The Candidates Answer the Questions!
Below are candidates qualifying candidates for the Mayoral and Council races who responded to questionnaires sent them regarding important issues facing our parks and green spaces. We report their answers here. Registered users may comment on them and hopefully get a response from these seat seekers!
The general elections are on November 13, 2021. A primary is scheduled for October 9, 2021.
Here are the questions:
1) With so many agencies in charge of our public open spaces, do you see efficiencies in consolidations and would you favor this as a aspect of the upcoming Parks and Recreation Master Plan?
2) What, if any, ordinances would you favor or propose to discourage anti-social behaviors in our neighborhood and regional parks?
3) What do you suggest could be done to increase grassroots involvement in park operations and citizen partnerships with municipal agencies in charge of these various green areas?
4) Should parks have to depend on revenues they generate?
5) Should park attractions be free of pay walls for all to access?
6) Can parks be adapted to solving storm water issues and still be parks?
⚜️ Leilani Heno - No Party - (504-482-2348) Henolaformayor@gmail.com
1) I am a strong believer in efficiency. Although there are checks and balances that exist when having more eyes working together toward the same goal, this works best, when redundancies in tasks are eliminated. Streamlining a process can free up man power to expand on tasks without having to spend more on effort. Once evaluated, if a significant amount of redundancy exists, measures to consolidate efforts would benefit everyone as a whole.
2) This is a broad question. It’s also subjective depending on your definition of anti-social. This could range from being socially awkward to breaking windows in cars. What’s seen as “normal” to me, could be interpreted as “scary” to someone who is more sheltered in their regular experiences. I personally do not like when teens wear their pants hanging low. But if no body parts are visible, it’s not really offensive. I have the option to look away and go about my business.
3) I own a fitness company. Health for me extends far beyond our physical body. It includes the body of our land and surroundings as well. I would promote the development of a "green" art space in all of our parks and recreation areas where residents, particularly kids, can come and learn WHY we flood, WHAT type of ground features (such as pervious pavement, rain water barrels) help to slow flooding, and HOW we can each implement these lessons at our own homes. Just like we just had Mardi Gras porch Neighborhood competitions, I would encourage friendly Neighborhood Green environment competitions. These would include categories such as, "cleanest street drains", most creative gardens, etc. I would also challenge local contractors to erect solar benches in their neighborhoods. These can be painted by local artists similar to the murals, fish, and electrical boxes around the city.
4) Consistent funding and a designated budget will ensure that communities get financial resources for the the upkeep of the park. This would also pay for the creation of the projects mentioned above to draw involvement. But I’d also like for each park to retain the ability to raise money and extras by drawing community support. This would ensure that those in charge of running it would have a vested interest in keeping the community engaged in its use.
6) Most definitely. To me, green spaces are living, breathing organisms. Designed properly, it can educate and serve as an outdoor extension of the body’s health. As mentioned above, I would promote the development of a "green" art space in all of our parks and recreation areas where residents, particularly kids (and big kids;-), can come and learn WHY we flood, WHAT type of ground features (such as pervious pavement, rain water barrels) help to slow flooding, and HOW we can each implement these lessons at our own homes. The entire space can be an outdoor classroom.
⚜️ Johnese Lamar Smith - Democrat - P.O. Box 57151, NOLA 70151 (504-256-4865) email@example.com
1) There are a few non-profit organizations that maintain our parks in New Orleans. The consolidation of our parks and parkways would not prevent the choice of asking for corporate partnerships and sponsors, thus, bringing it under one entity is questionable for me. The balance between our Parks and Parkway Department and our corporate partnerships are viewed as a healthy and rich collaboration in redesigning our parks to a world class recreational landscapes to visit. In balancing these partnerships, this would allow for the organization to fundraise and provide for the much need cleaning, maintenance, reconstruction and construction of some abandoned estuaries that are among our parks, like Brechtel Park in Algiers, LA. The Park and Parkways’ maintain a massive amount of acres associated with our recreational grounds, and they are doing an outstanding job!
2) Well, this behavior should not be tolerated. However, what is the anti-social behavior are you describing? Is it the graffiti? The discarded trash? The lack of respect for the communities where the parks are located? I would pass an ordinance that would require security presence at each park, while visitors are present or during opening hours.
3) Increase citizens’ involvement, I would hold more pageantries for young ladies, talent shows, youth boxing matches, painters, spoken word, and artistic collaborations among the youth and adults in those neighborhoods; and increase grassroots involvement, I would give an honorary namesake for each grassroots’ participant that would promote the above recreational events.
4) It’s an excellent incentive. However, they should receive money from the state and local governmental agencies as well.
