Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

October 12, 2007

Malcolm Suber For City Council-At-Large

Well the elections take place in NOLA in eight days, and I hadn’t made a decision for the City Council At-Large position. That’s fairly odd for one such as myself: I start with my candidate and hang in there for the long haul, but this cycle saw me scratching my head when looking out over a field of contenders vying for the seat. I am totally unimpressed by the same old faces who are running, and then my soul was saved by the Nation and this article.

Editor’s Note: It is not The Nation‘s usual practice to run endorsements of individual candidates by our writers. But longtime contributor Adolph Reed, Jr., an expatriate New Orleanian, made a special case for the importance of Malcolm Suber’s campaign for city council in that beleaguered city, where the most vulnerable of Katrina’s victims have far too few political representatives fighting for their interests. Here is his letter to progressives concerned about New Orleans’ future.

I have been a faithful reader of the Nation for the last 37 years. It is Progressive and has never steered me wrong. The very fact that they published this piece speaks volumes to me. I’m voting for Malcolm Suber.
Malcolm’s site.


  1. It’s a very exciting development that a principled campaign, that could open doors to people opposed to the twin parties of war and racism can support.

    Comment by Renegade Eye — October 12, 2007 @ 11:06 pm

  2. Rent control? Residency requirements for all construction? Mandatory minimum wage of $16 an hour for large employers? If Suber wins and has his way, we will not have a large employer left in Orleans Parish. He is so far left, he is off the chart. You can’t be serious.

    Comment by MAD — October 13, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

  3. MAD,

    I am serious in that we need to have the political dialog broadened in this city. Sometimes this means expanding the envelope. That is the Progressive way.

    No, I don’t expect Suber’s goals to be implemented, but they will cause folks to think more about what could be done in order to make things better for all of the cultures here in in NOLA.

    We can’t expect this kind of progress with our current crop of political cronies.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — October 14, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  4. I like Malcolm Suber. But I think he would be a terrible Councilperson. He is not going to get anything done, he is likely to either cause gridlock or to side with the Naginites on the Council. I mean, why stop at $16 an hour? Why not $26 an hour? Suber can’t even get along with the leftiest members of the City Council — Carter, Midura, and Fielkow. In fact, he hates them. He believed the IG was part of a white racist plot against black politicians. He believed that Landrieu’s run against Nagin was part of a white racist plot. He believes that white candidates running for this open City Council at-large seat are part of a white racist plot.

    Suber is an effective outside agitator. He is good at pushing the envelope, but that is precisely because he has played the outside advocate role. That doesn’t work when you are on the inside and you are trying to get things done. Suber is not the kind of person who can bring opposing parties to the same table to work out an agreement. He is not the kind of person that can negotiate the best deal in a bad situation. He would be a nightmare on the Council. And I say this as someone who likes him personally and respects his politics, his intentions, and the tradition he comes from. But PHRF has been a failure. They were a group of radical lefties who could not even organize themselves, let alone anyone else. They’ve been mired in internal drama and squabbling. The founder of PHRF, Curtis Muhammad, a very fine man, has blasted the organization and has leveled accusations of financial mismanagement.

    Radical lefties who can’t even get along with other radical lefties and mismanage their organizational finances are not who I want on the City Council.

    Comment by Southern Leftist — October 15, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  5. SL,

    Here’s another reason I go out on limbs at times: I may not know all of the background poop related to a person’s past efforts. (I didn’t move back home until 2002 and most of my efforts were National in scope and not related to Race matters on any level.) Learning more about the players gives me additional info for the Future.

    As I related to MAD, the current wanna-bees do not invoke any form of confidence in my mind. It is just more of the same, and we here in NOLA do not need to have to endure those kinds whilst trying to rebuild our homes, lives and the city.

    This “election” is a wash, and the thanks for that comes to the doorstop of Oliver Thomas.

    I’m actually awaiting the next round.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — October 15, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  6. Fair enough. And in that context I can certainly understand your position. I did not intend to bash Suber, I just think he’d be a bad Councilperson. But I can see how you might be unimpressed by the rest of the field and decide out of this unimpressive field you would go with Suber. Maybe he does make sense as a protest vote. But for me, if this is a protest vote it should be a referendum on Nagin.

    Comment by Southern Leftist — October 15, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

  7. Love your site Gentilly Girl.

    Southern Leftist? Sounds like you are more of a liberal. Fielkow, Midura, and Carter (and like them) are mild populists- not leftists like Suber. We need radical change in this city, not the pap that we are getting.

