As voters head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 20, opponents to Mayor Marc Morial's bid to seek a third consecutive term are optimistic. "We are starting to rev it up in anticipation of a big win," says Kurt Steiner, a former city chief administrative officer and campaign treasurer of Citizens to Save Our Charter Inc. "It's ours to lose.'
Voters will either approve or reject a proposed amendment to the city charter that would allow Morial to seek a third consecutive term. If approved, the mayor will be eligible to run for re-election in the Feb. 2 citywide elections. If the proposed charter change fails, Morial will leave office May 1.
Steiner, who served as CAO (1986 to 1989) under former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy, says the chief concern of opponents of Morial's third-term bid is that their voters will become complacent and not vote against Proposition A. Citizens to Save Our Charter will spend more than $100,000 to defeat the Morial referendum, Steiner says. The organization last week launched television and radio commercials condemning the mayor's quest as a "power grab."
A campaign report filed Sept. 19 showed the group had only $35,000. Among the contributors to the group are two companies founded by civic activist William B. Riley that donated a total of $25,000. Businessmen Harry McCall Jr. and R. King Milling each gave $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. Ron Nabonne is chairing Citizens to Save Our Charter, and the group's campaign committee is co-chaired by a pair of top aides to two City Council members who would like to be mayor -- Jim Singleton and Troy Carter.
Clarence A. Hunt Jr. heads a second anti-third term group, Citizens to Preserve the Charter. A New Orleans native and California businessman, Hunt last week declared his candidacy for mayor.