Head for City Council At-Large

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Saturday, March 24, is an important election day in Louisiana. Republican voters statewide will participate in their party’s presidential primary, and all voters in New Orleans will go to the polls to choose a new at-large member of the New Orleans City Council. The special council election was called to choose a successor to former Councilman Arnie Fielkow, who resigned last year to take a job with the National Basketball Retired Players Association. A runoff, if needed, will be held April 21.

The council race has attracted seven candidates, and while several of them impressed us as ready for the important responsibilities of that office, we believe District B Council member Stacy Head is best suited for the job at this time. ...

Head was first elected to the District B seat on the council in 2006. She was re-elected handily in 2010. Head’s district may be the council’s most diverse — it encompasses the CBD and the Superdome as well as Central City and Uptown, taking in some of city’s wealthiest enclaves and some of its poorest. Most residents and voters in District B are African-American, yet Head, who is white, has consistently shown an ability to attract significant African-American support. That no doubt reflects her responsiveness to constituents regardless of race, income or station, as well as the fact that she’s one of the most socially progressive members of the council. All of those attributes prove that she can faithfully represent all of New Orleans.

During her tenure on the council, Head took on the controversial issue of then-Mayor Ray Nagin’s expensive sanitation contracts, which brought her both acclaim and criticism. She was proved right when Mayor Mitch Landrieu came into office and renegotiated those contracts. While she shares many of Landrieu’s goals, she has not been shy about disagreeing with him when she felt he was wrong. That quality definitely sets her apart from the field. Although we like most of what Landrieu has done as mayor, we believe that every mayor needs a counterbalance on the City Council in the form of someone who has the intelligence and the guts to ask the tough questions. No one does that better than Stacy Head.

On other fronts, Head was instrumental in reviving the Freret Street corridor in her district, which rebounded faster than some official “redevelopment zones” after Hurricane Katrina. As an at-large council member, she can bring that same energy to all parts of the city. While an advocate for economic development, Head is also a staunch preservationist (she volunteers at the Preservation Resource Center). A budget hawk, she also has supported more resources for both the district attorney’s office and the public defender’s office.

For all these reasons, we recommend our readers in New Orleans elect Stacy Head to the at-large seat on the council on Saturday, March 24.

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