The safety of our residents is essential for a better New Orleans. Residents face the dual threats of violent crime and crumbling infrastructure. The primary function of city government is to provide for the safety of its citizens. Without this basic guarantee, New Orleans cannot thrive into the future.
The recent flooding in New Orleans demonstrates the very real danger that an inadequate and mismanaged drainage system poses to the entire city. The Gulf Coast region already suffers from the consequences of climate change, and for a city that rests below sea level, the stakes are exceptionally high - we cannot afford to rely on our current infrastructure. We must address the weak areas immediately and allocate for green infrastructure initiatives where possible.
During my City Council term, I advocated for better parks, libraries, schools, and playgrounds; received an increased budget for minor street repairs and to increase the number of crews fixing potholes; secured $1 million to fund the “Paths to Progress” sidewalk repairs; and restored recycling services to the city.
I will continue to advocate for infrastructure improvements, and will work to ensure transparency and accountability throughout our city’s infrastructure agencies.
Reducing crime requires focusing on both prevention and enforcement. Treating employment and affordable housing as a public safety issue helps prevent crime. Our city is safer when our residents have jobs and affordable houses to make home. We must work to make New Orleans a city of economic and educational opportunity, of meaningful, permanent jobs and quality schools.
To help those who face systemic barriers to employment, we need to ban the box on job applications. We need to create more opportunities to engage our youth, and we need to enlist more civic groups to help stem our pipelines to prison. I’m an ardent supporter of the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), and while in office worked to get a YEP program on the West Bank. Through programs like this we can help prevent mass incarceration. In addition, I support diversionary programs that filter low-level offenders out of jail and triage them to the social services they require.
The city must address the depleted state of the NOPD. Having already lost more than 60 officers to attrition in 2017, we need to grow the police department through extensive recruitment and retention policies. I support a pay raise with career advancement testing provided every 2 years. More police on the street means the ability to promote community policing. Smart community policing will allow for officers to respond effectively to the needs of our citizens and neighborhoods. The city can offset these additional costs by ensuring full implementation of existing technologies and equipment, and by also investing in technology-driven policing.
I am opposed to a police force that utilizes the numbers of arrests as a way to measure their efficacy. This type of reporting only incentives arrests, and we will not go back to that type of policing.