Sunday, December 24, 2017

Shep is... out?

One of the first things we learned about LaToya Cantrell's mayoral campaign happened on the day of its official launch. During her speech, Cantrell appeared to call for the removal of all traffic cameras in the city.  But when questioned afterward, she and her spokespeople immediately walked that back to only the most recently installed cameras.

The apparent reversal drew even more questions and reporters prompting the candidate to.. reverse herself again.

Cantrell replied, "Based on the feedback from the community, it would only be those cameras that have been recently installed."

She went on to suggest she was skeptical of traffic cameras overall and reiterated her support for a study that would gauge all of their effectiveness. And, if they were found not to increase safety, Cantrell said she would do away with them altogether.

Cantrell spokesman David Winkler-Schmit on Wednesday offered a "further clarification" on the issue, bringing the candidate's position back to the full suspension she pledged in her speech Tuesday night.

The overall impression was that the campaign didn't know what its actual position was. This is a typical but also extremely bad indicator in politics. It suggests that the candidate doesn't actually care about issues in the pure sense that these are real problems affecting people's day to day lives. Rather she merely sees them as obstacles that need to be finessed in order to gain office. In other words, getting elected is an end to itself rather than an honest attempt to change things.

It looks now as though the Mayor-elect has brought this same moorless ethic with her into the transition.  How else does one explain the tone deaf inclusion of Derrick Shepherd in preliminary meetings with lawmakers and his sudden dismissal the second it became known to Cantrell's team that people might not like that.
However, Saturday's statement was the first time the Cantrell team directly answered a question about whether Shepherd might be in line for a role in the upcoming administration, a rumor that has been spreading in political circles over the past week.

Cantrell’s transition team was asked multiple times over several days about those rumors. The transition was also specifically asked to explain Shepherd’s presence at the meeting and was given multiple opportunities to say that he would not be playing a role in the administration.

In response to those questions, a spokesman for the transition would say only that no hiring decisions had yet been made. He did not directly address Shepherd’s presence at the meeting. Lawmakers, most of whom asked not to be named, have told The New Orleans Advocate that Shepherd was at the meeting and appeared to be there at Cantrell’s invitation.
We're not sure at this point the new administration-to-be cares about anything besides its own image. The fact that they're also so clumsy about managing this one thing they seem to care about is similarly discouraging if not more so.

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