This is getting popcorn worthy, like extra butter popcorn worthy. In the latest episode of As The Teedy Turns, the mayor struck back. Not Darth Vader chopping off Luke Skywalker’s hand and leaving him dangling for dead outside Cloud City striking back. But she did chop off Council President Helena Moreno’s right-hand man and reassign him to the sheriff’s office. The reason why: One of the mayor’s spokespersons said Moreno’s right-hand man was the one taking pictures and stalking the mayor outside that apartment she allegedly wasn’t supposed to be living in. So, he got dealt with.
Yep. That happened. Last week. I’m sure you’ve heard.
The reaction was utter outrage. Some in the local media and talk radio were aghast. How dare the mayor be so petty, they said. Stalking her and taking pictures of her and checking her mail and invading her privacy and making her feel unsafe is perfectly fine. But reassigning Helena’s favorite bodyguard is crossing a line too far. This, they said, was the final straw, the one that proves once and for all that the mayor needs to be recalled.
This Week In As The Teedy Turns
Hell hath no fury like a Helena scorned.
We haven’t seen this much mayoral drama since the C. Ray Nagin days. And even that took Hurricane Katrina, the greatest natural disaster the country has ever seen, to provoke it. Yet somehow this mayor managed to make a natural disaster out of her 2nd term. Mainly by being herself.
It’s not that the mayor is doing an exceptionally terrible job. She’s just doing an exceptionally terrible job of hiding the fact that she’s just not been an exceptional mayor (I may have written that before). And being an ineffective mayor is not rare air here. None of our mayors have been able to fix all the streets, or keep crime down consistently, or oversee a competent education system, or avoid finding themselves in some type of scandal or gaff.
Remember when Mitch conducted a nationwide search for the best police chief in the country and ultimately concluded that the person was his childhood best friend? That person eventually resigned in shame. Remember an irate reporter asking Nagin if he thought his Chocolate City speech was divisive, and Nagin responding: Do you know how you make chocolate milk? You take dark chocolate. You mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink.
Yeah, we’ve seen some pretty interesting stuff.
Still, those previous mayors found a way to work with the council and avoid an all-out war with the press. This mayor has provoked drama instead. If she’s not stonewalling, she’s being combative or stubborn. And that just hasn’t played well. It’s caused some in the council and media to hyperfocus on all the things she’s doing wrong.
She’s compounded this by doing some mind-boggling stuff. The shady Bayou Phoenix process that’s still draped in shadiness comes to mind. The latest has been basically driving one of the city’s most prominent black businesses out of business.
Metro Service Group, the company that used to pick up our trash up twice a week, but now picks it up once a week, filed for bankruptcy to save the contract that the mayor put up for bid. The mayor awarded the contract to a company that’ll charge $8 million more to continue picking up the trash once a week. They won’t be able to give us this sweet deal until Metro’s bankruptcy is sorted out in court.
Yep. That has happened. She makes it so hard to defend her.
Meanwhile, Councilmember J.P. Morrell was on the radio explaining why docking the mayor’s pay isn’t really docking the mayor’s pay. Because you know that would be…what’s the word? Oh, petty. Remember that word?
This, of course, is about the $30,000 in flights mayor Cantrell upgraded to first class without bothering to reimburse the city. Only New Orleans would demand that the leader of the city sit in the back of the plane and eat peanuts. But that’s another story. Focus.
Morrell said since the mayor overspent on those flights, she was technically overpaid by the city. So in next year’s budget they’ll just recoup the $30,000 from her office’s allotment. To be clear, the council was set to allot the mayor’s office a certain amount of money. But now, they’re threatening to give less. That sounds like docking to me. And thereby, you guessed it: Petty.
What else is happening? Oh, the mayor is also set to travel again, this time to Argentina. And the city has $195 million in federal funds to fight over.
So, there you have it. A scorned council president, a trash company taking the mayor to court, threats of pay being docked, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, another potential first class flight, money to fight over, and who knows what at the mayor’s next press conference. Get your popcorn ready. As Mama Odie said in The Princess and The Frog: This is gonna be goooood!