Power Coalition Withdraws Support for Prop 2 Following Scathing Op-Ed in Bayou Brief

In surprising last-minute news today, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, a non-partisan local community organization, has withdrawn support for Proposition 2 after being called out by the Bayou Brief. Proposition 2 is going to be voted on tomorrow. After Jules Bentley’s article in the Bayou Brief, “Something Doesn’t Check Out” appeared criticizing Prop 2, and the Power Coalition, Ashley Shelton, the Executive Director of the Power Coalition, wrote in a statement provided by the Bayou Brief that, “The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice is withdrawing support for proposition 2. The decision to support Prop 2 in the first place was a heavy one as it pitted two extremely important and vital organizations against one another. While we originally thought the case for supporting early childhood development was too strong to overlook, with more information we now see that the millage is not as billed, and does not provide the early comprehensive childhood services that we were led to believe it provided.”

Prop 2, recently covered in Big Easy Magazine article, “Fact Check: Mayor Cantrell Stretches the Truth on City’s Millage Proposal” which Mayor Cantrell has said in the past would help provide early childhood services, comes at the expense of reducing the library’s funding by 40% for the next 20 years.


According to the Bayou Brief article, some of the problems with Prop 2 include that it’s a ‘slush fund’ and that, despite raising at least $1.5 million, it will only manage to help 100 children. The Bayou Brief article further indicated that this would benefit for-profit organizations and organizations that serve them, including charter schools. According to Bentley: “I don’t know exactly what the game is, and I hope we never find out, but based on the involvement of all these charter-school villains my guess would be that it’s some kind of scheme to hand the public’s money to shady for-profit private companies, just like they did with New Orleans schools after the flood.” He later adds,  “In the United Way’s list of Proposition 2 partners, there’s lots of who you might expect to see at a charter party: Louisiana Charter Schools In Action, Democrats for Education Reform, New Schools for New Orleans. There’s Stand for Children Louisiana, our state’s astroturf offshoot of a national network of PACs that spends hundreds of thousands to elect pro-charter-school school-board candidates.”

Along with that, the Bayou Brief’s Bentley mentions even a connection to Donald Trump, writing: “Simon-Jones and Bronfin’s PAC, Yes for Children’s Success, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertising, including ‘Text Messages and Robo Calls.’ They gave Trump media advisor Jay Connaughton‘s direct mail business at least $30,000.”

Of the many things Bentley wrote about the Power Coalition, Bentley said of them, prior to them dropping out that, “The Power Coalition betraying the New Orleans Public Library and its employees had big ripple effects.” It appears that is no longer the case.

Tomorrow is the day New Orleans votes on several propositions, including Prop 2. Big Easy Magazine encourages people to vote no on it, and save our libraries.

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