A District that stretches across both sides of the Mississippi River and includes the French Quarter, Algiers, Tremé, the Marigny, the Bywater, English Turn, parts of St. Roch and Mid-City, District C has attracted five candidates vying to replace Councilwoman Kristen Palmer who, in a move that surprised many, decided not to seek a second term.
In addition to Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, who is barred by term limits from seeking to maintain her at-large seat and has already served a total of nearly 16 years as on the City Council, the field also includes former Civil District Court Judge Nadine Ramsey, a former school board member Lourdes Moran, hotel manager Carlos Williams and community activist Eloise A. Williams.
Current City Councilwoman-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson says she was urged by district constituents as well as Mayor Mitch Landrieu, neighborhood leaders and business to colleagues to run for the District C seat after the last minute withdrawal of the incumbent Councilwoman Kristen Palmer.
Clarkson says she wants to continue the progress that post-Katrina New Orleans has made in regards to public safety, fiscal responsibility, blight and economic development. She says it is a crucial time for the city and she wants to make sure that it remains on the right track.
Clarkson was first elected to an at-large seat on the council 2007 and re-elected in 2010. Prior to serving in the at-large seat, she represented District C from 2002 to 2006 and before that 1990-1994.
Clarkson takes credit for helping to lay the groundwork for significant changes in public safety, economic development and good government.
As councilwoman, Clarkson encouraged economic development by creating the public-private partnership NOLA Business Alliance, which focuses on five key industries that help the city to move forward: transportation, manufacturing, health services, digital media and sustainable industries. Still, Clarkson says there is more work that needs to be done.
Public safety and infrastructure are important issues that Clarkson plans to tackle if elected to the District C council seat.
On the issue of police residency, Clarkson believes that with the right training and tools to do the job, along with incentives such as housing assistance, the city should be able to build a force with Orleans parish residents who are the most qualified and dedicated candidates. However, as a city that is still recovering its population and is in dire need of more officers, Clarkson says that we must look at all scenarios before placing restrictions on who we will allow to protect and serve our city.
As for infrastructure, Clarkson will work to find funding to repair and regularly maintain our streets, street lights, parks and playgrounds, she says, adding that she is working to repair the city financial problems so $100 million in bond funds can be raised for those repairs.
Attempts to reach Lourdes Moran were unsuccessful.
Former judge Nadine Ramsey, who served on the Orleans Parish Civil District Court judge for about 12 years (two as chief judge) says she chose to run for the District C council seat because the area needs “an independent voice on the council, someone committed to serving the people of District C and only them.”
If elected, Ramsey plans to bring fresh ideas to tackle what she feels are the biggest issues plaguing District C: crime and blight, economic development and better jobs and opportunities for young people.
“We need a council member who cuts through red tape and gets long-neglected projects and neighborhoods back on track,” Ramsey says. “We have to attack the causes, not just the symptoms. All of these issues work together and we need a council member ready to move on all of them at once.”
Ramsey lists moving her case docket in a timely and efficient way, serving on the executive committee for the Court and serving as chief judge after Hurricane Katrina to help return the courthouse to its building and to a properly functioning branch of government as major accomplishments while serving as judge.
On the issue of crime and public safety, Ramsey says she finds it “absolutely incredible” to hear the police chief and mayor proclaim that violent crime is down when she has seen a steady increase in violent crime in neighborhoods of District C. She says two of her campaign supporters were recently carjacked in Algiers at gunpoint while delivering campaign signs.
If elected, Ramsey says she will push to fully enforce the mandates of the NOPD Consent Decree with the Department of Justice, increase the starting pay for new police recruits, remove the requirement of two years of college or military for new recruits and create a state-of-the-art Regional Crime Lab and Law Enforcement Training Academy. Ramsey said that she is in favor of the residency requirement in place for NOPD officers because “it is so important for people to live in the community where they are public servants.”
She says she sees the potential for economic development in her entire district, including new grocery stores, hotels, department stores and retail malls, adding that she fully supports the building of phases five and six of the Morial Convention Center and the expansion and development of Federal City, a former naval base in Algiers transformed into a mix of retail and commercial space.
As a lawyer and business owner, Ramsey says she has the skills and knowledge to help potential new businesses cut thorough “the bureaucracy and red tape of City Hall” and will “actively solicit and encourage more of these businesses to move into Algiers.”
Pushing for more funding for the Department of Parks and Parkways to efficiently address the problem of overgrown city lots and neutral grounds is another crusade that Ramsey plans to tackle if elected.
The former judge says she would also work for tough and fair enforcement of laws that hold property owners responsible for blight and overgrown lots, adding that the same areas that have seen an increase in blighted homes and lots have also experienced an increase in crime.
Attempts to reach Carlos Williams were unsuccessful.
Eloise A. Williams
Attempts to reach Eloise A. Williams were unsuccessful.