March 21, 2013
City Council Chamber
City Council March 21, 2013 Regular Meeting SummaryThursday, March 21, 2013 - New Orleans, La - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council adopted ordinances that authorized the process to begin the auction of several City-owned properties. By motion, the Council requested greater input on City special event permitting procedures. State Representatives Neil Abramson, Jared Brossett, and Jeff Arnold gave a presentation to the Council announcing the reopening of the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital (NOAH). The Council also authorized two cooperative endeavor agreements to continue fire prevention and emergency services in Eastern New Orleans and capital improvements at Behrman Park. By ordinance, the Council amended its regular meeting calendar in the month of April rescheduling its April 4th regular meeting to April 11th. The Council - Cox Communications Community Grant Program was established. In conjunction with International Women's Month, a host of local women entrepreneurs, business, community and civic leaders were recognized. And, the Andrew Wilson Charter School Music Ensemble performed in the Council Chamber.
Authorized Capital Improvements to Continue at Behrman Park
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,464, authored by Councilmember Palmer, that authorized Mayor Landrieu to amend an existing Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the State of Louisiana for capital improvements at Behrman Park. Specifically, the improvements to Behrman Park include the planning and construction of a new soccer facility. Behrman Park is located in the Algiers Community and is operated by the New Orleans Recreational Development Commission. The CEA will increase the State's line of cash credit relative to the Behrman Park Project.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "With the adoption of this ordinance we are one step closer to a new state-of-the-art soccer facility at Behrman Park. This project is one of many transformative projects in progress across City Council District 'C'."
Performance by Andrew Wilson Charter Music EnsembleAt the request of Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, the Andrew Wilson Charter School's music ensemble, accompanied by Principal Logan Crowe, performed prior to today's regular City Council meeting. The ensemble is led by Steven Kennedy. Kennedy teaches general music and directs the School's music ensemble. Andrew Wilson Charter School is located in the Broadmoor Neighborhood. Councilmember Cantrell was presented with the School's Big W Award for her passionate and committed support of the Andrew Wilson Charter School.
Requested Greater Input on City Special Event Permitting ProceduresThe Council passed Motion M-13-93, co-authored by Councilmembers Cantrell and Palmer, that asks for greater input and communications between District Councilmembers and Directors and Staffs of City Departments that coordinate special event permitting. The motion asks that District Councilmembers have greater input and regular communication with the Departments of Finance, Safety and Permits, Public Works, Parks and Parkways, NOPD, Sanitation and the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and the Cultural Economy. Specifically, the motion requests that District Councilmembers be immediately informed of any live outdoor music events to be held within four blocks of either side of the Mississippi River levees.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said "This measure initiates adjustments in the City's special event permitting procedures. As Councilmembers, our role is to be responsive and aware of activities that occur in or near the neighborhoods that we represent. In particular, this action will help us to be proactive regarding noise, traffic or public safety issues associated with special events that involve an outdoor music venue component."
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "This is our first step in a comprehensive approach to reforming the permit process for outdoor music venues. It is important that we do not overwhelm our neighborhoods. We want to balance the incredible outdoor music venues that the City offers with a mind toward maintaining a strong quality of life for east and west bank residents who live near the Mississippi River."
Authorized Auction of City Property
The Council adopted a number of ordinances, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Cantrell, Gisleson Palmer, Hedge-Morrell, Head and Gray, that initiated the process to sell City owned properties at public auction. The Ordinances Calendar Nos. 29,442, 29,443, 29,444, 29,446, 29,448, 29,450, 29,451, and 29,452 designate separate parcels to be sold at public auction. Among the parcels are abandoned fire stations and a visitor center in New Orleans East. The City Planning Commission has declared that the properties are no longer needed for public purposes. Selling these public parcels ensures appropriate utilization of the properties, generates additional funds for the City's coffers and returns the properties to commerce and the public tax rolls. The City-owned parcels to be auctioned are appraised at over $800,000 and are located in every City Council District. The properties will be publicly advertised. A tentative May 10th auction date has been set. The proceeds from the sale of the properties will be placed in the Capital Projects budget.
