Wednesday, February 22, 2006
By Deon Roberts
NEW ORLEANS ─ A group of citizens and business people have developed a strategy designed to consolidate the city's seven-assessor system.
IQ Ticket Inc., which stands for "I Quit," is filing incorporation documents today with the Louisiana Secretary of State's office. The group plans to back seven candidates who would run against the seven assessors in the April 22 primary election and resign if the state passes legislation creating a one-assessor system for the city, said Shaun Rafferty, IQ spokesman.
"If we elected seven new assessors in April or May ... we can't consolidate the assessorships until four years from now. But if we have seven people in office who say they'll step out of the way and won't impede progress, then perhaps we can accomplish this goal earlier," he said.
In a special session that ended Friday, state lawmakers did not pass an assessor consolidation bill. Rafferty said the Legislature made it impossible for a consolidation bill to be passed in time for the April primary. That was the impetus for IQ group's formation.
"What that single action really did was give these guys four more years," Rafferty said.
"We're actively working to identify the candidates, appropriate, responsible candidates," he said.
"I want to emphasize that these guys are not playing political games here. They're going to step in and do their job in the interim between the time they take office and the time any replacement occurs."
In response to IQ's proposal, First District Assessor Darren Mire, said, "It's a free country.
Everybody can do what they want to do. I plan on running on my record.
"The system we're in is the system we're in."
Orleans Parish is the only one in the state with more than one assessor. Rafferty said the system is "highly politicized."
"Every time an assessor sits down to have a cup of coffee with a constituent, a little political deal gets made, and one guy ends up better off than his neighbor, and a cop loses, a school child loses and we all lose," Rafferty said.
Rafferty promised to make consolidating the city's assessors into one an issue during the city's mayoral election.