(March 21)  NEW ORLEANS — The apparent failure of a spirited petition drive here to force a recall election of Mayor LaToya Cantrell should give no solace to arrogant, leftist politicians. The petition drive failed more because of a lack of professionalism than a lack of public support.

Cantrell is blamed by many for allowing this port city to become, by far, the nation’s per capita murder capital in 2022. She also has been embroiled in other controversies ranking from taking first-class European travel on the taxpayers’ tab to private use of a swanky, city-owned apartment with a security official with whom she was alleged to be having an affair.

To force a recall election, petitioners needed signatures, under strict formatting rules, from at least 20% of the city’s registered voters. Even that raw number was a moving target, as petitioners argued that voter rolls were littered with names of people who had died, moved away, or otherwise become ineligible to vote.

Cantrell, who is black, had ludicrously tried to portray the recall effort as a racist, Republican plot, even though the two lead organizers, Eileen Carter and Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, are black Democrats. (The petition drive’s main financial contributor was, however, a white Republican.) Instead, polls showed her approval level extremely low across almost every demographic line in the city.

Organizers Carter and Batiste are political activists, and Carter actually had served in Cantrell’s administration, but neither are hardened political professionals. Their volunteer-heavy efforts were impressively energetic, but observers repeatedly said they lacked professional standards and scope.

Still, visitors to the city in recent months found New Orleanians abuzz with talk of the recall effort, with a combination of optimism for the drive’s success and concern that its quality-control standards might be slipshod…. [Read the rest of this column at this link.]


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