Crime Commissioner James Carter resigned from his position after less than 18 months in office. He was being paid $115,000 per year, but was not able to significantly impact the high crime rate in New Orleans. The rate of violent crime is still atrociously high in New Orleans as the city competes for the unseemly title of Murder Capital of the nation.
Now that he has left, the Landrieu administration may keep the position unfilled. The city already has a Police Monitor, a Police Chief, an Inspector General, a monitor for the consent decree signed with the U.S. Justice Department as well as the Mayor and other elected officials who are monitoring the NOPD. It seems that another bureaucrat will not do much to improve the situation, only waste more taxpayer dollars.
Today, amid the news that the Disadvantaged Business Program Director has resigned was the shocking story about assistant city attorney Jason Cantrell.
While in the court house Monday afternoon discussing a private case with a police officer, Mr. Cantrell encountered some bad luck. In the midst of his conversation, a marijuana joint “flew out of his pocket” according to NOPD official Garry Flot.
Mr. Cantrell was not arrested, but was suspended from his position as assistant city attorney and issued a court citation. It would be difficult for Mr. Cantrell to uphold the law in the city of New Orleans if he is now on record breaking it. Because of Mr. Cantrell’s involvement, none of the city attorneys will be able to prosecute the case and will have to refer it to another office.
This incident raises several questions:
- Is there a drug testing policy in City Hall?
- If so, did Mr. Cantrell pass a recent drug test, considering that marijuana can be detected in a common urine test for weeks after use?
- How many of the city attorneys are spending afternoons working on private legal cases?
It is amazing that Mr. Cantrell was so cavalier about his drug use that he would bring a marijuana joint to the court house and feel free discussing a case with police with an illegal substance in his pocket. It was bad judgment to say the least, but this situation surely validated the good judgment of New Orleans voters, who in 2009 rejected Mr. Cantrell for the position of Juvenile Court Judge. If elected, one would hope that Mr. Cantrell would not have brought marijuana joints to the bench, yet, based on what happened Monday, it can’t be ruled out of order.
It was his misfortune that the cigarette “flew out of his pocket,” but it is also an embarrassment for the Landrieu administration. The Mayor may want to tighten up his drug testing policies and be more careful about who he hires for his legal team.
In addition, it is bad policy for any administration to allow “full-time” attorneys to work on private cases. Mr. Cantrell was being paid by the taxpayers while working on a private case. At the very least, this is a misuse of precious tax dollars.
Mr. Cantrell’s wife, LaToya, is a candidate for the New Orleans City Council, District B. This incident will surely hurt her candidacy, although she is vowing to remain in the race.
In fact, she should not be punished for this foolish behavior by her husband. In politics, the sins of the husband should not be transferred to the wife; at least this was the unstated motto of the Hillary Clinton campaign. If it worked for her, it might just work for Mrs. Cantrell.
After SMOR poll, is Louisiana in play for Obama against Romney?
Is Obama presidency now in play in Louisiana for November against Romney?
Today, SMOR, Southern Media and Opinion Research, Inc. released its most recent poll describing the political landscape in Louisiana. The poll was paid for by Lane Grisby, a Baton rouge businessman.
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