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City Council October 20, 2011 Regular Meeting Summary

October 20, 2011

New Orleans, LA - October 20, 2011 - Today, the City Council passed resolutions finding Cox Communications in "substantial compliance" on its current franchise agreement with the City of New Orleans and directing that the City's Recreation Department erect signage at the David Berger - Avenger Field in Uptown New Orleans.

 

In other action, the Council passed motions appointing the City's new interim Councilmember-at-Large as Vice President of the Council and assigning the Councilmember to committee and board memberships.

 

The Council also adopted ordinances providing penalties for aggressive solicitation and increasing fines for trains blocking public streets causing public safety issues for citizens.

 

The Council received presentations from the family and friends of the late gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in honor of her 100th Birthday and from representatives of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) about the organization's "Investing With Our Members Where They Live" Initiative.  



Found Cox Communications in "Substantial Compliance" on Cable Franchise Agreement

Council Cable Consultants, Basile Uddo and Bill Aaron
Council Cable Consultants, Basile Uddo and Bill Aaron

The Council passed Resolution R-11-496, authored by Councilmember Guidry, that found Cox Communications, Inc. in "substantial compliance" on its current cable franchise agreement with the City of New Orleans. The current agreement requires that the Council determine if Cox has substantially complied with the material requirements of its agreement. To that end, earlier this year, the Council held a public hearing and received additional information from the general public, Cox Corporate Officials and the Council's Cable, Telecommunications and Technology Consultants regarding the requirements and the service provided by Cox Communications under the franchise agreement. Cox Communications has requested the current franchise agreement be renewed. Since 1981, Cox has held a nonexclusive franchise to operate, construct and maintain a cable communications system in New Orleans. In 1995, Cox requested and received a renewal of its cable franchise agreement with the City. The matter of the renewal of the cable franchise will be considered by the Council at a meeting before December 31, 2011.

 

District "A" Councilmember Susan Guidry said, "Today's action is the initial step in the process to consider the cable franchise renewal request of Cox Communications. The Council has conducted and will continue to conduct its due diligence with regard to the Cox Communications renewal request and compliance requirement as specified in the current cable franchise agreement."

 

Provided Penalties for Aggressive Solicitation



The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 28,682, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, to provide for tools to address aggressive solicitation in the French Quarter, which threatens the security and privacy of residents and visitors. The law specifically addresses solicitation that impedes the orderly flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic that leads to concerns regarding traffic and public safety.   The ordinance is content neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest, and open to alternative channels for communication of information.  Also, it is careful to protect the numerous forms of solicitation that are not inherently threatening or aggressive.

 

District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, "This is a major piece of legislation with important benefits to the community. This law is a proactive crime fighting tool and a quality of life measure than has far reaching impact on the French Quarter and our tourism industry."

 

Acted on Interim Councilmember Committee and Board Appointments

Council President Clarkson
Council President Clarkson

The City Council took action on Interim Councilmember-at-Large Eric Granderson's Council Committee and Board appointments.   Motion M-11-492 officially named Councilmember Granderson Vice President of the Council. Motion M-11-428 and Motion M-11-494 appointed Granderson as a member of the Health Care and Social Services; Cable, Telecommunications, and Technology; Special Development Projects and Economic Development; and Election Code and Reapportionment Committees. Motion M-11-493 ratified Granderson as a member of the Criminal Justice Coordination Council; Rivergate Development Corporation; and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (2011 and 2013).

 

Council President Clarkson said, "The transition of our new interim Councilmember has been seamless. Today's actions are the final housekeeping items the Council needed to complete to ensure that Councilmember Granderson assumes the full complement of his duties as an At-Large member of the City Council." 

 

Increased Fines for Trains Blocking Public Streets and Rights-Of-Ways

Councilmember Gisleson Palmer
Councilmember Gisleson Palmer

The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 28,669, co-authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, Johnson, Hedge-Morrell, Guidry, Head, Clarkson and Granderson, to increase fines for trains blocking public streets and posing a public safety hazard. This issue impacts neighborhoods across New Orleans. However, the legislation to strengthen fines arose from the numerous requests made by citizens living in the Bywater and Ninth Ward neighborhoods. The ordinance increases the fine from $50 to $500. The municipal fine limit is set at a maximum of $500 per violation.
 
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Blocking of public streets and rights-of-ways by trains is an ongoing issue in neighborhoods across the City. With the passage of this ordinance, it is our hope to bring attention to and curtail this practice by train operators of coming to a complete halt on train tracks and blocking public streets for long periods of time during peak traffic hours."  

