The new pay structure, Landrieu said previously, aims to build a "larger," and "more professional" police force.Most of the headlines as well as comments (some in musical form) from candidates after the first two days of qualifying tell us the municipal elections are supposed to be all about crime. Certainly crime will be an important issue but it can't be considered in isolation from its causal factors. Low wages, housing displacement, poor transit, neglected health and educational services, all contribute to the desperation of an impoverished population isolated from what city leaders continue to sell as a glowing story of recovery and progress. All of this needs to be reeled in. But the easy thing to do instead is simply demand more money for police. So that is what the candidates are doing.
However, a group of about 15 protesters outside City Hall on Thursday questioned why other city employees did not receive similar raises. The protesters, organized by a group called the New Orleans People's Assembly, said other areas of the city's wellbeing are ignored in the city's budget.
New Orleans People's Assembly spokesman Jeff Thomas said the percentage of funding used for prison expansion and police pay is too high. He said he does support pay raises, but they should be implemented in areas where more people would be affected.
"The pot can't be shared until we make it equal," Thomas said. "They should be looking for children, families and job development first."
“The people have spoken. They’re scared. They need a leader who’s strong and can make tough decisions,” she said. “I’m prepared to do that. I’m prepared to reduce violent crime significantly and rebuild the Police Department and do that without raising taxes.”"Scrub the budget," is a phrase that may induce Buddy Roemer flashbacks for those of us who are of a certain age. But that isn't the only reason it is discouraging. The next mayor needs to take a more holistic view of the city's problems.. including the crime problem.. and not just throw money and platitudes at police.
Charbonnet didn’t offer specifics but said she would “scrub the budget” to find the money to pay for her plan.