    And you are using Curtis Muhammud as a source? Give me a break. Curtis is good at starting things, but inevitably ends up smashing what he helps create. By the end of his “career” post-Katrina he ended up blasting even his allies in the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice for not “taking direction from the people most impacted”- in other words, from Curtis Muhammud. He hired his children to run PHRF- revolution by progeny. Nothing he says about PHRF should be taken seriously.

    PHRF has done real work to advocate for the rights of the displaced, despite the best efforts of Curtis to fuck things up. Where do you get off disparaging them?

    $16 an hour is a real living wage. We need to start making real demands, not half-hearted progressive moves.

    Comment by Christian Roselund — October 15, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  8. SL,

    This SHOULD be a referendum on Nagin, but just like the last election, no one will bite on that one. Nagin is the Sacred Cow that cannot be impugned according to his support crowd. (I could go on and on on this topic, but I don’t feel up to a diatribe from one who is related to all of the old cultures of the city and her disgust with many of her relatives.)


    $16/hr is way to much for many of the smaller employers to deal with at this point in time. The point is to get a discussion going about what the probs are, and what are the solutions. (Slumlords come to mind, especially when it comes to water and energy costs. The availability of grocers in various neighborhoods come to mind, as does the red-lining done by retailers, insurers, etc that increase the cost of living for the poor in various areas.)

    I have lived in many places in my time, and the prices for basic goods are the highest here than in most other places. Business has these folks under their thumbs, and they aren’t going to let go of that cash cow.

    New Orleans’ folks need options, not a Walgreens for a sub-standard replacement for a grocery store.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — October 15, 2007 @ 10:03 pm

  9. Christian,

    Carter, Midura, and Fielkow are the leftiest members of the Council. You’re saying that’s not true? Midura and Fielkow are white liberals. Carter is a black leftist. They are leftier than the other four members of the Council. Stacy Head is a garden district cultural conservative Democrat who may be a closet Republican. Hedge-Morrell is a conservative black Democrat. Willard-Lewis is a member of the black political elite who shits on the poor in her district. Both Cynthias have strong ties to the police, as does Stacy Head. Oliver Thomas was a fake populist. Mike Darnell is Councilman Placeholder. Suber would definitely be the leftiest member of the Council. But he is not going to have much of a working relationship with the left wing of that Council.

    If you want to call me a liberal too that’s fine with me. I consider myself lefty, but don’t really care if others want to call me liberal, progressive, moderate, or radical. I’m on the left end of the spectrum and others can decide where on that spectrum I am.

    Many of my political principles are in line with Suber. But if he was actually on the City Council he would not get anything done. Who is he going to work with on the Council? Who are his other 3 votes? He’s the black lefty version of Peggy Wilson. Is he going to align with the 2 Naginites on the Council in Hedge-Morrell and Willard-Lewis? Will he align with the white Councilmembers he criticized as racist because they expressed a lack of confidence in Eddie Jordan? Will he align with his closest ideological match, James Carter, or will Carter retreat from aligning with someone as polarizing as Suber because he knows an alliance with Suber could torpedo Carter’s status as frontrunner to be the city’s next Mayor? Suber will not get anything done on the Council. And sometimes it is useful to have someone who can just call everyone out, though Midura and Head are already doing plenty of calling out. But maybe right now it would be more useful to have a Council that actually works and provides leadership to compensate for our absent Mayor, our corrupt Congressman, and our ineffective DA.

    I’m not even saying I would oppose Suber for political office, I just oppose him for the New Orleans City Council. I’d consider Malcolm Suber as Sheriff. Or Public Service Commissioner. The Council needs to avoid gridlock and that’s what I see Suber bringing. OPP needs someone with a heart who doesn’t view it as their fiefdom of incarcerated serfs. The PSC could use some folks who aren’t in Entergy’s pocket and would call them out.

    I don’t disagree with all of your criticisms of Curtis. He may be crazy. But that doesn’t mean that nothing he says should be taken seriously. He deserves a lot of respect for the work he has done in his life. And I don’t know why he would lie about financial mismanagement.

    Comment by Southern Leftist — October 16, 2007 @ 9:53 am

  10. I agree with most that while his intentions are admirable, Suber is the wrong man for the job. His populist ideas are hopelessly out of touch with reality, and would never be implemented, and I fear that he would gridlock any true reform that the council would want to push forward.

    In terms of candidates unlikely to be elected, I far prefer Quentin Brown. Since he is also a longshot, I support Virginia Boulet, since she seems most likely to bring fresh ideas to the council (that don’t involve reducing citywide employment, setting arbitrary minimum wages and generally closing the New Orleans economy).

    I discussed the City Council Election on my blog here:

    Comment by max — October 19, 2007 @ 8:25 am

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