In The News › Troy Henry: Leadership should reflect population

Jan 17, 2010

Source: The Times-Piacyune

Filed under: City Government, Orleans Parish

Troy Henry: Leadership should reflect population

Sunday, January 17, 2010
By Michelle Krupa
The Times-Picayune

Noting that, in a city that’s 65 percent African-American, black politicians no longer hold the offices of district attorney and U.S. attorney or a majority on the City Council, New Orleans mayoral candidate Troy Henry wondered aloud: “Is there even going to be African-American representation in our elected officials?”

But that wasn’t the only concern expressed by Henry, a business consultant who is vying to fill a void in the mayoral race left by the withdrawal of state Sen. Ed Murray, who was considered the leading African-American candidate in the contest.

“There’s a whole move afoot now to create a whole bunch of oversight organizations for African-American-run organizations,” Henry said during a forum Wednesday sponsored by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans.

“Let’s face it, whether it be the Metropolitan Crime Commission, whether it be the BGR (Bureau of Governmental Research), whether it be the public-private Horizon Initiative to outsource (the economic development) element of government, whether it be outsourcing an element of NORD (the city’s Recreation Department), all of a sudden what the plan appears to be is that they want to in essence neuter African-American (political) power and then have economic leadership stay in the hands of the minority as opposed to the majority, the minority in this case being the white community,” Henry said. “We have to do better than that.”

A quick check of the facts shows that the crime commission was founded in 1952, long before New Orleans had any black officials. The BGR traces its history back to 1930, when residents concerned about the political machinations of Gov. Huey Long united to try to keep government on the straight and narrow.

Asked later about his suggestion that such good-government groups were designed to keep black politicians in check, Henry said that comment had nothing to do with his concern about the decline in the number of black officials.

“Don’t get those things confused,” he said. “These oversight organizations are all about a lack of confidence in the current team at City Hall. However, we do run the risk of lack of (African-American) representation.”

As for his concern about outsourcing the city’s economic development and recreation programs, Henry said such changes could shift management of important functions away from the mayor — currently a black man, he noted — to private groups whose membership may not reflect the city’s demographics.

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DON’T CALL ME RAY: Throughout the campaign, Henry has bristled at attempts to “typecast” him as a replica of unpopular Mayor Ray Nagin, saying that he “actually owns companies” as opposed to working as “a mid-level manager,” a reference to Nagin’s former job as a cable-TV executive.

He also repeatedly refers to other business leaders, such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who he says have gone on to successfully run American cities. “You’ve got to judge each and every individual based upon their abilities, their qualifications, their skills, their leadership and their demonstrated commitment to this community,” Henry said on WBOK radio last week.

“It would be no more fair to typecast me as being similar in some way to Ray Nagin as it would be to typecast Mitch Landrieu (as) Bill Jefferson because they’re career politicians,” Henry said. “It’s inappropriate.”

The reference to New Orleans’ former congressman is a rhetorical device Henry has used before. In an interview late last year, the candidate said: “You have to judge each individual on their own merits.

There is no comparison between me and Ray Nagin, and it wouldn’t be fair to compare me to Ray Nagin just as it wouldn’t be fair to compare him to Bill Jefferson. Because he’s a career politician doesn’t mean that he’s automatically corrupt.”

Jan 17, 2010

Source: The Times-Piacyune

Filed under: City Government, Orleans Parish

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