February 02, 2012
City Council Chamber
City Council February 2, 2012 Regular Meeting Summary New Orleans, LA - February 2, 2012 - Today, the City Council took action expanding its citizen outreach and public engagement efforts by enhancing its council meeting video streaming and meeting management system to include "real time" online public access to legislative instruments, zoning dockets and City Planning Reports.
The Council also approved a utility rate settlement with Entergy New Orleans that will provide for a reduction in electric base rates and the continued development and implementation of the Energy Smart Energy Efficiency Program. Councilmembers also took action impacting neighborhood and commercial development and revitalization along the Lafitte and St. Claude corridors and in the Uptown-University neighborhood.
With the City's Mardi Gras parades poised to begin rolling this weekend, the Council Chamber came alive with the distinctive sites and sounds of the carnival season. The Grammy nominated Rebirth Brass Band was recognized for it contributions to New Orleans music and for attaining one of the industry's highest achievements. The Council received a sneak peek from parade goers favorite the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club and the much anticipated new female Krewe of Nyx. And just prior to the Council Meeting by Council proclamation the Andrew "Pete" Sanchez family was recognized for their continuing commitment to redevelopment and revitalization of the Ninth Ward Neighborhood.
Expanded Council Video Streaming with Addition of Legislative Documents to Meetings Management SystemThe Council passed Motion M-12-35, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Granderson, Head and Hedge-Morrell, to enhance its Website Video Streaming and Meetings Management System to expand transparency efforts of the Council and other meeting bodies. The enhanced service will provide electronic meetings packages which include the agenda and as well as legislative instruments, zoning dockets and reports, maps, images and other documents related to the agenda item. Those documents will also provide "real time" online public access during a live streaming meeting. This addition to the streaming media services expands community outreach and public engagement efforts. Following a request for proposals and a public competitive selection process, Granicus, Inc. was selected to provide computerized web video streaming and meetings management services for a period up to five years for an initial period beginning March 1, 2012 until February 28, 2013. The professional compensation will not exceed $76,364 annually for design, configuration, implementation, training and managed service fees. Granicus, a San Francisco company, was chosen in a previous competitive selection process to develop and administer the first phase of the City Council meeting web streaming and agenda management system which was initiated in August of 2009. The government communications services company has continued to lead the industry now with 1000 government clients including the US House of Representatives. The enhanced services will provide expanded and immediate access to public documents and is expected to be implemented within 90 days.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The City Council's video streaming and meeting management services currently accessed through www.nolacitycouncil.com have been well received by the public. Our goal is to continue to be technologically current, transparent and accessible. The expansion of our video streaming services will now include real time access to agenda-related documents before, during and after public meetings, along with the record of actions taken, and the video itself. This process to provide wider, more immediate access to public information about the legislative process of the New Orleans City Council is also available for use by City boards and commissions and other governing bodies."
Impacted Neighborhood and Commercial Corridor Redevelopment and Revitalization The Council passed Resolution R-12-37, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer, Hedge-Morrell and Clarkson which amends and expands the boundaries of the St. Claude Corridor Cultural District. In June of 2008, the Council endorsed the creation of the district, which was authorized by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of Cultural Development. The new St. Claude Corridor Cultural District boundaries are the northern side of N. Claiborne Ave., the western side of the Industrial Canal, the Mississippi Riverfront and the eastern side of Elysian Fields. The Council also passed Resolution R-12-34, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry and Head that officially supports and endorses the submission of an application to designate the Uptown-University Cultural District as a state-certified Cultural District. Additionally, the Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 28,809, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Head and Gisleson Palmer, that extends the time period prohibiting the establishment of any uses other than those currently authorized within the Lafitte Corridor Interim Zoning.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Preservation and revitalization are important components to continue smart residential and commercial growth. The cultural district designation is an important catalyst for that effort and amending the St. Claude Corridor boundaries unifies the commercial and residential area expanding the cultural district's impact across the neighborhoods."
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The Council and the staff spend a great deal of time reviewing zoning and land use matters and we are focused on best practices to achieve livable, sustainable neighborhoods and commercial areas. This measure fosters just that - smart ordered redevelopment and revitalization along the Lafitte corridor."
Approved Utility Rate Settlement with Entergy New OrleansThe Council passed Resolution R-12-29, co-authored by Councilmembers Hedge-Morrell, Guidry, Head and Gisleson Palmer which approved a utility rate settlement with Entergy New Orleans, Inc. that will result in a net decrease of over $30 Million to New Orleans Customers. The Council's Utility Committee approved the agreement and the full Council ratified the committee action today. The agreement allows Entergy to exercise its first-right-of-refusal to purchase 20% of the power (approximately 110 megawatts) to be generated at a new electric power facility that Entergy Louisiana LLC is planning to build at the existing Ninemile Point Station, located in Westwego, Louisiana. The new 550 megawatt natural gas facility is expected to begin service in the spring of 2015. This new source of efficient power addresses several critical needs that will benefit New Orleans ratepayers. It will improve system reliability, reduce dependence on the Michoud power plant, and deliver environmentally clean, generation diversity and fuel cost savings. This agreement will provide a reduction in electric base rates and continue the development and implementation of the Energy Smart Energy Efficiency Program.
