Mayoral candidates call for more technology, changes in makeup of S&WB

Mayoral candidates call for more technology, changes in makeup of S&WB

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It has become a surprise major issue in the mayoral race, with the election just two months away.

Mayor Landrieu says he will not enter into any new long term commitments, as he tries to right the wrongs of the Sewerage and Water Board, so that the new mayor, won't be bound by something they might not like.

"The next mayor and city council will have to think about how we get from here to there," said Landrieu, this weekend.

And now, those vying to be the next mayor are doing just that.

"I want to create an emergency command center," said candidate Desiree Charbonnet.

"I was hands on, if we had low water pressure, I got the call at two in the morning," said candidate Tommie Vassel. He  served on the Sewerage and Water Board for nine years before and after Katrina, and says if he's elected mayor, he will bring the same approach to an agency which he says has fallen into disrepair, in spite of a $600 million FEMA cash infusion.

"I left the board in 2011 we had enough money to make all these repairs," said Vassel.

Vassel says if elected, he would put in a good management team, consisting of a true CEO, and an engineer, and he says he would push for a revamped board, similar to the one that existed until four years ago, when councilmembers were taken off.

"I believe they ought to be back there. We had both council at large, and one other councilmember," said Vassel.

Candidate and former judge, Charbonnet, says she too, would be hands on. And she says she wants to build a command center, with video imaging of all the city's trouble spots.

"There would be lots of monitors around the room that would be picking up what's going on all over the city, so when there's flooding, we can zoom in," said Charbonnet.

Charbonnet says when it comes to making big changes, she will wait for more information.

"As a judge you need to see the facts before you make a ruling and you  want to know everything," she said.

And she says she may commission her own study, if she wins the mayor's race.

Vassell is a former President Pro Tempore of the Sewerage and Water Board. Charbonnet, was a municipal court judge until she stepped down to run for mayor. We spoke earlier with  other candidates. To hear more about their positions on drainage you can go to our website, click here.

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