Jun 15, 200911:09 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
3 Things That I Wish the Mayor was Doing Last Week Instead of Being Quarantined in China and Speaking About Global Warming in Australia
3. Note to Mayor: The state legislature is in session. That used to be a time that if mayors took any trips at all, it was to Baton Rouge to protect the city’s interests. As it happens, there is a major interest to protect the Master Plan — the most meaningful document to be approved by voters in post- Katrina New Orleans. The plan was even one of the accomplishments that Ed Blakely, Nagin’s man for the recovery, claimed credit for, even when the credit was not all his. Now there is an attempt to, in effect, make the plan meaningless by requiring that an election be held to ratify the final version, although voters already approved the process which gives the council the final say so (The bill was introduced in the Senate by Ed Murray and in the House by Cedric Richmond).
Proponents of this bill might say that calling for an extra election is an exercise in democracy but it is really just a way to kill the plan by giving special interests, i.e. certain big name developers, another chance at financing a campaign to shoot it down. Last week the bill, which has already been approved by the state Senate, came perilously close to passing in the House. A committee vote was tied at 8-8 which prevented it from being recommended to the floor (To her her credit, City Attorney Penya Moses- Fields was there to argue that the bill was a violation of the city’s home rule charter—which it is). A one-vote swing in committee and the bill would have been on its way to the floor of the House where it would have likely passed. But the concern continues. The bill’s supporters says they will reintroduce it to the committee this week.
This could be a decisive moment in the city’s future and the way it will grow. We need the mayor in Baton Rouge.
2. New Orleans is again ranked as the nation’s murder capital. There is room to quibble with statistics. Maybe it’s really the second or third worst place instead, but that is not what the nation is hearing. Someone needs to be speaking out, making good on his promise to work tirelessly to fight crime and trying to salvage our reputation before the rest of the nation.
1. There is nothing on the plate that could have a greater economic impact on the city than the proposed LU/VA hospital complex. But the issue is wallowing and the longer it takes, the more expensive the project will become and the greater the delay of the city ever having a major health industry. Here is where a strong mayor needs to step in. Get the factions together in one room, slam the door and (as though they are quarantined) do not come out until there is a plan. If the Australians want to know about global warming, tell them to go to Google it. If New Olreanians want to know about the city’s future, they should be able to go to the mayor for answers.
Stay home Mr. Mayor.
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