Regular Meeting

August 21, 2014 

City Council Chamber

City Council Regular Meeting News Summary August 21, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014 - New Orleans, LA - At today's Regular City Council Meeting, the Council passed Resolutions: calling for inmate reduction and provision of medical and mental health care services at Orleans Parish Prison; supporting the Mayor's requests for additional public safety resources from the State; and encouraging the development of a federal strategic plan in response to the Ebola virus outbreak. Ordinances were passed to allow NOPD officers to continue providing security services at SMG managed facilities, to support the implementation of Green Infrastructure/Low Impact Development practices in the City, and to facilitate hazard mitigation projects at Criminal District Court.


In other business, the Council received a presentation and passed a Resolution recognizing the National Baptist Convention's 134th Annual Session, and recognized local M.C. and bounce music ambassador Freddie "Big Freedia" Ross.

Facilitated Hazard Mitigation Projects at Criminal District Court

The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30,263 authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and the State of Louisiana (Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) to allow and facilitate hazard mitigation projects at Criminal District Court.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made federal funds available to the State of Louisiana under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for activities associated with Phase 1 of the Criminal District Court retrofit, the budget for which is estimated at approximately $394,000.

The HMGP is designed to offer support to states and local governments in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Specifically, the HMGP provides grants for the implementation of long-term hazard mitigation measures aimed at reducing loss of life and property.

Recognized Local Bounce Music M.C. and Performer "Big Freedia"

Freddie "Big Freedia" Ross appeared before the Council for a presentation and a Proclamation recognizing her for her many accomplishments as an M.C., an ambassador of bounce music, and for her starring role on the FUSE TV reality show "Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce" now in its second season.

A New Orleans native, Big Freedia grew up in Central City and attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana and Delgado Community College. Big Freedia's national recognition grew after appearances on HBO's Treme and the release of her debut EP in 2010. Big Freedia updated the Council on the renewal of FUSE TV's "Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce" for third and fourth seasons and informed Councilmembers about her plans to start a foundation dedicated to providing health care resources and information in Central City.

Council President Head said, "Over the years, we have witnessed the creation and development of many new types of music, and bounce music is a true New Orleans phenomenon. We are grateful to Big Freedia for introducing bounce music to the world and adding to our City's cultural landscape in a truly unique way."

District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "New Orleans is truly a city where you can be yourself and be celebrated. We are proud to honor Big Freedia for all that she has done representing our City on a national level and we look forward to supporting her other endeavors to support and give back to the New Orleans community."

Recognized National Baptist Convention for 134th Annual Session

The Council recognized the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. for hosting its 134th Annual Session at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, September 1 - 5, 2014. The Council also passed Resolution R-14-350, coauthored by Councilmembers Gray and Ramsey, declaring the week of September 1, 2014 as National Baptist Convention Week.

Founded in 1886, the National Baptist Convention is the "nation's oldest and largest African American religious convention," which has an estimated membership of 7.5 million members. The Convention's mission is to promote Christian principles through preaching, teaching and healing. It also promotes global fellowship through foreign missions, religious education and publications, and has worked to assist areas that have been affected by natural disasters by raising funds, hosting blood drives, providing volunteers and allowing their facilities to be used as shelters.

The Convention's Annual Session is held in various cities throughout the U.S. and serves as the most prominent business meeting for its board, members, and auxiliaries. More than 20,000 individuals attend the event annually.

District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "I thank the National Baptist Convention for choosing New Orleans as their convention city.  This group has a civil rights history that is deep and wide. They continue to do important and honorable work and it is a privilege to welcome them to New Orleans for their 134th Annual Session."

District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "The National Baptist Convention continues to bring leaders to the forefront during times of challenge as well as times of peace.  This is an extraordinary organization, and we are blessed to have the annual session take place in New Orleans this year."

Supported City Partnership with Sewerage and Water Board for the Development of Green Infrastructure

The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30,264 authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) between the City, through the Department of Parks and Parkways, and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB). The purpose of the CEA is to implement Green Infrastructure/Low Impact Development practices that could help avoid water quality degradation and reduce flooding potential caused by increased runoff volumes and rates associated with development.

The CEA sets forth terms to which both the City and S&WB will adhere as it relates to plan conceptualization and design, project management and oversight, review and approval of plans, budgeting, bid advertisements, contractor selection, community outreach and other processes relative to the development and implementation of a green infrastructure plan.

Provided for Continued NOPD Officer Security Services at SMG Facilities

The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30,272, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and SMG in order to allow New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers to continue to provide security services at SMG managed facilities through the City's Office of Police Secondary Employment (OPSE) as required by the Consent Decree.

The Consent Decree, which was entered into in January 2013, sets forth a detailed new structure for police secondary employment, including establishment of centralized management to handle administrative tasks as well as ensure compliance with Consent Decree requirements and NOPD policies. Prior to the entry of the Consent Decree, SMG routinely hired a large number of NOPD members to work secondary employment by providing security at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, and Champions Square.

