New Orleans City Council
   
 
In this issue
Council Votes 7-0 to Allow Demolition and Planned Mixed Income Redevelopment of the Big Four Public Housing Complexes

Councilmember-At-Large Clarkson Leads New Council Arts and Culture Committee

Council Receives Positive Federal Response On Its Regional Government Request for Reinstatement of Funds For Katrina Debris Removal

Council Approves Reduction in Citizen Utility Bills

Council Criminal Justice Committee Receives Initial Quarterly Report From Criminal Justice Leadership Alliance

City Councilmembers Attend Louisiana Recovery Authority Meeting

Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Recovery Director Dr. Edward J. Blakely Host "Commercial District Development Series"

The City Council Makes Its Strongest Commitment in History To Energy Efficiency and Development of a Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Plan for New Orleans

City Council Addresses Homeless Population Challenges, Pledges Support of Ethics Reform, Authorizes Retention of Special Counsel & Launches Program To Promote Local Music Industry
 

 
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NOLA Council News
December 28, 2007 Vol.1, No.2

Council Votes 7-0 to Allow Demolition and Planned Mixed Income Redevelopment of the Big Four Public Housing Complexes
(December 20, 2007)

After more than four hours of public comment, the New Orleans City Council voted 7-0 to allow demolition of the Lafitte, St. Bernard, C.J. Peete and B.W. Cooper housing developments and expressed its commitment to planned mixed income redevelopment.

Prior to the Council's vote on the motion, each side was given equal time to comment. The Housing Authority of New Orleans gave the main presentation for the proponents. Individual citizens, representatives of groups and organizations and the faith community also offered comments.

For a complete News Release click here.


Councilmember-At-Large Clarkson Leads New
Council Arts and Culture Committee

(December 20, 2007)

Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson leads the new Council Arts and Culture Committee. Clarkson is the chair of the new committee which addresses the revitalization of the arts and entertainment industry in post Katrina New Orleans. Specifically, with regard to the revitalization of economic development of the arts and entertainment industry the committee reviews the recommendations of the Bring Back New Orleans Commission.

Other councilmembers in the committee are District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head, District "C" Councilmember James Carter and alternate Councilmember-at-Large Arnie Fielkow.

Clarkson Swearing- In Reenactment

A swearing-in reenactment was held in the New Orleans City Council Chamber. The ceremony was held just prior to the regular Council Meeting on December 20th and included the Presentation of the Colors by the U.S. Marine Corps, the National Anthem followed by an invocation by the Reverend W.L.T. Littleton and remarks by Councilmember-at-Large Clarkson. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Judge James McKay conducted the swearing-in reenactment.

For a complete News Release click here.


Council Receives Positive Federal Response On Its
Regional Government Request for Reinstatement of Funds
For Katrina Debris Removal

(December 19, 2007)

Council President, Arnie Fielkow and representatives of metro area governments signed a letter to Senator Landrieu, Senator Vitter, Congressman Jefferson, Congressman Jindal and Congressman Melancon requesting assistance to reinstate 100% federal coverage of storm related debris removal in the most severely affected parishes of Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany. The requested timeline for New Orleans is an additional two years.

The letter states, "We recognize that our federal government, like our citizenry, is trying to respond to an unprecedented catastrophic disaster. Both extending the time and broadening the mission are warranted by this unprecedented situation."

In a written response from Senator Landrieu's office it was stated that FEMA "acknowledged the fact that a February deadline for completion of work is untenable given the fact that there are still structures that have not yet been demolished in each of the jurisdictions that are party to this letter. They also acknowledged that the Administrator has the authority to extend this deadline for certain jurisdictions, and while the timeframe of the extension may differ for each of the parishes, we are optimistic that FEMA will grant extensions to each of the signatories."

To view complete Letter click here.


Council Approves Reduction in Citizen Utility Bills
(December 18, 2007)

The Council Utility Committee recommended approval of a resolution approving Entergy New Orleans Inc.'s (ENO) request to implement a voluntary credit that will lower most customers' electric bills. The full Council formally adopted the implementing resolution at its regular meeting on December 20th.

Utility Committee Chairperson, Councilmember Shelley Midura said, "This is great news for the Holiday Season! Ratepayers in New Orleans will enjoy much needed rate relief going into the New Year. It is an example of the good things that can happen when Entergy and the City Council work together for the benefit of the entire City."

Entergy's request was prompted by the greater speed in which customers have returned to New Orleans based on its 2006 estimates developed while ENO was in bankruptcy. Due to faster rate at which citizens have returned home, ENO finds itself in the unique financial position to give back to ratepayers in the same spirit of cooperation that the Council and customers supported ENO during its bankruptcy.

For a complete News Release click here.


Council Criminal Justice Committee Receives Initial Quarterly Report From Criminal Justice Leadership Alliance
(December 11, 2007)

The Criminal Justice Committee of the City Council received the first Quarterly Report from the Criminal Justice Leadership Alliance documenting the progress made thus far in the implementation of the recommendations of the Vera Institute of Justice.

