This newspaper endorsed Mr. Nagin enthusiastically four years ago. Then an executive with Cox Cable, Mr. Nagin vowed to manage city government in an efficient, businesslike manner. Under his leadership, city government improved in a number of nuts-and-bolts ways. His administration put property assessments online and cleared out a backlog of road repairs. He kept taxes down; managed the city treasury well; treated the Aviation Board and the Regional Transit Authority as transportation agencies, not patronage vehicles; and gave federal corruption investigators unprecedented access to City Hall. In short, Mr. Nagin is an honest man who has kept the best interests of the city at heart, and the lack of major scandals within his administration is a great credit to him.
Mitch Landrieu would bring liabilities of his own to the job. One is his last name. Mr. Landrieu is capable of dealing with the White House and Congress. But Republicans may be less inclined to work with a mayor from the first family of Democratic politics in Louisiana.
Furthermore, Mr. Landrieu's private-sector experience is not extensive. He was not a strong backer of business-friendly bills in the Legislature. And his current supporters include a long line of former patronage beneficiaries. Nothing in his record indicates whether he can keep them from jostling back up to the trough. A pleaser by nature, Mr. Landrieu seems loath to upset anybody. To be a good mayor, he will have to learn how to be the bearer of bad news.
In Saturday's election, voters are fortunate to have a choice between two candidates of good character. But one has the better disposition and drive to rally New Orleanians to their city's cause. Mitch Landrieu is that candidate.
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