NEW ORLEANS — Following controversial traffic camera changes and a recent trip to Cuba, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she is being mistreated by local media.
The mayor's comments came in an interview with Essence Magazine published Tuesday.
"I have not received the benefit of the doubt from the media since the beginning of my tenure as mayor," Cantrell said.
Cantrell and nearly three dozen others recently wrapped up a five-day trip to the island nation to build relationships with Cuba's leaders and her young administration.
Businessman Walter Leger Jr., who was invited on the latest trip, said it focused largely on future opportunities New Orleans businesses might have in Cuba.
Although Cantrell's Office said the trip had been planned since October, there was no official announcement made about the tour.
"I think it was just a slip up on their part," WWL-TV political analyst Clancy Dubos said. "I don't think they were trying to keep it a secret, I think they just made a PR slip up and failed to announce it in advance. This is the kind of news that typically would go out in advance because mayors would be proud to lead a delegation like this."
The trip also coincided with heavy rains on April 5 and resulted in some flooding as well as the ongoing controversy over the city's unannounced traffic camera changes.
The City of New Orleans quietly lowered the speeds that trigger traffic cameras in school zones earlier this year.
Drivers weren’t the only ones who were blindsided. Council-members say they were never made aware of this some even finding out through the media.
“I want to be very clear on this," stated Council President, Jason Williams. "The council was in no way told or advised, nor was there any discussion about this being implemented.”
“It is frustrating and it creates a level of mistrust in the public that doesn’t need to be," said Jared Brossett, councilman for District D.
The New Orleans Advocate reported that before the changes were made, a heads-up to drivers was supposed to be included in January announcement but was later removed. In a separate report, the newspaper reported that New Orleans would make millions by lowering the traffic camera threshold.