Kristin Gisleson Palmer narrowly defeated Nadine Ramsey Saturday for the District C seat on the New Orleans City Council, fetching just 112 more votes than the incumbent, a margin of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent.
Palmer ran stronger in the district's east bank precincts, including the French Quarter, Marigny and Bywater; Ramsey did better on the West Bank outside of Algiers Point.
Palmer slammed Ramsey in the days leading up the election, accusing her of owning part of a blighted property and of kowtowing to the bars and strip clubs in the Quarter at the expense of residents.
Generally speaking, Ramsey's campaign was supported by developers and the restaurant, bar and entertainment businesses, while Palmer, who has strong support among the preservation community, drew many of her maximum $2,500 donations from business leaders.
Palmer, 50, returns to a seat she held from 2010-2014. Citing family reasons, she decided not to run for reelection four years ago and spent the interim rehabilitating blighted buildings in Algiers.
Palmer said she decided to run because she felt Ramsey was not attentive to the needs of the district and was too cozy with developers.
She slammed Ramsey, a 61-year-old Civil District Court judge and mayoral candidate before she joined the council, for taking campaign contributions from groups connected with the short-term rental business, which critics say have damaged neighborhoods by being allowed to operate unchecked.
Palmer wants the city to revisit the regulations governing short-term rentals, saying residents should have the right to decide how many properties can be marketed on websites such as Airbnb. She said they should be treated more like commercial entities, like bed and breakfast operations.
On crime, Palmer said officers should be allowed to take the Civil Service exam for promotion more frequently than every five years, which would help prevent them from leaving for better jobs elsewhere. She said there should be more accountability in the French Quarter, where the 8th District security task force’s quarterly reports have not been provided to the council for almost a year.
In Algiers, Palmer said, the city should look into installing license plate-recognition cameras there because Algiers has few major streets leading in and out.
Palmer said she would support folding the Sewerage & Water Board into city government as a department rather than a quasi-independent agency.