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New Orleans IS Different from the rest of the state

Aimee Freeman (our LA Dist 98 rep) HB 372 would have increased fines for bad apple developers (who we know best from their doubles-to-dorms activities). She presented it to the Committee of Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs at the State Capitol on Thursday morning (May 13), joined by Councilmember Joe Giarrusso. It would authorize the City of New Orleans to impose a daily penalty for building code and zoning violations (for residential structures only)—and for working/demolition/occupancy without a permit. It was deferred for another term. Below is Keith’s excellent letter in response to what we hear all too often: ignorance and resentment from elected officials outside New Orleans. Be SURE to watch the video, starting at minute 9:00, to see Aimee and Joe G, and the hostile questions and responses to their statements.

To:luneauj@legis.la.gov <luneauj@legis.la.gov>Cc:millsf@legis.la.gov <millsf@legis.la.gov>; barrowr@legis.la.gov <barrowr@legis.la.gov>; boudreauxg@legis.la.gov <boudreauxg@legis.la.gov>; en26@legis.la.gov <en26@legis.la.gov>; sen11@legis.la.gov <sen11@legis.la.gov>; mizellb@legis.la.gov <mizellb@legis.la.gov>; poper@legis.la.gov <poper@legis.la.gov>; hse098@legis.la.gov <hse098@legis.la.gov>; joseph.giarrusso@nola.gov <joseph.giarrusso@nola.gov>; bouiej@legis.la.gov <bouiej@legis.la.gov>; petersonk@legis.la.gov <petersonk@legis.la.gov>; harrisj@legis.la.gov <harrisj@legis.la.gov>; duplessisr@legis.la.gov <duplessisr@legis.la.gov>; hse091@legis.la.gov <hse091@legis.la.gov>; hse097@legis.la.gov <hse097@legis.la.gov>; carterg@legis.la.gov <carterg@legis.la.gov>; hilfertys@legis.la.gov <hilfertys@legis.la.gov>; hse100@legis.la.gov <hse100@legis.la.gov>Sent: Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 1:47:58 PM CDTSubject: HB 372: New Orleans is different, whether you like it or not
Senator Luneau:

I was shocked to watch, at the link below, you and other committee members complain about having to help the City of New Orleans deal with scofflaws who brazenly violate zoning laws and refuse to remove their illegal constructions.  Whether you like it or not, New Orleans is a unique city.   Walker Percy once remarked that if aliens abducted you and then put you back in the US, you would only know where you were if they dropped you in San Francisco, New York, or New Orleans.  New Orleans takes in millions of tourists every year, and is on the same A-list as Manhattan, Miami Beach, and San Francisco.  It is the birthplace of jazz, and many other forms of music have prospered here. Many writers, actors, and other celebrities, either born here or attracted by the creative atmosphere of the city, have lived here – Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Brad Pitt, John Goodman, Trent Reznor, Tennessee Williams, Lil Wayne, William Faulkner, James Carville, Wendell Pierce, Anne Rice, just to start, and young creative people move here on almost a daily basis. The City is home to several universities and major corporations, and is a major seaport and railroad connection. Because of its historic heritage, because it has miraculously managed to retain whole intact historic neighborhoods full of homes, large and small,  in architectural styles unseen anywhere else on the planet, and because it is a center of culinary invention, whose chefs are known world-wide, many visitors want to stay here — often in our neighborhoods in short term rentals.  

Because people from all over the world want to visit, live, work and create  in New Orleans, there is a high demand for housing, not only for wealthy celebrities and tourists, but also for the people who will cook for them, run the streetcars for them, and clean up the streets after they leave, not to mention those of us who haven’t given up our day jobs.  Running a City with that many tourists and long term visitors is a complex task.  Older houses need constant renovation. Parking needs to be regulated. Alcohol and food safety regulations need to be enforced.   Streets need to be fixed, and water, drainage and sanitation have to be provided.  The big bucks that can be made in in historic neighborhoods attract the best contractors and operators, who follow regulations and obtain and comply with permits, and unfortunately, also attract the worst, who illegally convert residential housing into rentals for tourists and other short term visitors, driving up housing costs for the rest of us.  Often, these violations are not discovered until the work is complete. If told to remove illegal constructions, the bad apples often ignore regulators.

To suggest that Louisiana should have one-size-fits-all state statutes regulating maximum penalties for zoning violations is to ignore the differences between New Orleans and much of the rest of the state. If  the legislature doesn’t want to adjust state law through local and special amendment to allow the City to do what it needs to do to effectively regulate construction because legislators see it as New Orleans asking to be treated “special,” then perhaps you should just set New Orleans and the rest of the municipalities in the state free, by removing many of the state laws limiting local autonomy, including caps on local government’s ability to set fines. We know what works for us, and I imagine the rest of the local governments feel the same.

The problems that Councilmember Giarrusso and Rep Freeman presented are real problems that currently –right now, today– affect me and many other New Orleanians. If lobbyists have problems with the proposed changes, they should be made to make their objection in open hearings, not by whispering in the ears of legislators.

I am profoundly disappointed to see this innocuous legislation shunted off for another term because too many thin-skinned legislators get their egos bruised by having to make the effort to understand the unique problems confronting the City of New Orleans. If your children have different needs and desires, do you force them to fit the same mold?  Do you complain about or celebrate their differences and eccentricities? Once again, the legislature has shown us why Louisiana is last in almost everything, controlled by petty jealousies and lacking in reason, charity, and understanding.

https://senate.la.gov/s_video/videoarchive.asp?v=senate/2021/06/060621HW

CRNA meeting, Thurs 10 June, 6:30

Agenda:

6:30: Money, then updates from Joe G

7:00: Khalida Lloyd of Together Louisiana
7:45: CRNA things–yard signs, picnic, blog

8:00-8:15: Adjourn

Zoom link:Time: Jun 10, 2021 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 856 4280 7943
Passcode: 717109
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Meeting ID: 856 4280 7943
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Move City Hall to the Municipal Auditorium? Petition, March-rally

If you are so inclined, here is a petition against the proposal: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-save-the-municipal-auditorium-in-new-orleans?signed=true

A protest march-rally is set for Thurs. 17 June, from 5:00 to 6:00 at Louis Armstrong Park; the march will proceed to City Hall from there. It is organized by the New Orleans Culture Preservation Committee, the Greater Treme Consortium, and the Save Our Soul Coalition.

Results: Palmer Park –> Marsalis Unity Park!

Thanks to Carrollton United and Betty for organizing the discussion last Thursday, and to Joe G for suggesting the discussion. My apologies for missing the meeting. “Marsalis Unity Park” is the result, and a very good one. Thanks to Julianna, Joyce, Dave, and Nicole for attending and contributing.

Joe G will contact the Marsalis family and bring this result to the Council.

Here’s a link to the story in Uptown Messenger: https://uptownmessenger.com/2021/06/carrollton-neighbors-back-marsalis-unity-park-as-the-new-name-for-palmer-park/

NONPACC tonight 6/8/21

Good morning, this is a reminder that tonight’s NONPACC meeting will be held in person at the 2nd District Station 3401 Broadway St. @ 6:30 PM. Masks will be required due to being inside a government building. Hope to see you there.
Edgar Staehle
Second District
(504)874-5969

Filming on Oak & Dante 6/10-6/11

7:00AM Thurs, June 10 – 7AM, Fri June 11th (PREP/SHOOT)

8300 BLOCK OAK ST (both sides)

1100 BLOCK DANTE ST (both sides)

1200 BLOCK DANTE ST (both sides)

Thanks to Sean for sharing this info!

Renaming Palmer Park Zoom discussion, 3 June

On Thursday, 3 June at 6:00 pm Carrollton United is hosting a discussion about the renaming of Palmer Park. All neighbors are invited. Below is Betty’s email invite and the Zoom link. Included are the results of the survey I sent out two weeks back.

