June 02, 2011
City Council Chamber
City Council June 2, 2011 Regular Meeting Summary
New Orleans, LA - June 2, 2011 - Today, the Council passed a resolution urging Governor Bobby Jindal grant the $30 Million Capital Outlay request from The City of New Orleans to assist in financing the restoration of the former Methodist Hospital in New Orleans East. An ordinance was also adopted authorizing the revocation of dedication and transfer to the State of Louisiana of those portions of properties within the footprint of the proposed University Medical Center.
The Council, also by ordinance, defined and updated the law regarding the placement of signage on public rights-of-ways and authorized that a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to ensure animal control services for a term greater than one year and during emergencies.
By resolution, the Council supported a law discouraging unsafe barge mooring in the Mississippi River and urged the Orleans Parish School Board to preserve for historic purposes the John McDonogh #19 Elementary School Building.
And, the Council presented proclamations honoring the New Orleans Fire Department for the heroic rescue of a woman on the Crescent City Connection.
Authorized Progress on University Medical Center
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar Number 28, 457, authored by Councilmembers Head and Clarkson, to authorize the revocation of dedication and transfer to the State of Louisiana of those portions of properties within the footprint of the proposed University Medical Center.
Councilmember Head offered two amendments to the ordinance. Amendment one required that if relocation or preservation of the McDonogh #11 School building is not accomplished, mandatory deconstruction or salvage would be necessary. Amendment two required that if any material plan revisions are made, the New Orleans City Planning Commission Staff recommendation and Mayoral approval would be mandatory. Landrieu Administration Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin and Louisiana State University Medical Center officials appeared together before the City Council. Deputy Mayor/ CAO Kopplin explained that the Administration had worked over the last year to impact the design of UMC. Among the recommended changes incorporated by the State of Louisiana were, retaining the original street grid and historic properties; eliminating surface parking lots; the addition of a second parking garage to the complex; and the requirement of liner buildings along the outside of the UMC footprint for commercial and retail uses. CAO Kopplin emphasized that these revisions have enhanced the design of the complex and made it more pedestrian and urban friendly.
Council President Clarkson said, "The Street Revocation Ordinance passed today was critically important towards the State's actualization of the construction of the LSU Hospital - the linchpin for the entire Biomedical District. The district will have LSU co-located with the VA Medical Center, the synergy with Tulane Hospital and Xavier Pharmacology. Bringing these centers together, in cooperation with the Cancer Research Consortium, which is the National Cancer Institute - designated Cancer Center of LSU and Tulane, begins the future of state-of-the-art medicine and research for the City of New Orleans. This is a step towards an eventual place on the map synonymous with the likes of the MD Anderson Cancer Center and South Birmingham, Alabama."
District "B" Councilmember Head said, "We need to step back and look at what's good for our city, as a whole. Nothing will make my commitment to the hospital any less, but we must be realistic and cautious about the building plans.This ordinance, with the amendments, will aid in accomplishing this end."
Advocated State Funding For New Orleans East Hospital
The Council passed Resolution R-11-255, authored by Councilmembers Johnson, Fielkow and Hedge-Morrell, which urged Governor Bobby Jindal to grant the $30 Million Capital Outlay Funding request of The City of New Orleans on behalf of Hospital Service District A. This funding will assist in financing the restoration of the former Methodist Hospital in New Orleans East. As a result of flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the former Methodist Hospital received extensive damage. Since August of 2005, New Orleans East, Lower Ninth Ward, Gentilly and surrounding areas of St. Bernard and St. Tammany Parishes have been adversely impacted by the absence of a full service hospital and adequate health care in Eastern New Orleans.
District "E" Councilmember Johnson, Chair of the Council's Health Care and Social Services Committee, said, "Accessibility to health care is a basic human right. This is a pivotal moment that calls for the Governor and the Louisiana Legislature to step up and reactivate an important economic engine which will produce new business, good paying jobs and adequate health care - for Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and especially for the 65,000 citizens who reside in the New Orleans East community."
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "I urge Governor Jindal to understand the critical need for a full service hospital in New Orleans East. The economic impact that it will have on the community is reason enough to move forward in support of the necessary capital outlay dollars. But even more important, the people of Eastern New Orleans and the surrounding parishes have waited more than five years for access to a hospital and medical care. The time to move forward is now."
