February 04, 2010 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
City Council February 4, 2010 Regular Meeting Summary
New Orleans, LA - February 4, 2010 - Today, the New Orleans City Council passed an Ordinance authorizing the roll over of 2009 Capital Projects funds for recovery projects City-wide, and Resolutions congratulating the Saints on their successful season and wishing them the best at the Super Bowl.
The Council also addressed reports from the Inspector General on investigating reform of the City's Request for Proposal process, and the Department of Transportation on the status of repairs and accessibility of bridges around the City, in preparation for the upcoming Primary Election.
Additionally, the Council received a grant from the Broadmoor Improvement Association for the Rosa Keller Library, addressed a presentation on homelessness in the City, and honored the late Big Chief Tootie Montana and his family, as well as the historic Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club.
Investigated Reform of City's Request for Proposal Process
Inspector General (IG) Edouard Quatrevaux appeared before the Council to discuss Motion M-09-651, authored by Councilmember Clarkson, stating the Council's intention to investigate the feasibility of requiring greater Council control in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process by sending the issue to a vote of the people in the form of a change to the City Charter.
Quatrevaux stated that the Office of Inspector General would be pleased to assist the Council in crafting legislation relative to reforms to the RFP process, and to assist the Administration in reviewing draft RFPs prior to issuance and provide recommendations from the perspective of preventing fraud and promoting efficiency and effectiveness.
Additionally, the IG emphasized the importance within the RFP process of an effective competition process including wide outreach, adequate time for response, written evaluations of proposals by staff using stated criteria, and selection of the contractor based on those written evaluations.
Councilmember Clarkson moved to defer M-09-651 for 30 days in order to incorporate the IG's recommendations to create a very definitive piece of legislation.
Council Vice President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "We look forward to working with the Inspector General to formulate legislation which will ensure that the City's RFP process is public, transparent and equitable."
Honored Mardi Gras Indians and Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club
Family members of the late Big Chief Tootie Montana appeared before the Council today to honor his memory and discuss the historical and cultural significance of New Orleans' Mardi Gras Indians. Councilmembers recognized the first day of Carnival Season as "Big Chief Tootie Montana Day"
The Montana family discussed Tootie's dedication to the Mardi Gras Indian traditions and to carrying the customs down through the generations.
The Council also honored members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club who appeared before the Council to introduce this year's royalty and characters, and to speak about the organization's dedication to Mardi Gras.
District "C" Councilmember James Carter said, "Both the Montana family and Zulu represent the dedication and love of Carnival traditions that all the citizens of New Orleans share. We are so grateful to both of these groups for all that they share with the City and all that they bring to the Mardi Gras season each year."
Received Presentation of Grant for Local LibraryLaToya Cantrell, President of the Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA) appeared before the Council to present a grant for the Rosa Keller Library and community center, located in the Broadmoor community.
The $2 million grant will be dedicated to the renovation and stocking of the library, and BIA representatives presented a check for the first $1.3 million for the "bricks and mortar" of the project.
New Orleans public library representatives were also present to thank the BIA for its dedication and passion to giving back to the community and to thank LaToya Cantrell for her tireless pursuit contributing to the recovery of the Broadmoor neighborhood and the City of New Orleans as a whole.
District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head said, "As a result of citizens and community members like those who are members of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, our City continues to experience a strong neighborhood-driven recovery. We encourage the association's continued efforts and hope that its work will serve as an example for other communities to strive towards."
Addressed Status of Bridge Repairs to Ensure Voter Mobility
Michael Stack of the State Department of Transportation appeared before the Council to discuss the status of repairs to the St. Claude Avenue, Danziger, Judge Seeber, and Seabrook Bridges, which may impact the mobility of voters for the Primary Election on February 6, 2010.
Stack ensured Councilmembers that all of the discussed bridges are in good working order and will be open and accessible on February 6th.
District "E" Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis said, "We appreciate the Department of Transportation keeping us updated on the status of these bridges, as they are critical to the mobility of our constituents around the City, and therefore can potentially affect the ease with which citizens can travel to polling places on Election Day."
Addressed Report on Homelessness
Martha Kegel, Executive Director of Unity of Greater New Orleans appeared before the Council to address the issue of homelessness in New Orleans. Kegel discussed Unity's efforts to combat homelessness as it works to raise funds for and oversee the work of its 63 member organizations.
Kegel provided data and statistics on the number of homeless currently in the City and discussed possible solutions, including permanent affordable housing, and resources needed to address the issue. She also recognized Unity's member organizations and the City's health department for acting quickly during the recent deep freezes to save as many lives as possible.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "Homelessness is an important issue in our city that must be addressed in a proactive way with a focus on long-term solutions, including affordable housing, employment opportunities, and increased accessibility to medical and mental health services."
Authorized Roll Over of Capital Projects Funds for Recovery Projects
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 27,789, co-authored by Councilmembers Hedge-Morrell and Willard-Lewis, to amend Ordinance No. 23,809 M.C.S. to roll over 2009 Capital Projects funds to a designated list of recovery projects.
Councilmembers amended the Ordinance to attach a comprehensive and detailed list of the various projects to which funding is allocated, and emphasized the importance of ensuring that allocated funds will be used exclusively on the projects for which they were originally intended.
Councilmembers also made an amendment to ensure that any capital funds approved will pertain and go towards the current City Hall building at 1300 Perdido Street, and not a possible substitute City Hall.
Budget Committee Chair Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, "It is essential that our recovery moves forward, and more importantly, that projects originally designated to receive funding actually receive that funding. This will ensure that recovery projects will move forward in all of our communities, something that our citizens truly deserve."
Congratulated the Saints The Council passed Resolution R-10-74, introduced by Councilmember Clarkson, congratulating the Saints players, owner, coaches and staff, as well as the fans, on the team's incredible and unprecedented victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship.
Additionally, the Council passed Resolution R-10-85, introduced by Councilmember Clarkson, wishing the Saints the best of luck at the Super Bowl and stating the desire that all due rights and privileges are bestowed on their homecoming parade on Tuesday, February 9th at 5 p.m.
Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "We are all so proud of the Saints, and their successes this season have brought unbelievable excitement and enthusiasm to the people of this City. Win or lose, they are truly champions in the eyes of all New Orleanians."