Good morning Carrollton neighbors and friends,
For those of you new to the recent emails and discussion about Palmer Park Renaming effort, Elaine Leyda, Pres. of CRNA, graciously agreed to conduct an online poll to help come up with a new name for Palmer Park.  The results were shared with several of us on this email and with Councilman Giarrusso’s office.  Here are the results:
Number of Votes                        Name suggested

95                                          Ellis Marsallis

22                                                Earl Palmer

13                                                Judge Wisdom

5                                                  Unity

5                                                  Friendship

1                                                  Dream
After receiving the results, Councilman Giarrusso suggested a meeting, as soon as possible, for neighbors to discuss these results before sending them to the entire City Council for approval.  Since Carrollton United meets on the first Thursday of each month, we volunteered to host this discussion on June 3 at 6:00 pm.


Below is the Zoom link for the meeting.  Please share with members of your neighborhood organizations and others in our Carrollton neighborhood.  If I’ve left off any neighborhood organizations, please forward to them.


Topic: DiMarco Zoom Meeting Time: Jun 3, 2021 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85652229773?pwd=Ry8wVkxtRGJTc0xadUgxc0gzeWFDZz09
Meeting ID: 856 5222 9773Passcode: 342270

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Meeting ID: 856 5222 9773

Passcode: 342270

“Help Not Handcuffs” sessions

Below in an email from Pastor David Brazil inviting neighbors to attend a session (in-person OR virtual) about their program, “Help Not Handcuffs.” This is a proposal for a mental health crisis response team, and that is much needed. Please check out the website (opprcnola.org/help-not-handcuffs) , and sign up for a sessions. NOTE: You can attend ANY of the virtual ones, in your District or in another one.

Dear Friend,

I’m writing as a member of the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition (OPPRC) to tell you about the launch of our newest initiative ‘Help Not Handcuffs’. Since 2004, OPPRC has been working to reduce the jail’s population, improve conditions, and create a safer and more just New Orleans. As part of that mission, we are calling for the creation of a community-based crisis response team to respond to emergencies involving our neighbors facing mental health crises. It is critical that we protect our most vulnerable neighbors, as risk of death from police intervention is seven to sixteen times greater for people with mental illness than for those without, particularly those with untreated mental illness. By creating a trained response team, we’ll be able to reduce unnecessary police interactions and save our city $10 million, money that could be used to fund desperately needed housing, healthcare, and education programs. 

Starting Tuesday, May 25, OPPRC and our partners will host a series of 10 in-person and virtual ‘learn and share’ community sessions where we hope to engage with neighbors about what a non-police mental health crisis response team would mean for each locality. The sessions will take place every Tuesday (virtually), and Saturday (in-person) over five weeks and will include time for attendees to listen to their neighbors and learn about the proposed mental health crisis response team. 

We hope you’ll not only join us for one of the sessions, but encourage your neighbors to do so as well. You can learn more about OPPRC’s citywide effort to ensure those facing mental illness receive the care they need rather than being shuttled in and out of jail by visiting opprcnola.org/help-not-handcuffs

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about the upcoming meetings. I look forward to continuing our conversation. 

Thank you, 

David Brazil

Pastor David Brazil (he/him), Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, Organizer

4035 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70125

o 504 264 2189 | c 504 439 2458 dbrazil@opprcnola.org www.opprcnola.org

SWB: What is the status of T(urbine) 4 and why is there still so much noise?

5/21/21, Melissa asked, and Ghassan replied:

“Good morning Melissa,  T-4 is back on line however we are having a few issues with it and is not considered fully available (or reliable),  hence the need to continue to rely on T-1 until such time we are 100% confident of T4 reliability. Same goes for the EMD’s. We will need to run them every 12 hours for about 30 minutes or so to ensure they are warm and to ensure their availability when we need them. This is a learned and new practice based on recent experience having difficulty starting them cold.

As for the noise mitigation, we are committed to pursue efforts to mitigate the noise as best as possible. We are assessing available resources from the System’s funds to help pay for the implementation. As I committed to CM Giarrusso yesterday we will share timeline as soon as it is firmed up.  

Once again we apologize for the adverse impact this is causing you and the neighbors. We will keep you posted as things progress for the better.

Kind Regards,

Ghassan Korban, P.E.

Executive Director,

Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

Op-ed from City Councilmembers Giarrusso and Banks: New priorities are needed in fight against violent crime

See:

https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/opinion/article_ba1ec270-b4ca-11eb-bac4-d3c7300fa840.html