Organizers Say It’s Not Too Late To Sign the Petition Which Will Trigger Recall Election

Credit: Nolatoyarecall Instagram Page

With 30 days remaining, the stakeholders behind the NOLATOYA Recall Petition Drive are reminding registered voters that time is drawing close to sign the petition which will give citizens an opportunity to vote on whether LaToya Cantrell should continue as mayor. At the same time as the recaller’spress conference, Cantrell was appearing on CBS’ Face The Nation and told moderator Margaret Brennan that her citizens “appreciate continuity in leadership.”

The NOLATOYA campaign started five months ago with a mission of gathering 53,000 signatures from registered voters in Orleans Parish. Campaign organizers say they are approximately 15,000 signatures away from meeting that goal. The deadline to submit the petitions is February 22, Ash Wednesday.

Petition drive chair Belden Batiste spoke frankly about the “concern and outright fear” some citizens have which has made them hesitant to sign the petition. “They are afraid of what this mayor may do to them.” Batiste described what he called the mayor’s vindictiveness and her treatment of trash hauler Jimmie Woods of Metro Disposal who Cantrell forced into bankruptcy. Woods supported Cantrell’s opponent five years ago. “That just isn’t right,” said Batiste.

He called upon DA Jason Williams to issue a statement asking any citizen who has been threatened or intimidated in any way to contact his office. “Any intimidation by the mayor or her underlings is in full violation of the law,” explained Batiste.

“We have noticed a significant increase of interest from citizens this past week regarding Mayor Cantrell,” said co-chair Eileen Carter. “Violent crime is out of control. Our citizens are afraid and rightfully so. We are averaging more than one murder a day and there seems to be no let up.”

For the last five months, campaign organizers have been reaching out to voters via social media, television and newspaper advertising, direct mail and person to person. Now the Recallers are increasing their efforts. A new round of petitions are being sent to citizens who have not yet signed along with a pre-paid return envelope. “We are asking that citizens sign and mail back the petition ASAP,” explained Carter.

A mobile registration van has been wrapped with the NOLATOYA logo and is being parked in neighborhoods as well as in the Central Business to making signing the petition easier. The van will be traveling around the city during the coming weeks.  A final round of radio and television commercials are set to air. Canvassers will be going door to door through New Orleans neighborhoods to get the petitions signed. “We are confident that this final push will get us to the magical 53,000 number,” Carter said.

Carter also referenced the federal investigation of Cantrell and the “revelation through court documents” that Cantrell was involved in a scandalous relationship with one of her security officers. “Authorities are now looking into that situation to see if any laws have been broken or if malfeasance in office applies. Many of our citizens have voiced their anger over the fact that New Orleans did not have a parade honoring the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and they are placing the blame right at Cantrell’s feet. Where was she this past week? In Washington, D.C., attending yet another conference,” Carter continued.

Cantrell spent last week in Washington at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. She was one of four mayors to appear on CBS Sunday, January 22. When asked about New Orleans problems with policing, Cantrell claimed that attrition at the NOPD was declining. Statistics from crime analyst Jeff Asher paint a different story. Fewer than 25 new officers were hired last year far outnumbering those who resigned or retired. Cantrell partially blamed the city’s crime wave on COVID-19 and the lack of accountability among various branches of the criminal justice system. Cantrell also told moderator Brennan that she has seen results which makes her believe that crime is decreasing. Once again, statistics show an ongoing increase in crime in almost every category.

“Everybody needs to be held accountable,” Cantrell declared emphatically.  Batiste and Carter couldn’t agree more.

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