This election season, like others before it, is critical. The decisions voters make will shape the direction of city, region and state for years to come. Let’s be honest, if we are tired of the harmful policies perpetrated by politicians that are at their best lazy, and duplicitous and untrustworthy, at worst, we have only ourselves to blame.
We have to stop sending some of these folk to stand on our behalf when they have shown they will not. We have to harvest new, energetic and genuine leadership to counter their presence.
The definition of insanity, it has been said, is “doing the same thing, expecting a different result.”
Well, we may be a lot of things; but here at The New Orleans Tribune, crazy isn’t one of them. We have to do something different! And we have to do more than merely show up at the polls and vote.
We have to recognize what the issues really are and how they impact our lives. Then we have to vote for candidates who stand where we stand, understand our needs and mandates. We know what we need. And if the people we are electing to represent us are not BOLDLY standing up and speaking to the needs of the community, they need to go home.
To be sure, if there is one critical issue for our city and state, it is public education. First of all, public education is a bellwether; and if we don’t get that right every other quality of life issue suffers. A good quality public education for every child is the only way we will deal with poverty or get a handle on crime or bring meaningful economic development to our communities. A keen focus on public education is even more critical at this time because public education in Louisiana is being purposefully and powerfully dismantled. Between vouchers and the proliferation of charters that have resulted in nothing short of the privatization of our schools, from the manufactured takeover of our schools in Orleans Parish to the convoluted process that was contrived on the back end to make their return to local control next to impossible, you better believe war has been declared. Those who came before us, our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, were so aware of the value of education as the great equalizer that they encouraged us to achieve when their encouragement, many times, was all they had to give. Today, we don’t even have a educator running the department of education! Where do they do that? Oh, yeah, Chicago and New York.
Ah, but there are a few candidates seeking our votes on Oct. 24 that we feel very good about. Folk like Republican candidate for BESE 1, Lee Barrios; Democrat Kara Washington, who is running for BESE 2; and Democrat Shawon Bernard, Orleans Parish School Board District 1 candidate. We proudly endorse their candidacies because they have without trepidation made clear that their priorities are based on what is best for the children and parents of our communities—not big business and not a select few individuals who are happy to line their pockets and increase their stature as they sell us out. Truth be told, right now there is big money out there controlling education and healthcare, while the people get pimped.
And without a doubt, we are happy to urge our readers in District 97 to send state Rep. Joe Bouie back to Baton Rouge. There for only one session, he tried to fulfill the wish of the people by presenting legislation that CLEARLY and DIRECTLY would have returned public schools in Orleans Parish back to local elected control—where they belong. Quite a few of his colleagues who were there long before his arrival would do well to take note.
To be entirely honest, many of the other candidates did little to impress us with their double talk and trite overused phrases. You know, they sound good. Maybe they will do the right thing. Maybe they will serve the people. That’s the mandate. We will be watching.
Write this down: DO WHAT THE PEOPLE SENT YOU TO DO!
The people of New Orleans want their schools back!
The people of New Orleans do not want to be priced out of their neighborhoods! There is an affordable housing crisis, in case you didn’t know!
Medicaid needs to be expanded!
The people of New Orleans—working everyday—need to earn a living wage! The median income for a Black household in New Orleans is only $25,000. It was $23,000 in 2005! Makes you wonder what in the hell our elected leaders from Perdido Street to the state capitol have been doing for the last 10 years, doesn’t it!
Meanwhile, rents are through the roof. For those who can still afford to live in this city, there isn’t a whole lot left for much else beyond bare necessities.
Please, for your own sake, don’t send us any press release about some meaningless legislation you have authored. If you are not speaking to the urgent needs of our communities and neighborhoods, save it. On second thought, send it anyway. It will help us remember why we shouldn’t vote for you again.
We’ve said it before. We’ll say it again. It is ACCOUNTABILITY time.