In case the good people of New Orleans weren’t sure what they were getting with that city’s new mayor, LaToya Cantrell gave it to them good and hard as the Hard Left converged on the Big Easy yesterday with a rousing speech straight from the streets of Havana or Caracas…
Touting her background in community organizing and the success of her 2017 mayoral campaign, Cantrell called on the progressive activists to join her call for economic justice, adding, “We have work to do.”
During a brief keynote address Thursday, Cantrell pointed to racial disparities among businesses earning city contracts and called for New Orleans residents to earn a larger piece of the tax revenue that the city’s hospitality industry generates for the rest of the state.
“It’s off the backs [of workers] right here in New Orleans,” she said. “I want and I need your help as we push for economic justice.”
Over a raucous standing ovation, Cantrell also demanded “health and environmental justice” and racial equality. “No one matters if everyone doesn’t matter,” she said.
While previous years’ gatherings have pushed a “resistance” platform against President Donald Trump’s administration, this year’s Netroots conference is highlighting a growing “new American majority” demographic of voters of color ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and 2020 presidential election.
Democracy In Color director Aimee Allison said women of color are empowered to support progressive candidates not only against the GOP but also in districts “where tired old moderates aren’t fighting for us.”
Netroots Nation is a collection of misfit toys which convenes every year somewhere, and this year it’s New Orleans’ turn. For Cantrell, yesterday’s keynote speech was an opportunity to let her socialist hair down, and she did.
Nobody asked her, of course, why it’s a national issue that there are racial disparities among businesses earning city contracts in New Orleans. That would seem to be something easily fixable given that Cantrell is the mayor and the City Council is majority African American. If it’s necessary for more black-owned businesses to get those city contracts then why doesn’t she just award them? And if there aren’t enough qualified contractors that wouldn’t seem to be an issue politics could have much of a role in fixing.
But these are mere quibbles, of course, as Cantrell was busy dishing out the usual shibboleths to the Hard Left conventioneers.
But in a city which has become economically stagnant – the New Orleans area placed 56th out of 58 large markets in job growth in 2017, with only a 0.1 percent increase in jobs – economic justice and health justice and all of the other kinds of justice which don’t have anything to do with actual justice will only make life worse for Cantrell’s constituents.
But then again, they elected her, and by a wide margin. So it may be that what’s coming over the next four to eight years of her tenure in office will be justice. We’ll see.