Westwego council race pits incumbent against familiar challenger

Westwego residents will have two familiar faces to choose from in the race for the District 3 City Council seat as incumbent Ivy Rogers is squaring off against frequent challenger Norman Fonseca for the fourth time.

Fonseca and Rogers have battled each other in multiple campaigns that have been decided by the slimmest of margins. In the most recent campaign, in 2009, Rogers defeated Fonseca by fewer than 20 votes. However, Rogers said that despite their familiarity, there is no contempt between the two, and often when they are out campaigning, they will strike a gentlemen’s agreement about who will take which street on a certain day.

Rogers said he deserves a fifth term as a councilman because the city needs experienced leadership as it tries to fix some long-standing problems and navigate difficult fiscal times. Rogers, who is retired, said he tries to use his common sense and integrity as his guides when he’s conducting city business, and he feels he’s provided citizens with quality service.

“It’s a challenge, but I love doing it,” Rogers said. “I love politics, I love helping people.”

In District 3, Rogers said residents want the city to fix recurrent drainage problems and an issue with water pressure in the neighborhood. City officials have been discussing the water pressure issue for the past few months and are debating what path to take to fix the issue. Rogers said he understands what the city needs because there is nothing he hasn’t seen before as a politician.

“Experience is everything,” Rogers said.

But Fonseca said residents should view all of the city’s politicians with a jaundiced eye because they have been in office for so long. He said residents should look at the city’s problems and ask exactly how long politicians need to fix them.

“I think that we need a change in the city,” Fonseca said. “We’ve got the same people in election after election, and the city is at a standstill.”

He also mentioned water pressure and drainage as concerns but questioned why it has taken so long to make corrections. He also complained about the constant problems Westwego has had at its drinking water plant, which have resulted in state citations and boil water notices for residents.

Fonseca said that politicians seem to coast for years after they are elected and then scramble to get things accomplished when residents prepare to vote. As an active resident, with extensive community experience, Fonseca claims to represent the change the city needs to thrive.

“Things are not being done,” Fonseca said. “I think more could be done.”