Public library millage renewal: Yes
In 2020, voters soundly rejected a complicated property tax swap that would have cut deeply into the New Orleans Public Library system’s bottom line. We too were skeptical that this vital institution could do more with less.
Now residents can ensure that the libraries have the resources to keep serving the community for the next two decades.
This year’s proposed standalone measure is much more straightforward than the 2020 package, with which Mayor LaToya Cantrell, citing a surplus that library backers noted was temporary, sought to shift some revenue to other public purposes. It would allow the city to collect more than it does now — 4 mills rather than 2.58 — but the library system’s spending plan counts on the lower figure, and we hope the City Council would resist increasing the amount collected. The council initiated the renewal request, and Cantrell supports its passage.
The Bureau of Governmental Research recommends approval and says that the renewal would support the current level of services and also allow the system to enact a 10-year plan, devised with widespread community input, that “envisions initiatives to develop children’s creative and thinking skills, expand the library’s role in workforce development and improve access to library resources for all residents.”
We share those goals and encourage voters to help them come to fruition.
Also on the ballot are runoffs in a number of municipal contests. For New Orleans City Council, The Times-Picayune endorses these candidates.
District B: Jay Banks
Banks, a former council aide, understands the legislative branch's role in city government as well as any veteran. In his first term, he's focused on negotiating neighborhood-level land use issues and has smartly shaped a broad range of policies from the dais. Banks counts his authorship of inclusionary zoning legislation to incentivize development of affordable units as his most important accomplishment to date. He currently chairs the criminal justice committee and is working with judges to develop minimum standards for releasing people arrested for violent crimes to home monitoring.
District C: Freddie King III
King, an attorney, has attracted broad support, and we believe he’d be a thoughtful, effective council member. He’s worked as a public defender and council aide, and has served on the board that oversees the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. If elected, King wants to increase penalties for illegal dumping and help the short-staffed New Orleans Police Department expand its pool of applicants by lowering the minimum age to qualify.
District D: Eugene Green
Green would be a newcomer to elective office but not to the public sphere. He’s amassed a substantial résumé in real estate and in government, where he worked on economic development under Mayor Marc Morial and served as president of the New Orleans Regional Business Park. We think he'd be a steady hand and would bring a business-minded perspective to the council along with valuable experience serving constituents. If elected, Green wants to help NOPD improve and to encourage development along Downman Road and in the Florida-Desire area.
District E: Cyndi Nguyen
In her first term, Nguyen, a former nonprofit leader, has established herself as a tireless advocate for her sprawling, perennially underserved district. Nguyen chairs the council’s special projects committee, has made progress on longstanding challenges, working to restrict new dollar stores, have abandoned cars towed, and install cameras to catch illegal dumpers. Her second term priorities include reopening Lincoln Beach and working with the developers of the Bayou Phoenix complex at the old Six Flags site to attract jobs.