New Orleans Democrat mayor plays the race card to justify her corruption
New Orleans is among the most troubled cities in the U.S.
Homelessness in New Orleans is at an all-time high.
New Orleans has only one trash pick-up day per week, causing garbage to mount, resulting in pollution and potential health hazards.
Some are concerned that New Orleans face a water crisis similar to Jackson, Mississippi.
Schools in New Orleans are struggling due to teacher shortages.
So what is New Orleans Democrat Mayor LaToya Cantrell doing to resolve these crises?
The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported that since January 2021, Cantrell has charged the city of New Orleans nearly $30,000 for first- or business-class airline tickets during her trips to France and Switzerland.
Toward the end of June, Cantrell traveled to Ascona, Switzerland to sign a sister city agreement between the two cities and attend the Jazz Ascona Festival "Sister Cities Edition."
A sister city agreement is a form of legal or social agreement between two geographically and politically distinct localities for the purpose of promoting cultural and commercial ties.
These deals do nothing to address the myriad serious crises that plague New Orleans. But Cantrell seems more focused on living extravagantly at the cost of those who are already struggling due to her misgovernance.
According to public records, the trip to Switzerland cost New Orleans taxpayers more than $16,600 for airfare and lodging. Cantrell's flight cost more than $9,800, with her spending exceeding $11,000 on the six-day trip.
Soon after her Swiss excursion, Cantrell traveled back to Europe in mid-July, to Antibes Juan-les-Pins, France, to sign a sister city agreement there and attend the 61st Annual International Jazz à Juan Festival, as well as participate in France's National Day celebrations.
According to public records, Cantrell's trip to France, along with that of three aides, cost New Orleans more than $43,000. This includes airfare totaling more than $18,000 and lodging costs of $1,200, for Cantrell alone.
The records also reveal that Cantrell's staffers, communications director Gregory Joseph, chief of staff Clifton Davis, and security aide Robert Menlyn, flew economy. Their flights collectively cost $17,140, less than Cantrell's alone.
This reckless spending violated the municipal policy that city employees must always opt for "the lowest available airfare" while traveling.
Specifically, the policy states:
Employees who choose an upgrade from coach, economy, or business class flights are solely responsible for the difference in cost.
Any reconciliation of travel expenses that results in overpayment by the City requires that the employee reimburse the City within twenty business days.
At a recent presser, Cantrell rejected all charges of financial misconduct and the idea of reimbursing city taxpayers with the following claims:
All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans, will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans.
One thing is clear: I do my job, and I will continue to it with do it with distinction, with dignity and integrity every step of the way. And so, that's what I have to say on that.
At yesterday’s press conference, @FOX8NOLA was the only station that asked Mayor LaToya Cantrell about whether or not she will reimburse thousands of dollars to the city for her travel upgrades.— Andrés Fuentes (@news_fuentes) September 9, 2022
Here’s her full statement: pic.twitter.com/swA2flFIkc
How did she explain traveling by first or business class?
Like most Democrats, she resorted to identity politics and victimhood.
First, she played the woman card.
As all women know, our health and safety are often disregarded and we are left to navigate alone.
Next, she used her young child as a shield.
As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be.
Finally, she played the race card.
Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn't understand the world black women walk in.
So what should Cantrell have ideally done?
She could have conducted all her meetings with French and Swiss officials via Zoom. All document signing could be facilitated by exchanging documents via secure speed mail.
But Cantrell, like most Democrats public servants, has only one interest: her own interest.
This isn't the first time Cantrell has engaged in the lavish expenditure of taxpayers' money for her air travel.
Cantrell charged more than $2,800 to constituent taxpayers for a first-class flight to Miami for a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in March. New Orleans Police Department superintendent Shaun Ferguson, meanwhile, paid $342 on the same trip.
In January, Cantrell spent more than $2,300 on a first-class ticket to Washington, D.C. for another meeting with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, while her staff traveled via economy, paying $250 per head.
Records obtained show that Cantrell and her top aides had spent more than $79,000 on seven trips since the beginning of 2022.
So what does one make of this?
This is a blatant case of corruption. Cantrell did the equivalent of stealing taxpayers' money and using it for her own comfort.
Her attempt to play the race card to suggest that economy class is not safe for a woman "of color" is preposterous.
This shameful trivialization has caused people to stop treating allegations of racism seriously.
Cantrell isn't only reckless with taxpayer money. The Times-Picayune reported in 2020 that New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell owes more than $95,000 to the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid taxes over the course of six years.
Cantrell's misgovernance as mayor, her flagrant disregard for policy, her corruption, her record of living beyond her means, and her willingness to be brazen are among the likely reasons that most New Orleans residents disapprove of her.
An online poll conducted last week by The Times-Picayune found that 68 percent of respondents believe the mayor should be recalled.
Perhaps she will play the race and the woman card again?
That will be difficult.
It was reported that "women voters — both black and white — could likely be the driving force behind current efforts to gather 53,000 verified signatures of Orleans Parish registered voters which would trigger an election to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell."
This is another case of a corrupt ineffective Democrat ruining a fine city owing to their ineptitude and self-centeredness.
The great city of New Orleans, known around the world for its distinctive music, its delectable cuisine, and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras, truly deserves better.
Image: Twitter video screen shot.