Riley filled out 23 pages of employment documents on April 30 in preparation for the announcement that he would become Cantrell's director of homeland security and public safety, overseeing police, fire and disaster response for her administration.Earlier Clancy Dubos wrote that this behavior suggests LaToya might have a "political death wish." I don't think that's what it is. Obviously, stuff like this isn't great for her politically. But it's not a major crisis. And new mayors get a fair amount of leeway. LaToya's transition report recommended that she flip flop on one of her first and most highly publicized campaign promises this week and I've already seen people give her a pass on that. She probably won't take lingering damage over a personnel decision either.
About 48 hours later, though, Cantrell cited an "uptick" in community concern as reason for giving the matter further thought.
More to the point, I don't think Cantrell suffers from a subconscious self-destructive impulse as the the term "death wish" would imply. Rather, I think she's opening her administration in the throes of a stubbornly sycophantic echo chamber. There's a lot of love in the room behind those NDAs. Which is why the "community upticks" come as such a surprise.
During the campaign, the format was different. Back then, they made sure to stage the "listening sessions" before the policy proclamations in order to give the impression that one actually affected the other. When they do that in reverse order, though, it just looks silly.
A day after Riley's paperwork was filled out, Cantrell met with the family of one of the people killed by police following Katrina. She told The New Orleans Advocate last week that the meeting caused her to reconsider the appointment.What is this, Dr. Phil? This isn't about letting people vent their "pain." It's about choosing whether or not to reward the cop who failed them by putting him back into a position of power. In LaToya's conception, it's fine if she does this as long as she validates feelings in the process. During the campaign, I compared her style to Bill Clinton. This is exactly what I meant by that.
“I needed to do that to listen to how they were feeling. And the pain, there’s still a lot of pain there, and it’s real,” Cantrell said. “But I also needed to listen to the other side — and that includes Mr. Riley. So I’m working through that right now.”
Anyway, maybe she won't hire Riley after all, who knows. But expect to go through this exercise a few more times before the Cantrell team figures out their routine. They're about to make another high profile decision that might get the community all upticked at them. Wonder how they'll feel their way through that.