In accordance with the MOU, the City and SMG will work together to:

  • Ensure that all positions are filled in accordance with OPSE and NOPD rules and policies;
  • Maintain a roster of officers eligible for secondary employment at SMG facilities;
  • Assign officers who have never worked an SMG event to work annual events including Saints and Pelicans games, Essence Festival, and the Sugar Bowl; and
  • Maintain sufficient written records to determine whether the performance under this MOU meets Consent Decree requirements.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "SMG has a history of employing NOPD officers at its events. These officers are familiar with SMG events and facilities and are knowledgeable about relevant security challenges and needs. For that reason, we recognize the importance of maintaining continuity as it pertains to security services at SMG facilities."

Requested Inmate Reduction and Retrofitting at Orleans Parish Prison

The Council passed Resolution R-14-347, introduced by Councilmember Guidry, requesting that Sheriff Marlin Gusman safely and immediately remove from Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) all Plaquemines Parish inmates and Louisiana Department of Corrections-sentenced inmates, with the exception of those in work-release, community service, or re-entry programs. Additionally, the Resolution calls for the fourth floor of the 1,438-bed Phase II facility, which is currently under construction, to be retrofitted with medical and mental health care and treatment facilities, and expresses the Council's opposition to the construction of a proposed Phase III facility.

To date, the City has presented plans to the Council with regard to retrofitting the fourth floor of the Phase II facility. The construction is estimated at $6 million and is expected to take less than one year to complete. The Sheriff has also presented the Council with short-term and long-term plans to house inmates with medical and mental health issues. Under the short-term plan, male inmates with acute and sub-acute medical and mental health concerns will be housed at the Elayn Hunt facility in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. In the long-term plan, the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office would construct a 380-bed Phase III facility for housing special populations with the option to add 384 additional beds for general population prisoners; it is anticipated that the cost to construct the Phase III facility will exceed the cost to retrofit the Phase II facility.  

District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The City has introduced policies and programs that have safely and significantly reduced our local pretrial population, including implementing a pretrial services program and reforming procedures for processing low-level offenses. It is now incumbent upon the Sheriff to do his part to transfer those non-City prisoners to the custody of the State or other local jurisdiction responsible for their care. The size of the new jail will undoubtedly be a driving factor in both the number of inmates being housed in the future, as well as our ability to house them in safe and humane conditions, and we are unconvinced that there is a need for additional bed capacity beyond the Phase II facility."

Supported Requests for Additional State Public Safety Resources in New Orleans

The Council passed Resolution R-14-355, coauthored by Councilmembers Head, Ramsey, Guidry,  and Gray, supporting Mayor Landrieu's requests to Governor Jindal, outlined in his August 14 letter, for additional State public safety resources to be dedicated to New Orleans.

Specifically, Mayor Landrieu's letter requests:

  • A more permanent assignment of 100 Louisiana State Police (LSP) troopers to New Orleans;
  • A stronger New Orleans District Probation and Parole Office within the Department of Corrections;
  • A fully funded District Attorney's Office and Orleans Parish Public Defenders Office;
  • Investment in mental health and substance abuse programs;
  • Dedication of a larger portion of the Hotel/Motel tax generated in New Orleans to the City for public safety needs; and
  • Direction from the Governor for LSP to assume all functions of the former Crescent City Connection Department of Police, and to patrol the Interstate and major State highways in New Orleans.
Council President Head said, "We are in full support of the Mayor's requests to Governor Jindal for a larger portion of dedicated State resources to ensure that our City is a safe place for locals and visitors."

District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "We must work cooperatively at the local and State levels to ensure that New Orleans is receiving the necessary support and resources from the State to facilitate public safety. This level of commitment will ensure that our City can continue to be an economic engine for the entire state of Louisiana."

Encouraged Development of Federal Strategic Intervention Plan in Response to Ebola Outbreak

The Council passed Resolution R-14-354, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, recommending that relevant federal agencies establish preliminary steps towards developing a strategic plan of international intervention to address the current Ebola virus outbreak.

Specifically, the Resolution calls on the United States Congress, Department of State, Department of Defense, and Food and Drug Administration to develop the strategic plan with a focus on:

  • Education of the public, healthcare workers, medical professionals, and academic, religious, and political leaders;
  • Funding laboratories in Liberia to accelerate the turnaround time for culture sample results in order to allow doctors to diagnose the disease more quickly;
  • Urging the World Health Organization to allocate a portion of the budget dedicated to addressing the Ebola virus outbreak to logistical ground support to help distribute supplies throughout Africa; and
  • Reassuring U.S. citizen volunteers and workers who travel abroad to assist affected communities that the United States has the capabilities to efficiently evacuate and treat those citizens who may become infected with the Ebola virus.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "The outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa is of great concern to all of us. With New Orleans as an international port city which is home to many international residents, it is vital to our community that we emphasize the importance of strong communication infrastructures and proactive protocols for addressing contagious diseases during this international health crisis. As a nation, we must act responsibly to do what we can to assist affected countries and prevent the spread of this deadly virus."

Created on: 6/21/2018 11:34:15 AM | Last updated: 6/21/2018 11:34:15 AM


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