NEW ORLEANS - In the last televised debate before election day, candidates Michael Bagneris, Desiree Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell discussed infrastructure, race relations and what residents say is their top concern, crime.
"The crime we have now, we certainly need to deal with presently, but there's also the crime we want to prevent on the front end," Charbonnet said.
"In addition to recruiting and retaining our police officers, we have to act smartly, which means we have to give them the tools that they need," Bagneris said.
"The holistic approach is what's going to make our cities safer, stabilize our environments and of course, ensuring that we have a police chief that has the authority to do the job," Cantrell said.
The candidates then questioned each other.
Bagneris asked Cantrell, "I'm interested in knowing why you are proposing taking money from code enforcement and putting into subsidized housing?
"I have not proposed taking money from code enforcement," Cantrell replied.
Cantrell asked Charbonnet, "I'm just wondering why when we called upon YOU and your office to stand tall and firm and fight for our residents who were pretty much having our money redirected from rebuilding their homes, but redirected to paying off their mortgages?"
"I don't ever remember getting a call from you or anybody from city council to stand tall and not cancel mortgages," Charbonnet responded in part.
At times, the questions got heated, particularly when Michael Bagneris questioned Charbonnet about handling Sen. Troy Brown's case.
"When you were serving as municipal court judge, Senator Troy Brown was scheduled to come before you. You violated court policy and went ahead and released him, without requiring him to be present. Why did you do that?" Bagneris asked.
"You really don't understand municipal court or the criminal justice system for that matter. Stating that Brown was given a bond and signed a protective order registry. He saw a judge, he had a bond, he signed a protective order, and then he was released. His lawyer simply came back the next day and entered a plea of not guilty," Charbonnet said.
With our WWL-TV/Advocate poll showing 18 percent of voters remain undecided, the candidates say their main goal before Saturday is convincing New Orleanians they're the right person for the job.
"If you elect me. I will take responsibility. I will get the facts. I will fix the mess and I will always, always tell you the truth," Bagneris said.
"Look at my record. Recognize that I've been serving for 20 plus years with honesty and integrity," Charbonnet said.
"No training wheels needed in my leadership. I've been in the trenches. Serving on the New Orleans city council," Cantrell said.
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