August 20, 2015
City Council Chamber
NOLA City Council Regular Meeting News Summary
Thursday, August 20, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's Regular City Council Meeting, the Council convened in Executive Session to discuss pending litigation relative to the Firefighter Pension Fund and Longevity issues and passed a motion to establish the relocation of certain official Orleans Parish polling places for the October 24th Gubernatorial Elections. The Council also passed resolutions commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Social Security Act and the heroic and brave acts of SPC Caleb Michael Collins, an Army Specialist who lost his life while attempting to save a friend from drowning.
In other business, the Council recognized multiple groups for their dedication to New Orleans' youth, civic leadership and the rescue of animals following Hurricane Katrina, and heard a presentation on the "New Orleans Index at 10," which has tracked the City of New Orleans' overall progress and indicators in the ten years following Hurricane Katrina.
Recognized the Heroic and Brave Acts of the Late Army Specialist Caleb Michael Collins
|Mother Dawn Moore Collins and Father Ernest Leonard Collins of the late SPC Caleb Collins before the Council |
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-394, authored by Councilmember Ramsey, recognizing the heroic and brave acts of the late Army Specialist (SPC) Caleb Michael Collins, who lost his life on July 25, 2015 while attempting to save a friend from drowning. Caleb Michael Collins graduated from St. Augustine High School, where he was a member of the color guard in the Marching 100, and attended the University of New Orleans and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. SPC Collins served his country in the United States Army as a member of the 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division where he achieved the rank of Specialist. While in the Army, he also became renowned for his skills as a tattoo artist.
The Collins family, along with the television music program New Orleans Live, has established the New Orleans Live and Caleb M. Collins Scholarship. The scholarship will pay the annual cost of tuition for a deserving student to attend St. Augustine High School, Caleb's alma mater. To donate to the scholarship fund, click here.
District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "The loss of SPC Collins is devastating to our community. Caleb's accomplishments and service to our country remind us what the true meaning of sacrifice is. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
Commemorated the Anniversary of Landmark Social Security Legislation
|District "D" Councilmember Brossett|
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-392, authored by Councilmember Brossett, commemorating August 14, 2015 as the 80th Anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act. On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, establishing a vital insurance program for workers and families to earn coverage for retirement, as well as survivors and disability benefits, by paying Social Security taxes on their earnings. Social Security serves as a crucial monthly aid for millions of elderly and disabled people.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "Social Security has given many Americans peace of mind in retirement and a leg up when faced with hard times. On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank the Social Security Administration for its work, including the creation of the new 'my Social Security' account that provides an easier way to track earnings and manage Social Security Accounts."
Recognized Major League Baseball NOLA Youth Post-Katrina Programs
|MLB Youth and Facility Development VP |
Darrell K. Miller
The Council recognized the Major League Baseball (MLB) Urban Youth Academy, New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), Each One Save One, and the Jack Fielkow Scholarship Fund, for their dedication to New Orleans' youth in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2012, Major League Baseball, Each One Save One and former Councilmember Arnie Fielkow established the MLB Urban Youth Academy, located in Pontchartrain Park at the renovated Wesley Barrow Stadium, to provide free baseball and softball instruction to youth in New Orleans. The parties recognized that it was important to rebuild houses and businesses, and to reestablish youth programs and functions essential to a prosperous community. Through its partnership with NORDC, the MLB Urban Youth Academy offers a positive and unique environment for youth to enhance their baseball skills and presence in the community.
Each year, the Jack Fielkow Scholarship Program, named for the late father of Councilmember Arnie Fielkow, provides two $2000 college scholarships; one awarded to a participant from the MLB Urban Youth Academy and one from Each One Save One's youth empowerment and mentoring programs. This year's recipients of the Jack Fielkow Scholarship are Marshante Collins from Each One Save One and Christian Marshall from the MLB Urban Youth Academy. Collins, a graduate and honor roll student of Joseph S. Clark Senior High School, will attend Dillard University in New Orleans, while Marshall, the valedictorian of McDonogh #35 College Preparatory, will attend Tuskegee University in Alabama.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "The Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), Each One Save One, and the Jack Fielkow Scholarship Fund have contributed enormously to our youth through these innovative programs, particularly in the years following Hurricane Katrina. Investing in meaningful activities for our youth is key to improving our City's economy and reducing crime. As a Council, we will continue to find new ways to invest in our youth and provide programs to improve their lives."
Received NOLA Data Center Report "New Orleans Index at 10"
The Council received a presentation from Allison Plyer, Executive Director and Chief Demographer of the New Orleans Data Center, reporting the "New Orleans Index at 10," which has tracked the City of New Orleans' overall progress and indicators since Hurricane Katrina. The presentation highlighted New Orleans' strengths and weaknesses. Among the many factors studied were economic growth, inclusive growth, quality of life and sustainability. Recommendations for moving forward were made.
