – he brought this clownshow on by inviting DOJ down to New Orleans and he’s making it worse by continuing to tout somebody whose connections are with the Chicago police, which is one of the few police forces in worse shape than the NOPD is and whose record of keeping the streets safe is decidedly worse, because he’s got some goombas connected with them.

Notice, of course, that the mayor of New Orleans has gotten next to zero help from his sister The Senator, who is supposed to have some stroke with the White House seeing as though she’s in the same party with Obama and votes with him. You’d think that Mary would have been able to steer the DOJ’s NOPD involvement in a manner that wouldn’t have made her brother look like a dork, but no such luck.

This is the kind of thing you can make political hay out of. Rather than talk about how Mary votes to raise taxes and so forth, talk about how after 17 years in the Senate she can’t even help her brother get cooperation out of a Justice Department staffed with people of her and his own party.

It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad.

And what’s ironic is that New Orleans is actually doing fairly well economically at present, despite next to zero concrete achievements by its mayor or anything Louisiana’s senior senator did other than to secure a bunch of federal funding from a Republican president to help rebuild the place after Katrina – we all know most of the impetus from that didn’t come from anything Mary did but the scorching case of the red-ass the Bush administration got from the bad optics of the Katrina aftermath.

Don’t waste time painting Mary as a liberal. Everybody knows she is one despite her protestations to the contrary. Instead, paint her and her brother as people you wouldn’t put in charge of a Circle K, much less the city of New Orleans or a U.S. Senate seat, and show examples like this consent-decree mess as evidence of what you get when you give them the reins.

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