“White Space” was about crypto-racism. This morning something popped into my inbox that doesn’t even bother with the racial codes.
It’s just out there. It shows us a part of White Space that we might call Bottom Feeder Space, occupied by the French Quarter residentialists with their drawers down, trying on a pointy hat.
Most of us are aware of neighborhood associations that have gone off the rails. They are not really neighborhood associations, because they do not represent the diversity of the area, just groups of broadly similar people bent on several kinds of control. The most conspicuous of the genre that I know are Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, French Quarter Citizens, and the leader, VCPORA or Vieux Carré Property Owners and Residents.
The last two have been busted by the document a few of us received. One of their weapons is a veil of respectability. They pretend to be devoted to the well-being of their neighborhoods and historical preservation. NOLAscape has been saying for a while that what they most avidly preserve is their own petty power, that their ideas of history do not resemble the real process but a snapshot Photoshopped to justify whatever their current mission of mischief is.
This document confirms the utter moral bankruptcy behind the facade of respectability they use to justify their positions. It shows that their focus is on extending their political influence throughout the city, from the French Quarter to the riverfront neighborhoods including the West bank and into the departments of municipal government. They are actively trying to unseat at least one member of City Council. Their objective, this document indicates, is not to win power for Republicans or Democrats, but for White candidates at the expense of Black.
Let’s walk through it. .
The email is an informal report from lobbyist and political hustler Cheron Brylski to the panjandrums of VCPORA and French Quarter Citizens. It is reproduced in full below for reference.
Remember a few weeks ago Carol Gniady of French Quarter Citizens strongly objected to council having any truck with Chris Young, because he was a lobbyist? Carol is one of the addressees of Brylski’s stuff, so as well as being a kind of small-bore lobbyist herself, her organization is also a client of a lobbyist and political fixer. The old pot and kettle story. So if their attempt to gain some moral high ground that day got any traction with you, you want to walk it back.
When Chris Young speaks at Council, he states clearly the name of the organization he represents. There is directness and transparency. He is a lawyer, but for legislation, not litigation.
Cheron Brylski, however, acting for VCPORA/FQC, stays in the shadows. Chief spokesmen and leader of the clubs, effective leader of all the coalitions, is Meg Lousteau, Executive Director of VCPORA. The clubs are secretive, but as far as we can make out, Meg leads on goal-setting, strategy, clarifying the talking points, assigning the speaking roles. Brylski is an adviser, a shadow consigliere..
In the memo, Brylski refers to Ms Gniady as Carol G., almost certainly to distinguish her from Carol Allen, ex-President of VCPORA, now implanted in the Preservation Resource Centre, dragging this respectable organization into the political muck-bucket of her former colleagues, sadly staining the legacy of Patty Gay and the real preservationist organization she has led for 40 years. When the PRC wakes up to what is being done to it by the bottom feeders of White Space, it may take them years to get their reputation cleaned up.
Brylski opens: “sorry this took me so long. . . . . This is what I think we decided:”
Her statements, conclusion and opinions are not unsolicited input. The email is a report and summary of conclusions the addressees have worked on together. I want to emphasize that, because VCPORA may try to save themselves by throwing Brylski under the bus, claiming the memo was unsolicited and they have no responsibility. Don’t let them get away with it.
From the memo:
“There are no plans to try to influence the westbank races where Troy Carter and Gary Carter could potentially win seats. However, residents may be donating services to Skip Gallagher to help his effort even though it appears the vote counts are not favorable for a white candidate in that district.” [Emphasis mine.]
So a group pretending to devotion to preservation of the “fragile” French Quarter is interested in deepening white power across the river.
The IRS may be interested in how an organization claiming exempt status for its devotion to historical preservation in the French Quarter is involved in power-brokering over the bridge. They have outed themselves as political hustlers. The preservationist pretensions are holed at the waterline. Their only reason for staying out of Westbank politics this election season is clear: they want to back a White candidate, but political savvy tells them their man won’t win.
How are you feeling at this point? A bit queasy? Don’t blame you.
Don’t whitewash it. Don’t make excuses. Cheron Brylski is showing us exactly what these people are. Some of you will think, Well, that’s okay, and join them in the moral dead zone. For you others, I hope the vast majority – think what it must look like, smell like, down in the pit of decomposition of indecency these nice folks inhabit.
