Lakeview Progressive Bob Murrell To Seek City Council District A Seat

Bob Murrell is running for the District A seat on the New Orleans City Council because he feels the incumbent, Joe Giarrusso, has not done a good enough job of communicating with and serving the voters. Last October Murrell said he approached Giarrusso to co-sponsor a resolution supporting the Green New Deal. Giarrusso declined, explained Murrell, because he wanted to focus on substantive legislation to save lives. “It was a real eye-opener. Climate change is an existential crisis. I felt the gravity of the moment and decided to run for office,” said Murrell.

Murrell believes the issues New Orleans faces are intersectional and that the council must “put People First” by approaching these issues with appropriate solutions. Murrell’s priorities include housing justice, racial and economic justice, ecological justice, flip the budget, and protect workers’ rights. Murrell is a member of the Lakeview Civic Association, the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition and the Democratic Socialists of America.  

A strong believer in the value of libraries, Murrell was involved in last year’s grass roots campaign, the Save Our Libraries Coalition, to defeat Mayor Cantrell’s library millage which would have cut the system’s budget by 40%. He supports the new library millage initiative that should appear on the November ballot.  

“Housing is a right,” said Murrell. Among his recommendations are finding permanent housing for unhoused youth and families, thereby reducing the childhood poverty rate; expanding rental assistance and affordable housing mortgage assistance; secure right to counsel for renters facing eviction; strengthen protection against discriminatory practices for housing, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community and codifying tax assessments to stop using sales-chasing tactics and fairly assess lots in line with other parishes.

There is much healing that needs to take place in the area of racial and economic justice. Murrell believes that the city of New Orleans should fund the relocation of Gordon Plaza residents; that the number of beds at the Orleans Justice Center should continue to decrease until they number less than 1000; that solitary confinement should be banned and money bail ended; that the Orleans Public Defenders’ office should be fully funded; that the Human Rights resolution should be reintroduced; that New Orleans should permanently become a Sanctuary City and stop working with ICE and that the Orleans Parish School Board should retire failing charter schools contracts and bring those schools back under the OPSB umbrella as direct-run.

To Murrell, ecological justice means protecting our greatest resources. He would aggressively expand sustainability on city properties; regulate Entergy as a public utility and not a profit generator; hold SWBNO leadership accountable and put workers in a position to succeed; ensure renewable and clean portfolio standard requires no carbon-emitting from Entergy by 2050; make roads and sidewalks safe and equitable for all users regardless of physical abilities or modes of transportation and execute the mayor’s C40 Divest/Invest pledge.

Murrell wants to flip the NOPD’s budget toward “care over harm” by reallocating carceral and police funding back to the people. He would create a participatory budget process for the citizens to decide where their money should be spent; increase spending on education, early childhood development, infrastructure and sanitation; fully fund public health and safety including unarmed medical health crisis intervention teams; create free public transit and municipal internet access for city residents workers and students; expand and support food programs, mutual aid networkers and health services and improve the city’s digital infrastructure and technology education.

Murrell exposes “people over profits” and wants to see workers’ right protected and extractive industries held accountable. Murrell advocates closing the subcontractor loophole to ensure all workers get living wages for city work; increase union membership citywide by providing resources for workers and their families to organize and facilitate labor agreements; decriminalize sex work; reclaim tax dollars from New Orleans & Company and the Morial Convention Center for hospitality worker and musicians; push for criminal charges for developers of the Hard Rock Hotel; make non-profits pay their fair share on property taxes, particularly vacant lots and large buildings and create a municipal identification program.

Murrell says citizens deserve to have their voices heard more frequently through increased transparency and constituent engagement. He wants to amend the Master Plan to implement the Committee for a Better New Orleans’ recommended Community Participation Plan; develop a constituent portal for increased engagement and frequent outreach for those unable to use the portal; establish regular virtual sessions with resident and workers in the district; conduct audits of contact with entities, people and organizations made publicly available; create district days of service to create opportunities for precinct engagement and small public events to bring people together and provide adequate comment time for items that have a volume of public interest even if a vote on the item has to be postponed.    

A software engineer, Murrell graduated from Riverdale High School and attended Tulane University and the University of Missouri at Columbia. He has raised $5,000 from 100 donors with an average donation of $25. 

“I think for me the urgency of all the crises New Orleans is facing make me questions what kind of city New Orleans is going to be not just for my daughter but for future generations. Is the City going to be habitable and prosperous? I really hope we can have an equitable and participatory budget. I want to be part of the change I hope to see,” said Murrell. 

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