A judge must rule on the facts and law of the case. A judicial candidate is restricted from making specific comments or commitments on issues that would come before him/her/them so I tend to err on the side of complying with the judicial ethics requirements.
My personal view—without making any commitment to rule in a particular way that would violate judicial ethics—are very much aligned with the goals of housing advocates like GNOHA. There is and will continue to be a housing crisis in New Orleans without significant federal investment in housing that was unfortunately cut a long time ago and exacerbated by Katrina, when public housing was torn down but the same amount was not rebuilt. After Katrina, I fought along side my neighbors in Broadmoor for the right to rebuild. At that time, I was a law clerk at Civil District Court, during which time I drafted the Agriculture Street Landfill decisions in favor of the plaintiffs of Gordon Plaza and Moton school.
Ten years later, as a city council staffer, I also drafted and attempted to pass legislation that would ensure environmental justice by preventing low income housing and schools from being built on former landfills and brownfields. The City Planning Commission and Council rejected this amendment. I also drafted and attempted to pass a Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning ordinance, which was again, rejected by the CPC and Council in favor of Voluntary Inclusionary Zoning ordinance. The rejection of these types of ordinances is one reason I ran for City Council in 2017; other reasons were to refocus our City’s budget to investing in human capital—early education, pay equity, living wage, community mediation conflict resolution, in-house rather than contracted work for city functions to increase accountability, reformation and accountability for Sewerage and Water Board and Entergy.
Now as the economic crisis will only worsen, I encourage everyone to contact their legislators, the Governor and Congressional delegation to provide rental assistance. There are 69,000-130,000 households that could require between $230-$432.2 million in housing assistance. While the cost of housing is one aspect of the housing crisis, wages are a critical part of the conversation. Even when the Nola economy is booming, service industry workers are being paid low wages with little or no benefits. Until there is a living wage and affordable healthcare, affordability of necessities like housing will remain challenges for New Orleanians. The Louisiana Workforce shows the number 1 occupied job as cashier at $20,000 per year. 40% of our children live in poverty. This is wage issue. I helped pass our City’s Living Wage ordinance, but the state and Congress have failed to raise the minimum wage. Whether elected or not, I will continue to fight for the poor, disenfranchised and underrepresented through my longstanding work of supporting organizations that register, engage and educate voters. After all, these decisions are ultimately in the voter’s hands. Only when we elect legislators and Congress people that care about housing and wages issues will they be addressed.
Read more here.
The plan does not go far enough to allow universal vote by mail, but is a good start to extend early voting and some expands vote by mail to some covid-19 âinstances. It will be important to monitor how the plan is implemented, especially if polling places are reduced due the lack of poll commissioners and how ballots are counted when the returns come in.
Take note of Rep. Candace Newell's Testimony at 37:46 "as I take my seat, I want to point out, once this passes the House-guess what- our entire body is goint to vote-- by mail." See video here.
AYLIN ACIKALIN FOR JUDGE - FIRST CITY COURT
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