Michael Bagneris, an attorney, and retired civil court judge is making his second bid for mayor after losing in the runoff against Mayor Mitch Landrieu in 2014. Bagneris says his worK ethic, perseverance, experience, managerial and executive abilities set him apart in a crowded field of candidates.
“I am running because I want to serve this city. I want to create a city that is safe, one that has jobs,” he says. “I was born in Charity and grew up in Desire. I had to sweep floors to pay for my elementary school education at Peter Claver then was fortunate to continue on to St. Augustine, I got a good education and a scholarship to Yale. I could have been defeated by my circumstances…I could have been bitter about racial differences between my opportunities as a Black man and others; but I don’t see obstacles. I see challenges.
Bagneris, who served as executive counsel for mayor Dutch Morial, calls “the violent crime epidemic” the city’s “greatest threat”, and he intends to take a nuts and bolts approach to addressing the challenge
“To stop it this we first have to stop the attrition at NOPD,” Bagneris says. “To do this I will give every police officer an immediate $10,000 pay raise. This will plug the hole in the bucket at NOPD and incentivize early retirees to come back. Second, we will hire 300 new police officers through active and informed recruitment practices. Third, we will foster a relationship of trust with our brave men and women in blue by embedding them in communities. We must integrate officers into our neighborhoods and our lives, not just involve them when trouble arises.”
Bagneris will also push for increased use of technology such has license plate readers, gunfire sensing technology and more crime cameras.
“And we need to develop a crime analytics unite dedicated to intelligence operation and data-driven enforcement,” he says. “All have been shown to work.”
Bagneris says his second urgent order of business if elected mayor will be to increase economic opportunity in the city.
“We must diversify our assets and not be wholly reliant on tourism alone,” he says. “We have a major port but do not have major manufacturing. There is no add-on value to the imports that arrive at our docks other than coffee. We get lumber from South America, but we do not have a furniture manufacturer. Our ports receive cocoa beans from Africa, but we don’t manufacture chocolate. New Orleans is one of the leading ports in the nation for rubber. Where is our tire plant?…Manufacturers can be attracted to the New Orleans region with reasonable tax incentives…Manufacturing jobs pay well from the entry level to the executive level.”
Bagneris also says that if elected he would dedicate 100 percent of traffic camera revenues to fixing neighborhood streets, work to ensure DBE goals are attained, and continue post-Katrina recovery efforts, particularly in the East and Lower Ninth Ward that were hardest hit by the storm and have been slower in their resurgence compared to other areas of the city.