June 18, 2020 10:00 AM
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The meeting may be accessed using the following methods:
Live Stream of Meeting: https://council.nola.gov/home/
Live Television Broadcast: Cox Cable Channel 6 in Orleans Parish
During this teleconference meeting, matters will be considered in the attached agenda.
Because of the unprecedented logistical and public health challenges presented by COVID-19, public comment will proceed as follows:
- Only written public comment will be allowed. Live comment will not be permitted.
- At the beginning of the meeting, the moderator will read aloud the entire council agenda. Thereafter, the meeting will recess for 30 minutes so that members of the public may provide written public comment on any agenda item.
- Public comments are submitted electronically on a form, available on the City Council web page - https://council.nola.gov/home/
- Public comments are now being accepted and will be accepted until the end of the 30-minute comment submittal period. Public comment received after the close of the 30-minute comment submittal period will not be considered.
- Each submission must contain (i) the commenter’s first and last name, (ii) the commenter’s address, (iii) whether the commenter is being paid in connection with his or her comments, and (iv) the agenda item to which the comment pertains. Any comment missing this information will not be read aloud.
- No member of the public may submit more than one written comment per agenda item.
- Before the Council votes on an agenda item, a moderator will read into the record all comments pertaining to that item that have been submitted in accordance with these rules.
- Comments will be read aloud in a normal speaking voice. The moderator will discontinue reading a comment once it exceeds two minutes.
- Any person seeking accommodation as a result of a disability or other circumstance should contact Interim Council Chief of Staff Paul Harang at email@example.com.
NOTE: Public comment may be allowed for items not requiring a vote at the discretion of the presiding officer. Such comment may be subject to additional restrictions, limitations, and/or modifications to be announced by the presiding officer at the outset of the meeting.
In order to submit public comment for a meeting, go to https://council.nola.gov/meetings
This meeting is being conducted remotely due to the extraordinary circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to the authority conferred by Gubernatorial Proclamation JBE 2020-30.
In accordance with JBE 2020-30, Sec. 4, this notice shall constitute a certification by the City Council that meeting by teleconference is necessary because of the social distancing mandates imposed by the Governor and the Mayor of the City of New Orleans and that the Council will be otherwise be unable to operate due to the quorum requirements of La. R.S. 42:19 – insofar as they mandate the physical presence of Councilmembers in one location.
This notice and the accompanying agenda are being provided in accordance with La. R.S. 42:19(A)(1)(b)(iv).
NEW ORLEANS - During today's regular meeting, the Council voted to establish the City Council Street Renaming Commission, supported the creation of a public-facing database to provide heightened transparency of local law enforcement and approved a zoning change to permit a wellness facility for veterans on Mirabeau Avenue.
Advisory Committee Formed to Examine Street Renaming
The Council passed Motion M-20-170, establishing the City Council Street Renaming Commission. The newly-formed advisory committee will initiate a public engagement process to consider renaming certain streets, parks and public places in New Orleans that honor white supremacists.
The Commission will consist of nine members with each Councilmember appointing one member who must have a formal or informal background of the history and geography of New Orleans. Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the City Planning Commission will appoint the remaining two members.
The Commission will serve for a full calendar year with the responsibility for making the following recommendations:
A list of streets, parks, and places that should be renamed, accompanied by a detailed explanation.
A proposed list of replacement names for each recommended street, park, or place, accompanied by a detailed explanation.
A process to facilitate both educating residents and receiving public feedback on the proposed changes.
Once members are appointed, the Commission has no more than three months from its first meeting to provide an initial report with its recommendations and hold a public meeting on that report a month later. The final report incorporating public feedback will be submitted to the Council within six months, and serve as the basis for district Councilmembers to begin the renaming process.
"The unprecedented peaceful protest movement that has taken to the streets of our city and across the world have made clear that now is the time for action on a large scale," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. "This Commission will allow our city to be both proactive and thoughtful when renaming the streets, parks, and places that heretofore have honored undeserving individuals who worked to uphold racist and divisive ideas."
A map of New Orleans streets with confederate ties courtesy of NOLA.com
Council Calls for New Public Database on Police Misconduct
The Council adopted Resolution R-20-175, supporting the creation of a public-facing database by the Independent Police Monitor (IPM) to increase community engagement, ensure timely data collection and provide heightened transparency of local law enforcement encounters to create additional accountability. Building and maintaining community trust is the cornerstone of successful policing, and by expanding efforts to collect and publicly provide comprehensive data on the use of force and disciplinary action for law enforcement officers, the Council hopes to take one step closer toward achieving that.
In New Orleans, there is currently a five-year retention schedule for officer disciplinary files, meaning every five years these valuable records around active officers or those associated with active criminal cases are lost and no longer accessible to the public. The creation of this database would ensure vital access to information regarding officer performance to the local community, court system, New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), government, journalists and advocacy organizations alike.
In response to recent incidents across the country, the database would also provide critical information on Use of Force, such as sustained allegations of force against civilians, policy violations by the accused officers, the dates of occurrences and review board hearings, the level and type of force used and any equipment, training and tactics related to the use of force.
"Working with the IPM, I'm proud to support this measure to greatly expand the public's awareness of any misconduct by police in our community," said Councilmember Helena Moreno. "We know that the police need the trust and consent of the community to effectively do their jobs, so any measures to build more transparency into the system help make our city safer and more accountable. This Council will continue to work to bring this and other measures of healing and reform to the forefront."
"This public-facing database is urgently needed and fits squarely with the accountability and transparency measures the Council has ushered in over the last two terms. In many instances, it is residents and community members are who help us to tell those real stories behind the numbers we make available," said Councilmember Jason Williams. "It is vitally important that citizens are able to participate in this broken system to fix it to hold law enforcement accountable. The IPM has been the necessary watchdog and has been a strong partner alongside city leadership in creating lasting reforms."
"On behalf of the hard-working women and men of the IPM, I want to express my thanks to all of the Council for bringing this critical resolution to this chamber. Over the years, the OIPM has achieved independence in its structure and funding from the voters of our city. And, through its working relationship with the Command Staff of the NOPD, we have achieved a large measure of access to the data that should be made public. However, to complete that access and ensure the timely release of detailed information to the community, the last issue to be rectified for our office is codifying and ensuring that our far-reaching access continues in perpetuity. That is why this resolution is so critical. There can be no lasting change or lasting trust without community being at the table, as well as other actors in the criminal justice system. This database puts all of us on the same footing. And, will help to lessen some of the advantages that some actors in the system have over others, thereby making it more fair," said Susan Hutson, Independent Police Monitor
Zoning Change Approved to Allow Veteran Wellness Facility
The Council approved a legislative grouping (ZD 24/20 & M-20-174) requesting a conditional use and zoning change to permit a veterans' wellness facility on Mirabeau Avenue. The proposed facility (adjacent to the current Bastion residential center) would provide holistic care to primarily, veterans and secondarily, members of the community, benefiting all citizens of New Orleans.
The new facility will include an outpatient clinic, an adaptive gym, a yoga studio, storage, "flex-space" and an office. The applicant made significant efforts to engage the community by hiring additional staff members, working with consulting firms and meeting one-on-one with neighbors to ensure this effort did not disrupt or alter the integrity of the surrounding neighborhood.
Renderings of the proposed wellness center courtesy of Bastion Community of Resilience via Gentilly Messenger