Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Newcomers (and oldcomers)

The headline to this Advocate article says "three newcomers" are running for City Council. But the term must be loosely interpreted when the so-called newcomers include Joe Giarrusso III,  scion of a well known political family, Eric Johnson, described as, "a former aide to Jim Singleton, a longtime leader of the BOLD organization" and Drew Ward who has been something of a political gadfly for the better part of a decade. In fact, Ward ran for council against Susan Guidry in 2014 in a campaign that will be remembered more for an unfortunate Twitter outburst than anything else.

This time around, Ward hopes to be remembered for a radical sounding idea.
Among other changes, he envisions a municipal assembly of 50 or more citizens that would have the final say on major decisions, rather than the mayor or the City Council. The council would still exist but only to draft proposals that the municipal group would approve or reject. Such a change could help eliminate corruption, he said.
Not likely to get that off the ground. But given the way high profile council meetings can devolve into shouty theater during public comment, maybe it would be fun to let more people shout from the other side of the dais for a while.

There's also some "will he or won't he" talk in there about Seth Bloom and Jay Banks but I think that's been mentioned previously.   The real big local political news this week concerns our latest run of our incredibly stupid and wildly unreliable Twitter poll of the mayor's race.

We began running these along with an early look at the mayoral field back in January. The methodology is this.  I put out a bunch of names in two separate twitter polls. (There are more candidates than can fit in one.)  Respondents are trusted to pick whichever of the eight they like although there is technically nothing stopping them from voting for one from each "heat."  This is obviously a terrible way to go about gathering data. So we're planning to do it all year.

The polls themselves are here. But I prefer to further muck things up by lumping the final results together in one big list as though this were a single ballot. This week, I think it might be fun to list each candidate in reverse order of the number of votes  received.

Michael Bagneris 1 vote (2%)

The judge hasn't been much in the news lately beyond just confirming that he is definitely running. So far the quiet campaign isn't doing much for his numbers in our fake poll. 

Jason Williams 3 votes (6%)

The Councilman-At-Large, to his great credit, was a vocal participant in a recent protest against Donald Trump's travel ban. 
Williams stood at the center of the rally as several speakers talked about their personal experiences with immigration policy and expressed solidarity with immigrants worldwide before it was his turn to speak.

“I’m here because many of your demands were things that I have worked on and pushed with Chief Harrison and with the Congress of Day Laborers before Donald Trump was ever in office,” he said. “Now more than ever, I think it’s really clear we can see how rights can be eroded.”

Williams said even though the new administration has only been in office for a few days, Trump’s intentions to make the country more racist, xenophobic, and homophobic have already become clear.

“We are not going to allow him to push progress back,” Williams said of Trump. “I say to Donald Trump, I say to Mr. Bannon, not on my watch, not in my city, not in my country.”
Recently, though, the rumors tend to suggest that Williams is more interested in becoming D.A. than mayor.  If that's the case, he may skip out on the mayor's race and run At-Large again to bide his time.

Karen Carter Peterson 4 votes (8%)

Another candidacy of which the rumors are running colder as of late. KCP is busy in Baton Rouge this week which is a shame because she may not appear in any parades this weekend.  And Jeremy Alford writes that she's not ready to give up chairmanship of the state Democratic Party just yet and is in fact looking to move up in the national party structure.  That doesn't necessarily exclude her from the mayor's race but it does make it sound like she has other priorities.

Latoya(!) Cantrell 6 votes (13%)

Latoya and her (but not really her) billboard appear to be all in. This week, she's fielding ladder complaints. A couple of years ago, Cantrell convened a Mardi Gras task force that was supposed to solve the ladder problem.  It hasn't. 

Sidney Torres 6 votes (13%)

Sidney's been busy debuting TV shows and writing letters to the editor lately. No reason to believe he isn't seriously considering getting in the race if the field shakes out favorably for him.

Walt Leger 6 votes (13%)

Like everyone else here, Walt is dropping hints.
Leger said Monday evening that he was not going to run for State Treasurer but had “another” race in mind. Like State Sen. J.P. Morrell, also a prospective candidate, Leger is focused on the upcoming special legislative session.  
In the meantime, he'll probably be too busy in Baton Rouge to comment further. Same goes for... 

JP Morrell 7 votes (15%)

Do you ever check out JP's podcast? It's pretty interesting.  Last week, during a talk with WWLTV crime analyst Jeff Asher about, well, a bunch of things, Morrell floated the idea of an elected Chief Of Police. Now that is a fascinating prospect.  Can't even imagine how many bad Twitter polls we'd have to take to figure that out.

"Matt" 13 votes (28%)

Well now this is a surprise, right? You see there was this guy at the MaCCNO meeting I attended last week named Matt. He introduced himself to the group, "Hi I'm Matt and I'm actually running for mayor."  Didn't give his last name. That seems like a mistake. He went on to talk about "community policing" for a few minutes. Anyway, I have almost no idea who he is but I threw him in the poll for kicks.  Consider his frontrunner status an indication of just how wide open the field is at this point.

Not polled in this round: State Senator Troy Carter, who appears to be telling people he is running. Also outgoing US Attorney Ken Polite is said to be interested. We'll throw them in the next poll if there's room.

No comments: