Regular Meeting

November 05, 2009 

City Council Chamber

City Council November 5, 2009 Regular Meeting Summary

New Orleans, LA - November 5, 2009 - Today the New Orleans City Council passed Resolutions supporting funding of the Counseling Service Unit program for first responders, the local oyster industry, and the efforts of the Fast Forward Restart organization; and refuting Dr. Blakely's recent comments on New Orleans.
Additionally, the Council approved a zoning change in preparation for the "Reinventing the Crescent" riverfront development and passed an Ordinance expanding the boundaries of the Neighborhood Conservation District.
The Council also addressed briefings and presentations on the impact of property tax assessments on the City Budget, the status of 100-year storm protection, the AFL-CIO's Investment Trust Corporation; and honored Pearlie Elloie, Head Start Director for Total Community Action, Inc.

Approved Zoning Change in Preparation for Riverfront Development

The Council approved Zoning Docket 87/09, authored by Councilmember Carter, approving a zoning change from a Light Industrial district to Park and Recreation district for land along the east bank of the Mississippi River, in preparation for the New Orleans Building Corporation's "Reinventing the Crescent" riverfront development.
Sean Cummings, CEO of the New Orleans Building Corporation (NOBC), appeared before the Council to offer his full support for the Zoning Docket and to provide specific information on the "Reinventing the Crescent" project, including details of the team of architects, and participation by local and DBE businesses.
For more information on the "Reinventing the Crescent" riverfront development, click here.
District "C" Councilmember James Carter said, "Reinventing the Crescent is a progressive step forward in creating economic development within our City. This riverfront development will transform New Orleans in a very positive way - creating recreational spaces for our youth, installing outdoor artwork, and bringing together some of the world's greatest architects. This project will become yet another of our City's many beautiful and iconic landmarks."

Supported Funding of the Counseling Service Unit Program for First Responders

The Council passed Resolution R-09-586, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, urging the federal government to continue funding the Counseling Service Unit (CSU) program to ensure the health of the city's first responders.
The CSU for Firefighters and EMS Support Group began in New York following 9/11, and after Hurricane Katrina the New York CSU came to New Orleans and helped organize the local CSU team. The three-year federal grant currently funding the New Orleans CSU was extended for an additional year after Hurricane Gustav but will shortly be exhausted.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "In the aftermath of Katrina our first responders endured the worst aspects of the most devastating disaster in the nation's history, and they exhibited true leadership and provided the critical and necessary services to our citizens during this difficult time. We must continue this very worthwhile program to support our first responders, who have supported us in times of true crisis."

Received Report on Impact of Property Tax Assessments on City Budget

Nancy Marshall, 6th Municipal District Assessor, appeared before the Council to report on the property tax assessments and their impact on the City Budget.

Marshall provided information on the current assessment process, varying market values around the City, and emphasized the importance of having a good assessment method in place that is economic and accurate.

Councilmembers discussed the need for New Orleans properties to be evaluated by a transparent and unbiased party to ensure fair and equitable assessments City-wide. The Council thanked Ms. Marshall for appearing before them and providing her perspective on this very important issue.

Addressed Status of 100-Year Storm Protection

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives Colonel Bob Sinkler and Karen Durham-Aguilera, Director of Task Force Hope, appeared before the Council to provide Councilmembers with an update on the status of 100-year storm protection.
Information was provided, through a PowerPoint presentation featuring graphs and photographs, on the following items: 


-  Timelines and schedules of completion of 100-year storm     protection

-  Current construction projects around the greater New Orleans area

-  Funding sources for the projects

-  2009 contracts awarded and percentage of contracts awarded to small businesses
Councilmembers thanked the representatives for continuing to appear before the Council on a regular basis to provide updates on 100-year storm protection and encouraged the Army Corps to get engaged with community and neighborhood groups around the City to ensure they are accurately informed on the details of the project.

Supported Local Oyster Industry

The Council passed Resolution R-09-606, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, stating that the Council stands with Louisiana's congressional delegation in supporting the local oyster industry and opposing the severe burden that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intends to place on that industry. 
Dickie Brennan, local restaurateur, and Sal Sunseri, Owner of P&J Oyster Company, appeared before the Council to
thank the Councilmembers for acting so quickly in support of Louisiana's oyster industry.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals currently works with the oyster industry to ensure that strict health regulations are followed. The FDA has announced new rules, to take effect in 2011, that would require all oysters served in the United States between the months of April and October to undergo a sterilization procedure. The implementation of the sterilization process would necessitate a debilitating capital investment from small, local operators.

Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "Louisiana is far and away the premier oyster-producing state in the country and the economic impact of the oyster industry is immense. Mandating post-harvesting processing is an unnecessary step, and we cannot impose this burden on this very important industry."

