Saturday, April 08, 2017

City Council Senioritis

The councilpersons are always cranky when they get this close to the end of the their terms.
Uproar over a public letter. A derisive rehashing of one City Council member’s allegedly callous attitude toward constituents. Charges that the same member allowed a corporation to influence some of the rules for advisers to the public agency that acts as its watchdog.

All of it characterized the explosive finale to Thursday's City Council meeting, which quashed any hope that the council’s two at-large members, Stacy Head and Jason Williams, might repair their fractured relationship.
Actually this time it's even weirder since we're having an election this fall but not turning over the offices until next spring.  You can see how stressful and confusing that might be for everybody. Anyway, they are snippy. 
But Thursday’s fight was particularly bitter, driven by Head’s recent comments to news outlets about her colleagues’ actions in recent weeks.

Her letter to the Uptown Messenger described “a vested interest by some to quietly move” the cost of consulting contracts out of the public’s view, so that “politicians and their donors get rich.”

She also railed against the council’s December decision to award new contracts to the three longtime consultants and said Williams, as chairman of the Utility Committee, “refused to review” offers from other firms.

In conversations with two newspaper reporters this week, she called Williams' and other members’ push to have the consultants weigh in on the guidelines that would help govern their actions akin to “the fox drafting the security plan for the henhouse.”
Of course that depends on who is considered the fox and who are the hens in this situation.  Head's concern is primarily with how the consultants are chosen and paid.  It's a legitimate complaint but she's mostly making it only because these contracts are in somebody else's patronage downline.

Meanwhile, there are folks who might consider the fox in this henhouse to be Entergy.. since that is, after all, the utility we're supposed to be regulating here. But Head appears to be working with them, actually.  
Williams called Head’s characterization problematic, considering that she claimed to have talked to Entergy about those same rules. When Head insisted that statement was a mistake made by Cheron Brylski, her political consultant, Williams pounced.
Oh dear, we've thrown poor Cheron Brylski under the bus again. You might remember her from such political moments as "Mayor Landrieu: Productive Asshole"  "The Leslie Jacobs Explosion" and, of course, this thing Williams mentions. 
“The same Cheron Brylski that was involved in council issues very recently, that became very racially charged? Is that your statement?” he asked, referring to an email Brylski sent in 2015 to two French Quarter neighborhood groups. That email, which was accidentally sent to local media, suggested that the mostly white groups should find black people to speak on their behalf and that the council was racially divided.
Of course, Brylski is always "involved in council issues." She's a political consultant. Jason knows who she is so, you know, the shocked shocked act is a bit much.  Besides, Stacy provided enough fodder for these broadsides on her own as Williams does go on to demonstrate. 
“I really thought that you evolved past blowing kisses at disenfranchised poor people,” Williams continued, referencing a kiss Head blew from the council dais a decade ago to people angered by the council’s vote to tear down several of the city’s public housing complexes.
Anyway, as fun as all of this is, it's also a little bit sad. Basically you've got councilmembers fighting over whether each is owned by Entergy or by the lawyers ostensibly in charge of regulating Entergy. It seems like, since both are true, it should be easy to find common ground here and everybody can go back to running his or her own racket.

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