Sunday, November 20, 2016

Anti-Oppression, Anti-Bullshit Voting Guide for New Orleans RUNOFF Election, Dec. 10, 2016

We're back! You're back! On December 10, we return to the polls to vote on our Senator, Criminal Court Judge, and some Public Works provisions.

Early voting: 
Nov. 26 and Nov. 28-Dec. 3
8am - 6pm
Bring your government-issued photo ID.

CITY HALL, 1300 PERDIDO ST., #1W24, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70112-2127




These guides have been produced lovingly and carefully since 2014 by a group of individuals who wish to confront the existing lack of accountability in the branches of Louisiana government, and in the election process more generally. We did a lot of research and talked with our neighbors, friends, and allies. We agreed on the following guidelines to make—or in some cases, decline to make—our recommendations:

•Promote justice and advancement for people of color, poor people, queer people, immigrants, youth, people most affected by environmental degradation, and other marginalized populations in our communities; prioritize the needs of these people above others.

•Favor the judicial candidates least destructive to the lives of the poor and others caught in the dragnet of our punitive legal system.

•Be strategic about New Orleanians' specific needs being adequately addressed on the state and federal levels, especially with regard to environmental, economic, and healthcare concerns.

•Reject the influence of post-Katrina opportunism at all levels of government. Many New Orleanians have not yet come home, due to lack of resources. For those who have returned, they find the city expensive, and meaningful employment unobtainable. Healthcare has been slashed, as have other vital social services. The charterization of public schools has thoroughly devalued community input. We do not reward the public officials or business folks who dismantle public works and civic life.

We approach this work with a harm reduction ethos—that is, we understand we cannot easily nor quickly move the mountains of inequality, prejudice, (bureaucracy!), and oppression that keep people down. We considered the view that deliberating on “Who is going to harm us?” is actually not a form of harm reduction at all. Ultimately, we believe we can work to ease the suffering and trauma that exist in our communities. In this way, we advance towards a visionary society in which everyone's needs are met, and our values are reflected in our system of governance.

Foster Campbell (Democrat-Bossier City)
John Kennedy (Republican-Baton Rouge)

John Kennedy has been the elected Treasurer since 1999, and has never had any viable, adequately funded opponents to challenge him. He ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2004 and 2008, changing his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 2007 to run against David Vitter. He is a big Trump booster, describing him - to put it mildly - as "a change agent."

Having entered state politics as special counsel to Governor Buddy Roemer, Kennedy has since made his role about "streamlining government": eliminating "wasteful" and favoritist government spending. That said, he has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from law firms - some out-of-state - who have regular business before the Louisiana Bond Commission he chairs.

He has clashed with Governor Jindal and Governor Edwards over the State’s budget, likening Edwards’ tax hike proposal to “hysterics” and “drama.”

On the social issues front, Kennedy recommended a crime-fighting plan he called “aggressive Stop and Frisk” to combat the “thugs” of New Orleans. He said he’d rather “drink weed-killer” than support the Affordable Care Act. He also ran some pretty brutal attacks on his primary opponent Charles Boustany, suggesting he had some involvement with three sex workers who were murdered. He stated recently that he would not support legislation that allows a woman to get an abortion if she becomes pregnant by rape or incest. This guy is a fucking creep.

Following the national election on November 8th, Foster Campbell represents the last remaining hope for Democrats to flip a seat in the Senate.

Though he lost three campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, he’s been a popular civil servant as Public Service Commissioner since 2003, and has maintained good working relationships with Louisiana’s Legislative Black Caucus. He believes in global warming, favors public control over public schools, and is generally regarded as an advocate for the working class. He is revered in rural parishes like Natchitoches, where he successfully championed the installation of telephone lines in 2005 (!) after decades of corporate feet-dragging in the region.

After the Wall Street Journal reported that Donald Trump might tap Bobby Jindal for his new Cabinet, Campbell warned that Jindal “can’t be trusted” after his “cold-hearted, irresponsible budgeting.” He placed the blame squarely on Treasurer Kennedy, who “rubberstamped Jindal’s dishonest budget tactics that bankrupted our state” and “let Jindal rob Louisiana.”