This information is among the most anticipated and important information to be received this year by the City Council. "This Alliance is historic," said Councilmember James Carter, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. "Leaders from every criminal justice agency have signed a statement of commitment to work collectively to implement best practices to make our city safer."

This Quarterly Report will include information on alternative sanctions for low-level offenders and municipal court reforms, along with statements from key stakeholders in the criminal justice system. "Our goal is an accountable, just, transparent and efficient criminal justice system," said Carter, "one that will serve as a model for other cities."

 

For a complete News Release click here.


City Councilmembers Attend Louisiana Recovery Authority Meeting
(December 10, 2007)

President and Councilmember-At-Large Arnie Fielkow, Vice-President and Councilmember-At-Large Jackie Clarkson, District "A" Councilmember Shelley Midura, District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and District "E" Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis attended the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) meeting. They addressed the following points at the LRA Board Meeting on behalf of the entire City Council and the City of New Orleans:

The City of New Orleans Recovery Action Plan recently requested $324 million from the State of Louisiana. We are eagerly anticipating that minimum amount. The Council wants to be clear that its position is that Louisiana Recovery Authority stay true to its original model for distribution. As the hardest hit parish, Orleans should receive 58% of all remaining funds.

We are at a critical point. Our citizens are making decisions now on their future - whether or not to reinvest in their homes based on the recovery pace of their surrounding neighborhoods. On behalf of the City, we must do all that we can to demonstrate this investment - doing our part - just as citizens are doing their part. This investment will stabilize the neighborhoods through blight eradication, commercial redevelopment, and improved public safety.

To that end, we urged the LRA to approve these funds. The next step is for the State Legislature's joint budget committee to take the appropriate action to ensure that money begins to flow into the designated parishes. Following the joint budget committee action, the recovery action plan must be submitted and approved by HUD.

For a complete Statement click here.


Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Recovery Director
Dr. Edward J. Blakely Host "Commercial District Development Series"

(December 7, 2007)

District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Dr. Edward J. Blakely recently hosted a walking tour showcasing future and on-going development along and nearby the Gentilly-Elysian Fields Corridor as part of the "Commercial District Development Series."

Throughout the walking tour, Councilmember Hedge-Morrell and Dr. Blakely discussed the City's plan for revitalizing the corridor and its potential impact on surrounding neighborhoods and universities.

The walking tour was attended by existing and potential investors, the general public, and professional and academic community.


The City Council Makes Its Strongest Commitment in History
To Energy Efficiency and Development of a Comprehensive
Energy Efficiency Plan for New Orleans

(December 6, 2007)

The City Council passed a resolution making its strongest commitment in its history to energy efficiency and the development of a comprehensive and viable energy efficiency plan for New Orleans.

The resolution called for continued work through the Council Utility Committee to develop city policies to ensure robust energy efficiency practices; the integration of energy efficiency into energy resource plans at the utility and regulatory level; and providing sufficient, timely, and stable program funding to deliver energy efficiency where cost-effective.

For a complete News Release click here.


City Council Addresses Homeless Population Challenges, Pledges Support of Ethics Reform, Authorizes Retention of Special Counsel & Launches Program To Promote Local Music Industry
(December 6, 2007)

The New Orleans City Council passed resolutions addressing the challenges facing the homeless population and pledging support of ethics reform. The Council also authorized the retention of special counsel for itself and launched a program to promote the local music industry.

Addressing Challenges of Homeless Population

The City Council passed a resolution asking the State of Louisiana to postpone demolition of the State Building and old Supreme Court Building to allow time to find permanent, affordable housing for individuals living in Duncan Plaza.

District "E" Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis, Co-Chairman of the Housing Committee, said, "We need more time to be able to find adequate housing for the citizens currently residing in Duncan Plaza before any demolition can begin."

"Together with my Council colleagues and other organizations and agencies of government, we are working diligently to help find permanent housing for our citizens living in Duncan Plaza. Unfortunately, this is the reality we are living post-Katrina - but this is a reality that we as a Council will vigilantly continue to address," said District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head, Co-Chairman of the Housing Committee.

Pledging Support for Ethics Reform

In anticipation of the possibility that the new Governor will call a special legislative session early next year, the City Council pledged its support of a special session to address comprehensive ethics reforms.

Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "The New Orleans City Council is unanimous in its support of ethics reform policies that protect our future. For too long the state of Louisiana has had a poor reputation relative to corruption, but Governor-elect Jindal's call for a special ethics session is a positive and encouraging step in the right direction."

Authorizing Retention of Special Counsel

The City Council unanimously passed a motion determining that it requires the services of special counsel to provide assistance in legal and policy matters in situations in which the advice and guidance of special counsel serve the Council's best interests and/or there exist or are potential conflicts between the City Council and the executive branch.

The motion authorizes the council staff to issue a Request for Qualifications to begin the competitive selection process to choose the special counsel.

Promoting Local Music Industry at City Council Meetings

The City Council launched a program which will showcase local musical talent. The Treme Brass Band kicked-off the series, designed to market and promote local entertainers through the use of New Orleans Access Television and the Council Chamber venue.

For a complete News Release click here.

 
 
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