Two items of interest here, as between late last week and yesterday the Republican candidate in Saturday’s mayor-president runoff in East Baton Rouge Parish has more or less consolidated support from the law enforcement community.
Here was a press release about three endorsements White picked up from that community yesterday…
Smokie Bourgeois, former Chief of Police Pat Englade and the International Union of Police Associations announced their endorsement of Bodi White for Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish. Bourgeois and Englade were present at a press conference on Monday afternoon to give their remarks on White’s candidacy.
White’s support from law enforcement continues to grow. Englade and the International Union of Police Associations join the Baton Rouge Union of Police in their support of White.
The IUPA is an organization made up of over 100,000 active duty law enforcement officers. In a letter from International President Sam Cabral, the organization cites White’s history as law enforcement officer, businessman and legislator. “We have carefully studied this campaign and have unanimously decided that you are the only candidate whom we have confidence in to maintain the professionalism and effectiveness of the Baton Rouge Police Department.”
“The police department is essential for the safety of Baton Rouge,” said Englade. He expressed the importance of electing a Mayor-President who can work with the department. Englade believes White is the candidate to do that.
Bourgeois is the second former mayoral candidate to endorse White in the race for Mayor-President. When making his decision to endorse White, Bourgeois said he and White had a long conversation discussing traffic and crime in Baton Rouge.
“Crime is tearing our city apart,” said White in his closing remarks. “As a legislator, I have a record of cracking down on crime. As Mayor-President, I will use my experience in the legislature and as a former law enforcement officer to address our high crime rate and go after violent criminals.”
Bourgeois got six percent of the vote in the primary. He was always seen as endorsing White at some point. But the backing of Englade and the police union are a fairly big deal, if for no other reason than those endorsements to some extent frame the race as the law-and-order crowd vs. the social-justice crowd. Obviously both White and the Democrat, state senator Sharon Weston Broome, will say there is overlap between those two camps. But after this past summer, in which the Alton Sterling incident provided an opportunity for the Black Lives Matter gang to take to the streets and make a lot of noise, and then get arrested en masse when they twice attempted to block interstate highways only to catch $100,000 in go-away money from the city after filing a lawsuit over those arrests – and then the atrocious Gavin Long affair, in which a crazed black nationalist from out of town showed up in Baton Rouge and slaughtered three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers and grievously wounded a fourth, it seems that the issue of law and order is in fairly stark relief in this town.
Baton Rouge needs safer streets, particularly in its more impoverished and economically-slow areas, or else there is little hope of progress parish-wide and the exodus of the city’s middle class to Ascension and Livingston parishes will only escalate.
And the people charged with providing those safer streets think White can lead the way in that direction. Or if nothing else, they definitely don’t believe Broome can.
Which leads us to the second item. The law officer grievously wounded in the Gavin Long attack is named Nick Tullier. He’s been fighting for his life since Long shot him on that fateful day in mid-July, and his prognosis for a full recovery seems dim.
And here is Tullier’s father discussing the mayor’s race from his perspective…
(Link in case the video doesn’t load)
The question here becomes whether the law and order issue becomes confused as a black-vs.-white issue. Black Lives Matter has done a good job, with the help of the media, in conflating the two, and you’ll now have black voters on social media reflexively responding to a law-and-order message, or a message of support for the police, in a negative fashion.
Follow the link to James Tullier’s video supporting White and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
It’s sad to see that, because Baton Rouge doesn’t have a particular crime problem in Shenandoah, or Central, or in Bocage, or in Santa Maria or the Country Club of Louisiana. Baton Rouge has a crime problem in areas where the majority of the population is poor and African-American. Poor black people in Baton Rouge are the folks who need the police most. They need crime and gangs swept off the streets – so that they might actually have nice things without them being stolen, or so they can wake up in the morning and not be terrified that today is the day their child is murdered, or so they can relax in their homes at night without stray bullets coming through their windows.
People in those lily-white areas of Baton Rouge don’t have those concerns. There are no gangs in Old Jefferson.
So when the police are made a stand-in for racism in Baton Rouge essentially because of Alton Sterling, who was a career criminal carrying an illegal firearm and had been reported to a 911 operator for having brandished that gun outside a convenience store after midnight on a Tuesday night, who gets hurt? Law-abiding people in the black community who live in physical danger from the thugs and crooks preying on them and destroying property values, neighborhood safety and quality of life.
That’s a cycle which must be broken if Baton Rouge is going to avoid becoming the next Detroit or Baltimore. The people in the business of trying to create safe neighborhoods are speaking very clearly – White is the candidate who has a hope of breaking the cycle. With Broome, you’ll have more middle class people – white AND black; one reason for the growing income disparity between whites (median income: $80,000) and blacks (median income: $30,000) in East Baton Rouge Parish is that the black middle class is exiting just as quickly as the white middle class is – fleeing to the suburbs and a hollowed-out failure of a city in their wake.