Addressing crime must be our priority. The solution is not just about police or city government. It’s about the DA, Sheriff, judges, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, mental health providers, educators and citizens—they must all cooperate to connect the dots that will break the cycle of violent crime. It is about being smart with all the resources we have.
Law enforcement needs more money, yet more than $20,000 per year is spent to keep a non-violent offender in prison. That is not smart. Crime is certainly not the only issue…the city has infrastructure, education and economic issues, but violent crime problem is paramount to all others. It must be addressed for New Orleans to prosper.
The events of the last few months have again highlighted a broken and outdated infrastructure system. Drainage pumps should work, water should not have to be boiled before drinking, and streets should not have holes bigger than our tires. These are basic quality of life issues that demand leadership and innovative solutions. That’s the kind of leadership and problem-solving Seth Bloom brought to the Orleans Parish School Board, and that’s what he will bring to the City Council.
COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS:
- Transition the Sewerage and Water Board from generating their own power so that they can focus on their main responsibility: drainage and water. All other critical services including hospitals, police and 9-1-1 rely on Entergy for power. It is cheaper and more reliable.
- Develop a comprehensive plan to make sure Sewerage & Water Board, Entergy and Public Works coordinate on projects, ensuring all work is done simultaneously rather than the same streets being dug up multiple times.
- Consider consolidating services under one department head for a clear line of responsibility.
- Establish long-term policy for ecologically sound and sustainable water retention.
- Consider overall traffic flow and neighborhood impact when scheduling major street repairs.
Seth Bloom’s dedication to education is evident by eight years on the Orleans Parish School Board, and the results of his tenure are clear: grades and graduation rates are up, while OPSB has achieved one of the highest bond ratings in the state, has a much improved central office and Board and has a new Superintendent.
Seth understands the link between education and crime and helped create and implement the Travis Hill School, a program for incarcerated youth to help continue their education while in jail. While the City does not have direct oversight of public education, there certainly are things the Council can do:
- Create more after-school activities and innovative community programs for children and teens.
- Seek a funding source for early childhood education. Research shows that children are continuously and rapidly learning from birth. An investment in early childhood education will give children a chance to succeed.
- Seek public-private partnerships to work with parents of school-age children to keep them engaged in their child’s education.
New Orleans is a city defined by its environment. It’s time we fully embrace that fact and work to creatively use our resources to become a more environmentally friendly city. We have taken some steps in recent years, but there is so much more that we could do. Such as:
- Leverage costal restoration dollars coming to the state to create new technology and businesses
- Use the Mississippi River to generate hydropower
- Urge developers to invest in the use of solar energy
- Push more green building initiatives to reduce energy waste and prevent pollution
- Promote the use and development of green spaces to help reduce carbon emissions
- Encourage the development of more bike lanes
- Make recycling easier by placing recycling bins next to garbage cans in public spaces
- Follow the model of other cities and expand our recycling programs to include electronic waste and to compost food waste.
New Orleans has major challenges, but we also have big opportunities. What we need is independent leadership and innovative solutions.