January 07, 2010
City Council Chamber
City Council January 7, 2010 Regular Meeting Summary
New Orleans, LA - January 7, 2010 - Today, the New Orleans City Council addressed a report from the Inspector General on redevelopment plans for the Municipal Auditorium, received a report from the District Attorney (DA) on issues related to the DA's 2010 budget allocation and passed Ordinances restoring funding to the DA and restoring essential services eliminated as a result of the implementation of budget cuts.
The Council also passed Resolutions supporting the local shrimp industry and the creation of a U.S. Export-Import Bank regional office in New Orleans.
Additionally, the Council received reports on the Green Building Program and the accomplishments and goals of evacuteer.org, and made presentations and passed Resolutions honoring two local citizens for service to the City.
Supported Local Shrimp Industry
The Council passed Resolution R-10-1, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, supporting the actions of Governor Bobby Jindal, especially the creation of the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force, in cracking down on price fixing and mislabeling in the shrimp industry and urging local restaurants, residents of New Orleans, and visitors to the City to insist on Louisiana shrimp when purchasing and consuming seafood.
Over the summer of 2009, Louisiana shrimpers faced a devastating fall in prices, the reasons for which may include price fixing and processors passing off foreign shrimp as domestic shrimp. To this end, Governor Jindal has taken action to increase enforcement practices on imported shrimp, and investigate price fixing in the shrimp industry.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "New Orleans' culture is made up of many things, one of them being our unique cuisine. Louisiana commercial fishermen and our local shrimpers contribute considerably to the economy of New Orleans and we must support this very important industry in any way that we can.
Supported Creation of U.S. Export-Import Bank Regional Office in New Orleans
The Council passed Resolution R-10-24, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, standing with the Louisiana congressional delegation in its call for a regional office of the U.S. Export-Import Bank to be opened in New Orleans.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank is positioned to open a regional office in the country, and in a preliminary review it named New Orleans a top contender for this new branch.
Special Development Projects and Economic Development Committee Chair Councilmember Arnie Fielkow said,"International trade has long been an economic driver for New Orleans and the state, and the Port of New Orleans has a history of serving as a U.S. gateway for global trade."
Councilmember Fielkow continued "The bank currently has offices in Texas and Florida but a New Orleans branch could better serve our city and other Gulf Coast ports. With this legislation, the City Council can stand side by side with our congressional delegates to urge federal officials to recognize the value of such an opening."
Honored Citizens for Service to the City
Celebrated the Life of Pam Dashiell
Representatives from the Historic Lower 9th Ward Council for Arts and Sustainability, Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, Make It Right Foundation and members of All Souls Episcopal Church appeared before the Council for a presentation celebrating the life of the late Pam Dashiell.
The Council passed Resolution R-10-25, authored by Councilmember Willard-Lewis, honoring Pam Dashiell for her years of service to the City of New Orleans.
Pam Dashiell served as President and Board Chair of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association and Co-Director of the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. Additionally, her dedication to green building and sustainable housing served as an inspiration to Brad Pitt, founder of Make It Right.
District "E" Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis said, "Pam Dashiell was a true soldier for the Lower Ninth Ward, the City and the region. Always respectful and courteous, she advocated passionately for the neighborhood that she loved and the issues that she cared about on a local, regional and national level. We are so grateful for all that she gave to our great City."
Honored the Late Alvena Smith Lupo
The Council made a presentation and passed Resolution R-10-37, authored by Councilmember Clarkson, honoring the late Alvena Smith Lupo for many years of loyal and steadfast service as an advocate for the City of New Orleans. Lupo's daughter Norris Lupo Williams and her husband Bob Williams joined the Council in honoring Alvena Smith Lupo's legacy.
Mrs. Lupo, while attending Tulane University, managed an independent movie house, and during World War II, the Lakeview, under her management, sold more war bonds than many of the large movie houses. Additionally, Mrs. Lupo was dedicated to the continuation of the rebuilding of the Lakeview area, allowing family owned land to be used as the site for a temporary library.
