Sadly, the police maneuvers have not worked to make a major dent in the city’s violent crime problem. While the murder rate was quite low for the first two months of 2016, the month of March has been marked by a return to the type of violence so familiar to New Orleans residents.
For example, last week, six people were killed and another 16 people were shot in a very violent six day period. Yesterday was just a typical day with an armed robbery in the French Quarter, a stabbing in the Uptown area of a Good Samaritan woman trying to help a person fix his tire. To make matters even worse, she was also spat upon, all for trying to help. To top off the day’s violence, there was a triple shooting in New Orleans East.
While the crime has soared, there has been no discussion of any tangible action from Mayor Landrieu. No summits, rallies, public forums or hearings about the most important crisis facing New Orleans. In contrast, there have been numerous public events concerning the Mayor’s obsession to remove Confederate monuments from the city. Yesterday, another hearing was held for potential contractors seeking to bid on the project to remove the Confederate monuments.
The goal of the meeting was for potential contractors to learn more about the bid process. One of the contractors expressed concern about damaging the monuments while trying to remove them. This is a legitimate concern for the bid specifications do not require participating companies to have expert knowledge on monuments or have to move them. In fact, the first contractor that had been tapped to remove the monuments was a glorified landscaper and jack of all trades, not exactly a monument expert.
Eventually, two contractors eliminated themselves from consideration, so now the city is requesting proposals from other potential bidders. Unfortunately, the Landrieu administration has decided to shroud the bid process in mystery. The public will not be able to know who is bidding on this project. In fact, some of the prospective bidders discussed doing the work during the middle of the night to protect against any monument supporters trying to disrupt their work.
The hallmark of good government is transparency and this administration is doing everything possible regarding the monuments to hide their work from the public. Along with shielding the identity of companies bidding for the project, the administration is also refusing to identify an anonymous donor who has committed to pay for the project.
When he is not engineering a secretive monument removal procedure or ignoring the violent crime problem in New Orleans, Mayor Landrieu is focusing on global warming. Last year, he attended climate change summits in Paris, Rome and New York. This was a curious move because it is certainly not an issue his constituents care about, for they are too busy trying to find employment, stay employed and stay alive on the streets of New Orleans.
This year, the new obsession for Mayor Landrieu is the 2016 presidential campaign. He has been busy campaigning for Hillary Clinton, the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, obviously hoping to be tapped for a cabinet position in her administration if she wins.
In the meantime, the major issues in New Orleans remain unresolved. At some point, the city will see action on the crime problem, but it will probably have to wait until Mitch Landrieu is out of office.