 

Directed the City's Recreation Department Erect Identifiable Signage at David Berger - Avenger Field

Councilmember Guidry
Councilmember Guidry

The Council passed Resolution R-11-411, authored by Councilmember Guidry that directs the City's Recreation Department to erect identifiable signage at the David Berger - Avenger Field in Uptown New Orleans. In 2002, the David Berger - Avenger Field was named for the former Tulane University graduate who trained at Avenger Field. Berger was a member of the 1972 Israel's Olympic weightlifting team. His life, along with several of his teammates, was tragically cut short in a horrific terrorist attack in Munich, Germany in September of 1972. Since the official naming of the field in 2002, the designated signage has not been erected. The Council's resolution mandates an identifiable sign be erected at David Berger - Avenger Field within the next ninety days.
 

District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "This action will finally identify this park to David Berger. The David Berger - Avenger Field will forever be a tribute and reminder of the contributions, dedication and commitment of this wonderful young man whose life was cut short far too soon."

 

Marked the 100th Birthday of Mahalia Jackson

L to R: Dr. Robert Dawson, Gale Smith-Lewis, Councilmember Head, Barbara Lacen Keller, Councilmember Guidry, Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, Rose Champagne, Councilmember Johnson, Doris Westrey and the Reverend Dr. Norwood Thompson Jr.
L to R: Dr. Robert Dawson, Gale Smith-Lewis, Councilmember Head, Barbara Lacen Keller, Councilmember Guidry, Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, Rose Champagne, Councilmember Johnson, Doris Westrey and the Reverend Dr. Norwood Thompson Jr.

At the request of Councilmember Guidry, the Council received a presentation from the family and friends of the late Mahalia Jackson in celebration of her 100th Birthday. Mahalia Jackson was a native of New Orleans and lived in the Black Pearl neighborhood. She began singing at her home church, Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, on Millaudon Street. The Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts located in Louis Armstrong Park is named for the beloved gospel singer. The Council presented a proclamation honoring the life, memory, and legacy of the gospel singer who had a lifelong commitment to gospel music and gained local and international fame performing worldwide. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and performed benefit concerts to support people of color in their fight for equality and justice. During her lifetime, Jackson was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was a recipient of numerous awards including multiple Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. On Saturday October 22nd, a wreath-laying at Providence Memorial Park and Mausoleum is open to the public. An exhibit at the Stella Jones Gallery honoring Jackson will be open through the end of the year. Throughout the month of October, to commemorate the life of Jackson, performances, discussions and events are planned across the Metropolitan New Orleans Area.

 

District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "Mahalia Jackson was an incredible gospel singer who touched the lives of so many with her amazing talent. We are so privileged to call her a New Orleanian and to honor her life and legacy which lives on through our memories of her and the stories that will be told for generations to come." 

 

AARP Discussed "Investing With Our Members Where They Live" Neighborhood Partnership

Councilmember Guidry with Nancy McPherson (left) and Linedda McIver (right), representatives of the AARP
Councilmember Guidry with Nancy McPherson (left) and Linedda McIver (right), representatives of the AARP

At the request of Councilmember Guidry, the Council heard a presentation from representatives of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) regarding a neighborhood partnership initiative "Investing With Our Members Where They Live." This program builds a strong community presence in local neighborhoods. Since 2008, AARP and the Hollygrove community have worked tirelessly on numerous recovery projects including the design and programming of the Carrollton-Hollygrove Multipurpose Center, located at 3300 Hamilton St. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people ages 50 and over. The organization is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all citizens as they age. The Council presented a proclamation commending the organization for its outstanding community work.

 

District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "AARP is an important organization that leads positive social change and proves itself invaluable to its members by providing information and advocacy. Thanks largely to the help of AARP, senior members of our community have been able to take responsibility for their own health and well being and look out for other members of their community as well." 

 

 
  

Found Cox Communications in "Substantial Compliance" on Cable Franchise Agreement

Provided Penalties for Aggressive Solicitation

Acted on Interim Councilmember Committee and Board Appointments

Increased Fines for Trains Blocking Public Streets and Rights-Of-Ways

Directed the City's Recreation Department Erect Identifiable Signage at David Berger - Avenger Field

Marked the 100th Birthday of Mahalia Jackson

AARP Discussed "Investing With Our Members Where They Live" Neighborhood Partnership

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