Attorney Freddie King, III has worked in government and he says there is nothing like experience to bring the district to the next level.
“My experience sets me apart. I know who to talk to and how to get things done without sitting behind a desk. You have to put your feet to the pavement.”
King says the top three issues facing District C are crime, citywide development and illegal dumping.
“We can’t arrest our way out of crime. The main thing is to educate our youth, and invest more in our youth. The short term is to make sure we have enough police, but the long term is in education. I spoke to someone who says that 70 percent of America’s inmates don’t read on a third-grade level. I think programs like the Silverback Society are ones that we need to invest in. We can be proactive.”
King proposed a public, regulated citizen-driven dumping area that would alleviate illegal dumping in the community. He also believes that Algiers has a hidden asset that can significantly increase revenue.
“I’m on the board of the Algiers Economic Development Foundation. We have a 200-acre piece of green space that is not developed. What are the possibilities for that piece of land? We could have a huge economic engine for Algiers. If developed properly, we could have our neighbors in Jefferson Parish flocking to Orleans for retail and business.”
Alonzo Knox says his extensive experience in law enforcement will work to keep District C safe and build a better, more vibrant economy.
Knox, who has a degree in law enforcement from Southern University and served as the director of Community Engagement for the New Orleans Police Foundation, says he will be “laser-focused” on stopping violent crime and addressing its root causes.
Knox says he’s frustrated that the city is collecting high amounts of taxes, yet citizens are getting less for their money. He says he is interested in creating a recycling center on the Westbank, developing “quality” housing and creating a living wage for his constituents.
“It’s a sad reality that people are getting paid more to serve coffee than our police, firefighters and EMS workers. I would work with my fellow council people to raise the minimum wage to $15,” says Knox. “We need to change the stigma associated with affordable housing. What we really need is safe and quality housing. Once you create a decent wage, you can also create quality housing that people can afford.”
Economic development in Algiers is another issue Knox hopes to tackle if elected. For example, he says fine dining should also be a viable option on the Westbank.
“People told me they want a white table cloth restaurant or fine dining on the Westbank. The Westbank represents about 70 percent of the vote, but they aren’t getting a fair share of the results.”
Vincent Milligan moved to New Orleans after the unprecedented flood in Baton Rouge. He says he saw great potential in the city, but not a lot of accountability from its public servants.
“I’ve seen so many things that were neglected,” says Milligan. “It just seems like there were things that we received billions of dollars to fix, yet things weren’t getting done. Before COVID there were more than 20 million people visiting the city each year; that’s revenue that we could use. I have no party affiliations and therefore I don’t answer to any party agenda. I want to take New Orleans and polish it so that it can be the jewel of the South.”
Milligan says, by far the biggest issue facing the city is crime.
“If you can’t control the crime, you can’t encourage businesses to open,” says Milligan. “You can’t encourage high end tourism. Our policemen aren’t paid enough. Our police were defunded this year and put on furlough. We need a new mental health police unit. We need to help take homeless people off the street, put them in triage and help them with mental health and addiction issues. We should increase the funding towards police.”
Milligan believes in alternate forms of renewable energy that pulls from New Orleans’ rich natural resources. He also says our basic services should be earned by contractors who can handle the workload with work being done in a sequential fashion.
“We had two pumps go out in Lakeview right before a storm,” says Milligan. “That shouldn’t happen. We should be using renewable energy. In Holland they use river turbines to create power. We need to have the streets repaired. We need to get the trash picked up. We need to get a contractor who can fulfill their contractual obligations.”
Stephen Mosgrove says he’s all about people. The New Orleans native believes the key to solving issues is understanding and listening to the community.
“I think District C is so diverse demographically and I want to be able to help people live better lives. I think it takes a leader who is wired to understand the complexity of people. I respect people’s journey and their hard work. I’m about people and public service.”
While crime is a major focus, Mosgrove is concerned that City Hall is not working properly to help benefit the people most in need.
“You always have to be concerned about crime but I also believe we need to improve the functionality of city government,” says Mosgrove. “We produce a lot of talent, but we don’t always benefit from that talent. We want to revitalize businesses and people to a greater level of vibrancy.”
Mosgrove says the city’s biggest problems include a lack of housing and the failure to create a living wage for New Orleans’ citizens.
“We are really struggling right now to create and prioritize affordable housing. We have to advance the prioritization. I do support inclusionary housing and developments, which go back to city performing better. I would like to see NORA create more of a vision and strategic plan for development. I think we should invest in affordable housing in a more robust way.”
Frank Perez is independent who says he is tired of the direction things are going in New Orleans.
“I’m running because I’m frustrated and I’m tired,” says Perez. “I have seen our quality of life diminish year after year. I’m tired of the inability of City Hall to deliver the most basic municipal services. That’s the reason that City Hall exists. As a candidate, I am completely unendorsed. No one is paying me to run this campaign. I will totally be accountable to the people.”
Perez says he is in favor of more police, specialized policing and holding citizens to the letter of the law.
“Crime is on everybody’s mind,” says Perez. “It’s a very complicated issue that we can talk about all day. We have to provide economic opportunities and we have to expand the juvenile criminal justice system. We should enforce the laws that are on the books. We have a curfew that is currently unenforced. Violent crimes and carjackings are on the rise particularly in the Marigny. There were law enforcement teams and task forces that were used to gather intelligence on these break-ins. As soon as those task forces were disbanded, crime skyrocketed.”
Perez is a former English professor, business owner, history buff and author. He says the city can benefit from infrastructure work but it must be organized in a way that benefits the most citizens.
“We have a lot of money coming from the Biden infrastructure deal. But we have to be smart about how we spend it. We have to learn from the mistakes of the past. That’s the reason why every street is being torn up now. The city has the money from the federal government and they have to spend it now or return it to the federal government. There are other sources of revenue. We are currently letting millions and millions of dollars fall from our pockets. We need to enforce the laws that are on the books so far as blight and short-term rentals are concerned.”
Barbara Waiters says District C needs a problem solver with experience to transform the community into a safer place.
“I feel like I’m the best candidate because I’m the most qualified. All my past work and volunteer experience has led me to this point. I’ve worked for the Downtown Development District as Communications Director and Policy Director. I’ve also worked as the Director of Workforce Development for Delgado. I served under several mayors and I am very passionate about quality of life. I am not motivated by money or power. I am motivated by solving problems and results. It is hard to be an independent candidate and raise money. But I hope the people will vote for the best candidate for the job.”
Waiters’ platform includes economic development, public safety and quality of life.
“We have to solve public safety,” says Waiters. “Everything from security of your home, the dissolution of our neighborhoods which I believe the charter school system has helped to erode. We should also look at infrastructure. We should invest in our hospitals, our roads, our sewage and water.”
When it comes to the affordable housing crisis, Waiters believes the council should help stabilize the middle class to prevent gentrification.
“Our officials have looked at affordable housing as a fragmented issue,” says Waiters. “Number one is sustainability. We never look at sustaining families that are already homeowners. Let’s look at how we can help people who have lived in their homes for 50 years. How do we save people’s generational wealth so they won’t lose their homes to gentrification? People who are on a fixed income can’t afford the property taxes now because a new person has purchased a home for thousands and thousands of dollars. Let’s not keep adding more and more stuff, we need to simplify things. If we keep adding regulations, the house of cards will collapse.”