NEW ORLEANS- Meeting and greeting voters, District B candidates Seth Bloom and Jay Banks both spent their Wednesday evening out and about, striving to get residents to vote for them as the runoff election draws closer.
Seth Bloom has worked as criminal defense attorney in New Orleans for the last 14 years. He also served on the Orleans Parish School Board. When it comes to crime, he believes he knows what it takes to reduce it.
"I think the mayor needs to help reorganize the police department. There's a lot of hardworking women and men in the NOPD, but I think we're ready for a little bit of a change," Bloom said.
Jay Banks has been in the community for a long time, serving as Director of the Dryades YMCA School of Commerce in Central City. He also worked at Chief of Staff for two City Council presidents. As far as his stance on crime, Banks says the city needs to get to the root of the problem.
"Instead of spending money on keeping people in the system, let's invest in not getting them in the system in the first place. Let's redirect some of that money and keep them out as opposed to keeping them in," Banks said.
Another issue the two candidates plan to tackle is infrastructure and the Sewerage and Water Board. If it was up to Bloom, he'd combine the S&WB and the Department of Public Works into one entity.
"I would lean on the New Orleans delegation to go to Baton Rouge and ask to dissolve the Sewerage and Water Board. I'm one of the only candidates that's saying that. I think it needs to be combined with Public Works, so there's better communication and cooperation across the board," Bloom said.
Banks thinks, that's a terrible idea.
"We need to get in there and find out exactly where the problems are immediately and fix that first! Before we talk about adding additional resources, but i'm not in favor of having the structure changed. I don't think that fixes anything. All you're going to do is ship the problem," Banks said.
The candidates also shared their views about short -term rentals.
"I want to really regulate short-term rentals. I want to make sure they stay in check. That there's density restrictions on them and that we make sure they're paying their fair share of taxes as well," Bloom said.
"It sucks up affordable housing. It damages our neighborhoods. And I'm not in favor of it. However, if Ms. Jones needs to have a short rental or an Air B&B to make her ends meet, I'm okay with that, but it ought to be tied to the homestead exemption," Banks said.
In last month's election, Bloom lead the race with 40 percent, with Banks receiving 27 percent of the vote. The District B seat opened up after LaToya Cantrell announced she'd be leaving her post to run for New Orleans Mayor.