August 21, 2014
City Council Chamber
City Council Regular Meeting News Summary August 21, 2014
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
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
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
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
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 InfrastructureThe 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
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
- Maintain sufficient
written records to determine whether the performance under this MOU meets
Consent Decree requirements.
Requested Inmate Reduction and Retrofitting at Orleans Parish PrisonThe 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
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
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."
- 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.
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
- 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
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."
- 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.