Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Nagin Criticized on Two Fronts...

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was criticized in court and in the City Council chambers as reported today in the Times-Picayune. Kimberly Williamson Butler, Nagin's former Chief Administrative Officer and current Criminal District Court clerk filed suit in March,
shortly after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed the claim that her ouster from Nagin's administration was an act of discrimination based on gender, religion and disability, saying it could not establish that any federal laws had been broken.

In the lawsuit, Butler claims that Nagin conspired with his top male staffers to remove her as the highest-ranking woman in city government. She also accuses the mayor of retaliating against her after learning she was running for Criminal District Court clerk.
Recent depositions and active settlement talks have brought this issue back to the surface.

Otherwise, Nagin is taking some heat for his inflexibility on a cut in budget for payments to the Louisiana SPCA. The Council called a special meeting for today to address the problem.
In calling the meeting, Council President Eddie Sapir and Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt, chairwoman of the Budget Committee, issued a statement that was unusually confrontational, as such releases go. It said they had decided the council needed to "take a leadership position in this matter" because of "the failure of the administration to immediately carry forth its responsibility and recommend a viable solution to the critical funding shortage for the Louisiana SPCA's animal control program to protect citizens."
Are there any parallels to be drawn here, any sense of widespread dissatisfaction with the Mayor? Let me know what you think.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cultivated Inaction...

The Mayor made news by letting a rezoning proposal pass without his signature. The issue was an oh so tiny crack in the long-standing moratorium on hotel construction in the French Quarter, which passed in the Council by a "veto-proof" margin.

Nagin's action is a way of not really being for it, but not really against it enough to try to stop it. He has certainly lost ground with the preservationists, and I doubt that he won over many with his cynical comment about not having his "fingerprints" on the measure.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Saturday, December 25, 2004

The New Orleans Mayor's Race is On ...

From today's Times Picayune:
With little more than a year to go before the 2006 election, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has yet to draw a serious competitor. But that doesn't mean he's not arming for a fight...

Susan Howell, a political scientist at the University of New Orleans, said the mayor's recent comments could be an attempt to hype the race early to assist building both financial and logistical support. But at the same time, he may be correct in saying that potential candidates are playing coy while they size up the political landscape.

"At this stage, there is a lot of posturing going on, and potential candidates and the mayor are playing an expectations game," Howell said. "It's hard to take seriously what people say right now, since all involved are trying to put a spin on the situation."
So we're in the Spin cycle. What's to spin? How has Nagin done?

In my view he has been solid, doing what has to be done, but a bit timid on a few issues. The residency requirement for police comes immediately to mind. The S&WB privatization drive ran out of steam. Relations with the Council are not such that a bold agenda could be undertaken. Nagin has put little effort into helping the School Board out of their problems.

Still, passing the bond issue was a vote of confidence that this time the money will be spent properly. The U.S. Attorney's anti-corruption activities generate some of that confidence. Some of that confidence is undermined by the City's crime rate, and the jury is still out on the performance of the Police Department.

Let's hear what you think.


jbv's Competitive Edge