NEW ORLEANS — The group leading the effort to recall the mayor says they have 20% of the signatures needed. The exact number is “10,000-ish.”
And they say because of QR codes through technology, they verify the signatures quickly.
“It has nothing to do with anything else than the job performance of the mayor,” Eileen Carter, vice-chair of the group nolatoya.org said.
A month into the recall drive, a group of organizers refuted some accusations of its motives.
“This is not about a color. This is about a New Orleans. We are purple, green, and gold. It does not matter,” Carter said.
“The narrative that this is a republican driven action, and people from out of the city. Just look behind me. I'm a registered democrat. So, the narrative that this is some far-right activist, or people coming in, that's not true,” community activist Anthony Brown said.
“Reverend Al Sharpton contact me. ‘What's going on? Is this a republican led movement?’ I'm involved in this movement,” Reverend Raymond Brown said. “You see, what she has put out there in the press, that we are behind a movement to stop black women, that's a damn lie.”
The group says problems with crime, NOPD, infrastructure, economic development, openly supporting the accused in court, garbage collection and spending money on trips to sit in first class are just some of the issues driving this grassroots effort.
“Crime affects the black community. Crime affects the white community. Crime affects the citizens of New Orleans,” Kim Ford, president and CEO of Community Recallers said.
“If you sit next to a criminal, and show every kid that's carjacking, that this is OK, because the leader will stand behind you, this is a fundamental problem,” Leilani Heno said.
“I do not accept the title of this city being the murder capital of the world. When you look at those murders that you talk about, mostly all of them are aligned by people who know one another, not random at all,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Some in the group say people are being intimidated not to sign, threatened with job security, or withholding grants, or bullying, even to the point of needing protection.
The mayor responded to that by saying, “What I've experienced personally as I move across the city, is again nothing but love, nothing but support, and nothing but just the words of encouragement to keep going.”
The group has until Ash Wednesday to get around 54,000 signatures, but they want to have them all by the end of this year so they can get on the spring election cycle.