Winston Ho 何嶸.
Rutgers University, New Brunswick,
Departments of History and Asian Languages and Cultures
2016 Jan. 22.
[Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, Jefferson Parish, At-large District B. Committee to Elect Cynthia Lee-Sheng, 2015.]
On 2015 Sep. 10, Cynthia Lee-Sheng was elected unchallenged to the Jefferson Parish District-B at-large council seat, when no other candidate qualified to run against her by the deadline. The granddaughter of restaurateur and real-estate speculator Lee Bing, and the daughter of 7-term Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee, Councilwoman Lee-Sheng has emerged as a leading political force in Louisiana in her own right.
Born and raised in Metairie, and trained as a forensic accountant, Lee-Sheng abandoned a promising career in the U.S. Department of Justice so that her two children could be closer to their grandfather in the final years of Harry Lee’s life. After her father passed away, Lee-Sheng ran for her first political office, the District 5 seat on the Jefferson Parish Council vacated by Jennifer Sneed. In a special election on 2009 Apr. 4, she easily defeated state senator Julie Quinn without a run-off, despite having no previous political experience, and despite an aggressive negative-ad campaign waged by both sides.
In two terms as the District 5 Councilwoman, Lee-Sheng has led sweeping changes to North Metairie, including stricter zoning laws, infrastructure improvements, the funding of “family-friendly” festivals, a beautification campaign along Veterans Blvd. (the main commercial corridor in the area), and a campaign to drive the 24-hour and adult entertainment bars out from Fat City (a commercial area in the center of District 5, adjacent the Lakeside Mall and Causeway Blvd, near the worthless swampland that her grandfather bought, which later became the Metairie Central Business District).
North Metairie is one of the most affluent residential areas in Louisiana, and Lee-Sheng originally ran on a commitment to transform it. This transformation is now taking place. Along the way, she has divided small business owners between supporters and opponents of her vision of a “family-friendly” Fat City. Crime has been reduced, but whether the family-friendly businesses she hopes to attract will actually sustain the local economy is still in question.
“2014 National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Advocate, Cynthia Lee-Sheng, Jefferson Parish Council.” American Planning Association Youtube site. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSDHhcDcIg4
Cynthia Lee-Sheng official website. http://cynthialeesheng.com/
Jefferson Parish Council official website. http://www.jeffparish.net/index.aspx?page=2926