Former Judge Bagneris Announces He’s Running For Mayor Again

NEW ORLEANS – He’s a native New Orleanian born at Charity Hospital on Jan. 28, 1950 who lived in the Treme and the Desire Housing Project in the city’s 9th Ward.

         Michael G. Bagneris graduated from Peter Claver Elementary and St. Augustine High School. He went on to receive two B.A. degrees from Yale University – one in American History and one in African-American History – and he earned his J.D. degree from Tulane Law School in 1975.

         First a lawyer, then an Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge, he retired in December 2013 to run for Mayor of New Orleans. He earned 33 percent of the vote and lost to current Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

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         Yesterday, Thursday, May 11, at Dooky Chase's Restaurant, 2301 Orleans Ave., Bagneris announced he was running for Mayor again and said the following:


         “The soul of New Orleans is its 'people.' And, we have problems it is time to solve.

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         "Our children are leaving in droves because there is no opportunity here. Tourism is primarily a low wage industry. We should not allow ourselves to be a one-trick pony. This city has been blessed with too many resources to depend simply on tourism.

         "We are a resource-rich city. We have nine colleges and universities, an abundance of natural gas, and a great port. Pioneers in creative digital media are flocking to New Orleans bringing an entrepreneurial spirit. If government can do its job right, encourage public investments that will fuel private sector development and focus on regional cooperation, we can be an engine for good jobs and a hub for new companies. We are probably the only port city in the United States that does not create added value to its imports. New Orleans is one of the largest importers of lumber. Yet, we don’t have a furniture manufactory. We import large quantities of steel. Why can’t we manufacture small nuts and bolts? The port gets cocoa beans from the continent of Africa. And, after the beans have made this long trip and enter our port, we place them on box cars, trucks or planes and send them elsewhere to be transformed into chocolate, or cocoa butter or mulch. Why can’t we be the transformers? New Orleans needs to develop light and intermediate manufacturing as a source of new businesses and jobs.

         "Speaking of developing, it’s always been a mystery to me why we haven’t developed the business of music – I’m talking recording, publishing, distribution. That’s where the money is and that’s where the jobs are. New Orleans has musical talent bubbling out of the sidewalks. But, where are the musical business leaders?

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         "This city has countless opportunities to stimulate economic growth and job creation. I spoke about our port and our music, but opportunities also exist in educational and teaching innovations, a revitalized medical corridor, the new entertainment corridor between Poydras Street and St. Claude Avenue, maximizing our universities as research hubs, promoting our seafood and culinary industries, building green industries, focusing on our citizens’ artistic talents. New Orleans, we have but to dream. The opportunities are there.

         "Recently, I was speaking with a woman and lamenting on the fact that our children were leaving the city for lack of opportunities, when she sheepishly stated that she had encouraged her child to leave. Not because he could not get work, but because he could get killed. More children have been killed in the last few years that ever before in our city’s history. Crime is ravaging our city. Crime is up in New Orleans because police manpower is down. And, criminals know it. You can’t be nice with the bad guys. There has been no Police Academy for nearly four years, and now, thirty percent of police cadets are from outside Louisiana. Because the city does a good job of developing desirable officers, many don’t stay in Orleans Parish after training. We must do better because crime cameras don’t deter crime; police officers do. Our police districts are seriously understaffed citywide, but especially in the 7th and 9th wards and Algiers. We have to use our manpower effectively to take guns and drugs off the streets. That’s why an effective partnership with the District Attorney and Sheriff is so important. We can’t be at odds with these office holders over politics.

         "Addressing the crime problem will require a twofold approach:

1 – Immediately increasing the number of police officers, and

2 – Developing a long range plan to prevent a drastic reduction in the number of officers.

         "Our city is plagued by many daunting problems. We have discussed the economy and crime, but I would be remiss if I did not address streets. To say that our neighborhood streets are in horrendous condition would be an understatement. We can’t keep kicking the can waiting for the next guy to fix the streets. We can’t keep using lack of funds as an excuse. We can’t keep saying lack of priority when compared to other pressing needs like public safety. We must begin to fix our streets. I will! As a start, I will dedicate the estimated $25 million from the red light cameras to neighborhood street repair.

         "We must began to dream of a city free of crime; a city where every able-bodied person who wants a job can find one; a city where businesses are thriving not simply holding on; a city where driving down the street is a normal occurrence, not a life risking adventure. Together, we can make this dream a reality.

         "Those who say don’t believe in big dreams don’t know me. They don’t get what’s at the heart of someone who was born at Charity to a mother who worked as a domestic and a father who was a janitor. They don’t know what it takes to pick yourself up and out of the Desire project, convince Yale University in the 1960s that you belong there, and then get a law degree from Tulane University Law School. If they think challenges scare this person, they should think again.

         "I’m here because I refuse to give up on New Orleans, and I feel like we are repeating a cycle we’ve seen before. Exactly 40 years ago, another Mayor Landrieu was preparing to leave office after a ground-breaking eight years as mayor. The choice was between traditional politics on one hand and a scrappy civil rights attorney and judge named Dutch Morial. I was blessed to be a young man in the first Morial Administration. It changed my life, and more than likely, it changed yours.

         "Ironically, another Mayor Landrieu is now departing office after eight years of service, but we’re again at a crossroads. Who can carry the ball forward? Who can best help you and your family realize your big dreams? I stand before you, not because I have a pretty face. Not because I’ve cut political deals to clear the field. I’m taking my chances because this city and its citizens deserve another scrappy, experienced attorney and Judge with a business friendly attitude and a strong background in law and order to carry it forward.

         "There are so many good things in our city: its people, its culture, its neighborhoods. Progress has been made after the disasters of 2005. But, while the city is no longer patching holes in its levees or its basic structure, our sense of security has suffered greatly because other holes are demanding attention. As stated, our crime-fighting strategies are not working. Our police department is way under-manned and under-funded. We have jail space, but what good does it do if we can’t get the lawbreakers?

         "Over the next weeks, I will outline how we’re going to move New Orleans forward, but these pledges I make to you tonight:

• We’re going to Level Up: New Orleans will get to the next level in growing its entrepreneurs, its cultural industries, its revitalized neighborhoods, and its government.

• We’ll accept no excuses for crime: There are no short-cuts to public safety, period! When I say I’m a law and order guy, you don’t have to take my word for it, I’ve got the record to prove it!

• And finally, I will always be for New Orleans…all of New Orleans: not just the politically connected or those who have always had access to power. I want the best and brightest at City Hall with me. I want new ideas, and not just from those who think they know it all. I want YOU – the single working mom who has made an investment in New Orleans; the young business owner who sees something new and knows the advantages of growing our job base; the retiree who still wants to give back.

         "I’m not perfect. In my decades of public service, I’ve made mistakes. I’m sure my opponents will bring them all forward – some I may not even know about yet. But let’s not just sit here watching the wheel go round-and-round. Forty years ago, we chose bold ideas rather than politics as usual; we chose a maverick. I am certain I will be the most experienced candidate in this race. I make tough decisions. Excuses don’t work with me. Blame doesn’t work with me. Action does. I’ll produce results for New Orleans and I’ll make you proud to be here and be part of my team.

         "I’m ready. Join the movement. Join me. Together we will make New Orleans the Queen City of the South.”


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