BATISTE: New Orleans Politicians Want More Control Over Citizens’ Private Lives

Very quietly, an amendment to alter the city of New Orleans’s charter has landed on the November 16thballot, and the measure is regressive, racially charged legislation. While the focus of the November election has centered on John Bel Edwards trying to keep taxing Louisiana versus Eddie Rispone trying to make Louisiana great again, this amendment has received zero attention until today when James Gill wasted words not exploring the measure.

A Hayride reader passed along this info because of its importance. On the ballot in Orleans Parish for the November 16 gubernatorial election is the “Human Rights Commission Charter Amendment.”

Council Members Jared Brossett, Jay Banks, Kristin Gisleson Palmer, Cyndi Nguyen, and Helena Moreno proposed the ordinance on August 8th to put the amendment on the November ballot.  During that meeting, not one word of discussion was held on the legislation, its specifics, or its intention. The ordinance was adopted with full Council support. The city website nola.gov notes the existence of the proposed amendment, but they have not actually released the language or reproduced its text for the public to read.  The Hayride’s source offered this link on Ballotpedia which can lead you to this presentation.

If approved by voters in November, the charter amendment will “create a local Human Rights Commission to safeguard all individuals in the City of New Orleans from discrimination and to exercise all powers, duties and functions provided by applicable state and municipal law.”

Of note in the referenced presentation is the last bullet point on Page 1 which states a goal as: “Realize Dorothy Mae Taylor’s original vision.” Dorothy Mae Taylor is mostly known for her toxic attempt for the city government to seize control of private carnival organizations in the early 90’s. The highly controversial, divisive issue resulted in courts on every level holding that the government could not control private clubs, and then the city had to reimburse the carnival organizations for the legal fees they incurred. Now, nearly thirty years later Cantrell and the Council buffoons expect to “realize” what city, state, and federal courts already determined was unconstitutional.

The other major red flag in this amendment is on Page 5 where the Commission would get subpoena power and the authority to call witnesses. Currently the City Charter has a Human Relations Commission, but this amendment will change that, because it claims the existing Commission was written “with an enforcement mission, however as currently written there are legal issues.” So now Cantrell and the Council are attempting to change it from Human Relations Commission to Human Rights Commission. Among other goals listed, the new Commission would be able to:

  • Receive, initiate, investigate, hear, and determine charges of violations of ordinances, orders, or resolutions forbidding discrimination adopted by the parish or municipality.
  • Compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence before it by subpoena issued by the district court of the parish wherein the local commission is authorized to act.
  • Issue orders, which are enforced by Civil District Court.

This issue is being pushed by Vincenzo Pasquantonio, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Rights and Equity for the City of New Orleans, who signed the Legislative Summary. His bio offers more into his life, but relative to this issue is that “Vincenzo obtained a Master’s degree from Louisiana State University where he studied Southern politics and the lasting effects of White Supremacy on our political system.

The average good citizen may think fighting discrimination is a valid objective, and it is. But the ramifications of this are wider. The agenda is not equality driven, it’s a punitive effort. It’s intentionally under the radar. The goal of realizing Dorothy Mae Taylor’s vision means more wasted public funds to unconstitutionally step beyond governmental boundaries. The available text never limits the spectrum to government.

And it’s not 1992, it’s 2019 and remember that in 2019 extremists led an attack on Zulu over its historical parade and costumes. This Human Rights Commission will potentially target private institutions. If this commission deems that Zulu’s traditions are discriminatory, traditional African American organizations may be impacted.

It goes further than silly Mardi Gras. The city government would be able to intervene in any organization with pretenses on membership. Networking groups that mingle individuals from specific professions could be subpoenaed for exclusive practices. Social and civic organizations would also fall into the category of what the Human Rights Commission could label as discriminatory to safeguard someone. So an ethnic-based heritage group like the Downtown Irishman’s Club could be investigated for alleged discrimination.

November 16’s options will be:

yes vote is a vote in favor of authorizing an amendment to the Home Rule Charter of New Orleans in order to create a local Human Rights Commission.

no vote is a vote against authorizing an amendment to the Home Rule Charter of New Orleans in order to create a local Human Rights Commission.

Like today’s AntiFascists who use violence and aggression against their opponents, meaning Antifa is the real Fascists, this anti-discrimination movement will racially discriminate and target select groups.

The charter amendment is the government taking a bigger role in the private lives of all New Orleanians.  Every Council Member voted in support of it. The city of New Orleans wants to continue growing its power over people, businesses, and organizations all the while raising taxes. The local Fake News is once again ignoring a consequential issue. So this highly volatile legislation is lurking under the surface waiting to not just grab hold but to tighten the governmental squeeze over New Orleans. If you live in Orleans Parish, spread the word, but more importantly get out and vote no on November 16.

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