We were going to leave this alone, but in the end we just couldn’t. WWL Radio in New Orleans had a post up on their website calling Cantrell an “enigma,” as though somehow she’s difficult to understand. They’re either being too nice or maybe they just aren’t good at politics; either way, what the hell, man?
With each passing press conference, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell becomes an enigma. She addresses the media on the latest issue that seems to be interrupting her running of the city, when it comes time to ask questions, answers are focused on her and her ability to run the city. Sometimes comments are punctuated with declarations of defiance. The Mayor’s refusal to pay back the city her first class air travel and European junkets for example. WWL approached political analyst Ed Chervenak for comment on what seems to be going on with the Mayor.
“You get the sense that the administration is kind of checked out, I don’t know if they’re tired or exhausted, or incompetent, I don’t know.
What will Cantrell say next? The answer is only as far as the next press conference. Chervenak had this take on the Mayor’s ‘shoot from the hip’ response:
“I wouldn’t say that she’s disinterested, I think she’s struggling to run the city, you know, I think she’s facing a lot of head-wind. That may be limiting her ability to [appear in touch] with the city. She’s consumed by the crime issue, that’s the number one issue, everything else seems to be secondary.”
Chernevak’s take on Cantrell and the recall effort against her is worthy of note…
“You know, she could basically waiting everyone else out,” Chervenak says. “I think that City Hall doesn’t look at the recall as a serious effort. In their minds there’s really nothing to worry about.”
“It sounds more like the administration is playing defense more than anything else,” Chervenak says. “It’s another indication of how dysfunctional our politics are in the city right now. You know, with the city council threatening to dock the Mayor $30,000. If you want to get someone’s attention, if you reach into their pocket book, you’re going to get their attention.”
That’s probably correct. If Cantrell were to actually be worried about the recall it would make her the first elected official in a major position in Louisiana history to take such a stance. It’s never happened in the history of the state and just because she’s as good a candidate as we’ve ever seen to break that streak it doesn’t mean we’ll see it.
It sounds like the recallers are doing pretty well, but the thing about recall efforts is they tend to lose steam as they go rather than gain it – because everybody who really wants to get rid of the politician in question will rush out and sign the petition and after that you’re trying to convince the lukewarm types to sign something that day by day looks less likely to mean anything.
Other than that they’re on a list of enemies for the mayor or governor or whomever, and they just avoided the recall.
We’d sign that petition for Cantrell were we in Orleans Parish, and Johann Batiste certainly already has, but folks who did sign should recognize that LaToya now has their number.
So no, she won’t care about the recall until it starts to look like it’s going to get her. By then maybe it’s too late, but of course not only do you have to reach the signature goal on the petition you then have to beat her in the resulting election.
But to the main point here, Cantrell isn’t an enigma. She isn’t hard to understand. She’s very, very simple. This is somebody who’s never had a real job, and she’s blisteringly unintelligent. If she has a deer-in-the-headlights look and all she can do is get combative with people, it’s because she’s in way over her head and has absolutely no idea how to move her administration beyond getting killed in press conferences over things like first-class travel to Switzerland on junkets.
And crime, of course, since New Orleans is now known for its status as America’s murder capital as well as being the home of bounce music, which is something like a cultural carjacking. Honestly, bounce music might actually be worse than murder, and Cantrell’s failure to call it out rather than embracing the “artists” inflicting it on what used to be a brilliant cultural scene might be what’s worst of all about her.
But that’s what you get with a lowest-common-denominator hack like LaToya Cantrell. She won’t fix anything, because she isn’t capable. Sadly, neither is the electorate in New Orleans. To get a handle on crime, or any of the other myriad disasters buffeting that city, is going to require a new governor who makes the city a priority and imposes himself or herself on the Big Easy to an extent that makes Cantrell irrelevant.
And it’s questionable whether that new governor would even find it worthwhile to do such a thing given the resistance he’ll surely face.