Tomorrow night New Orleans will have elected a new mayor or shrunk the candidates down to two for a runoff. I watched the last televised debate last night. I have been following everything since the beginning. Most of my friends seem to think that the major candidates are interchangeable. That says to me that anything can happen tomorrow because there are enough folks who are going to walk into the booth and make their decision at the last minute. I am not totally sold on any particular candidate either. I have a few favorites but there has never been a point where I knew for sure what my vote would be. I think it would be a good idea to write out what I feel about each of the major candidates to see if people have seen the campaign the way I have.
Nadine Ramsey: If I were voting strictly on personal bias she would be my choice. We are from the same area and I am comfortable with her. It took her a minute to get her legs in the race but she has performed pretty well lately. There is a part of me that hopes she doesn’t win but chooses to stay involved in politics as voice in the community because we could use a few more voices that operate out of the political circle. Everyone doesn’t have to hold an office to be effective. If she did win my biggest concern would be her stage presence. She seems to be a little nervous in front of the camera and the mayor will be staring down the media every day. That could be a problem for her.
Rob Couhig: I am going to say something that may seem a little crazy. If Rob Couhig were black or an old school white democrat and said some of the things he has during the forum he might win the election. The problem is he’s a Republican in a heavily Democratic city. His party hasn’t done him any favors either nationally with the over the top reaction to President Obama. I think he ran this time around just to get his agenda out in the open and go after Mitch Landrieu. If makes the runoff it would be more surprising than the Saints in the Superbowl.
John Georges: The most confusing person in this race. He doesn’t need the money. He’s getting endorsements from everywhere and from people of all races. He sounds like he understands the problems of the poor and disenfranchised. He sounds the most like an old school black politician. I don’t know what to make of him. I saw those pictures of his fraternity dressing in black face and taking racism to the highest level. None of the black people that endorsed him backed out after those things became public. Local bloggers think he’s paying everyone off but I just don’t see the benefit in wasting all that money. As far as the pictures go, they are disturbing but I am not coming down as hard on him because that was 30 years ago. If blogging had been around when I was in my late teens and early 20’s the FBI would have had me on a watch list somewhere. You have to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s grown especially with so many minorities that work for him in high positions. I am not sure if he can win but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the runoff.
Troy Henry: He’s a very smart man. He carries himself like a leader. He’s polished enough that I don’t worry about him embarrassing everybody by saying something crazy. I think he would be competent mayor. I agree with his general ideas and he lives in New Orleans East so that would have to be a benefit. My only issue with voting for him is that he’s a business man and I don’t think we need another business man right now. I don’t want to say anything to get myself in trouble at work but if more people had to actually deal with the city in a working capacity they would know that there is a sense of urgency and progression that needs to happen in order to get things done for the people in a timely manner and that’s not happening right now. I don’t blame Mayor Nagin for everything but I blame him for this because he hasn’t done anything to make these folks recognize the need and move any faster. It’s not fair to say that Troy Henry is going to do the same thing but I can’t help it. I’m still working this out.
James Perry: I was ready to vote for James Perry six months ago. He’s young, intelligent and represents a changing of the guard from our parents’ generation to leadership to our time to take the torch and move forward. If you talk to him about the issues you will come away very impressed with him. I think he would be the best person to tackle the crime issue because at 34 he grew up in the city during the time when things really changed and he understands the factors and circumstances that lead to crime better than any of the other candidates. I think he could reach out to those young men and relate to them on a personal level. I even like the fact that he thinks a 40% reduction in the murder rate is achievable because that tells me he believes that some of these young brothers can be saved with the right opportunity. It would be a new day in local politics if he wins. I wish he would have gone door to door and spoke with the people. James ran a 2009-2010 campaign in a city that most of the people are around 1998 in terms of technology. We are logging on the internet more and more but this isn’t the main choice of media in the neighborhood. He should have bought more signs and posters and got his street team moving. I don’t know if enough people know who he is.
Mitch Landrieu: He’s an experienced politician and I think we need that. He doesn’t have a questionable history with dealing with the black community hanging over his head. His sister is the senior senator from the state and I think if he’s the mayor there is no way she or their party allows him to fail. All the money that’s being held up to spite Ray Nagin would magically flow like a river and things would get done. Plus, sometimes when a man is trying to fulfill a family legacy they work hard at it. His opponents attack him more than anyone else because he’s a heavyweight. His presence made two qualified people drop out. He’s probably going to at least make the run off. I just wish that after all his experience he would blow me away when he speaks at least one time. Just once I would have liked to listen to a forum and thought to myself that his experience set him apart from everyone else. The question is did he just put everything on cruise control since he didn’t feel that any of the people running could challenge him or is this all the energy he can muster? I guess shall see if he wins because I don’t believe you can turn the energy it takes to lead off and on that easily. If there is a runoff and it’s only two candidates sharing time instead of six or more, he’s going to have to step his game up or become a three time loser for mayor.
The first time I had a chance to vote for mayor was in 1994. Marc Morial won that election. The key issues that year were crime, blight, jobs, and economic development. Now in 2010 I am going to vote again tomorrow and the key issues are crime, blight, jobs, and economic development. It’s a good thing the Saints are in the Superbowl because that reality would have me very depressed.