I am running for Mayor because I want New Orleans to look and function as the world class city it is. Our city has suffered greatly under the current administration. There has been a lack of care and consideration where citizens are concerned and as it relates to the crumbling infrastructure.
I have successfully managed and operated a business for over 30 years. I am not a career politician. When elected, I will build a team around me who are highly skilled in the areas of government and public policy. I won’t hire people who want to use this city as a political stepping stone for future office. I will hire qualified team members who live here, want to be here, and have a vested interest in saving New Orleans.
The failure of the current administration's actions following the Hard Rock Hotel collapse is just one example, and a true indicator of its inability to perform its duties. Natives and visitors were forced to drive around a disaster area and grave site of two departed souls for nearly a year. The current administration did nothing to manage the catastrophe.
In comparison, the removal of the tragic Miami Surfside Condominium collapse was handled in less than one month. I would have pushed to hire experts to safely speed up the process to allow closure for the grieving families.
When elected, my office will work with State legislators and our school board to draft an agenda and legislation to create new policies that will benefit the children of New Orleans, while addressing the shortcomings of the current experiment our kids are currently enduring. We will focus on the return of neighborhood schools and the discontinuing of the OneApp, implementing new curriculum that include industrial arts and vocational learning. We will also study the feasibility and advocate for reinvestment in the RTA with a return of the use of bus tickets—this will allow the dollars to circulate in our city. At the beginning of the 2021 school year, there was a school bus shortage because the city hasn’t issued permits, and there aren’t enough drivers. That won’t be a problem if we start using the RTA again, like we used to.
NORD, was once a model program studied by cities nationwide. Under the current administration it fails to deliver for the demographic that most needs it--- the children. NORD used to hire youth as summer camp counselors. Teens learned developmental and leadership skills. The kids enrolled in camp benefited from a curriculum that included sports & physical fitness, arts and crafts, dance, and industrial arts. During the summer months this year most NORD facilities were closed to the youth in the neighborhoods of the most underserved requiring online registration to enter and utilize a NORD facility, or even swim.
NORD should return to its original model. NORDs primary focus should be on youth development. NORD should have been opened this summer to provide our kids a place to be kids, rather than letting them run around on our violent streets.
Most citizens are most concerned about youth crime.
If our city’s youth are given a chance at life by 1. receiving a solid education, 2. having access to safe recreation, and 3. have access to age-appropriate education and employment opportunities, we would not have the issues we are faced with now of busted car windows, car-jackings, and murders. As a kid, I had those three things growing up. Our kids today don’t have the same things, it shows, and it hurts our city.
When elected, I will encourage regular communication with our elected DA to create and implement a plan to hold repeat offenders away from law-abiding citizens until those offenders follow through on the appropriate consequences for their actions and gain any necessary mental help if needed. When elected, I will evaluate Job1. Job1 was once a major source for youth summer employment. Businesses citywide would invest in the youth by hiring them.
The City of New Orleans needs to enforce policy to address the graffiti (created without permission of property use), that is destroying the charm and aesthetics that people travel here to experience. Private homes, existing business and even new business construction have all been desecrated by vandals. It has to stop. How can we seek to attract business and industry developers, when mid construction, buildings are being vandalized with graffiti? I will create a task force to investigate and bring to justice those who have no regard for the property of others nor New Orleans. That justice will be for those offenders to clean up blighted properties.
I will create a designated graffiti artist space inside of what use to be a blighted warehouse/building to offer and outlet for anyone who wants to turn their need to paint into a place of display. Not all consequences need to involve jail time, but they do need to have accountability.
Under my administration the oversight and enforcement of short-term rental rules and guidelines will be activated.
Most STR operators speak of a visitor's desire to stay among natives. Currently there are entire city blocks operating STR’s. Corporations like Sonder have abused and over stayed its welcome. Corporate STR’s are destroying the fabric of our neighborhoods and our city.
We can thank the current administration for it and its hiring of Peter Bowen, a former manager with Sonder, one of the largest operators of STR’s in the nation. Under Bowen’s leadership, Sonder acquired 1000 apartments and converted them to 2500 rooms within 36 months. Bowen serves in the current administration and has profited off of evictions and has maintained his stock in Sonder. Most disappointing is that Bowen is also responsible for buying, selling and leasing city-owned land.
We need to stop giving city-owned land to private companies who operate out of different states.
In recent years we have seen revenue generated in our city only to leave. It is time to circulate our dollars in New Orleans. It’s one reason the Municipal Auditorium should be restored to its original use. The Auditorium hosted carnival & debutante balls, graduations, dance recitals, sports events, concerts, the circus, community and cultural events.
When the Auditorium is restored, the revenue generated will go back to the city and can be reinvested within the city. Most importantly, there will be no need for New Orleans area organizations and schools to go to Kenner to hold a graduation, prom or ball. Restoration of the Auditorium is an investment in New Orleans. It will also keep intact and preserve the historic Congo Square.
- I will challenge local contractors to install solar benches in their neighborhoods.
-I will work with our City Council and Entergy consultants to amend current solar energy policy allowing residents with solar power the ability to sell unused solar power back to Entergy or other energy companies. This will provide a revenue stream to residents enabling them to increase their personal income, while decreasing the greenhouse effect.
All will lead to a better quality of life.
Physical fitness for me extends beyond the body. The condition of one’s environment—air, land and water affects the overall human condition, including mind, body and spirit.
- I will promote the use of "green" space in our parks to be used as a resource to educate children and adults on water uses. I will promote the utilization of rain water barrels, and the maintenance of catch basins, and drains to slow flooding in our neighborhoods.
-I will encourage friendly neighborhood green competitions. The categories will focus on cleanest street drains, most creative gardens, most useful community gardens, etc. Community engagement is seriously lacking in some areas, but it is one of the best ways to curb crime and promote healthy living areas.
-I will also promote increased storm water management, by way of capturing storm water to be used in rain gardens and rain water harvesting. I will also identify a funding source to promote green infrastructure.
I AM NOT ANTI-VACCINE, but the city's current policy requiring businesses to enforce a vaccine mandate is an overreach on private business, especially when the policy was announced with no guidance, direction, or support from city leaders. Instead, businesses were threatened with the fate of imminent and immediate shutdown if they did not comply.
I AM NOT ANTI-VACCINE. I believe that people have the right to make their own choices regarding their health whether I personally agree or not. I believe that private businesses have the right to make their own choices regarding their establishments. The current policy is an overreach on private businesses. If I were mayor, I would immediately end this policy.
It's time to come out of the dark ages. As the first openly LGBTQ+ candidate to run for Mayor, I am honored to receive your support.
It's time for equality in housing, and across the board.
Yours in good health, and high vibration,
Here is what Carlos had to say: "As a proud graduate of Marion Abramson High School, Leilani has a deep personal commitment to the wellbeing of New Orleans' public schools. As Mayor, Leilani will work with our schools to create partnerships to combat juvenile crime, broaden extracurricular programs for our youth, and expand educational opportunities for kids in crisis. She knows that meeting the needs of children and families requires collaboration between city government and schools. Her style of inclusive and thoughtful leadership is what we need right now during this time of crisis."
Attorney, former OPSB (Orleans Parish School Board) President, LGBTQ+ pioneer and community activist, Thomas Robichaux, endorses Leilani Heno for Mayor the in the municipal election to be held on November 13, 2021.