5) Yes. The clever thing to do is build an attraction or host an event or sell items to help generate money for those parks.
6) Yes!!!! This would be so ingenuous. I believe the American Architect, Frank Lloyd Weber had such an idea when he built the Fallingwater House for the Kaufmann family. Designing this home in the Mill Run, Pennsylvania in the Bear Run Nature Reserves is what we need to start thinking towards as a modern frontier with our city parks’ landscape. Parks should be reconsidered for such a task, to support storm adaption that helps prevent flooding in our city streets and bayou roadways, this would bring the science community, architectural community, and new funders to assist and learn from this ingenuity. It is ideal thinking to reduce the impact of flooding by having a storage and migration system in our parks.
It will be extremely important to the welfare of our state in the future.
� Mayoral Candidates NOT YET RESPONDING: (Where do they stand?):
Joseph Amato, Eldon Delloyd “El” Anderson, Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, Douglas Bently I, Manuel “Chevrolet” Bruno, LaToya Cantrell, Byron Stephan Cole, Luke Fontana, Matthew Hill, Nathaniel “Nate” Jones, Reginald Merchant, Vina Nguyen
• District At-Large Division 2 •
⚜️ “Bart” Everson - Green - (812-391-0818) firstname.lastname@example.org
1) I’m excited about the National Recreation and Park Association grant to improve equitable access to parks and will fund the creation of the Master Plan. Any parks plan must be developed with citizen input. Parks will be very important going forward as green spaces and trees will be critical in both mitigation and adaptation to the climate crisis.
Efficiency is much needed. I know, for example, of a resident who recently had trees destroyed by Parks and Parkways, as well as contractors. This resident was told that Parks and Parkways has no legal authority over contractors to protect trees. This kind of bureaucratic inefficiency needs to be addressed, but consolidation needs to be approached carefully, as decentralized governance is often more accountable to the people.
2) People don’t usually realize when their behavior is problematic. It’s heart-warming to see groups gathered to celebrate in our parks, but dismaying that sometimes heaps of garbage are left behind. During the pandemic we saw more people take to the park to celebrate graduations, for example, often leaving behind generous sprinklings of plastic confetti.The confetti does not decompose and return to nature. It stays there. That is anti-social behavior for sure, but ordinances are not the solution. We need innovative education, not more punitive laws.
3) I’m sure we’ve all participated in planning meetings that felt like a charade, a sham, “just for show,” a box to be checked off by officials and contractors to demonstrate that community input was solicited. Then they go ahead and do whatever they want. The key is to have community meetings that really matter, where people actually are invited to participate in the real decisions that affect our shared green spaces. If people have that experience once, they will keep coming back.
4) No. The green space in parks should be free and available to all. Public funding can be supplemented by fees for services and goods (boat rentals, food vendors, amusements, golf course, etc.) but everyone should have an equal right to enjoy the green space. The purpose of parks is not to make money. Indirectly parks increase value to people and cities and communities. We will not solve the climate crisis without green space and more trees. Also, as temperatures increase, cool spaces will be more important.
5) Yes, with one exception. Parks must be readily accessible by foot and bike, and by public transport routes. Once that is achieved some fee should be imposed, whether by parking or a vehicle entry fee, for people choosing to bring cars into the park. There is a cost imposed on the public and the environment by the use of these vehicles and such a fee would be a means of recuperating a part, albeit miniscule, of that cost.
6) Definitely, parks must be an essential part of how we live with water. Flooding is expected to worsen as the climate catastrophe deepens. Bioswales, rain gardens, and retention lagoons are just a few examples of green infrastructure that can offset flooding. I fully endorse such efforts as the City Park Hazard Mitigation Project.
• District "A" •
⚜️ Joseph “Joe” Giarrusso III - Democrat - P.O. Box 24060 New Orleans, LA 70184 - (504-810-2200) email@example.com
1) What this question is really asking is about the Parks and Recreation Master Plan after the recent park millages’ consolidation. I supported that proposed plan. My primary concerns were ensuring a public process after the millages were consolidated and reporting to the Council on how resources were used.
2) Right now, the most important issue is COVID and the return of the indoor-mask mandate. Not only should that be followed but, at the height of the pandemic, we received a number of concerns about a lack of social distancing outside at parks. The existing rules should help with enforcement but it takes neighbors, people in smaller parks, and people in larger parks following these rules.
3) To a certain degree, this is happening organically in District A already. Many District A neighborhoods are committed to improving their green space and working on green infrastructure. In short, neighborhood organizations can provide some help independently of municipal agencies. As stated in question one, however, the public and municipal agencies need to interact to ensure the parks are meeting the needs of the public. We also encourage agencies, utilities, and schools to attend neighborhood meetings. There is no reason why park agencies should not do the same to help with communication and engagement from neighborhood stakeholders.