NOLA Data Center Exec.
Dir. and Chief Demographer Allison Plyer
The presentation cited these figures: As of July 2014, the metro area population was 1.2 million, 94% of its 2000 level. Demographics have shifted post-Katrina with the total Hispanic population increasing 81%, while the overall percentage of African American residents fell from 66.7% to 58.8%. The business startup rate is 64% above the national average, and venture capital funding has doubled since 2010.
The presentation concluded and noted that although New Orleans should celebrate the hard earned success post-Katrina, there is still work to be done in reducing the poverty rate, economic inequality, and restoring the coast.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "This data report shows that New Orleans has come such a long way since Hurricane Katrina. Our Community will continue to grow and to prosper in the years to come, but it is also a stark reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done."
Recognized "Heroes of the Recovery"
|Women of the Storm Founder Anne Milling, Mary Queen of Vietnam Church Parishioner Elaine Lee, Beacon of Hope Founder and President Denise Thornton and Congress of Day Laborers members Santos Alvarado and Fernando Lopez address the Council|
The Council recognized Women of the Storm, Mary Queen of Vietnam Church, Beacon of Hope and the Congress of Day Laborers for their efforts in helping to rebuild communities throughout the City of New Orleans in post-Katrina recovery efforts. During the recognition, the Council highlighted the important role that neighborhood groups and individual citizens played during the aftermath of the storm.
Founded in 2006, Women of the Storm is an alliance of diverse Louisiana women whose families, businesses and lives were affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The organization's mission is to draw the attention of Congress, media and opinion leaders to the needs of New Orleans, South Louisiana and the entire Gulf Coast.
During the aftermath of Katrina, The Mary Queen of Vietnam Church played a leading role in emergency relief and assistance as well as organized the Vietnamese American community in rebuilding the New Orleans East Community.
The Beacon of Hope Resource Center worked to repopulate and redevelop neighborhoods following the storm, served over 31,000 households in 19 different New Orleans neighborhoods, and organized over 750 resident volunteers.
The Congress of Day Laborers represents those informal workers who have done treacherous and often times life threatening work to rebuild New Orleans following Katrina. The Congress fights for worker protections against exploitation and wage theft, and builds a sense of community for day laborers.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "Community organizations helped jump start the immediate post-Katrina recovery efforts, and we honor the groups here today as some of the true heroes of the storm. Thanks to individuals like these, New Orleans has become a prime example of community resiliency and advocacy."
Recognized Organizations that Rescued Animals during the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-399, authored by Councilmember Ramsey, recognizing and expressing gratitude for the Humane Society of Louisiana and all the caring individuals, rescue groups and humane organizations who aided the City during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
|District "C" Councilmember Ramsey|
It is estimated that over 15,500 animals were rescued by various organizations in the months following the storm. Rescued animals were taken to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, which eventually became the largest animal rescue operation in U.S. history. Of the 15,500, approximately 1,800 were rescued by the Humane Society of Louisiana. Many of the members of these organizations had homes that were destroyed during the storm, but they continued to protect the animals that were left behind.
The Resolution also thanks the Humane Society of Louisiana for the nearly two decades of service in New Orleans prior to Katrina and supports the return of their statewide headquarters and shelter to the City.
District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "On behalf of the Council, I would like to express gratitude to the tens of thousands of people who contributed to the animal rescue and relief effort in New Orleans. We welcome the return of the Humane Society of Louisiana and look forward to reaping the benefits of having their statewide headquarters and shelter here in the City of New Orleans."
Approved Relocation of Certain Polling Places for the 2015 Gubernatorial Primary Elections
The Council passed Motion M-15-379, approving the relocation of certain official polling places throughout the City for the October 24, 2015 Gubernatorial Primary Elections. To view the full motion and the polling place location changes, click here. Orleans Parish polling location changes will be reflected in the Louisiana Secretary of State Polling Place Finder upon receipt of Council Motion M-15-379. To view the current Louisiana Polling Place Finder, click here.
Convened in Executive Session to Discuss Pending Firefighter Longevity and Pension LitigationAfter convening in Executive Session to discuss the pending litigation in New Orleans Firefighters Local 632, et al versus The City of New Orleans and New Orleans Firefighter Pension Fund, et al versus The City of New Orleans, legal counsel for both the Council and firefighters agreed to submit a proposal in Orleans Civil District Court requesting a new hearing date so that parties can have additional time to resolve the matter.