Don’t Let 32% Determine 100% of Our Future

By Terry B. Jones

Publisher, Data News Weekly

Voting and Keeping the Drive Alive
New Orleanians went to the polls last Saturday and we are now poised for the run-off that will take place on November 18, 2017, determining who will be elected in several races for the New Orleans City Council, Judges seats and the one everyone is talking about…who will be the next Mayor of the City of New Orleans.
The race is on between Desiree Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell. This is an historic election much like in 1977 with election of Ernest “Dutch” Morial, which toppled the barriers of race in New Orleans’ City Hall. In this election, another such barrier will be toppled as the City elects its first woman mayor. I remember the excitement around electing the first African-American Mayor, and his re-election campaign with the slogan of “Keep the Drive Alive.”  Today, I ask the citizens of this City where is your drive, what is going on that so few people turned out to vote? It seems that while conversations are taking place about the election of our first female mayor online and offline; it is not translating to people getting to the polls.  What is the deal?
Do Not let Dark Money Discourage You from Voting
In the primary, only 32% of the 258,000 registered voters cast their ballot. We have to ask ourselves why did this occur when we are on the cusp of such a historical moment in this City?  Is the significance lost on us that we will be celebrating our 300th Anniversary and also electing our first female mayor?   It is my opinion that in primary there were those who tried to taint the Mayor’s race, something that unfortunately took a lot of the focus off of what the candidates and their agendas for our City would be if they were elected to the City’s highest office.
Instead, conversations centered on fliers, controversy and false accusations taking up air space, keeping us from having a healthy dialog about the issues and the candidates running for mayor and other seats. In the run-off we cannot allow these things to keep us from going to the polls. In fact, I believe that the way we defeat this negative tide which has entered our politics, is to go out and vote. We must, in record numbers, get out and vote because our future depends on it. It is we who have our hands on the levers, we who have the ability to determine who will be in power and who will shape our history moving forward.  We have the responsibility to exercise our right that so many fought and died for. So, on November 18th we cannot have 32% determine how 100% of us are affected.
While there are some who feel that the reality-show drama of our last presidential election has seeped into our local election via Sidney Torres.   VOICE PAC and may be entertaining for some, but it does nothing to unify as a City that is dedicated to having public policy initiatives that work for all the people. If this is the direction we want to head in, then we need all hands-on deck. We need people to get involved, get educated on the issues and most importantly, get out and vote.
What Side of History Will You be On?
We at Data News Weekly in our role as “The People’s Paper” feel that we cannot let those who try to suppress the vote and turn people off from getting to the polls.  It is simply unacceptable. We cannot allow dark money and negativity to get in the way of our bright future. We need our citizens to get out and let their voices be heard. It is our history that is at stake in this election.  Which way will we go as a City?   Citizens ask yourselves, what side of history do you want to be on? And do not allow 32% determine 100% of our future.

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