4) It would be better for parks not to have to depend on revenue. We have seen what happens when parks have to rely on revenues alone, particularly during the pandemic. Their operations and maintenance suffer as a result. There are also “friends of” groups either directly associated with a park or with neighbors who help with parks.
5) In an ideal world, there would be no pay walls. My concern, however, is through the Sewerage and Water Board lens. Look at what happens when we neglect operations and maintenance by not properly funding or not having accountability for too long. If there is no outside funding source, then there will be neglect. Before the reallocation of the parks’ millages, City Park relied on revenue for 90% of its budget and 10% from Fairgrounds slot machines. Those numbers have shifted slightly with the millages passing but not significantly enough to move completely away from revenue generation. There should, however, be “locals days” at parks so everyone can enjoy all park services.
6) Yes. Certain parks are already considering (a) how to implement stormwater management into the parks (b) while maintaining park integrity.
⚜️Amy Misko - Libertarian - (504-470-3549) - misko4citycouncildistrictA@gmail.com
1) My platform favors efficiencies in consolidations for parks and public open spaces. I plan to address agency redundancy and waste, too. Better smarter, quicker, cheaper.
2) No more pot tickets, No more clothing tickets. Stop harassing US for victimless crimes.
3) Make it easier to get work permits for non-profits to do improvements to open spaces. Make it cheaper.
4) NO. They should be free to fundraise.
5) Park attractions should be Free. Citizens are already paying for use.
⚜️Robert “Bob” Murrell - Democrat (504-417-4121) email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: bob4districta.com
1) I think it’s possible to streamline processes between agencies and constituents to improve efficiency without major consolidations. I think eliminating redundancies that exist between agencies would be more preferable, and would bring about savings to taxpayers without sacrificing services.
2) I would like the city to start creating safe use spaces/centers to discourage drug usage in public areas.
3) I think the community needs to feel like they’re invested in public spaces and their voices matter. I spoke with a resident near City Park who talked about how one of their neighbors blocks off part of their street (currently under construction) so her kids can play when they live half a block from one of the best parks in the nation. If our neighbors don’t feel like they have a say in a park / greenspace, then they won’t have the productive and positive relationship that our public spaces need.
4) No. Ecological justice & infrastructure is a priority of my campaign. I believe that there should be some consistent funding for parks, and having a participatory budget can ensure that communities get funding for the projects that matter to them. As our changing climate continues to have us face more extreme weather events, greenspaces and parks become a vital part of a neighborhood’s livability. As we get federal infrastructure money, we should be investing into increasing rainwater capacity and increasing tree coverage to reduce heat zones.
6) Yes, absolutely. There are new and beautiful ways that are being built all around our city.
• District "B" •
⚜️ Jay H. Banks - Democrat - (504-544-1962) email@example.com
1) Having an efficiently run system is the goal of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. If it can be demonstrated that consolidation will better utilize our limited resources and result in better access for citizens, I am in support of consolidation.
2) Anti-social behavior in our neighborhoods and regional parks is an extension of the behaviors and issues that we are experiencing in general in the United States. Unfortunately, we cannot legislate morality, common sense or civility. Therefore, I fully support using every means available to holding those who violate the rights of others accountable.
3) Communication, education and visibility are the main tools of increasing grassroots involvement. Agencies in charge of our green areas must regularly receive input from neighborhoods surrounding our parks to make sure they are involved in the decision-making process. Citizens must have the information they need easily accessible to keep them interested and engaged. Those interested citizens must be able to easily contact the municipal entities making the decisions to make sure their concerns are heard and to make sure those entities are held accountable.
4) I don’t think that the budget for parks should be solely dependent on self-generated revenue. Our city and state should continue to provide public funds to maintain the parks and to ensure that they will continue to provide equitable park access.
5) Facilities that charge fees for specialized programming is reasonable. Fees to just visit or stroll through a park is not reasonable and access to parks should always be free.
6) I vehemently support the use of park green space for storm water management. Storm water management can include underground tanks, planting trees, permeable parking lots and other nature friendly initiatives. I do not believe any of this will take away from our ability to use public parks. I one-hundred percent support utilizing storm water management, wherever possible, on both public and private land.
• District "C" •
Stephen Mosgrove - Democrat - 2912 Hudson Pl NOLA 70131 (504-715-8914) firstname.lastname@example.org
Will be responding soon.
