February 03, 2011
City Council Chamber
City Council February 3, 2011 Regular Meeting Summary
New Orleans, LA - February 3, 2011 - Today, the New Orleans City Council passed ordinances authorizing construction of a new Orleans Parish Prison and continuation of the progress of the Saenger Theatre project.
Resolutions were passed by the Council urging the Army Corps of Engineers to fund full Mississippi River dredging, requesting a special election be called for the New Orleans Regional Business Park, and opposing Governor Bobby Jindal's SUNO-UNO merger proposal.
Among other action, the Council passed motions to assist the Council with the Home Rule Charter mandated redistricting process, and supported new policies for Pedicab Service.
In addition, the Council honored the memory of Drextal Brumfield, long-time Treme resident, celebrated the Lunar New Year and commemorated the 125th birthday of First Emanuel Baptist Church.
Commemorated 125th Birthday of First Emanuel Baptist Church
Assistant Pastor Eric Knatt of First Emanuel Baptist Church received a proclamation from the City Council marking the 125th Birthday of First Emanuel Baptist Church. Councilmember Hedge-Morrell presented the proclamation on behalf of the Council congratulating the historic congregation on its spiritual and community contributions and profound impact on generations of New Orleans citizens.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell "The First Emanuel Baptist Church is a historic and spiritual treasure. In the good times and the challenging ones First Emanuel has supported and lifted up our community. Your legacy and great work bless us all."
Urged Army Corps of Engineers to Fund Mississippi River Dredging
The Council passed Resolution R-11-64, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, urging the Army Corps of Engineers to identify funds within its budget to allow the full dredging of deep water ports to 45 feet in the New Orleans District of the Mississippi River. The River, currently at a depth of 44 feet, frequently silts in and requires dredging to maintain the required 45 foot depth. This resolution is in response to the Corps' recent announcement that it will no longer ensure funding for the required dredging. The loss in River depth limits the amount of cargo that is imported and exported.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "Optimization of shipping in and out of the Mississippi River is paramount to strengthening our national and local economy. I urge the Army Corps of Engineers to realize the impact of its budget decision to scale back dredging of the Mississippi River. The Corps' decision limits cargo on manufacturers, farmers and producers, and adversely impacts the nation's competitiveness in the global marketplace. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama emphasized the importance of focusing on American exports to international markets. I share the President's policy view and ask the Corps to reconsider, because they risk driving shipping to other markets which will have a lasting impact on our economy."
Celebrated the Lunar New Year
At the request of Councilmember Clarkson, a variety of presentations commemorating the Lunar New Year were made including the Presentation of Colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem by the Vietnamese Veterans Association of the Louisiana Color Guard. Father Luke Dung Nguyen, Parochial Vicar of St. Ann Shrine gave the invocation.
Council Vice-President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "I want to thank the Vietnamese community for sharing with us today your love of your home country and your love of your adopted country. New Orleans embraces you. The Vietnamese community has contributed so much to our culture and especially has provided practical assistance and inspiration in the recovery of our great City. We are forever in your debt and so appreciate your invaluable service."
Supported New Policies for Pedicab Services
The Council passed Motion M-11-61, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, supporting the continuing efforts of the City's Ground Transportation Bureau to develop policies and procedures guiding the issuance of Certificates of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPNC) for Pedicab Service. The Ground Transportation Bureau will submit a draft of the policies and procedures at a public hearing scheduled on February 11, 2011. A final document that includes all information and documents required by City Code Section 2-100 pertaining to the policies and procedures of the Pedicab CPNC Program will be submitted to the City Council on March 11, 2011.
District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, "In my role as Chair of the Council's Transportation Committee, I want to ensure that the policies and procedures that guide the issuance of Pedicab CPNC's are developed in a thorough, fair and well-organized manner. A public hearing is scheduled later this month to provide additional opportunity for public input and review before a final document is completed."
Requested Regional Business Park Special Election Call
The Council passed Resolution R-11-35, authored by Councilmember Johnson, requesting the City Council to call a Special Election in the month of April to authorize extension of a special ad valorem tax to support the New Orleans Regional Business Park (NORBP). The ten-year ad valorem tax is currently being levied by NORBP on property located within the boundaries of NORBP. Residential owner occupied property is exempt.
