B.J. Amador announces for Baton Rouge mayor; platform focuses on poverty _lowres

Mayoral candidate Beverly "B.J." Amador

A retired city-parish accountant with a poverty-focused platform has entered the East Baton Rouge Parish mayoral race as the ninth candidate in the contest.

Beverly “B.J.” Amador’s plans for Baton Rouge emphasize services to the destitute.

“I really want someone who has a heart for the poor (to be mayor),” Amador said.

The candidate has proposed that the city dedicate 10 percent of its budget for programs that aid the homeless, perform repairs on low-income housing and help children aging out of foster care receive job training and find work.

At 74, Amador remarked that he’s the same age as Bernie Sanders, whom he voted for in the Democratic primary, though he’s also been a Republican and is running for mayor-president as an independent.

He retired in February from the Office of Community Development, which oversees several programs aimed at low-income neighborhoods. He previously worked for the state revenue department and the Internal Revenue Service and is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.

Amador also wants to directly help some jobless people by hiring back city employees who have been laid off in recent years, many of whom he said worked for the city-parish’s Department of Public Works.

To balance out the equation, he would cap pay for city employees at $200,000. No one makes that much presently, though Amador pointed out that former Redevelopment Authority executive Walter Monsour took home $365,000 in total compensation until he resigned a few years ago. He also remarked that if elected, he’ll lower the mayor’s pay to no more than $100,000. Current Mayor-President Kip Holden took home gross pay of about $158,000 last year, according to city-parish online records.

Amador also wants to train a volunteer civilian police auxiliary to patrol the city at night. He isn’t sure if people will be willing to sign up for such a program, since he intends the group to undergo full law enforcement training. But he said he’s eager to give it a try.

The candidate admitted that there are many people standing between himself and the Mayor’s Office but said he’d be happy if his campaign encourages the winning candidate to consider his ideas, which include the creation of more homeless shelters and ending rent on local government agencies that rehabilitate low-income neighborhoods.