I’ve had the chance to watch a couple of the televised forums that featured the panoply of mayoral candidates that are competing to make the runoff in the April 22nd elections. By now you know I support Mitch Landrieu. I think he’s done well in the forums, which I would expect since he is highly poised and quick on his feet.
What’s more interesting, and surprising, is how engaging many of the lesser-known candidates are. James Arey, for example. I’ve listened to him on the local NPR radio station, where he does a classical music show. I figured he was pretty smart and thoughtful, but, seeing him in the televised forums, he strikes me as amazingly insightful and well-spoken. Okay, I guess you’d expect someone who does radio for a living to be ‘well-spoken,’ Visiting his website I found out that he was a Jeopardy champion. Obviously, it takes more than just game-show smarts to be an effective mayor, but I like James Arey and if I thought he had a chance to win I’d seriously consider voting for him.
I figured that the televised forums would be laden with crackpot people who were simply running for mayor to get attention. In fact, the majority of the people seem genuinely interested in helping the community more than just grabbing a spotlight. Sure, there are some attention-seekers too. But even those people are interesting. At a recent forum sponsored by the Alliance for Good Government, several of the candidates were espousing the idea of tax breaks or ‘tax holidays’ to help local businesses, and thereby stimulate the economy.
Candidate Manny Chevrolet Bruno (gotta love that name!) had a great response to this notion. (Picture a guy who sort of looks and acts like James Woods here). Staring into the TV camera with intensity and determination Mr. Bruno said something like this: "I am NOT in favor of a tax holiday. Hey, we couldn’t run the city effectively with taxes. The notion that we are going to keep the city afloat without taxes is ludicrous. Hell, why don’t we just have a national telethon?"
I’d never vote for Manny Chevrolet Bruno, but I admire his spunk. I think that his ‘tax holiday’ response was one of the best one-liners so far. But you know, now that I think about it, maybe we should get Jerry Lewis in here.