Thursday, March 02, 2017

Gone Guidry

Chaos city council float
A prescient representation of Councilwoman Susan Guidry on the side of a Chaos float this year

Well this changes things a bit.
After serving two terms representing Uptown, Mid-City and Lakeview on the New Orleans City Council, Susan Guidry said Thursday morning that she plans to retire next year instead of seeking another office in the fall elections.

Guidry is term limited, and had been considering a run for one of the council’s two at-large seats. Instead, she said she will serve out the remainder of her term that ends in May 2018, without running for any office in the Oct. 14 election.
This isn't the first time Guidry has publicly spoken about getting out. But she sounds serious this time. Guidry wasn't a a perfect councilperson but she did some good things. In this brief interview she talks about her work on criminal justice reform. She admits it isn't finished.  But mostly this is a good assessment of what she and others have accomplished. A bit optimistic, I guess. But that's ok. 
Guidry: “I don’t think you could ever stop working on criminal justice reform in this city. I would like to turn my attention to supporting program that are preventative, to provide the 0-5 age group support and parenting. There’s a chance I can do that outside political life. 

“The jail is still a major issue, but I’m very happy with the work being done by Director Maynard. Initially, we walked into office, and [the sheriff] was planning five buildings, with something like 5,000 beds. To have not only put the brakes on the size of the jail, but also to have educated the public about our seriously harmful penchant for over-incarcerating our citizens has been a major accomplishment.

“We ended ‘per diem’ budgeting, so we’re not just looking at how little can one person live on per day. It had the incentive for the jailer to keep people in jail longer than required to be. The consent decree litigation was filed on behalf of inmates, but the city has supported that litigation, and supported the plaintiffs rather than fighting them. That has made all the difference in terms of the progress that we’ve made.”
The Trump era is about to undo a lot of this, especially if the Sessions (?) DOJ drops the consent decrees. So that's one reason to see why Guidry might be burning out a bit.  Of course this also means now is exactly the wrong time to lose a strong reformist voice at the municipal level.  In addition Guidry became a better and better advocate for fair housing policies during her tenure on the council. That may also be missed.

With Guidry out of the way, Helena Moreno would be a clear favorite for the open At-Large seat. Whether or not she would be as strong on these issues as Guidry remains to be seen.

No comments: