Thursday, March 16, 2006

MEET GRETA GLADNEY
Candidate for Mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana


PLATFORM FOCUS
- Commitment to Quality Public Education
- Community Involvement in Neighborhood Planning
- Microenterprise Development as a Poverty Alleviation Strategy
- Revitalization along Residential and Commercial Corridors

Greta Gladney, a 41-year-old fourth generation Lower Ninth Ward resident, is mother of three and grandmother of two. A graduate of McDonogh 35 Senior High School, she holds a BS in chemistry from Xavier University, a BA in philosophy from the University of New Orleans and an MBA from Baruch College of the City University of New York. A trained facilitator, she serves as Director of the Saint Claude Avenue Merchants Association and Executive Director of the Renaissance Project – a successful community development initiative focused on revitalizing communities along the St. Claude Ave. corridor.

Gladney's campaign effort will focus on rebuilding neighborhoods with affordable housing, food access through farmers markets, economic development via small and micro-enterprise, and quality public education through community schools.

QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION AS A CIVIL RIGHT
“Both my grandmother and mother were college graduates and elementary school teachers. Education was our lifestyle and accepted as a lifelong personal development process.”

Ms. Gladney was apprenticed alongside provosts in the Offices of Academic Affairs of two institutions of higher learning, the University of New Orleans and Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. Committed to lifelong learning and a former employee of Orleans Parish Schools, Gladney coordinated a U.S. Department of Education-funded program for smaller learning communities at McDonogh 35 and Frederick Douglass High Schools. She believes that public schools anchor neighborhoods and all residents must participate in strengthening these community assets in order to secure future generations and the future of New Orleans. Flutist and mother of a promising young jazz musician, Ms. Gladney asserts the importance of arts and cultural programming in broadening the horizons of students across all ethnic and socioeconomic classes.

Gladney foresees facilitating a partnership among residents, civic organizations, educational programming providers, Orleans Parish Schools, United Teachers of New Orleans and the Office of the Mayor towards an end of providing quality education to ensure the civic participation of a future electorate.

COMMUNITY IN THE MIX
"I founded Renaissance to improve the quality of life in the Lower Ninth Ward. We need leadership that values the contributions of all community members in rebuilding New Orleans neighborhoods.”

The Renaissance Project, the nonprofit organization founded four years ago by Ms. Gladney, continues to serve as fiscal sponsor for Students at the Center, Listen to the People, NOAX (New Orleans Arts Exchange), Saint Claude Avenue Merchants Association and Downtown Neighborhood Market Consortium.

Before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Gladney worked closely with Students at the Center, SAC, a creative writing program in Orleans Parish Schools, operated as an elective class at Frederick Douglass Senior High School. Through NOAX (New Orleans Arts Exchange), Gladney coordinated arts and cultural programming in the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East through the District 2 Community Enhancement Corporation. She also worked with CareCorp and District 99 towards renovating the Frederick Douglass auditorium to create a community performance venue.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ALONG COMMERCIAL CORRIDORS
“I believe that by focusing on revitalizing our residential and commercial corridors in New Orleans, we support the redevelopment of adjacent and surrounding neighborhoods, creating safer more livable communities for all to enjoy.”

On behalf of Saint Claude Avenue Merchants Association, Ms. Gladney launched a St. Claude Avenue Clean-up Campaign with assistance from NewCorp Business Assistance Center, conducted beta testing of the Guidebook to Community Revitalization on behalf of the New Orleans chapter of Commercial Real Estate for Women (CREW) and planned an Adopt a Block program for neutral grounds on St. Claude Avenue.

Gladney wrote grants for Downtown Neighborhood Market Consortium, and sought funding to establish two farmers markets along St. Claude Avenue at Press St. in the Marigny and at Tennessee St. in the Lower Ninth Ward. Ms. Gladney will hold the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development accountable to business and neighborhood associations with interests along New Orleans’ commercial corridors including St. Claude, Oretha Castle Haley, Chef Menteur, Broad and Magazine.


PROMOTING SELF-SUFFICIENCY THROUGH SMALL BUSINESS & MICROENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

“I am concerned about providing guidance, support and earning opportunities with benefits to women. Women and children have been most vulnerable to poverty in our City.”

Ms. Gladney, a single mother of three, worked to support her family throughout her academic career. She has held positions as switchboard operator at Chateau de Notre Dame Nursing Home, night auditor at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, camera girl at Pat O’Briens, retail sales clerk and manager at three Jax Brewery and Riverwalk establishments, long-term temporary assignments in the accounting departments of Consolidated Natural Gas, (CNG), and Entergy, positions as project secretary with Production Technology at Exxon and executive secretary to the president of offshore drilling division of W.R. Grace. These positions paid neither health nor retirement benefits.

The search for poverty alleviation strategies led her through graduate studies in business and around the world to remote villages with the Kenyan Greenbelt Movement and American Assistance to Cambodia. Microenterprise appeared a viable pathway to economic independence for women. The Renaissance Project has recently partnered with Good Work Network and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) to provide support to small business owners and entrepreneurs throughout New Orleans neighborhoods. This initiative is directed by and will primarily serve women.

COMMITMENT TO ETHICS & PUBLIC SERVICE

Ms. Gladney is a member of the 135-year-old Amozion Baptist Church. A member of the National Service Conference to the United Nations and Frederick Douglass Community Coalition, she has served as trustee and treasurer to the American Ethical Union, and member of both the District 99 Community Advisory Team and the Community Based Mitigation Committee for the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal Lock Expansion Project of the Army Corps of Engineers.