December 16, 2010
City Council Chamber
City Council December 16, 2010 Regular Meeting Summary
New Orleans, LA - December 16, 2010 - Today, the New Orleans City Council passed Ordinances allowing certain offenses to be prosecuted in Municipal Court rather than in Criminal District Court, and establishing a fundraising body for the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission.
Additionally, the Council approved a Zoning Docket prohibiting establishment of new t-shirt shops in the French Quarter, adopted Motions approving the Mayor's appointments to the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and authorizing the appointment of a Special Committee on Pensions and Retirement, and adopted a Resolution encouraging local and regional support of the New Orleans Hornets.
The Council also recognized the members of the Human Relations Commission, who appeared before Councilmembers today.
Prohibited Establishment of New T-shirt Shops in the French Quarter
The Council approved Zoning Docket 94/10 to amend the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance as it pertains to the Vieux Carré historic district, located in District "C". The approval of the Zoning Docket prohibits the future zoning classification of t-shirt, novelty, gift and souvenir shops in the Vieux Carré.
Existing legal t-shirt, novelty, gift and souvenir shops are allowed to remain but must adhere to current restrictions which prohibit t-shirt, novelty, gift and souvenir shops from having more than 35% of the display or visible floor area occupied by t-shirts, novelties, and souvenirs.
District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, "This measure is supported by French Quarter residents as well as property owners. The French Quarter is saturated with these types of shops that do not provide amenities to the thousands of residents and businesses who live and work in the neighborhood. Therefore we need to prohibit the establishment of additional or new t-shirt shops, but allow for the maintenance of those existing shops which adhere to current restrictions."
Encouraged Public Support of New Orleans Hornets
The Council passed Resolution R-10-570, introduced by Councilmember Fielkow, urging the citizens and businesses of New Orleans and the entire Gulf South region to show their support of the New Orleans Hornets by buying tickets, merchandise and sponsorships to help ensure that the Hornets and NBA remain in New Orleans.
The Hornets' 14,000 plus average fan home attendance generates considerable direct and indirect economic impact for the City and the region.
Councilmember-at-Large Arnie Fielkow said, "The Hornets are a valuable asset, both economically and otherwise. Hornets players, coaches and staff have contributed tremendously to the City of New Orleans and the Gulf South region through their work providing community outreach services to New Orleans schools and recreation outlets. The effect of having this major professional sports team in the City is tremendously valuable to the City's future growth and it is our duty as citizens to support this team."
Supports Appointment of Special Committee on City Pensions and Retirement
The Council passed Motion M-10-577, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, authorizing the appointment of a Special Committee on Pensions and Retirement to consider issues of cost, fairness and continuity of institutional knowledge in making recommendations to the full Council concerning issues of shoring up the long-term solvency of the municipal pension and retirement system, the firefighter pension plans and the police pension plan.
The Motion also confirms the following appointments, made by the Council President, to the Committee:
- District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head, Chair
- Councilmember-at-Large Arnie Fielkow, Member
- District "E" Councilmember Jon D. Johnson, Member
- District "A" Councilmember Susan G. Guidry, Alternate
Council President Fielkow said, "The retirement systems for city employees, firefighters and police are facing financial challenges which if not addressed may compromise the long-term viability of the systems. As a Council, we want to protect and honor the dedicated service of the City's veteran employees while providing for a sustainable and balanced pension contribution system."
Supported Greater Efficiency in Criminal Justice System
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar Nos. 28,246, 28,247, 28,248 and 28,249, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Clarkson and Johnson, to allow the following offenses to be prosecuted in Municipal Court rather than in Criminal District Court (penalties for these crimes remain unchanged):
- Simple possession of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or chemical derivatives, or synthetic cannabinoids
- Interfering with a law enforcement investigation
- Flight from an officer
These Ordinances continue the State Misdemeanor Initiative, which creates municipal charges that mirror state misdemeanor offenses. The Ordinances reflect the Council's support of a more thoughtful use of City resources which will contribute to a comprehensive strategy that reduces violent crime and recidivism, and builds a safer city.
Criminal Justice Committee Co-Chair District "A" Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, "These ordinances will contribute significantly to the City's efforts to promote greater efficiency and equity in our criminal justice system, particularly for our police officers, the District Attorney's office and in the criminal courts. These measures have unanimous support from the City's criminal justice agencies, and we are thankful for the many people who have worked so hard on this initiative."
Approved Mayoral Appointments to Recreation Commission
The Council adopted Motions M-10-569, M-10-572, M-10-573, M-10-574 and M-10-575 ratifying, confirming and approving the following Mayoral district appointments to the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission:
- Corinne Morrison Marcus, District "A" representative
- Kira Orange Jones, District "B" representative
- Roy Glapion, District "C" representative
- Christian J. Rhodes, District "D" representative
- Michael Darnell, District "E" representative
The appointed representatives will serve for a term that will expire January 1, 2016.
Also appointed were Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin, Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse, Chairman of the City Planning Commission George Amedee, Chairman of the Orleans Parish School Board Woody Koppel, Superintendent of the Recovery School District Paul Vallas and Councilmember-at-Large Arnie Fielkow, who will serve through his Council presidential term which ends May 2, 2011, at which point Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson will assume this appointment with the Council presidency.
Established Fundraising Body for Recreation Commission
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 28,263, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, to establish the New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation as a Louisiana non-profit corporation to serve as a fundraising body to support the activities of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission.
The meetings of the Foundation will be open to the public and the first one will take place on Monday, December 20 at 6 p.m. in the Mayor's Press Room on the 2nd floor of City Hall.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "The Recreation Commission will usher in a new and improved recreation system for the City of New Orleans. This Foundation will help to fund the Commission's activities, offering critical support to this very important project."
Addressed Membership of Human Relations Commission
Larry Bagneris, Executive Director of the Human Relations Commission, appeared before the Council along with the members of the Commission. Jane Parker, the new Chair of the Commission, introduced all of the Commission's members, seven new members and nine members serving existing terms, to the Council.
The Commission is a Municipal Agency which enforces the City's Human Relations Rights Laws. The Commission has citywide authority and accepts complaints from all citizens and visitors, to New Orleans, who believe they have been discriminated against.