October 04, 2012
City Council Chamber
City Council October 4, 2012 Regular Meeting Summary
Thursday, October 4, 2012 – New Orleans, LA – At today's regular City Council Meeting, a new Council Utilities Regulatory Director was appointed, and a presentation from members of the faculty of the Tulane School of Medicine and the Tulane Cancer Center was heard.
With the fall election voter registration deadline approaching, the Council passed a resolution urging eligible citizens to register and exercise their right to vote. And, the Council passed a resolution commemorating the life of the late LSU Health Sciences Center Geneticist Dr. Mary Kay Pelias.
Appointed New Director of the Council Utilities Regulatory Office
The Council passed Motion M-12-363, co-authored by Councilmembers Hedge-Morrell, Guidry, Head and Gisleson Palmer, that appointed W. Thomas Stratton, Jr. to the position of Director of the Council Utilities Regulatory Office. He will serve as an in-house advisor to the Council on utility matters.
Mr. Stratton is a graduate of the Washburn University School of Law and the University of Kansas. For most of his legal career, Stratton has practiced utility and regulatory law. Formerly, he was the Chief Litigation Counsel for the Kansas Corporation Commission, the state's regulatory agency.
Urged Citizens to Register to Vote
The Council passed Resolution R-12-366, co-authored by Councilmembers Head, Bajoie, Clarkson, Guidry, Gisleson Palmer, Hedge-Morrell and Charbonnet, that urged eligible voters to register to vote in the upcoming fall elections. The deadline for eligible citizens to register to vote is October 9th. In anticipation of the November 6th election, the Council passed the resolution urging voter participation. The measure emphasizes the importance of voting, pointing out that less than 54% of voters in Orleans Parish participated in the last Presidential election. The resolution also reminds residents that in the State of Louisiana, those persons that meet voter eligibility requirements, yet do not have a picture I.D., may still vote if they sign an affidavit verifying their identity. The voter registration deadline is October 9th, and registration can be completed online at www.Geauxvote.com or at either of the following locations: City Hall - 1300 Perdido St. Rm. 1W23 and The Algiers Courthouse - 225 Morgan Street, Rm. 105.
Council President Head said, "Voting is one of the most important and powerful citizen rights. With the fall elections upon us, I encourage every eligible person to register before the October 9th deadline."
Commemorated the Life of the Late LSU Health Sciences Center Geneticist Dr. Mary Kay Pelias
Council passed Resolution R-12-361, co-authored by Council Vice President Clarkson and Councilmember Bajoie, to formally recognize the extraordinary life of the late Mary Catherine Zengel Pelias. The Council heard from Dr. Pelias's friend Melanie Miranda; family members, Shyra Pelias, Andrew Pelias, Gus Pelias, and colleagues, LSU Health Sciences Center Vice Chancellor Dr. Ron Gardner and Tulane University School of Medicine's Dr. Roy Weiner. Dr. Pelias, a life-long resident of New Orleans, received a PhD in Genetics from Tulane University and a Law degree from Loyola University. She was a teacher of Human and Medical Genetics and Bioethics at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center from 1976 until her retirement in 2002. Dr. Pelias studied hereditary disorders and made sure that students understood the ethical issues related to these disorders. Holding degrees in biology and law, she fused those interests when she taught ethics. She drafted and advocated legislation promoting the confidentiality of genetic information and opposing discrimination based on one's genetic profile. Dr. Pelias, working with Vice President Clarkson and District "B" Councilmember Diana Bajoie, then Louisiana legislators, collaborated on numerous health-related bills that allowed women to obtain mammograms without a doctor's referral and required insurance to cover reconstructive surgery after mastectomies.
Council Vice President Clarkson said, "Dr. Pelias was a brilliant professor of genetics at LSU and while serving as a fellow under Senator Domenici in Congress, wrote landmark legislation for the Louisiana Legislature prohibiting discrimination on the results of DNA testing to facilitate early detection in breast cancer and eventually to cover all terminal diseases. Her vision led a team of doctors and legislators from Louisiana to pave the road to successful early detection, which in most cases, is the cure."
District "B" Councilmember Diana Bajoie said, "Mary Kay Pelias was a force of nature. She championed important work on behalf of generations of Louisiana women. I was honored to have known and worked with her."
Presentation by Tulane University School of Medicine About Minority Access to Cancer Trials Grant
At the request of Council Vice President Clarkson, Dr. William "Rusty" Robinson of the Tulane Cancer Center and Dr. Roy Weiner, Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Tulane University School of Medicine, appeared before the Council. Tulane University School of Medicine is known among the nation's top academic medical centers and private research universities for being at the forefront of teaching, research and patient care. The medical school is the recent recipient of a $2 million dollar grant from the National Cancer Institute to expand minority access to cancer trials, one of a select group of medical schools across the country chosen. The Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MB-CCOP) grant is part of a national effort to support community-based cancer trials that bring in racial and ethnic groups typically underrepresented in clinical research. The grant will support clinical research coordinators to work directly with physicians treating patients at Tulane Cancer Center, Tulane-Lakeside Clinic, the Veteran's Administration Hospital, Tulane's Clinic at the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans and Tulane's oncology affiliates, a group of private physicians throughout the region that offer access to Tulane's cancer research trials.
Council Vice President Clarkson said, "Congratulations to Dr. Robinson, Dr. Weiner and the Tulane School of Medicine on receiving the Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program grant. This will greatly expand the number of cancer treatment and prevention trials New Orleans citizens will be able to access, therefore improving their overall quality of life."