Over the past few weeks, some incredibly positive developments have occurred across the state. It seems the people of Louisiana are starting to fight back against out-of-control politicians.
Outraged citizens have started a recall effort against Governor John Bel Edwards and representatives have been recruited in each parish to collect signatures. Over six months, volunteers will be gathering signatures in all 64 parishes. It will take 600,000 signatures, 25% of the total number of registered voters in the state, for the recall to be successful. It is a massive undertaking, but it is certainly warranted. Our Governor has provided abysmal leadership throughout his tenure, but especially during this pandemic. His mistakes have created untold economic hardship in the state.
In the first few weeks, the response has been impressive, and the Governor has certainly felt the pressure. In fact, it is probably a major reason why he finally decided to tentatively move the state toward a weak phase three reopening.
While the Governor’s recall campaign is progressing, there is another campaign that has started. It is an effort to recall the Republican legislators who have supported his choice for Speaker of the House and his liberal agenda. These legislators have prevented the passage of a measure to overturn the Governor’s executive orders in response to the pandemic.
With his draconian lockdown orders, Governor Edwards has created untold suffering in Louisiana. It is an abomination that Republican legislators have not acted. Hopefully, this recall will spur action among the GOP legislative delegation.
While these recall campaigns move forward, there is another one that desperately needs to be started. It is time for the people of New Orleans to recall the worst Mayor in the history of the city, LaToya Cantrell.
After the Governor announced his decision to move the state to phase three, the Mayor was clear that New Orleans would not be moving forward. The Mayor will punish the citizens by forcing them to remain in phase two. In this phase, bars have been closed and restaurants are operating with limited capacity.
For a city built on entertaining, the economic implications of these decisions have been devastating. The Mayor seems not to care, claiming “We will remain in place and we will continue to let data guide us.”
If only she would look at the economic data! It should be overwhelming. Keeping the city in phase two will cripple New Orleans, yet the Mayor seems more concerned about inflicting more punishment. For example, she threatened to withhold the unemployment benefits of people who were gathering in public over the Labor Day weekend. The Mayor is also discussing ways to limit the size of crowds on Bourbon Street. These punitive measures are what the Mayor is pushing instead of efforts to revitalize our economy.
Already, the economy of New Orleans has been ravaged. The city of New Orleans depends on tourism and it is non-existent today. With empty streets in the French Quarter and boarded up buildings, the signs are everywhere that the economy of New Orleans is on life support.
The cries of local business leaders are falling on deaf ears at City Hall, so it is time for citizens to act. A recall campaign might not succeed, but it would focus much needed attention on the disastrous Cantrell administration.
In 2017, New Orleans elected a person ill-suited to be Mayor. Cantrell was a disaster before the pandemic. With questionable charges on her city issued credit card, she should have never been elected. It is also unfortunate that voters decided to elect a non-native who does not understand the traditions and history of the city.
Compounding her credit card issues, it was reported that the Mayor and her husband owe $95,000 in back taxes. Ironically, a Mayor who owes taxes has called for tax increases for her citizens.
Since her election, taxpayers have been fleeing New Orleans in droves. This has accelerated since the pandemic. The Mayor is also responsible for the problems that persist with the Sewerage and Water Board as flooding is still a major concern.
Most importantly, the citizens of New Orleans are not safe. Mayor Cantrell has not made public safety a priority as violent crime is skyrocketing. Already, the murder rate this year has exceeded last year’s overall total. Recently, an evacuee from Hurricane Laura was killed. Last night, four people were killed in two separate shootings. Sadly, the reaction from the administration and the local media to these deadly events has been almost non-existent. It seems people in New Orleans are becoming accustomed to the escalating murder rate.
The Mayor has also totally mismanaged the demolition of the Hard Rock Hotel. It took 10 months for the bodies of two victims to be removed. Unfortunately, the demolition of the building has not been completed and if there are high winds during a hurricane this year, it could be catastrophic.
With a horrific record and problems escalating, it would be wise for the voters of New Orleans to put an end to the disastrous Cantrell administration. It is time to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the sooner the better.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]