What a profound difference makes six years!
Back in February 2014, Louisiana was embroiled in a hotly-contested free-for-all for the U.S. Senate position. Retired, and unknown Air Force Colonel Rob Maness had just announced his candidacy to oust Senator Mary Landrieu, the powerful senior Democrat US Senator. Landrieu, generally had been hailed as the hero from the Hurricane Katrina wars fighting the emotional unending battles to save South Louisiana and New Orleans. However, Landrieu faced one major obstacle--President Barack Obama who down in these parts was less popular than the BP Oil Spill (if that were possible).
In 2017, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell made history as the first female to be elected Mayor of New Orleans. She began her tenure the following year and is nearing the mid-point of her four-year term.
At this juncture, it is a good time to reflect on her political standing in New Orleans. Historically, New Orleans Mayors have easily won re-election. The last incumbent Mayor of New Orleans to lose re-election was Robert Maestri in 1946. Without a major scandal, Cantrell will be a strong favorite to win a second term.
This week was dominated by the questions regarding the sentencing of political operative Roger Stone. Last January, he was subjected to a pre-dawn raid by federal officials carrying assault rifles. Somehow, CNN was informed about the raid and their cameras captured the dramatic footage of agents entering home and arresting Stone.
I dislike epitaph baskets. I know you do too.
Yet we hear them, read them and even say them. I think at one time or another, we are all guilty. I know I am.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over the past year pumped into two small states, Iowa and New Hampshire respectively as they formally opened up the presidential election season. Ever since the first Democratic candidate entered the field, the number of competitors for president has winnowed down to a handful. Left standing are those men and women who hope to have the momentum and the staying power to become the Democratic nominee chosen at this summer's convention owning the right to go up against current White House occupant, Donald Trump.
It is a wonderful thing when a local hero, such as retired pharmacist Dan Schneider, gains international attention. It is happening now for Schneider and no one is more deserving. He is featured in a four-part Netflix documentary series, “The Pharmacist.”
The program is riveting television. It starts by chronicling the tragic death of Schneider’s son, Danny Jr. who was killed trying to buy drugs in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Danny Jr. was only 22 when he was killed, and his drug addiction was unknown to his family.
Time to play a little game. It’s called, “Hide the Evidence”.
Here’s how you play. First, I'll give you the defenses and excuses. And, then, hopefully, we'll come to our senses.
Now, close your eyes and ears. Quit sniffing around for clues. The Republicans have been playing this for months. It's so easy, McConnell and gang have got it down to a science.
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) was the lone Republican in Congress to vote against President Trump in the bogus impeachment hoax. Fortunately, no GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the two articles of impeachment.
In the U.S. Senate, only Romney voted to convict and remove the President on one article of impeachment. Speaking to his fellow Senators and the nation on Wednesday, Romney said, “The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a ‘high crime and misdemeanor.' Yes, he did.”
Of course, 95% of Republicans disagree with Romney and his analysis is hopelessly skewed by his personal animosity toward the President. It is not an impeachable offense to make a “perfect” call to a fellow President asking him to help locate missing Democratic National Committee computer servers from the 2016 election and investigate the alleged corruption of a very powerful political family.
Thank God, the Congressional GOP found an honest man.
Today, Mitch Romney defied his party, his president, his future re-election and followed his conscience. He stated that he is a religious man and as such, took his oath as a promise to God to be fair and just. In doing so, he felt the evidence was simply overwhelming to support the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. He said Trump committed an impeachable offense and should be removed.
Presidential historians will note that the re-election of President Donald Trump was not secured in November of 2020, but nine months earlier in February. In a span of two days, Democrats displayed to the country why their party should not be given political power.
Historically, African Americans voters have been the most loyal supporters of the Democratic Party. Since 1932, most African American voters have supported the Democratic presidential candidate. This support reached a zenith in the era of the first African American President, Barack Obama.
As the nation gets ready for a presidential election, the Democratic Party is in total turmoil. Their 2020 presidential candidates are not exciting voters. There is no Bill Clinton or Barack Obama in the field to generate excitement. The only candidate to create any passion is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), practically an octogenarian.