⚜️ “Frank” Perez - Democrat - (504-941-1633) email@example.com
1) The master plan required under the May 2019 millage should reflect true strategic planning. And any efficiencies which can be realized without sacrificing services should be implemented.
2) Community policing and provision of wraparound services to address opioid use, housing challenges and behavioral health needs must all be part of a plan to keep our parks safe and beautiful. Enforcement of ordinances which prevent non-violent but anti-social activities should increase, with eye to preventing recidivism and overricarceratoin as well identifying the underlying causes of such “criminal” activity.
3) We need more and better public- facing campaigns around the viability of our park system, to better educate the public about where their tax dollars are being spent.
4) Our parks are meant to serve all citizens regardless of income, and relying solely on self-generated funds would segregate our parks, making great parks in rich neighborhoods and under resourced parks in poor neighborhoods. That is not acceptable.
6) Yes, with strategic planning, green spaces can both help us mitigate flood issues, and continue to serve as useful green spaces for our families.
• District "D" •
⚜️ Chelsea Ardoin - Republican - P.O. Box 770387New Orleans, LA 70177 (504-494-5048) firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Generally speaking I would say that the more voices the better. However, in this case, I think one, unified, powerful voice is better than conflicting voices.
2) I would suggest strong ordinances protecting smoke-free spaces that includes vaping and I would suggest stronger enforcement of anti-litter laws in these spaces.
3) I would lead door-to-door campaigns to encourage local participation in all park activities. I would also pursue extracurricular credits, communication and promotion from local high-schools.
4) Absolutely not! Parks are a major point of attraction for potential residents. This should be a regular budget item for the council to consider.
5) All park attractions should be free unless they include such amenities as tennis, golf or other sporting venues. However, a reservation system could be implemented that would require a down payment to reserves some facilities.
6) This makes me sad…but, yes, parks can be a venue for solving storm water issues. The practical issue is this…if park property can be used to mitigate flooding for New Orleans businesses and home owners, we should look at that possibility. There is really no sense in having a park if there is nobody there to enjoy it…. :(
Morgan Clevenger - Democrat - (504-237-7805) electmorgandistrictD@gmail.com
Will be responding soon.
⚜️Anthony Doby - (504-289-5181) - email@example.com website: www.Doby4DistrictD.com
⚜️ Troy Glover - Democrat - (504-470-6370) - firstname.lastname@example.org
1) I think there needs to be a clear system in place to address problems and solutions for our public open spaces that include city government, neighborhood associations and neighbors.
2) I think we need to promote keeping our parks clean, supporting the organizations that use them and maintaining a constant presence in parks and places where neighbors do not feel safe.
3) Any activities that involve supporting our young people is a great way to promote community engagement, from sporting activities to back to school giveaways. As a mentor and coach for the St. Roch Park football team and President of the St. Roch Neighborhood Association, I hosted night out against crime, gun buybacks and more on the park to promote community engagement and well-being.
4) Parks should not have to depend on revenues they generate, it is the job of the city to create safe and healthy spaces for our kids and families to play and thrive. Additional revenue that parks generate should be used to foster additional opportunities for neighbors.
5) I believe park attractions should be free and accessible to the community.
6) Parks play a huge role in the fight to learn how to properly live with water. Whether that’s planting more trees, stormwater management or cleaning storm drains, our parks are the hub for community and when used right creates space for neighbors to thrive in their neighborhoods.
⚜️ Mariah Moore - Democrat - P.O. Box 8579 NOLA 70182 - (504-388-1578) email@example.com
1) Yes. I believe that public open spaces should be run efficiently by officials who are accountable to the voters in a transparent manner. This is difficult when we have a complex web of agencies with fundings streams that are less than transparent.
2) While I believe it is important to protect our residents, I am also concerned about overcriminalization. I will review all proposals with an open mind, but cannot at this time commit to additional ordinances unless they are proven to keep our residents safe.
3) The boards and commissions in charge of running these public spaces should be truly open to residents and their meetings should be better-publicized and accessible to the public.
4) Not generally. I believe that our public goods should be funded by a government that is elected and accountable to the people. When we begin to inject a for-profit motivation into a public good, it is no longer of and for the people. Since we are a city that depends on tourism, I am open to examining ways that tourists can provide our public spaces with additional revenue.
5) They should- especially for locals.
6) YES. As a resident of District D I am proud that my neighborhoods are implementing stormwater management projects.
⚜️ Robert “Bob” Murray - Democrat - 1517 Harrison Ave.New Orleans , LA 70122 (504-800-7977) firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Community Participation
3) Community Involvement
4) no it should be funded
5) Minimum Fees