NEW ORLEANS -- Will he or won’t he?
Trash magnate and real-estate developer Sidney Torres IV remained coy Wednesday about whether he’ll launch a campaign for New Orleans mayor, hours after rumors began to circulate that he’d decided against it.
“Not true,” he told WWL-TV in a text message Wednesday afternoon. “I’m still processing.”
He later took to Facebook and posted a longer explanation, saying it was “disappointing” he had to address “dirty politics” before making a decision.
He wrote that he produced two commercials -- one saying he has decided to run and another saying he hasn’t -- and sent both to local TV stations to hold until he made up his mind.
“Suspiciously, the one indicating that I would not run was leaked to political operatives,” Torres wrote. “While that may be some politician's or powerbroker’s hope, I have not made a final decision, and as I have noted all along will not make a final decision until Friday.”
Friday at 4:30 p.m. is when qualifying for the fall elections wraps. So far, six people have signed up to run for mayor, including three major candidates: retired Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet.
Torres made a name for himself post-Katrina when his trash company, SDT Waste and Debris Services, literally cleaned up the notoriously dirty French Quarter, dousing its smelly streets each morning with a lemony-fresh spray.
He later made headlines after pointed attacks on the Landrieu administration following several high-profile crimes in the neighborhood, and co-founded the French Quarter Task Force, which now includes several Smart cars zipping around the streets, as well as an app people can use to report crimes. (That move inspired the creation of a Fox TV series in which a Chicago billionaire uses his own money to take over a police district in which his friend was killed during a botched armed robbery.)
While Bagneris, Cantrell and Charbonnet are all bullish on fighting crime, Torres would be a preferred candidate among some local cops, one officer told WWL-TV.
The officer, who’s not being named since department policy prohibits officers from speaking to the media without prior authorization, said Torres’ aggressive anti-crime attitude in the Quarter at a time of increased scrutiny due to the consent decree’s mandates have endeared him to some street cops.