Council President Head said, "The Council has, for some time, wanted to offer these properties for sale to the public. The public auction will not only return these abandoned properties to commerce but will also provide additional revenue, up to $1 million, that can be used for other neighborhood projects."
Announced New Orleans Adolescent Hospital to Reopen
State Representative Neil Abramson (District 98), joined by State Representatives Jeff Arnold (District 102) and Jared Brossett (District 97), announced to the City Council that Children's Hospital has agreed to reopen the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital (NOAH) in Uptown New Orleans. Closed in 2009, the hospital treated inpatient and outpatient mentally ill children. Representative Abramson acknowledged and thanked the Council for its relentless efforts at the local level to raise awareness about the lack of availability of mental health care services in New Orleans. Since 2009, mentally ill children in need of services were sent to Mandeville and Alexandria to receive care. Abramson said the deal is still being negotiated, but he is hopeful that NOAH will reopen its doors.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "I commend Representative Abramson for his leadership and we owe a debt of gratitude to Children's Hospital for stepping up and assisting our community. This is only the beginning. Let's continue to raise awareness of our need for mental health care in New Orleans."
Authorized NASA-New Orleans Fire Department Cooperative Endeavor Agreement
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,475, authored by Councilmember Gray, that authorized the continuation of an interagency agreement between the New Orleans Fire Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide emergency and fire protection for NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) and the Eastern New Orleans community. The action extends the CEA for five years and ensures that the City receives assistance with its fire prevention, fire operations, tactical rescue, HAZMAT, and basic life support medical care efforts.
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "This agreement continues fire protection for a vital economic asset in New Orleans East while saving the city money. The five-year extension will not only provide fire prevention and emergency services for the Michoud facility, it will increase the number of 'boots on the ground' in District 'E' for fire and other emergencies."
Established Council-Cox Communications Community Grant Program
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,459, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Cantrell, and Gray, that established the City Council - Cox Communications Louisiana's Community Grant Program. The Cox Cable Franchise will provide an annual contribution of $140,000 to community and non-profit organizations that focus on education, technology training, communications, and programs benefiting the youth of New Orleans. The ordinance further specifies that the Cox Communications Louisiana, LLC grants will be issued at the direction and discretion of the City Council to qualified organizations. In December of 2011, the Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 24,698, which included the commitment of Cox Communications Louisiana to fund a Louisiana's Community Grant Program.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "This grant program is part of Cox's commitment to the City under its new franchise agreement. The community grants initiative will encourage technology and media entrepreneurship among our youth and provide financial assistance to community-based and non-profit organizations."
Amended Regular Meeting CalendarThe Council passed Motion M-13-91, amending the 2013 Regular Meeting Calendar. The Council's April 4, 2013 regular meeting was rescheduled to April 11, 2013. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in the Council Chamber.
Recognized Women's Community, Business, and Civic Contributions
In celebration of International Women's Month, a host of women community, business and civic leaders were invited to the Council Chamber to be recognized for their valuable contributions to New Orleans women and the New Orleans community. Among those were, Carol Bebelle, Cecil Tebo, Arwen Podesta, Abbey Palagi, Christina Duggar, Nakisha Ervin-Knott, and Lois Wright.
Entrepreneur and businesswoman Lisa A. Crinel, joined by her daughter Wilneisha Harrison, was individually recognized by the Council. Crinel is the CEO of ABIDE Home Health Care and L.A. Crinel Enterprises (L.A.C.E.), a reception and event venue in New Orleans East. Crinel, a former (2004) Zulu Queen grew up in the 9th Ward and attended St. Mary's Academy. Lisa left New Orleans and then returned to participate in the renaissance of New Orleans, headquartering her health care and event venue businesses in Eastern New Orleans.
Council President Head said, "The women recognized today are to be commended for their civic leadership and contributions to our community. It is our pleasure to have them in the Council Chamber and to celebrate their many achievements."