Local businessman Jason Coleman says he was compelled to run because of the many challenges the city faces.
“As a civic-minded citizen and tax payer I had more questions about where the City Council has been for the past four years, and I wanted better legislation to improve infrastructure, Black male unemployment, crime, education and economic opportunities for minority businesses,” says Coleman. “We need experienced community leaders that will work with the administration and judicial branches of government as equals and not be asleep at the wheel as we watched our infrastructure go up in smoke, literally.”
Coleman points to the recent failures of the drainage system and Sewerage and Water Board as one example.
“We are tired of talking about the problems and how we are going to address them,” he says. “We expect our leaders to lead and hold people accountable.”
He says he will ensure that funds already earmarked for drainage improvements are used properly.
“We need to make sure that money hits the streets and that jobs and training programs for African-American males, which have the largest unemployment rate in the city, are created.
Transparency and accountability regarding how Sewerage and Water Board members are selected is in order, as well, Coleman says, adding that he would support a move to change the board’s current structure to include a mix of experts in waste-water management along with citizens. In fact, Coleman says he wants to see more transparency and accountability in the way all city boards and commissions are filled so that membership of these boards better mirror the city’s demographics.
Coleman, who has run unsuccessfully for both the City Council and the Orleans Parish School Board, says he has a long demonstrated his commitment to the city and its people.
“After Katrina I returned in October 2005 and helped disburse the funds for homeowners. I helped streamline the process and manually corrected awards,” Coleman says.
When it comes to criminal justice and public safety, Coleman says he would advocate for reviewing funding of the district attorney’s office to ensure that the office is focusing resources on violent crimes as opposed to prosecuting and holding people for long periods of time for minor offenses.
“We have a responsibility to be quick and fair in our justice system,” he says.
He also believes a holistic approach to addressing crime is necessary.
“We need to have alternatives,” he says. “We need to have resources for rehabilitation.”