May 06, 2010
City Council Chamber
City Council May 6, 2010 Regular Meeting Summary
New Orleans, LA - May 6, 2010 - Today, the New Orleans City Council passed an Ordinance encouraging responsible dog ownership, Motions approving the appointment of two individuals to the Parish Hospital Service District for the Parish of Orleans, District A , and a Resolution supporting the expansion of a family reading program.
The Council also overruled the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee's denial of the demolition of properties in Gentilly Terrace.
Additionally, the Council passed Motions re-establishing the Council's Standing and Special Committees and confirming the membership appointments to each Committee.
Encouraged Responsible Dog Ownership
The Council unanimously passed Ordinance Calendar No. 27,953, authored by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, to promote a spay and neuter program for dogs, to establish an intact dog permit, and to establish fees and requirements for such permit and penalties for violations.
Kathryn Destreza, Southeast Director, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Anti-Cruelty Field Investigations and Response; Julia Breaux Melancon, State Director Louisiana, The Humane Society of the United States; and Katherine LeBlanc, Communications Director, Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA/SPCA), appeared before the Council to answer questions and show their support for the Ordinance.
Specifically the Ordinance requires that owners/keepers must spay or neuter all dogs over 6 months old, or may obtain an intact dog permit if the owner/keeper intends to keep the animal intact. Intact is defined as an animal that has not been surgically spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian.
The LA/SPCA is responsible for overseeing the spay and neuter program. The LA/SPCA maintains the right to grant or deny an intact dog permit; however every owner/keeper has the right to appeal the decision of the LA/SPCA to the City Council within 30 days of the decision.
District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, "This Ordinance aims to control the unregulated breeding of violent and vicious dogs by putting in place some requirements for dog owners. We are not trying to target responsible dog owners with this legislation; our goal is to provide the irresponsible dog owners with incentives to take responsibility for their dogs and ensure that their dogs are appropriately cared for and socialized with other dogs, as well as people."
"This is certainly a milestone for the City of New Orleans," stated Ana Zorrilla, CEO of the LA/SPCA. "As a community we have expressed the need for responsible pet ownership. This forward thinking movement will result in a better quality of life for our four-legged and two-legged citizens."
Confirmed Appointments to Parish Hospital Service District
The Council passed Motions M-10-212 and M-10-213, co-authored by Councilmembers Johnson, Fielkow and Clarkson, confirming and approving the appointments of Christy L. Valentine, MD and Tangeyon S. Wall, as members of the Parish Hospital Service District for the Parish of Orleans, District A.
As a result of the lack of accessible medical services in eastern New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina, the Parish Hospital Service District was formed to work towards opening a hospital to serve the residents of New Orleans East.
District "E" Councilmember Jon D. Johnson said, "We owe it to the citizens of New Orleans East to provide high quality, accessible healthcare, something that we can all be proud of. This organization is dedicated to opening a hospital in one our City's most vulnerable areas; we want to ensure that this group is fully equipped and capable of operating efficiently."
Re-Established Council's Standing and Special Committees
The Council passed Motions M-10-184, M-10-209 and M-10-210, authored by Council President Fielkow, to re-establish the Council's Standing Committees and Special Committees and confirm the membership appointments to each Committee.
M-10-184 re-establishes the following Standing Committees: Budget, Audit and Board of Review; Utility; Cable and Telecommunications; Housing and Human Needs; Economic Development and Special Development Projects; Transportation; Election Code and Reapportionment; Youth and Recreation; Governmental Affairs; Public Works; Criminal Justice; Airport; and Sanitation and Environmental Enforcement.
M-10-209 confirms the appointments made by the Council President to the Council's Standing Committees. M-10-210 re-establishes the following Special Committees and confirms the appointments made by the Council President to the Council's Special Committees: Competitive Selection; Disaster and Recovery; and Health Care and Social Services.
Information on each Committee and its membership can be viewed here on the City Council's website.
Councilmember-at-Large Arnie Fielkow said, "This Council is excited to begin a new term, and as Councilmembers we look forward to working in collaboration with city departments and agencies, community organizations, residents and neighborhood leaders to address issues and items of interest through the Committee system."
Supported Expansion of Family Reading Program
The Council passed Resolution R-10-208, introduced by Councilmember Clarkson, congratulating the organizers of Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities' Prime Time Family Reading Time on the program's success, and supporting their proposal to the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation Fund for further expansion of the successful model in Louisiana's schools.
Dr. Michael Sartisky, PhD, President/Executive Director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), and Miranda Restovic, Co-Director of LEH's Prime Time Family Reading Time, appeared before the Council to share the success of the reading program and thank the Council for its support.
Prime Time Family Reading Time is a free, inter-generational family literacy program that uses the humanities as a tool to create excitement about reading. Currently, there are approximately 500 programs in Louisiana, 100 of which take place in New Orleans.
Council Vice President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "This program has been a great resource to the families of our City and especially our youth. The Council applauds the program's success and fully supports their proposal for expansion."
Supported Preservation of Historic Properties in Gentilly Terrace
The Council, led by District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, voted to overrule the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee's (NCDC) decision of "denial" of the demolition of the following properties located in Gentilly Terrace: 2311 Dreux Avenue, 2429 Dreux Avenue, 4931 Elysian Fields Avenue, 4975 Lafaye Street, 2404 Music Street, 5154 Music Street, 5311 Painters Street, 5101 Spain Street and 5163 Western Street.
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) has requested permission to demolish the properties, which were acquired through the Road Home Program. Each of the properties was declared 51% or more damaged, so the State of Louisiana has mandated that they must be raised to the base flood elevation before they can be repaired. The NCDC will not allow the properties to be demolished due to their historic value.
The vote to overrule the NCDC's denial was necessary because if no action was taken at this Council meeting, the issue could not be heard again for two years. The Council voted with the understanding that none of the properties will be demolished until NORA independently evaluates each property and determines appropriate next steps, with the exception of the property located at 5163 Western Street, which is being sold through the Lot Next Door Program and has received approval from the purchaser for demolition.
The Council's Disaster and Recovery and Housing and Human Needs Committees plan to hold a joint Committee meeting to develop a plan to address this matter.
"These properties are structurally sound and can be rebuilt and repaired. They help make up the fabric of the Gentilly Terrace neighborhood," Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said. "There are state and federal laws that are inflexible, and we're stuck in the middle. We need to independently evaluate each property to determine the best course of action."