Campbell, who lost a son to suicide, has stated that he holds mental healthcare to be a priority in government spending: "We have to have the money, but it always gets cut because most of the people with mental illness are poor folks...It troubles me greatly to come to New Orleans and see people sleeping on cardboard. That drives me wild." 

Louisiana needs an advocate in the Senate who will stand up to malfeasance on all forms.

VOTE: Campbell

Judge Criminal District Court, Section D (Select 1)
Paul A. Bonin -  Democrat
Kevin Guillory - Democrat

We don’t really dig Kevin Guillory’s prosecution background, especially for someone who wants to judge criminal cases from the supposedly unbiased bench.

Paul Bonin has been an Appeals Court Judge, and wants to be on the Criminal Court so he can introduce greater transparency during proceedings, and restrict D.A. Cannizzaro’s “strong-arm tactics.” He calls wrongful conviction “the greatest tragedy in our criminal justice system.” Both Susan Guidry and Latoya Cantrell - of New Orleans City Council - endorse Bonin, so read into that what you will.

Vote: Bonin

Suggested Resources: After 20 months, New Orleans voters finally to choose Judge Marullo's replacement; Bonin, Guillory advance to Orleans Criminal Court runoffJudicial Forum for candidates of Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, Section D office three-part video from Court Watch NOLA. ; Live on Facebook with Paul Bonin and Kevin Guillory short videos on The New Orleans Tribune Facebook page, September 2016:;;

PW Drainage - 4.46 Mills - CC - 30 Yrs. (Select 1)
Parishwide Drainage Proposition (Millage Continuation) Shall the City of New Orleans (the "City") continue to levy an ad valorem tax in the amount of 4.46 mills on all property subject to taxation within the City for a period of thirty (30) years, beginning with the year 2017 and ending with the year 2046 (an estimated $15,400,000 reasonably expected to be collected at this time for an entire year from the 4.46 mills levy), to be used solely and exclusively for the purpose of operating and maintaining the City's drainage system and for the construction and extension of said drainage system?

This mill would decrease the property tax for Sewerage and Water Board’s drainage system from 4.66 mills to 4.46 mills, lasting for 30 years.

As it stands, S&WB doesn’t have enough money to follow its own capital plan. The Office of the Inspector General has blasted it for ineffectiveness, fiscal mismanagement, and suspected payroll fraud.

But if we all vote against this mill, the property tax for this purpose would decrease from 4.66 mills to 0, a cut representing about a quarter of the S&WB’s total income from taxes.

Obviously water management is of crucial importance to our swampy city. Let’s keep a close eye on the S&WB to make sure it’s working for us and the sustainability of our infrastructure.

Suggested Resources: S&WB Drainage & Millage Education Film

PW Prop. (Fire Protection) - 2.5 Mills - CC - 12 Yrs. (Select 1)
Parishwide Proposition (Authorizing Levy of Ad Valorem Tax for Fire Protection) Shall the City of New Orleans (the "City") be authorized to levy an ad valorem tax in the amount of two and one-half (2.50) mills (the "Tax") on all property subject to taxation within the City for a period of twelve (12) years, beginning January 1, 2017 and ending December 31, 2028 (an estimated $8.87 million reasonably expected to be collected at this time for an entire year as a result of the levy of the Tax), to be dedicated solely to fire protection in accordance with Article VI, Section 26(E) of the Louisiana Constitution?

Y’all, remember in April when a tricky double-mill wound up on our ballot, combining increased funds for police AND firefighters? Well, New Orleans voters refused to be force-fed some irresponsible fiscal action disguised as “public safety.” This time, we have the chance to directly support our firefighters by paying into their overdue pension settlement.

It may strike you as unfair to have to help the City balance the budget by paying more in taxes, but listen: Some firefighters have literally died waiting for their pension pay-outs. The City is trying to make good on its settlement plan, and we can help insure the stability of the public service fund designated for this - and only this - expenditure.


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