WGNO, ABC channel 26, is reporting that the two-term school board member, Jimmy Fahrenholtz, will run for mayor against Ray Nagin.
I hope he gives Nagin the challenge of his life, although not because I necessarily like Fahrenholtz as a candidate. I don't really have any opinion of him. I'm just happy someone is going to challenge Nagin's leadership. If Nagin is re-elected, at least he'll have been forced to explain his actions, and his plan for the future of New Orleans -- things that have been conspicuously absent from Nagin's public comments since Hurricane Katrina. If he isn't re-elected ... well, I'll just say I don't think we could do any worse. Okay, that's not true either. We could, and have, done much, much worse (Marc Morial? Sydney Bartholemew?).
Nagin seems to have dipped into a morass of indecisiveness and ineffectiveness. I don't understand, for example, why Nagin thinks his time is well spent traveling around the country hosting "Town Hall" meetings where the only thing accomplished is that displaced residents have an opportunity to vent their anger at him. Why not send a representative, hold official press conferences with Q&A time for reporters to keep residents informed, and spend his time more wisely lobbying to get Category 5 storm protection, and coming up with a plan to rebuild the city.
Fahrenholtz's comments about what he would do as mayor were brief, but not surprising:
"I think we desperately need some creative thinking, some leadership with a little more courage than we've seen," Fahrenholtz said.
Fahrenholtz says his campaign will reflect his personality- candid and direct. He wants to get rid of the residency rule, the homestead exemption and what he calls, New Orleans politics.
I know that Fahrenholtz defended New Orleans public schools superintendent, Anthony Amato, against vindictive and counterproductive attacks by other school board members.
I also believe I recall that, a couple of years ago, Fahrenholtz played dumb when the public learned about school board members getting escorted around town by chauffers
. Fahrenholtz pleaded something to the effect that he didn't know it was a problem. Doh! It would seem pretty obvious to any normal person who doesn't get to spend taxpayers' money that a chauffer is just too damn expensive for trips to the airport, grocery store, The Bombay Club, or other destinations around town.
Finally, speaking of The Bombay Club, I started noticing a while back that in almost every appearance where Fahrenholtz was in front of a news camera, he was standing outside of ... yep ... The Bombay Club. I haven't seen him do that in a while, but one has to wonder what his day job is. I find it curious then that Fahrenholtz had this to say:
Like alcoholics, we've found ourselves in the gutter. We've found ourselves at the bottom and now we can make ourselves better. We've seen how low we can get now it's time for to make ourselves, remake ourselves, into what we should be.
I don't wish to begrudge the guy an opportunity to relax however he pleases, but I think he might have found a more appropriate backdrop for his interviews. He is
on the school board