I am waiting for more information to understand the issue, but in view of this note, Council President Jason Williams may need to cancel some meetings and give some thought to the company he keeps.
This section is the treasure trove. CM Ramsey is driving the French Quarter trolls nuts. They so much miss their long time mole in government, self-centered, addled old Jackie Clarkson, who would do their bidding with no questions beyond the unspoken, “What’s in it for me?”
“Meg will continue to investigate votes and support for the mayoral substitute amendment to the current NR “barestaurant” proposal. She and Carol G. will continue to feel out LaToya, who is increasingly concerned about voting with the “whites” on the Council.”
I wonder how CM LaToya Cantrell feels about being felt out, especially about the “whites.” Sounds pretty creepy to me. I was hoping to get a reaction from Ms Cantrell before this went up. Maybe next time. This isn’t over.
What’s going on with the Mayor’s office? They mention Ryan Berni. Are they working him to get the Mayor to send in an admin bill to replace CM Ramsey’s restaurant amendments? Hope not. They are sound technical bills. They just need passing. Any fine tuning can be done in Ramsey’s shop. The Harpy clubs are trying to turn them into a City Hall Benghazi – a non-issue to attack Ramsey with. The White Residentialist Party is not attacking Ramsey because of the amendments; they are blowing them out of proportion as a weapon to undermine her.
The “whites” on the Council are Stacy Head and Susan Guidry. They tend to support every sort of restrictive rubbish that the über-controlling residentialists try to inflict on the city to inhibit alcohol sales, music and new buildings. They especially hate music. When you drill down, music and alcohol usually turn out to be a crypto-racial issues as well. Three years of fuss about Habana Café at Esplanade and North Rampart were essentially about White Space, in code.
This week, Guidry finally gave up on a proposal backed by Keith Hardie, a VCPORA ally, the leading anti-alcohol, anti-music would-be Cromwellian regulator of Uptown, for Maple Street to secede from the CZO and have restaurant and bar businesses bend the knee to the rule of the local residents’ club.
If Ryan Berni really is supporting the FQ Harpy covens, this leak may be enough to get him to cut them off. Landrieu is probably canny enough to instruct him to close that door and leave management of the amendments in Ramsey’s office, where it belongs.
The other five Council Members tend to support greater clarity, simplicity, objectivity and freedom, with more regard for people and their needs over strict application and interpretation of ordinance. “We are a nation of laws,” says Stacy Head in Council, not infrequently. But New Orleans City Council is not the nation. It is a small legislative body dealing with laws sponsored by the likes of VCPORA/FQC and the unspeakable Clarkson, as well as a few predecessors who did jail time for their political programs.
In his finer moments, Council President Jason Williams directs our attention back toward the primary purpose of laws: the well-being of people.
VCPORA doesn’t like that. They liked the Clarkson era – whiter, more corrupt, prioritizing property over people, crazy and embarrassing.
It is not clear whether they are saying that CM Cantrell considers Head and Guidry the “whites” or that is just Brylsk/VCPORA/FQC’s way of sorting things. My limited experience of Ms Cantrell is, Meg and Carol may be in for a long lot of feeling out, and still won’t know how she will vote until she pushes the button. But look – they gotta try, right? I mean, White is White. Right?
Although I would suspect – hope – that their relationship with LaToya Cantrell is now in the gutter and will stay there forever after this. Ms Cantrell is very politically savvy in the ways of New Orleans. The smart play would be to cut all ties with these people.
“we have until October 1 to get the media strategy with Chief Woodfork going. He has had a favorable read from Fraternal Order of Police but is still awaiting a board endorsement. He knows this needs to come asap and he is trying to get them to act sooner rather than later (they normally do endorsements at their board meeting which is end of the month). He does not want me to engage Dr. Denise Shervington or other social workers in the testimony. He says he doesn’t buy into those philosophies. I feel it would be helpful if Meg or Carol G called him and updated him as to the legislative timetable, to support what I have told him and try to encourage him to move faster on the FOP endorsement. Without that endorsement, we can’t move on the radio campaign.” [Emphasis mine.]
