What is more important to the future of the city is the ultimate question--who will get the most votes in Saturday’s election?
Earlier this week in a Google Hangout, Bridges and Bayoubuzz publisher Stephen Sabludowsky discussed Bridges’s pension article. On Thursday, Bayoubuzz published the first part of that hangout conversation. Below is the second part: the discussion about the pension as well as a general conversation about the possible outcome of this most important New Orleans election.
Since Landrieu served as a legislator in the state House from 1988 to 2004 and as a lieutenant governor from 2004 to 2010, he was eligible for state pension when he stepped down from the latter position. It should not come as a surprise that Landrieu has collected a state pension after serving for over twenty years. Bridges noted, however, that in prior disclosures, Landrieu stated that the annual pension was between $25,000 and $100,000, which is all the information he has been required to disclose by law. It has now been revealed that his annual state pension is around $80,000. With his mayoral salary of roughly $150,000, his annual salary is brought up to $230,000. The article also revealed that Michael Bagneris, Landrieu's opponent, has also applied for a state pension. According to the state formula, his maximum pension would be $94,000. Consternated readers might be interested to know that the system has been changed so legislators no longer receive pension based on their legislative work.
The primary election is tomorrow, February 1, and Sabludowsky asked Bridges about his thoughts about the outcome. Bridges answered that more than likely, Landrieu will win. Landrieu has more money and has been able to buy more TV time than Bagneris. Bridges also emphasized that while Landrieu already had a campaign team working for him, Bagneris entered the race late and had to quickly gather a team. One scenario that could be favorable to Bagneris, nevertheless, is if a greater part of black voters vote for him. Sabludowsky stated that in order to win, Bagneris would need to get 65% of the black votes and 25% of the white votes. However, if the sentiment that Landrieu has failed to help developing and improving East New Orleans in favor of Uptown and Mid-City, Bagneris might stand a chance. Sabludowsky agreed that Landrieu definitely has the best chance of winning, but also remarked that he is both impressed and surprised by Bagneris's ability to get support from several organizations, such as BOLD, SOUL, and LIFE, over a very short period of time. The outcome of tomorrow's election will hopefully tell how much of an impact these organizations have been able to make.