The Cost of Victory
The last line of The Times-Picayune's morning-after story on Mayor Marc Morial's defeated bid for a third term didn't begin to tell the David-vs.-Goliath tale of the opposition to "3T."
After recounting the "tremendous amount of energy and money" that Morial spent campaigning to change the charter and some of the "high-profile endorsements" the mayor received, the T-P story concluded: "In contrast, the opposition struggled to raise money and ran a bare-bones radio and TV campaign."
The final tally was 41,651 or 39 percent "yes" votes, and 64,373 or 61 percent "no" votes. Ron Nabonne, director of the Citizens to Save Our Charter, says his group spent $150,000 -- or $2.32 per vote for its victory. By contrast, Nabonne says his estimate is that from all sources combined -- including money from the pro-charter People for Continued Progress, District Attorney Harry Connick's Voters Information League and the AFL-CIO -- the mayor spent $47.91 a vote on the failed effort. That was all "new money" or funds raised specifically for 3T, Nabonne says.
Nabonne says City Council members Troy Carter and Jim Singleton each donated $50,000 to defeating 3T. Businessman William B. Reily contributed $25,000. Graymond Martin, president of People for Continued Progress, declined comment on Nabonne's estimates. PCP treasurer Steve Hand did not return a phone call, and Morial was out of town and unavailable for comment.
Clarence Hunt, a candidate for mayor and head of second opposition group, Citizens to Preserve the Charter, said his group spent at least $52,000 to help defeat 3T. But Hunt's group has not filed any campaign finance reports since declaring the formation of its organization on May 7.
Up to the Minute
In January, all six bailiffs in Orleans Parish Juvenile Court were told that they'd been promoted to "minute clerks," boosting their pay from $10,000 to $27,825 annually. The move made sense, says Chief Judge Ernestine Gray: "The people we had previously called bailiffs were doing the same work as minute clerks [in other local courts]. But because they were called bailiffs, they were paid at a different rate."
So Juvenile Court requested that its bailiffs be promoted, and the increased salaries were part of the 2001 court's budget, approved in late 2000 by City Hall. Then, says Gray, the raise fell through the cracks. "We sent the paperwork over, under the impression that that was all we had to do," he says. "Then, much later in the process, they (City Hall) were saying, 'No, we need you to do something else -- work with Civil Service. When I called Civil Service, they said, 'No, we don't have anything to do with that.'"
Finally, on Oct. 4, the Council's budget committee approved the raise. However, the pay raise was not retroactive to January. Mayor spokesperson Christine Gallatig explains that no minute clerks deserved pay for January through October because, officially, no minute clerks had existed during that time.
Jeff Parish to the Polls
Voters in Jefferson Parish will be asked to go to the polls the Saturday after Thanksgiving to fill the unexpired term of House District 88 seat Jim Donelon, who left to become the No. 2 person in the Louisiana Department of Insurance. The candidates are Tommy Capella, brother of former interim District Attorney Jack Capella; Dianna Dyer, a veteran education administrator for the Jefferson Parish Public Schools; Scott Masson, a Realtor; and Deborah Ryan, the only candidate in the race who is not a Republican. Ryan is an independent.
The House district includes the western part of Metairie and one precinct in Kenner, and votes heavily for Republican candidates. The special election could have been held earlier in October, but the process was delayed in the legislature.
A Royal Bitch
Okay, so your dog is not -- as they say in kennel-club circles -- "valuable." She's a mix of 10 or 12 of the world's most interesting breeds, her breath could wilt houseplants, and her favorite game is "try to scatter the contents of the kitchen garbage can throughout the entire house." Still, you love her, and although she may not be considered "valuable" by the folks at the Westminster Kennel Club, she's worth a fortune to you.
Tell the Mystic Krewe of Barkus why she's Top Dog in your book, and your mutt can get the chance to reign as Queen Barkus X (a much cooler title than Best of Show). Nominees must be female dogs who have been homeless.
Mail a brief statement about your pooch to 1000 Bourbon St., Ste. 317, NOLA 70116; email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax it to 486-2165. All nominations must be received by Dec. 5.