Chief Woodfork must be former Police Chief Warren Woodfork, and Denise Shervington may be Dr. Denese Shervington, a prominent doctor and professor of public mental health at Tulane. Hard to say just what is going on here. Shall we guess? VCPORA/FQC want some prominent people of color to endorse their latest anti-alcohol/anti-music/anti-Ramsey campaign. If it is just the FQ clubs, Head and Guidry against the rest of Council, it might look like a Black v. White issue. That does not fit the New Codes. Get the Black head of the Fraternal Order of Police on board, and maybe a prominent doctor, and Alley-Oop: we are democratic and representative.
So Brylski, the aspiring Karl Rove of the White Ladies of the French Quarter, wants to run a radio campaign to gather support for this month’s anti-Ramsey drive, but the Black v. White divide in Council is becoming too noticeable. They need a respected Black face to shill for them.
The fallout from this memo should be enough to convince both of them to stay clear of VCPORA and its followers.
Still in NADINE RAMSEY:
“The hotel issue was also postponed but we are unclear as to Nadine’s mindset. It does appear we have more hope to get favorable support in court than before the Council as our votes continue to dwindle and the Ramsey coalition gains strength.”
Could this be the height variance for the proposed resurrection of the Astor Hotel at 100 Royal Street? Maybe; they usually have a hotel to object to.
Of interest here is what Brylski highlights: they use the civil court as a political tool. When they fail politically, they try to get a civil court judge to override the democratic process.
“Unclear as to Nadine’s mindset.” That is exactly what we, the real people of New Orleans, want to see. They must be bugging Nadine’s office for a commitment, and she ain’t saying. Some days you just want to give Nadine Ramsey a big hug. Quite unsuitable for a judge and council member, but still . . . .
“In the meantime, we all believe the grassroots campaign about Nadine will resume soon.”
So our little clutch of confessed snobs, with their now exposed White agenda, want to bring an Algiers’ women’s movement into alignment with their own? I hope the women of Algiers know better. Even the enemy of my enemy can be a step too far.
“This is in the courts and probably will continue to be in the courts rather than in press. We are seeking information from Assessor about who owns all riverfront property on east and westbank re the proposed sites.”
Another confirmation, if we needed one, that VCPORA/FQC consider abuse of civil court a weapon to try to counteract political failure. For them, the judicial process, supposedly intended for redress of injustice, is just another tool of municipal leverage.
FMIA and Lisa Suarez have a pending case for a restraining order against the Riverfront Overlay. Phase one, requesting a Temporary Restraining Order against the Riverside Overlay, has already been kicked. The case was ill-conceived and ill-prepared. The City Attorneys and Bob Rivers, Executive Director of the City Planning Council, shredded it in an entertaining few hours. The next case for a permanent restraining order is likely to go down even quicker. Unless VCPORA has another case working, they should start looking for a stronger ally than Lisa Suarez and FMIA.
“We still lack one and none identified. Eric Anthony Johnson still interested but no one has reached out to him to interview him. No others id’d at this moment.”
I love this one. I LOVE it. Cheron Brylski, our aspiring local Karl Rove, tells us right straight up front splat in your face that her little clutch of cheap-jack clients are looking for a token Black face, and so far nobody wants to play. A Black Cinderella to smooth the way for the Ugly Sisters. Cheron is telling you what others have been saying: We are an unrepresentative little parade of white snobs, articulate but of narrow, limited intelligence, drumming the same boring martial beat at Council week after week, month after month, year after year.
And they are working up a hope that a token African American face will spread their appeal.
I wonder what the pay scale is. What’s the going rate for am African American of repute to shill for these delightful folks? If they find one, they will probably have to be more careful with their code language when he or she is around the clubhouse.
The French Quarter Harpy clubs perform regularly at City Council. The two minute presntations of their leaders and sometimes guests or members are scripted to make us think there is a public interest, that they care about something beyond their own window boxes. Lousteau reasonable, Meadowcroft congenial, Susan Guillot irascible, Albin Guillot histrionic and Carol Gniady – variable. Some seem to believe the script and the cause; some are just mercenaries.
Brylski’s memo shows how they cook the little plots and stir the cauldrons and write the scripts. If you listen to them in Council or interviews and refer back to this glimpse behind the curtain, you can see that where you might expect a little wizard, the center of the performance is really a warm bucket of BS.
