New Orleans City Councilman Jared Brossett is suspicious of the vegetation Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell is pushing in Central City.
After listening Thursday as Cantrell introduced an amendment to the new comprehensive zoning ordinance that would allow an “agriculture operation,” such as a community garden, to share a lot with ancillary offices, Brossett had a question.
“Council member Cantrell, I was just wondering, what kind of agriculture are you growing Uptown?” Brossett asked as he broke into a smile.
The quip was an apparent reference to Cantrell’s husband, who was busted with pot in 2012 in the middle of his wife’s campaign for the council. A marijuana joint slipped from then-Deputy City Attorney Jason Cantrell’s pocket while he was talking to a police officer in court. At the time, LaToya Cantrell admitted to being embarrassed and disappointed in her husband.
She took Thursday’s jab in stride.
“You need to come visit,” Cantrell responded, as she began to grin and other members of the council laughed or attempted to suppress laughter.
“But I’m the wrong person to speak on that one,” she continued before adding, “Don’t start nothing.”
Cantrell’s amendment passed unanimously.
Battle lines forming for Mandeville elections
Statewide elections loom in the fall, but in Mandeville, local pols are already starting to position themselves for next spring, when the mayor’s job and all five spots on the City Council will be up for grabs.
On Tuesday, Councilman Rick Danielson announced he won’t seek re-election in order to run for mayor, challenging Donald Villere.
Ernest Burguieres announced earlier this spring that he plans to run for his seat on the council again.
Thursday, it was Councilwoman Carla Buchholz’s turn, as she announced she will seek one of the council’s two at-large seats. She now represents the District 2 seat on the council.
Buchholz has walked a fine line on the council, sometimes siding with Villere on issues and at other times throwing her support behind some of Villere’s opponents.
Buchholz is the longest-serving member on the council, having been elected for the first time in 2008. But that means she is term-limited in her present seat, so if she wants to stay on the council, she needs to shift to an at-large position.
Clay Madden, who along with Danielson is an at-large member, has said he intends to run for re-election.
Peralta blames woes on ‘good ole boy’ network
St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta will never stop fighting the good fight.
That was the gist of a defiant half-page ad Peralta took out in the latest edition of The St. Bernard Parish Post, his hometown weekly.
In the ad, Peralta argues that there are political motives behind all of the allegations that have been hurled at him recently — that he raped his wife, that he stalked her after the two split and that he spent campaign cash at area casinos.
The state Attorney General’s Office has come after him in three separate indictments, Peralta claimed, because he is not “part of the ‘good ole boy’ network.”
The ad is lengthy, reviewing step by step nearly two years of mounting legal woes, and concludes that the local justice system is broken.
“I wonder today what happens to the individual, who unlike me cannot afford good legal representation. How do they fight a system that has millions of dollars and nearly unlimited resources?” he wrote. “What I have discovered is they don’t. They simply have to give up and face a system that is so dysfunctional and unfair.”
Needless to say, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office disagrees. Peralta has made more or less the same argument in a federal lawsuit, which a member of Caldwell’s office dismissed recently as a “punish-room fantasy,” an apparent reference to Peralta’s acknowledged penchant for “rough sex.”
McInnis makes it official: He’s running
With Peralta’s promised re-election bid complicated by all his legal troubles, he will certainly face competition.
As expected, Parish Council member Guy McInnis, 52, threw his hat in the ring last week, making things official in front of a crowd of supporters Monday night at Rocky & Carlo’s Restaurant in Chalmette. McInnis is wrapping up his first term as an at-large councilman.
He joins former Parish Council members Ricky Melerine and — most people expect — Wayne Landry in the hunt for St. Bernard’s top job.
“Our parish has been through some tough times, and these last two years are nothing different,” McInnis said in an interview. “I just think that I have the skill set to go in and make changes in our parish government and bring honor and integrity to parish government.”
McInnis, who noted that all six of his council colleagues attended his announcement, said the campaign won’t be all about Peralta’s problems.
He said he wants to focus on “all the positive things that St. Bernard has to offer and how we can make them better.”
At this point, McInnis has largely given up calling for Peralta’s resignation.
“We need to let the judicial system work its way through, and we just need to do positive things for our parish,” he said.
Compiled by Jaquetta White, Faimon A. Roberts III and Richard Thompson