[StBernard] Contentious St. Bernard runoff races enter home stretch

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Nov 15 09:57:58 EST 2011

Contentious St. Bernard runoff races enter home stretch


Posted on November 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Updated yesterday at 12:22 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News

In a parish still facing major challenges, voters say stakes are high for
the upcoming St. Bernard runoff elections.

"You know, we've come along, but there's still way a lot still to be done,
and we need to make sure that somebody gets in office that can take care of
us," said voter Charlotte Meyers.

Eyewitness News political analyst Clancy DuBos says it's no surprise the two
highest profile races have been especially heated -- the showdown for parish
president between incumbent Craig Taffaro and former parish CAO David
Peralta and the battle for sheriff between current Chief Deputy Jimmy
Pohlman and Councilman At-Large Wayne Landry.

The sheriff's race has, perhaps, delivered the most fireworks -- from fights
over campaign signs to viral internet attack ads.

Through it all, DuBos says you'd be hard pressed to find many St. Bernard
voters still on the fence.

"I think it becomes so polarized because it's a small, insular parish," he
said."People there go back many generations and so there are rivalries that
go back generations."

The political lines in St. Bernard often divide even next door neighbors,
but some St. Bernard voters say the overall contentious atmosphere of the
sheriff's race has grown tiresome.

As Pohlmann and Landry head into the home stretch, some said the candidates
need to focus on the key issues.

"(Voters) don't want to hear the mudslinging and the negativity, they want
more positive," said voter Troy Musacchia.

Catherine Gay agreed.

"There's a lot of issues and they need to be handled, but if they just keep
talking about each other and knocking each other, what does that solve? What
is it gonna solve? Nothing," Gay said."Talk about what we need down here and
what's happening down here and if we have anything that we can make better.
That's what you talk about."

In the October primary, Pohlmann hauled in 45 percent of the vote, compared
to Landry's 30 percent.

The parish president's race was much closer, however, with Taffaro capturing
only 208 more votes than Peralta.

The runoffs take place this Saturday, November 19.

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