Your Voice…

The Issues That Matter

Edwin Buggage Editor-in-Chief

Last week local candidates qualified in the races for Mayor of the City of New Orleans, various City Council Districts, and other races on the Oct. 9th ballot. Although months away, these are important races and in our historic role as “The People’s Paper,” we encourage all citizens to become informed about pertinent, quality-of-life issues, and to use your voice at the polls.

The list of qualifying candidates is as exhaustive and complex as the list of issues they will face if elected. The candidates comprise a blend of incumbents, current office holders, community and business owners and other community members.

And along with the issues at hand, several districts have experienced demographic shifts, bringing about other potential perplexities. These are all reasons why voters should caution themselves accordingly and engage intently with each individual candidate’s specific agenda and the issues that affect their districts, respectively. The Citizens of New Orleans must decide who are the candidates best suited to lead in these changing times.
What are some of the issues that people are talking about?

Crime and violence in the City are of burgeoning and looming concerns to all citizens. With brazen car thefts and harrowing gun violence on the steady rise, we need working solutions that include educational and economic opportunities for our citizens, especially our young people.

We as voters and citizens must begin to ask ourselves, who are the candidates that are best suited to shape polices and provide the leadership necessary to be the advocates for making the City a safer place for our citizens.

Affordable Housing
New Orleans is a City where within the close proximities of our City Hall and Central Business District lies a tale of two cities. On the one hand you see commercial development and the gentrification and densification of these areas as residents live in high priced new developments with commercial corridors built to service them and tourists, while conversely, there are homeless encampments and panhandlers staked out at every red light.

And in truth, some are homeless for a host of reasons other than the lack of Affordable Housing. It seems the City, while trying to address this crisis is not doing an adequate job in working to address this serious problem – one that is about to possibly get considerably worse, as soon as the moratorium on rent ends and may leave even more people homeless. Those who offer themselves up for service must consider this issue as the City attempts to transition after COVID-19, to control the housing crisis that’s affecting neighborhoods and communities across the City.

This is uniquely true in a City like New Orleans, where its people in historic communities are a valuable and viable resource. It is a living and breathing culture of everyday people doing extraordinary things, and the wrong approaches applied to redeveloping neighborhoods could potentially threaten its future.

There are many great things people can say about New Orleans, but two things are problematic regardless of where you live: bad streets filled with potholes in any neighborhood and an outdated sewerage system, where at any time there is a rain event, streets could flood.

The present administration and many who have come before it has attempted to address these issues. In New Orleans, the ubiquitous street construction that’s seen all over the City, seems to have minimal effect on the problem of bad roads. Regarding possible solutions, it may ultimately take investment and a rethinking of how we handle sewerage and willingness to develop green technology and better wastewater management systems that reflect a more modern approach to our sewerage dilemmas.

All Zip Codes Matter…. Economic and Racial Disparities
The City of New Orleans is a cultural jewel, but it continues to face many issues regarding race and class, where certain zip codes and people are not considered in conversations regarding how to make their quality of life better.

When you look around as a casual observer and see the cranes in the sky, you should ask yourself, “where is the development and who are these things being built for?” You will probably come to the conclusion that unfortunately; It is often not for the people who have historically lived in the City.

You should also ask yourself when will the City begin to make a more concerted effort in investing resources in the quality of life of Black people, especially the young Black men who inevitably become a part of the school to prison pipeline. They never reach their full potential and if more were invested in them, we all could benefit from their amazing talents if they were nurtured, their ability to be their best selves and strive for excellence.

Civic Engagement and Voting Matters
These are only a few of the issues in the City, but we are inviting you, our readers to let us know what your concerns are. The Election is on October 9, 2021, in our role as “The People’s Paper” we will be interviewing candidates as well as citizens giving their input on the issues that matter to them.

Before you go to the polls…Be Educated…Informed and Empowered

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