District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Chair of the Utility Committee said, "The best way for us to address our need for generation diversity, greater system reliability and to reduce customers utility bills is to add more efficient generation located as near to New Orleans as possible. This is a long-awaited victory. Therefore, I am pleased to approve this settlement agreement."
Honored Rebirth Brass BandAt the request of Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, the members of the Rebirth Brass Band appeared before the Council to be honored for the band's 2011 Grammy nomination achievement. Rebirth is nominated for Best Regional Roots Music Album. The winner will be announced at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 12, 2012. Formed in 1983, Rebirth Brass Band has evolved from playing in the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages around the world. Rebirth is committed to upholding the tradition of New Orleans brass bands while simultaneously incorporating modern music into their now world-famous sound. The members of Rebirth pride themselves on their signature brand of funk that has attracted generations of music lovers.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "Rebirth Brass Band is truly a New Orleans institution. Not only have they become internationally renowned but they are the creators of the signature soundtrack of New Orleans. We are honored to have you in the chamber and are grateful to you for capturing and creating the authentic sounds of the neighborhoods of our beloved city and delivering them to a world wide audience. Your contributions to music and the cultural economy are immeasurable."
Recognized Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure ClubAt the request of Councilmember Guidry, representatives of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club appeared before the Council. Zulu's 2012 Royalty and Grand Marshal's were announced. The 2012 Zulu King is Elroy James and the Zulu Queen is Dr. Tanyanika Phillips. Zulu's Grand Marshals are former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and former Atlanta Mayor and New Orleans native Andrew Young. The Zulu Club is well known for year round community involvement including providing Christmas gifts to needy families, participating in the Adopt-A-School program, contributing to the Southern University Scholarship Fund and donating to a variety of nonprofit organizations. The Council also passed Resolution R-12-38 awarding a community grant of $2,500 to continue Zulu's community activities. Zulu is the "everyman club," its membership is composed of people from all walks of life and professions - from laborers to elected officials. The Club has grown into one of the most popular parades and the Zulu Coconut has become the most sought after and treasured Mardi Gras throw. The Council recognized and applauded the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club for their charitable work in the community and contributions to the City's carnival traditions.
District "A" Councilmember Susan Guidry said, "The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is an integral part of Mardi Gras culture. The traditions of Zulu are among the most beloved and anticipated during the Carnival Season. Additionally, the club's outstanding, year-round community development work is noteworthy. We honor the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club today for sharing the joy of Mardi Gras with New Orleanians and for making our city a better place."
Presentation Krewe of Nyx At the request of Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, representatives of the new all female organization The Krewe of Nyx appeared and were honored by the City Council. The Krewe's vision is to bring together women of all ages and diverse backgrounds to enhance the community spirit of Mardi Gras. Nyx was the Greek Goddess of night. The founders of the Krewe of Nyx desired to parade at night and transform into the goddesses of the streets of New Orleans. Nyx embraces tradition and combines it with new ideas. The Krewe's inaugural ride is Wednesday, February 15th at 7:00 p.m. The parade will follow the traditional uptown route.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "Women have always played an essential role in the carnival traditions of our city. Over the last ten years, there has been an increasing interest by women to organize, participate and celebrate female empowerment by having a distinctive place on the local Mardi Gras parade calendar. I am thrilled another organization has been given the opportunity to participate in our City's unique and special carnival season."
Acknowledged the Contributions of the Andrew “Pete” Sanchez FamilyAt the request of Councilmember Johnson, the son of the late Andrew "Pete" Sanchez received a proclamation from the City of New Orleans acknowledging the commitment of the Sanchez Family to the redevelopment and revitalization of the Ninth Ward Neighborhood. The proclamation was received by June Sanchez, Andrew "Pete" Sanchez, Jr. and Janice Sanchez - wife, son and daughter-in-law of Pete Sr. Pete Sr. was one of the first appointed African American City of New Orleans Department Heads. He served as Director of Property Management. Pete Jr. is a member of the Board of Zoning Adjustments. The Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina and is one of numerous City projects scheduled for redevelopment.
District "E" Councilmember Johnson said, "I would like to personally thank the Sanchez Family for their unfailing support and commitment to the Ninth Ward Neighborhoods. Pete Sr. was a role model for me and I am so pleased to have his son serving on the Board of Zoning Adjustments. The appointment is important and well-deserved."