Questions from the candidates: Rella Zapletal, City Council of District B

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The election originally scheduled for October 9, which includes an open primary for all city council seats, has been postponed to November 13 due to Hurricane Ida.

To give voters a chance to learn the policies, platforms, and personal attributes that their city council candidates plan to bring to office, Uptown Messenger has sent out questionnaires to all of the candidates in Districts A and B. District B candidate, Rella Zapletal, reveals her answers below.

City Council District B
Rella Zapletal, Democrat

Rella Zapletal

Place of birth: Smallholding
Schools attended and diplomas obtained: Acadiana Episcopal School. Bachelor of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University. Doctorate in Law, Tulane Law School
Current district: Touro Bouligny
Job: Lawyer
Memberships: Louisiana State Bar Association, Children’s Rights Committee
Covid vaccine status: Vaccinated

What is your vision of the neighborhood?
I will fight for a District B and a New Orleans that everyone can be proud of. It starts with demanding and getting city services that work for us. I will make sure our garbage is picked up twice a week, every week, and for reliable electricity and water services. I imagine a New Orleans that works for our citizens, all year round. Before Hurricane Ida, I was the only candidate in this race to release a plan to hold Entergy accountable and reduce power outages.

I want to see a district that is well represented by someone who cares more about results than campaign talking points. That’s why I’ve been open with our community about my plans for crime, quality of life, education and more. Our communities can no longer afford a candidate interested in self-promotion.

What would be the first ordinance or resolution that you would present?
My first legislative approach to meaningful change would be a broad set of policies to hold Entergy accountable. This would require an annual independent audit of Entergy’s long-term profits, expenses and planned investments in infrastructure. This audit would also assess Entergy’s customer service, billing accuracy and compliance with previous commitments to bring more green energy to our grid. It would also prohibit the costs of counsel, legal or travel from ever being passed on to taxpayers again.

What should be the spending priorities for the $ 388 million the city will receive from the US bailout?
ARA dollars must be spent on expenses or consequences that address public health concerns or replace lost public sector revenue. This means that we can use these federal funds to modernize sewage and water infrastructure, which currently poses a major threat to the health and lives of our people. With frequent boil water advisories, low water pressure, and aging pipes, every citizen of our city is at risk. This one-time money can be used for what is a one-time expense to finally bring more of our water system into the 21st century.

What would you do to better fight against juvenile delinquency?
We have to invest in our youth, and the return on investment is huge. We need to start early by fully funding all early childhood education seats. Next, we need to make sure our children have opportunities – by fully funding NORD and revamping the programs that are offered. Invest in after-school and mentoring programs accessible to all.

Additionally, while unpopular, the city needs a dedicated mileage to address all miner issues, much like Jefferson Parish does. Currently, the juvenile justice system depends on the administration of funds, which fluctuate from year to year, preventing the justice system from functioning properly. It must stop.

Should the cash deposit be removed?
Pre-trial reforms are absolutely necessary to create a stable and more secure New Orleans. Long pre-trial detention leads to higher rates of recidivism and future incarceration, as it impacts the economic situation of families when a family member accused, but not convicted, of a crime cannot continue to do so. work. This is especially true when it comes to those charged with non-violent crimes, and those charged with non-violent crimes should not languish in jail awaiting trial when their families need income and support.

Of course, this is at the discretion of the judges, but we need to set guidelines for interim release that will allow those who were working at the time of the arrest to continue to do so if they pose no threat to them. other citizens. Since non-violent defendants are unlikely to be incarcerated if convicted, rehabilitation is made even more difficult by the challenges of pretrial incarceration.

What ideas do you have for bringing jobs and non-tourism economic activities to New Orleans?
We must first secure our city. Businesses are afraid to move to New Orleans due to the high crime rate. The data clearly shows that companies are moving not because of strong tax incentives, but because the city is safe, with good schools and a high quality of life. We must work to make New Orleans the place to be – it starts with a safe city, the best schools, and reliable city services. In addition, we need to provide better incentives for businesses that move to New Orleans and hire locals, invest in training local people, and recruiting and retaining New Orleans people.

How can the city increase the supply of affordable housing faster?
The city must develop the acres on the acres of HANO land that are available. The current inclusionary zoning ordinance does not encourage developers to build affordable housing for those who need it most. By revamping the mandatory inclusion zoning ordinance to really incent private developers to build affordable units, we can actually increase the number of affordable housing units.

Does the city successfully manage licensing and enforcement of short-term rental licenses?
The city does not successfully manage the enforcement of short-term rental laws. I’ve heard too many horror stories from residents reporting illegal short-term rentals and not going anywhere with the city. The current teeth of the enforcement mechanism are not enough – we need to do something more drastic to prevent illegal short-term rentals.

In addition, the administration did not adequately fund the STR office. Once elected, I will ensure that the STR office is fully funded. Too many city leaders are making money from STRs and this self-interest has kept our city from creating meaningful policies with proper enforcement.

What can the Sewerage & Water Board do to reduce flooding in the streets outside hurricanes?
We have billions of dollars in equipment that is constantly in such disrepair that it is not operational. This, combined with the fact that the general public tends to be made aware of equipment breakdowns just before major storms, is a failure of leadership. Ultimately, it costs the city a lot more to try to recover from a normal thunderstorm that destroys property than it does to properly fund the S&WB to pay for both qualified and responsible leadership, as well as equipment. world class.

In addition, the administration must ensure that all the sumps are cleaned regularly. If one looks at the watershed condition map on the city’s website, one will notice that there are as many people waiting for inspection and clean-up as those who have been cleaned up. Additionally, the watershed status map designates watersheds that were cleaned up in 2017 as cleaned up. It should be noted that there are several sumps in District B that have been cleaned several times, while others have not been cleaned since 2017. This is nonsense. We have the data, use it to reduce flooding on the streets outside of hurricanes.

What is the most important personal attribute you would bring to city government?
I have demonstrated my ability to finish what I start, even when the goal is ambitious or requires collaboration between political opponents. I am proud of the solutions that I have directly implemented for historical preservation and public safety despite the current failure of the leadership of the City Council of District B. I have spearheaded the creation of the cultural district of Touro Bouligny, who encourages the redevelopment of dilapidated properties. It has already had a substantial impact on the neighborhood by bringing dilapidated properties back into commerce.

Additionally, as a concerned citizen, I submitted a proposal to our Safety District asking for pedestrian stop signs to be installed along our section of Magazine Street. Prior to the installment, school children and shoppers and diners supporting our local Magazine Street businesses had to direct traffic themselves to ensure safe passage. The pedestrian crossing signs have been a huge success, keeping our children safe as they walk to school, as well as customers of Magazine Street businesses. Making changes that benefit the community as a whole has been at the forefront of my work as neighborhood association president.

Over the years, I have learned that leadership needs to listen to concerns at the neighborhood level and even at the neighborhood level to address community concerns. I am committed to continuing this same commitment as a member of the board. I will bring my determination to fully follow up on the projects I am starting at City Council. This follow-up is sorely lacking in our current leadership.

The deadline to register to vote in the November 13 elections is October 13 in person or by mail or October 23 through the online registration system GeauxVote.

Early voting is from October 30 to November 6 (except Sunday, October 31. The deadline for requesting a postal ballot is November 9 at 4:30 pm. Postal ballots must be received by the registrar of electors is on November 12 at 4:30 p.m.: 30 p.m.

See here for a full list of applicants. See here to find out what your ballot will look like.


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