The polls show Sanders leading in Iowa and New Hampshire and he is on the verge of overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden in the national polls. He is leading in fundraising and has the type of dedicated volunteers not found in other campaigns.
In our country, the average American is a law-abiding person who works hard to pay his or her debts, including loans and taxes. For this type of person, government bailouts are unnecessary. Sadly, presidential candidates do not seem to be interested in appealing to this type of voter.
For example, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has campaigned on a plan to eliminate student tuition debt. This has not pleased those students and their parents who worked hard and maybe took on an extra job, to pay their debts.
I thought the Republicans wanted to call Hunter Biden to be a witness.
That’s what we’ve heard now for months.
They missed, perhaps a big chance. On Monday night, into the wee hours of the morning, after all of the witness requests made by the Democrats were beaten down, leading to the prospects that there would be no witnesses called during the impeachment trial, Justice John Roberts read an amendment offered by the Democrats.
With much fanfare, on October 25, 2018, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other political leaders opened a meditation room at City Hall. The purpose of this “safe space” was to allow people “to reflect, even seek counsel if they need it.” It was one of Cantrell’s anti-violence initiatives for “youth in crisis.”
The Mayor touted the center as a “holistic approach about health and wellness,” featuring reclining chairs, essential oils and diffusers.
After 15 months, it seems clear the “holistic” approach is not working. Juvenile violence is on the upswing. It has been particularly horrible in Lakeview. In fact, one recent incident forced schools and homes to be placed on lockdown as police launched a manhunt to find three automobile thieves who had fled from authorities after a traffic stop.
In recent months, Lakeview residents have had to deal with car burglaries and car windows being smashed all too frequently. Their anger reached a boiling point on Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Lakeview. A massive crowd attended to express their disappointment at the lack of action from City Hall.
Unfortunately, not only did the Mayor not attend, but she also chose not to send a representative to the meeting. This shows a total lack of respect for an area of New Orleans that send millions of tax dollars to City Hall. Sadly, Lakeview has been ignored for many years. For evidence, just examine the pitiful condition of the streets, which are among the worst in New Orleans.
A leading Lakeview activist Elizabeth Schindler said that residents “want actual results, we don’t want placation.”
Truly, the time for “placation” is over for Lakeview, but did the Mayor get the message? It is a legitimate question for she spends plenty of time outside of the city. For example, she is currently enjoying a trip to Washington Mardi Gras in our nation’s capital. Over the New Year holiday, she visited the country of Ghana on a trade and cultural mission. Last summer, she attended a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Hawaii and led a panel discussion dealing with issues such as “water” and “infrastructure.” For her birthday, she visited the communist nation of Cuba to learn about their health care system and economic development programs.
Let’s hope for remainder of 2020, the Mayor will spend enough time in New Orleans to realize that her administration must focus on crime, especially juvenile crime, as the most important issue to be addressed.
In response to the Lakeview crime surge, the Cantrell administration announced that it will create an evening reporting center for juveniles and a supervision program with social workers. A better approach is to unleash the police department by removing the consent decree that is limiting proactive measures that officers can take. According to the Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, police officers are “not allowed to participate in chases and again that sort of empowers…the criminal to go out and be more brazen on the streets.”
The real answer is not meditation rooms, social workers or midnight basketball. It is old fashioned law and order and punishment for juvenile criminals so they will be deterred from committing more crime. If they receive no punishment for their illegal activities, criminals are incentivized to continue with their delinquent behavior.
Clearly, essential oils are not doing the trick, it is time to let police officers do their jobs.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) created a firestorm of controversy this week when she called CNN reporter Manu Raju “a liberal hack.” Raju was trying to interview McSally about the upcoming impeachment trial, but the Arizona Senator told him that “I’m not talking to you.”
McSally is a former fighter pilot who certainly knows how to hit targets. In this regard, her comments hit the media target perfectly and were especially appropriate.
Raju and his CNN colleagues are all “liberal hacks.” Other than an occasional token conservative analyst or guest, the entire CNN roster of producers and on-air talent, including all the network’s hosts, is composed of steadfast liberals. Other Republican officeholders should follow McSally’s lead and refuse to appear on CNN. They will never get fair coverage for CNN is a tool of the Democratic Party.