They remind me of the Republican psychopathy, as recently seen on CNN and Fox: lack of interest in reality, disregard for facts, lust for power, disinterest in honor or truth, appearance and appeal to the base over substance. But what would the RNC do to the real Rove if he let a memo like this leak?
Okay, that’s my first attempt attempt to shine some bright light on Brylski’s obscene little exposure of some of the tricks her clients, the Respectable Temperance Anti-Music Establishment of the French Quarter, get up to. Below is the whole original text. Have a read, Make up your own mind. And stay tuned. We will be looking at this subject again.
Here is the whole text of the email from Cheron Brylski to the Presidents and Execs of the French Quarter group, Vieux Carré Property Owners and Residents Association and French Quarter Citizens. Enjoy.
From: Louisiana <email@example.com> on behalf of cheron brylski via Louisiana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, September 18, 2015 at 9:44 AM
To: Meg Lousteau <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Cc: Cheron Brylski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [News] summary of meeting
sorry this took me so long. I’ve been in chicago and still am, but finally get to breathe.
This is what I think we decided:
FQC and VCPORA will do interviews with the Senate Race to replace Ed Murray. There are however no plans for residents to INVEST in any one candidate re a fundraiser. Once the interviews are conducted, it is possible Tony Marino will organize a Meet and Greet for all residents.
There are no plans to try to influence the westbank races where Troy Carter and Gary Carter could potentially win seats. However, residents may be donating services to Skip Gallagher to help his effort even though it appears the vote counts are not favorable for a white candidate in that district. Llourdes Moran has hired Yvonne Mitchell Grubb to be her campaign manager.
TAX MEASURE ON OCTOBER 24 BALLOT
Residents will continue to remind Ryan Berni that a public hearing is supposed to be had on the issue and not act on any resident information campaign until it is clear the other groups (FQBA, BBA, Hotel Motel, etc.) have endorsed the measure.
AIR RIGHTS ISSUE
Meg/Carol are approaching Jason Williams about convening a meeting of impacted neighborhoods.
Meg will continue to investigate votes and support for the mayoral substitute amendment to the current NR “barestaurant” proposal. She and Carol G. will continue to feel out LaToya, who is increasingly concerned about voting with the “whites” on the Council. Regardless of where the actual amendment stands, we have until October 1 to get the media strategy with Chief Woodfork going. He has had a favorable read from Fraternal Order of Police but is still awaiting a board endorsement. He knows this needs to come asap and he is trying to get them to act sooner rather than later (they normally do endorsements at their board meeting which is end of the month). He does not want me to engage Dr. Denise Shervington or other social workers in the testimony. He says he doesn’t buy into those philosophies. I feel it would be helpful if Meg or Carol G called him and updated him as to the legislative timetable, to support what I have told him and try to encourage him to move faster on the FOP endorsement. Without that endorsement, we can’t move on the radio campaign.
The hotel issue was also postponed but we are unclear as to Nadine’s mindset. It does appear we have more hope to get favorable support in court than before the Council as our votes continue to dwindle and the Ramsey coalition gains strength.
In the meantime, we all believe the grassroots campaign about Nadine will resume soon. The Legislative races and increasing westbank crime give us opportunities. Additionally, we are trying to identify the women who have persistently opposed Nadine on the gas station issue.
MAPLE STREET IS DEAD
The Keith Hardie issue re Maple Street is dead for time being because Susan doesn’t see a favorable vote anytime soon. Guidry feels her and Head are increasingly isolated as the “whites” who are against development.
This is in the courts and probably will continue to be in the courts rather than in press. We are seeking information from Assessor about who owns all riverfront property on east and westbank re the proposed sites.
We still lack one and none identified. Eric Anthony Johnson still interested but no one has reached out to him to interview him. No others id’d at this moment.
SUMMARY OF PLANNED ACTION STEPS
1. Followup on town meeting by Ryan Berni re tax issue
2.Interview Senate candidates and hold meet and greet
3.Discuss viability of Mayor’s amendment v. Nadine’s in Oct. 1 vote
4.Encourage Chief Woodfork to move faster or develop alternative to radio plan
5.Encourage focus on Nadine’s actions re westbank, crime and development; keep her on defensive
6. Work to defeat hotel proposal by Nadine planned for Oct. 1
The Brylski Company
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Bob Freilich, 9/18/2015