District "E" Councilmember Jon D. Johnson said, "The New Orleans Regional Business Park is an important component to maintaining and growing the City and the Region's econom,y as well as stabilizing employment opportunities. The purpose of this special ad valorem tax is to provide a funding source that ensures industrial and commercial development in Orleans and its neighboring parishes is continually stimulated. The Business Park has realized great successes in the past, has come back strong post hurricane Katrina. All indications are that the future looks very promising."
Authorized Parish Prison Construction
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar Number 28,291, authored by Councilmember Stacy Head, establishing a conditional use to permit a prison and related uses in an HI Heavy Industrial District. The ordinance with amendments included input from Councilmembers, a Criminal Justice Working Group assembled by the administration, and the City Planning Commission.
District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head said, "Working with the Criminal Justice Working Group and incorporating input from local and national criminal justice system experts has been a rewarding process. With this ordinance and its amendments, we are moving criminal justice reform forward. We will continue to employ best practices for pre-trial detention and incarceration for a safer stronger City."
Honored Memory of Drextal Brumfield
At the request of Councilmember Clarkson, family members, friends and former Pastor of St. Augustine Church, Father Jerome Ledoux, appeared before the Council to receive a proclamation honoring the life of the late Drextal Brumfield. The proclamation honored the memory of the well-known and beloved Treme resident. Drextal Brumfield was unique for his contribution to his beloved, historic Treme neighborhood. He was a popular and loved member of the St. Augustine Church congregation, jazz enthusiast, and community activist and volunteer.
Council Vice-President Clarkson said, "Drex Brumfield was one of a kind. He was my friend and community advisor for more than twenty years. He assisted all of us in understanding the needs of the neighborhood and the cultural joys of his beloved Treme. All work accomplished in the Treme neighborhood can at some point be tracked back to the efforts and assistance provided to all of us by Drex . To his family and friends, he was our City's treasure and will be solely missed by his St Augustine Congregation and all of us."
Opposed Governor Jindal's SUNO-UNO Merger Proposal
The Council passed Resolution R-11-65, authored by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell and Johnson, opposing Governor Bobby Jindal's proposal to merge Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) with the University of New Orleans (UNO).
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "This is not the time to consider this merger. SUNO is still rebuilding its campus and enrollment. A merger of this kind will impact the hopes and aspirations of prospective students who can not afford the cost of private universities. I urge the Governor and the Board of Regents to reexamine this proposal that will undermine higher education in Louisiana and particularly in New Orleans."
Initiated Competitive Selection Process For Professionals to Assist With Council Redistricting
As adopted on January 20, 2011 by the Council, Motion M-11-19, authored by Councilmembers Clarkson, Fielkow, Hedge-Morrell and Guidry, as required by Section 3-103 (2) of the Home Rule Charter to redistrict itself by ordinance within six months of the official publication of the census. The motion asks that professionals answer a Request for Proposal to assist with the redesign of City Council voting districts. The Request for Proposal is posted on www.nolacitycouncil.com. The deadline to answer the RFP is 3:00 p.m. February 18, 2011.
Council Vice-President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "We are embarking upon a vitally important process. Working with the professionals that are ultimately selected, the Council will thoughtfully, fairly and methodically accomplish redistricting, as mandated by the Home Rule Charter. We pledge to keep the public informed. Councilmembers will hold public meetings in each district and will conduct continual public outreach to constituents and neighborhood groups to ensure that all citizens are informed of any district boundary changes."
Continued Progress for the Saenger Theatre
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar Number 28,290, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer and Head, authorizing the transfer of property to the Canal Street Development Corporation to further the progress of the development and reopening of the historic Saenger Theatre. After an estimated $46 million revitalization, the Saenger is expected to have its grand reopening in December.
District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, "The progress that is being made with the Saenger project sends a strong statement about the revitalization of the Theatre District and the Basin and Rampart Street Corridors from Canal Street to Armstrong Park. The Saenger Theatre is one of the most important economic and cultural projects underway in the City. It is a model public-private partnership that utilizes federal dollars and historic tax credits to bring back an important and historic touchstone in this community."