Expanded Neighborhood Conservation District

The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 27,695, authored by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, to expand the boundaries of the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) to include parts of Gentilly Terrace which are not part of the Gentilly Terrace National Register District.

Specifically, the Ordinance deems the following area as part of the NCD: Elysian Fields Ave. at Gentilly Blvd., north along Elysian Fields Ave. to Filmore Ave., east along Filmore Ave. to Peoples Ave., south along Peoples Ave. to Gentilly Blvd., along Gentilly Blvd. or origin at Elysian Fields and those properties fronting on bounding streets.
The purpose of the NCD is to preserve and stabilize neighborhoods through the protection of historical structures, promotion of redevelopment that contributes to the historic character of the neighborhood, and discouragement of underutilization of property in an urban environment.
District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, "This Ordinance was requested by the Gentilly Terrace Neighborhood Association and is strongly supported by the community. Gentilly is an area of the City rich in history and culture - we must do everything we can to ensure the preservation of historical buildings and the unique character of Gentilly neighborhoods."

Received Briefing on AFL-CIO's Investment Trust Corporation

Thomas O'Malley Director of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust's Veterans Housing Initiative, appeared before the Council to brief Councilmembers on the AFL-CIO's Investment Trust Corporation.
O'Malley's presentation provided information on:

-  Summary and history of the AFL-CIO's Building Investment Trust

-  Jobs generated by the Trust's investments

-  Real estate investments

-  Recent portfolio activity and outlook

-  Union labor requirements for potential investments

-  Accomodations to local requirements 

The AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation (ITC) provides real estate sourcing, development assistance, marketing, investor relations, and labor relations services to labor-related pension investment fund clients.  

Commended Efforts of Fast Forward Restart Organization

The Council passed Resolution R-09-614, co-authored by Councilmembers Fielkow and Willard-Lewis, supporting the efforts of the Fast Forward Restart organization and the Fast Forward Main Street Demonstration Project, with aims to help revitalize New Orleans East and thirty of its small businesses.
Fast Forward Restart, a nonprofit organization, works to assist small businesses in New Orleans East and has supported 220 small businesses in Louisiana since its formation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The organization launched the Fast Forward Main Street Demonstration Project to illustrate that focused support of small business entrepreneurs in a community results in a sustainable increase in revenue and jobs and creates a positive and supportive business environment for new entrepreneurs.
District "E" Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis said, "New Orleans East is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and the Fast Forward Restart organization is making great strides in helping to support and encourage businesses in New Orleans East. This project will create a sustainable network of businesses that will offer mutual support, and promote community business support and economic development."

Honored Pearlie Elloie, Head Start Director for Total Community Action, Inc.

Total Community Action, Inc. representatives Pearlie Elloie, James Singleton and Priscilla Edwards appeared before the Council for a presentation in honor of Ms. Elloie.
The presentation honored Pearlie Elloie for her 44 years of service as the first and only Head Start Director for Total Community Action, Inc.

Total Community Action, Inc.'s Head Start Program is a child and family development program that provides services and experiences to promote the growth and development of the family.

Councilmember Head and Councilmember Carter coauthored a Proclamation on behalf of the full City Council in honor of Pearlie Elloie.
District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head said, "We are so grateful for Pearlie's dedication to the New Orleans community. Over the years she has dedicated herself to helping children and families in need, and her work has truly made a difference in this city."
District "C" Councilmember James Carter said, "The Head Start program provides invaluable services to the community and Pearlie Elloie has served as a true leader of that program. Her continued engagement with the many diverse neighborhoods of our City have helped to ensure the success of the program as a whole."

Refuted Dr. Blakely's Recent Comments about New Orleans

The Council passed Resolution R-09-622, co-authored by Councilmembers Hedge-Morrell and Willard-Lewis, publicly refuting all of Dr. Edward Blakely's comments and acknowledging that the recovery of New Orleans has vastly been accomplished by the hard work and personal financial resources of its citizens.

The Resolution refers to a recent CalTV interview in which former Office of Recovery and Development Administration Director Edward Blakely criticized he recovery process and citizens of New Orleans.

"Dr. Blakely's comments were extremely unfair to the residents of New Orleans, and the City employees who have worked hard towards the recovery," said District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. "The workers he criticized were here living on boats long before Dr. Blakely came, when it wasn't convenient or comfortable."

District "E" Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis said, "Dr. Blakely's comments angered, inflamed and added to the frustration of our residents. He should have taken responsibility for the lack of recovery progress instead of blaming citizens and employees for his lack of leadership."

Evelyn F. Pugh
Interim Council Chief of Staff
Ph: (504) 658-1082

Created on: 6/21/2018 12:20:09 PM | Last updated: 10/23/2018 1:09:38 PM


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