Anonymous mudslinger grabs web address
Yet another anonymous group has entered the fray in the bitter contest for the District C seat on the New Orleans City Council, this one on the side of incumbent Nadine Ramsey.
Robert Fogarty, an ally of Kristin Gisleson Palmer, said someone scooped up the domain kristinpalmer.com after Palmer let it lapse this week.
Whoever grabbed the address created a new site called "The Real Kristin Palmer," and they're using an image of the candidate that was culled from a video Fogarty shot for Palmer in 2011.
Now, Fogarty is pursuing a lawsuit that he hopes will force the new owner of the web address into the open. He sued the site's creator for theft and asked a judge to force the site's domain name registrar and web development company to cough up the owner's identity.
He asked to get the name by Thursday, which would have given Palmer's camp time to fire back before Saturday's primary.
Fogarty is president of Evacuteer.org, an organization that assists the city’s evacuation efforts during disasters. Palmer was a founding board member of that nonprofit.
The new anti-Palmer site is pursuing the same lines of attack that the Ramsey campaign has, pointing out past ethics fines against Palmer, attempting to link her with efforts to save Jim Crow-era monuments that were removed this year, and accusing her of quitting on her constituents, alluding to her decision not to run for a second term in the District C seat four years ago. She now is seeking to reclaim the seat from Ramsey.
Ramsey was not involved in the attack site's creation, a Ramsey campaign spokesman said Thursday.
"It would be a consultant’s dream to have bought the URL bearing an opponent’s name, but we can’t take credit for that," Kevin Stuart said. "We have been making people aware of the information on the site and we believe it to be accurate."
The anti-Palmer website popped up this week about the same time as an anti-Ramsey website gained notice. That site, also by an anonymous group, claims Ramsey ignores her constituents and is at the beck and call of the moneyed developers and Airbnb advocates who have contributed to her political campaigns.
It also accuses her of presenting herself as tough on blight but owning a blighted Lakeview property, something she disputes.
Mayoral candidates rate Landrieu's tenure
A mayoral election is always an implicit referendum on the last person to hold the job, even if he or she is not running.
But WWL-TV made things explicit at Wednesday night's debate, asking each of the front-runners in the race to succeed Mitch Landrieu what they thought his greatest successes and failures have been.
The candidates didn't hold back.
Michael Bagneris zeroed in on Landrieu's handling of the fiscal mess that confronted him when he took office in 2010. By “getting a handle on the budget,” Landrieu set the stage for an improved credit rating for the city, Bagneris said.
On the other hand, Bagneris said Landrieu blundered by balancing the budget in part on the back of the Police Department, blaming an increase in crime and loss of NOPD officers on the mayor's decision to freeze hiring for the department during his first term.
LaToya Cantrell said Landrieu had done a good job working with philanthropic groups like the Carnegie Corp., which helped fund the Rosa F. Keller Library in Broadmoor, where Cantrell led neighborhood revival efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
But she also described Landrieu as “being very divisive, not working well across lines with people. ... I’ve been on the New Orleans City Council and I’ve always felt it was a divide and conquer type spirit.”
Desiree Charbonnet said Landrieu had done a lot to make City Hall more “user friendly” to residents but said, “My plans take it many steps further in terms of more technology at City Hall.” And she criticized Landrieu’s leadership of the Sewerage & Water Board, alluding to the August flooding that has been laid at the agency's feet.
In a separate question, all three said they would discontinue Landrieu’s deputy mayor system, under which various appointees oversee groups of departments.
Sparring intensifies in Jefferson race
A series of last-minute commercials has amped up the heat in an already intense race for the Jefferson Parish Council District 4 seat.
Kenner City Councilman Dominick Impastato is attacking veteran state legislator Danny Martiny's signature legislative achievement, criminal justice reform. He's running an ad in which a crime victim says a Martiny-backed bill could set free the man who kidnapped both him and his girlfriend.
Martiny says that's false, pointing out that the bill applies only to nonviolent criminals.
"It's a blatant lie," Martiny says in his own TV spot. "I haven't let anybody out of jail."
Martiny has also aired ads featuring former Sheriff Newell Normand, District Attorney Paul Connick and Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, the daughter of former Sheriff Harry Lee, all of whom tout Martiny's law enforcement credentials.
Martiny also continues to point out Impastato's past support of Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni, whose administration was rocked a year ago by the revelation that he had sent sexually explicit text messages to a teenager.
Impastato "borrowed Yenni's 'Fresh Ideas' slogan and would be Yenni's fourth vote on the council if elected," a Martiny Facebook post insists.
Impastato, who has spent much of the race avoiding the topic of Yenni, took exception. "Danny Martiny has gone overboard trying to make you believe that I'm in this race because of Mike Yenni," Impastato said, calling Martiny's words a "hate campaign" against Yenni and saying perhaps Martiny should run for parish president.
Impastato noted that he called on Yenni to resign in the wake of the texting revelations, something he said Martiny never did.
Compiled by Jessica Williams, Jeff Adelson and Faimon A. Roberts III