Council Vice President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "This Council will forever remember Ms. Lupo for all that she did as a dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of this City. We are so thankful to her family for sharing her with this City."
Addressed Presentation on Evacuteer.org 2009 Accomplishments and 2010 Goals
Robert Fogarty, volunteer for evacuteer.org, appeared before the Council to give a presentation on the 2009 accomplishments and 2010 goals of evacuteer.org.
Evacuteer.org was launched on June 2, 2009 as an organization of New Orleans citizens committed to serving as "evacuteers" upon the future initiation of the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP). The goal of evacuteer.org is successful, efficient, sanitary, and safe evacuation of all New Orleanians upon initiation of the CAEP.
Fogarty informed the Council that, as of the close of 2009, evacuteer.org has 22 partner organizations and 426 volunteers. Moving forward in 2010, evacuteer.org is dedicated to hosting a summit at the start of hurricane season to bring partners, volunteers and elected officials together to discuss the CAEP, its various aspects, and the role of each party in the CAEP.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "We admire all the work that you do and we thank you for your dedication to this very vital and important resource. It is a comfort to know that we have a dedicated force of volunteers to assist our citizens in times of emergency."
Addressed Report from District Attorney on 2010 Budget Allocation
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro appeared before the Council to discuss issues related to the District Attorney's Office 2010 budget allocation.
The District Attorney (DA) discussed the effects that the current budget allocation for the DA's office will have on both staffing and the continuance of various programs within the office. Cannizzaro informed Councilmembers that should the City restore funding to the DA, programming currently at risk of being discontinued will be able to be maintained, with the exception of the cold case team.
Cary Grant, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, also appeared to discuss the budget allocation for the DA, and agreed to reduce the Chief Administrative Office's funding allocation for city light and gas and to move those funds to the office of the District Attorney.
The Council passed Motion M-10-42, authored by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, affirming that a state of emergency exists due to the fact that critical and essential services were eliminated as a result of the implementation of budget cuts.
The Motion provided the means by which the Council immediately adopted Ordinances Calendar Numbers 27,806, 27,807, and 27,829, providing for the transfer of funds to the DA's Office and appropriation of funds to restore essential services including public safety vehicle maintenance, procurement of EMS supplies, opening of health clinics and multi-service centers, resumption of blight hearings, and restoration of funding to the Office of Inspector General up to the mandated level.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "The DA is a valuable and necessary resource for this City. We are facing difficult economic times and must make hard decisions with regard to funding, however we want to ensure that we provide the DA with an appropriate level of funding so that the Office may continue its very important work."
Received Presentation on Green Building Program
At the request of Councilmember Clarkson, representatives of the Home Builders Association (HBA) appeared before the Council to discuss the Green Building Program.
The HBA representatives gave an overview of the Green Building Program, with an emphasis on the importance of high quality housing, universal applicability of green building standards, affordability, and the economic development and job creation benefits that green building can provide.
Council Vice President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "The Green Building Program gives everyone the opportunity to improve their quality of life by going green, while keeping affordability and accessibility at the forefront. We are so thankful for all the work the Home Builders Association does for metropolitan New Orleans."
Received Report from Inspector General on Municipal Auditorium Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux, along with City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields and Director of Capital Projects Bill Chrisman, appeared before the Council to discuss the current plans to redevelop the Municipal Auditorium.
Quatrevaux discussed the current contract for redevelopment plans, and expressed several concerns regarding the competitive selection process, the eligibility of the project for FEMA reimbursement, and the content of the contract including billing rates, and the lack of concrete and specificcontractor responsibilities.
Moses-Fields and Chrisman provided background information on the issuance of the RFP, the development of the plans for the Municipal Auditorium, and the development of a contract for the project. Developer Stewart Juneau also appeared before the Council, to express his support for the project, transparency throughout the process, and outreach and engagement with the community and surrounding neighborhoods.
Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Councilmember Shelley Midura said, "The Municipal Auditorium is a valuable piece of our City's cultural history and we must ensure that it continues to serve that purpose in the future. It is essential that we all work together to ensure that the redevelopment of this property is executed in a fair, transparent and responsible way."