Failing the Test

First elected mayor of Diamondhead, Tommy Schafer

First elected mayor of Diamondhead, Tommy Schafer

On August 26, 2005 I watched a television broadcast in amazement as the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, refused to issue an evacuation order without first consulting with his attorneys. The results of that indecision were tragic. People lost their lives and the survivors suffered through a complete meltdown of authority while chaos ruled the flooded Crescent City. For days, after Katrina hit, Nagin hid out in the Hyatt Regency on Poydras Street, avoiding both the people he abandoned and the press. (source: The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley) When the city of New Orleans needed a leader most, the coward betrayed them and was a no show.

Mr. Schafer agreed to debate John Fletcher at the awards ceremony for the EAA Young Eagles at the Diamondhead Airport on May 14th 2013. At that time a format was discussed and Mr. Schafer suggested that the number of questions be reduced from the proposed ten to six  for time sake. He promised to call us the next day to finalize the arrangements. May 14th was a Tuesday. We secured the room at the country club on May 15th. Mario Feola, major supporter of Schafer, assured me over the course of four days that he would have his candidate call me. No correspondence or phone call regarding the debate was received from Tommy Schafer or his campaign manager until May 21st a full week after he accepted our invitation, this despite a long history of numerous emails and phone calls before the mention of a debate.
Over the course of his primary campaign, Schafer and I had numerous conversations concerning his tactics. He, along with his campaign manager Nicole Boisdore’, proudly announced on several occasions that he had (“the best political consultant in Mississippi, don’t you know he ran the govenor’s campaign?”). I had repeatedly asked him to answer questions on our open forum and he candidly told me that his campaign advisor had told him not to participate in any open forums. This did not stop Boisdore’ from complaining when anyone posted anything negative about Schafer on the Diamondhead News Online. Her protests were especially fervent when a former friend of Schafer posted comments concerning Tommy Schafer’s personal escapades. It is clear that during the time Schafer agreed to the debate and Boisdore’ response a week later, an excuse was manufactured to avoid his commitment to debate. Knowing what we did about his political consultant’s advice, we did not accept the alibi. When we received Boisdore’s email we checked with the Diamondhead Country Club for alternate dates. None suitable were available at that venue. We then made arrangements with the owners of NVision to use the auditorium at the old school building and informed both Mr. Schafer and Mr. Fletcher that if they could not attend, please provide us alternate dates from May 29th through June 3rd. Fletcher had no problem with any dates. Schafer never responded.
We advertised the Mayoral Debate online beginning May 23rd. Several attempts were made to place the advertisement on the electronic signage, purchased with POA funds, the week prior to the debate. We were refused citing several totally ridiculous reasons, none being in the Bylaws or covenants and against the Non Profit Corporation act of the state of Mississippi. Need we point out that Mr. Schafer and his supporter Feola sit on the board of directors of the Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners and did nothing to help us secure neither the room nor the advertisement?
As 2005 proved, Diamondhead is particularly vulnerable to tropical storms. I personally witnessed the total lack of leadership, with the exception of two men, Chief Dennis Westbrook and Al Hermann, from officials who tried to recover from the greatest natural disaster in the history of the United States by holding ridiculous meetings. participating in the photo ops with the national press and constant attempts to usurp the authority of these two men. The most outlandish attempt was made by then POA president who assumed the role of “mayor without portfolio” and proceeded to divert cleanup efforts from the streets to the golf courses. Ramirez was in Lafayette, La. when Katrina hit. With increased accuracy meteorological science can predict that tracks of storms allowing for more time to prepare and possibly evacuate. It will also allow Mr. Schafer and his campaign advisors time to manufacture an excuse to meet with someone in Jackson.

About the Author

T. R. Alfonso
Editor and Publisher of the the Diamondhead News Online