By Jeff Thomas
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s latest crime plan is a part of the reason that the Democratic Party is virtually nonexistent in Louisiana and is shrinking nationally. And what Think504 has previously described as Landrieu’s greatest failure has morphed into the abysmal failure of the Landrieu administration. In NOLA the never ending regressive tax increases coupled with misplaced spending has New Orleans spiraling into an unnecessarily sudden and sharp surge of crime. Governor Edwards politically motivated foray into these crime infested waters shows a startling lack of understanding of current times.
THREE WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT
Jeff Landry’s political stunt to send an uninvited and uninformed force into NOLA to arrest more black men under the guise of wanting to help curb crime is a laughable attempt to appear tough on crime at the expense of the New Orleans community. His methods – arresting and detaining low level nonviolent offenders – are now known to actually cause crime to increase in the city. So that the mayor would object to Landry’s task force’s presence is understandable. However Landrieu’s reaction was purely political and his own response oddly only serves to also exacerbate the crime problem further.
Numerous national studies show that arresting people for petty crimes only increases crime. So in the midst of political shenanigans, real people’s lives are ruined, crime increases and the actions of Landry, Landrieu and Edwards amount to nothing more than a Louisiana boondoggle.
LANDRIEU/EDWARDS OLD SCHOOL DEMOCRATS
The Democratic Party has historically used the African American community to get elected yet offers community damaging legislation in return. Classic is the oft told rendition of former President Bill Clinton’s crime bill, which unleashed mass incarceration on poor black communities. Mandatory minimum sentences have put more African American men in prison for longer sentences and for less severe crimes at historically high levels. With family heads incarcerated for decades, African American families suffered economic and moral devastation, resulting in untold wreckage. Wives lost their husbands, children were fatherless and the communities deteriorated. Great doctors have never been. And crime soared in the next generation. Landrieu and Edwards most creative solution to this current crime is to restart the incarceration process that has us in this situation. Proven bad Democratic Party solutions.
Landrieu has used his bully pulpit as mayor to promote two mistruths. We do not have a culture of violence and we do not need more police to solve the crime. Despite Landrieu’s constant depiction of black people as morally corrupt, those violent African Americans in NOLA are a byproduct of a city that has been a breeding ground for crime and violence. We have created more African American criminals in NOLA than we have created African American lawyers, doctors and engineers. This is a NOLA problem, not a black people characteristic. If we arrested all the sociopaths and degenerates tomorrow, we would still have hundreds or even thousands of men involved in criminal activity. These are people who are mentally stable and are actually seeking life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In NOLA the paths to these mundane ideals traipse completely through paths of extremely limited opportunity, no education, menial wages, depression, anger, frustration, ignorance, pressure, lack, jealousy, oppression, and lack of privilege.
Hiring more police to further harass and obviate access to resources creates more violence and criminal activity.
VALUE IN PEOPLE
Until we shift our thinking about people in the inner city, our problems will persist. Since the beginning of America, with the short exception of Reconstruction, government has served to render the lives of African Americans valueless and of incorrigible discontent. Despite the constant government policies and laws – slavery, separation, separate but unequal, mass incarceration, stop and frisk and Landrieu and current over policing – African Americans have persevered.
Locally an investment in reducing gentrification by creating the Blight Elimination and Home Ownership Program (BEHOP) program will dramatically reduce crime, eliminate blight and increase city tax collections. Currently, NORA serves as the biggest gentrification program by selling the best blighted properties to the highest bidder via an auction. Instead we should hire 500 men and train them to be plumbers and HVAC techs, electricians, carpenters and flooring, sheetrock and painting experts, inspectors, and contractors. These men should then renovate 100 houses and those with the best credit and savings should be sold the renovated house. Their monthly mortgage payment should continue to fund the program.
With over 25,000 blighted properties in NOLA, this program ca be expanded and be successful for the next 20 years.
The Seniors Home Improvement Program (SHIP) will utilize the same rigorous training program, and focus on home repairs. All seniors, regardless of income, can have their properties repaired. Every needed repair can be performed by this program. CDBG money can be used to fund the repairs. Citizens will have the best housing stock in America and our people will perform the work.
These two programs will cost around $50 million dollars. This investment will return millions in property tax dollars to the city and provide a better quality of life for all New Orleanians. Crime will be reduced by over 50%. We will need fewer police and our jail will be safer and have a smaller population. We will not need as much money for the DA’s office. We can invest in parks.
We can make New Orleans great!