People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Don’t wait for another hurricane before you can vote

Posted by schroeder915 on December 12, 2005

A letter forward to me on a mailing list service, on the move by Louisiana’s secretary of state and governor to postpone New Orleans mayoral election:

THE LAST STRAW. FEBRUARY ELECTIONS DELAYED TO … SEPTEMBER???!!!!

We can’t afford to be in limbo for that long. Thousands of citizens, their businesses, their hopes will be dead and buried by then. AND NOW, Secretary of State AL ATER THINKS THAT THE BEST TIME TO HOLD ELECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANS MIGHT BE … DURING THE NEXT HURRICANE SEASON IN SEPTEMBER?!??!!??? Brilliant, Al. To save our city, we NEED elections to happen on schedule, or at least no later than April 29th.

Anyone who lives in New Orleans knows the truth, that this city is still a disaster area. Drive beyond those few lucky neighborhoods that hug the riverfront, and it STILL looks like Katrina hit just last week. Some neighborhoods are still debatably toxic and without power or water or phones or stores with basic services like pharmacies, gas, food, replacement appliances … you gotta run to the jammed up suburbs for virtually anything of substance. You can’t even pay your electric bill in New Orleans. You can’t trust the spotty (at best) mail service. I live in the Quarter, and I do get some mail, sometime … but I can say that I haven’t gotten any in the past four of the last six working days … and some of what I do get is still dated September ….

I was at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Canal Street a few days ago. The Mayor stood on a balcony, flipped a switch on a lighting of Canal Street that was limited to … A TREE AND ONE BALCONY.BENEATH HIM, ON THE VERY SAME BLOCK OF CANAL STREET, BETWEEN ROYAL AND BOURBON, A MOUNTAIN OF DEBRIS SAT UNCOLLECTED AND ROTTING. I thought to myself, well doesn’t this image just about sum up everything perfectly. I walked there again today. The garbage was still there, in the heart of what’s left of Canal Street.

We DO NOT have enough police, and everyone knows it. If we did, we wouldn’t have an economically crippling curfew still bearing down on us … a Major American City with a curfew, over 3 months after Katrina??? The curfew also kills neighborhoods that could be livable, but people/workers are forced off the streets due to ‘safety concerns’. If there were enough police, we wouldn’t still have state troopers from New York walking our streets with state police from north Louisiana, and National Guardsmen acting as gatekeepers for our neighborhoods. Looters victimize us in our most desperate neighborhoods with regularity.

Shops are opening in the French Quarter and other neighborhoods only to close for lack of business. I know. I’ve spoken to too many of the merchants myself. They’re trying, but they’re abandoning hope. The “for rent/lease” signs are going up every day. And there is no rush to fill the vacancies, because retailers believe that there aren’t gonna be customers any time soon. The land/housing crunch is a myth fostered by those who would seek to profit from it. There are vacancies both residential and commercial throughout the inhabitable city. I know, and so does everyone else who’s on the ground here. There’s just so little to come back to … still.

I love our city with all my heart. My family’s been here since the early 1800’s, and now I’m the only one living here. All the rest were driven out by Katrina, lost everything they ever had, and nearly all my memories. And I’m determined to take a stand and make a difference, and so can you. While most/many of you know me from my work in campaigns or my radio shows, this email isn’t written to help any campaign or candidacy or politician. This is one guy who loves his city, speaking from his heart, saying what he believes is important, what needs to be said about something that I do know something about.

Governor Blanco, Al Ater, people who read this message … if we wanted to, if the will exists to do it, elections CAN be held in New Orleans, if not by February then at least by April 29. The Times Picayune summed it up nicely. Putting off the elections proves we’re not recovering. It shows we’re not coming back.

Regardless of how one feels about the Mayor, we still need to vote this administration up or down, and let the rest of America and the world know where we stand, and who we stand with, and what we stand for. Or the rest of the world will continue to be inclined to stand on the sidelines and watch us flounder.

As for the disenfranchisement of displaced voters, the answer does not lie in disenfranchising all voters by not holding elections for 10 months. That’s just moronic. No matter when elections are held, there’s gonna be a hundred lawsuits questioning the process … so let’s hold the damn election and let the lawsuits begin. If we wait until September, we may not have election results cleared by the courts until 2007!!!! We can’t afford to be in limbo that long.

I don’t believe that we couldn’t gather voting machines from other areas, get absentee ballots to the displaced, bring in poll workers from other parishes on a day in February or April when no other elections in the state are scheduled. These resources are available to hold an election. It ain’t rocket science, it just takes hard work. OF COURSE IT IS DOABLE.

I call on anyone who cares about the future of New Orleans to flood (no pun intended) the Governor and Secretary of State with emails and phone calls (lord knows, don’t rely on the mail!!!) DEMANDING our right to vote. DO IT NOW, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

Governor Blanco and/or her chief of staff’s office:
Phones: 866-366-1121, 225-342-0991 or 225-342-7015
or via the internet, go to the form page and send your comments to Blanco by clicking here:

http://www.managekeelson.com/websites/la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=home&cfmid=146

Louisiana Secretary of State Al Ater, and the Department’s Elections division:
Telephone: 225 – 922-2880, 225- 922-0900, 225-342-1321

Send your emails to both the Secretary’s office and the Elections Division offices:
admin@sos.louisiana.gov
Jennifer.Marusak@sos.louisiana.gov
elections@sos.louisiana.gov

This is the New New Orleans, folks. You gotta be tough. Demand better. Please feel free to forward this email to everyone/anyone you know.

Sidney Arroyo

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2 Responses to “Don’t wait for another hurricane before you can vote”

  1. jomama said

    How can elections bring New Orleans back?

    I don’t get it.

  2. Schroeder said

    Hmmm … perhaps you didn’t read the post?

    Nagin needs to be forced to answer for his actions, and to make his case for what he intends to do going forward.

    Thus far, he has done neither.

    Citizens deserve better, and shouldn’t have to wait to weigh in on his leadership. The simple fact that he can’t get an election up on schedule ought to be excuse enough to demand an opportunity to change the city’s leadership.

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