Authorized Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with SPCA
The Council passed ordinance Calendar Number 28,487, authored by Councilmember Guidry, which authorized a cooperative endeavor agreement be signed with the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to ensure that the City has animal control services for a term greater than one year and during emergencies. Under this agreement, the SPCA will provide the following services to the City: animal control, field services, care of animals, spaying and neutering, rabies vaccinations, record keeping of dog and cat licenses, animal drawn vehicle ordinance enforcement, and a City assisted evacuation and response plan. For these services, the City will pay the monthly sum of $160,000 through the term ending December 31, 2014.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "I am excited to sponsor legislation authorizing a multi-year agreement between the City and the LA/SPCA. This ends the financial uncertainty created by an annual contract and allows them to focus their resources on their mission."
Defined and Updated Unauthorized Signage Law
Councilmember Head presented information about the current law and enforcement regarding unauthorized signage. Later in the meeting, the Council adopted Ordinance Calendar Number, 28, 479, authored by Councilmember Head, which simplified and clarified, by amendment, the prohibition of signage on the public rights-of-way. The Departments of Sanitation or Parks and Parkways, or their designees, are now authorized to invoice individuals and entities depicted on the unauthorized signs. Penalties include a $10 fine per sign violation assessment. The ordinance also provides for an administrative appeal process. If an administrative appeal is denied, additional fines and community service may also apply.
District "B" Councilmember Head said, "Bandit signs are illegal signs placed on utility poles and public rights-of-way. The signs are unsightly and detract from our citizen's quality of life. This ordinance is a simple, cost effective and practical way to sustainably eliminate all nuisance bandit signs. In keeping with the Administration's requests for ideas to improve government functions, I offer this measure which will not require new staff and the updated, reorganized effort will yield great results."
Urged Historic Preservation of John McDonogh #19 Elementary
The Council passed Resolution R-11-253, authored by Councilmembers Fielkow and Johnson, urging the Orleans Parish School Board to preserve the John McDonogh #19 Elementary School Building for it's historical importance and its potential adaptive use in addressing the community's needs in the Lower Ninth Ward. The school was built in 1929 and is considered a Civil Rights landmark, being one of the first integrated elementary schools in the Deep South, following the Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. Board of Education.
Council Vice President Fielkow said, "This school is deeply rooted in the history of our city and it is vital that we protect the past as we progress into the future."
Addressed Unsafe Barge Mooring on the Mississippi River
The Council passed Resolution R-11-254, authored by Council President Clarkson, in support of House Bill 640, offered by State Representative, District 83, Robert Billiot of Westwego, that discourages unsafe barge mooring. The law imposes a fine of a maximum of $10,000 on barges moored within 180 feet of the River Levee when water levels are against the levees. Previously, a similar fine of $100 was set in the 19th Century. The current Mississippi River flood levels have exceeded the levels recorded during the Great Mississippi River Floods of 1927. Today, swifter currents, greater debris and whirlpools make it more hazardous to navigate.
Council President Clarkson said, "My and Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer's concerns come at a time when current Mississippi River flood levels are higher than those of the Great Mississippi Floods of 1927. The levees protecting the city from inundation are more susceptible to malfunction when exposed to the pressure of rising water levels and the increasing velocity of currents. An inadequately fastened barge creates an even greater potential for a hazardous threat."
Recognized the New Orleans Fire Department for Heroic Rescue
The Council presented proclamations honoring twelve members of the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) for the heroic rescue of a woman on the Crescent City Connection. NOFD Chief Charles Parent attended the ceremony. The rescue, which occurred in early May, began when the Bridge Police called the Fire Department who dispatched firefighters led by District (500) Chief Chris E. Mickal and District (502) Chief Larry White. The Flying Squad, trained in high angle, trench, swift water and confined space rescue techniques, with assistance from Engine 16 used harnesses and ropes to save the life of the woman.
The firefighters honored were: Flying Squad - Captain John Delao; Firefighters, Eric Fredericks; Roland Domino; Jared Lewis; Ya'ron Pierre; and Winston La Branch; Engine 16 - Captain David Nick; Ross O'Keefe; Brent Godfrey; Jude Galliano.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "It is important to acknowledge the heroism of the New Orleans Fire Department for their bravery in rescuing a citizen in need. We all should look to their example for helping others in a time of crisis."