Category: City Council

City Council Not Hailing A Cab Anytime Soon

Numerous times I’ve pointed out some of City Councilman Jon Johnson’s dumber comments and ideas. However, I’m happy to say I agreed with him last week. While reading over the Times-Picayune wrap-up of the new taxi regulations, was this encouraging statement, “I don’t know how we can rationally say to someone that … (the) investment can be taken away from him or her without properly compensating that person.”

Johnson’s comment was in reaction to the terrible passage of changing the characterization of Certificates of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPNC) from property owned by driver’s or cab companies to privileges bestowed to them at the mercy of the city council.

It’s bad enough that New Orleans arbitrarily limits the number of CPNCs, but now they’ve made a cartelized system even worse for individual owner-operators and smaller cab companies. What single driver would go to the effort and expense if his livelihood could be revoked at any moment, while also prohibiting him from selling his CPNC to start another career? I highly suspect this was a move requested by companies like United Cab to give them some protection on the back end to make up for the costs they will incur to make the required upgrades. Under the guise of “consumer protection” and “tourism” the council was only too happy to oblige.

March 24 City Council Election Breakdown

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but I cannot endorse anyone in the March 24 election for the New Orleans City Council At Large Seat. Each candidate gives me far too many reasons to dislike them and virtually nothing to like. This election will probably be a three candidate race with Austin Badon, Stacy Head, or Cynthia Willard-Lewis winning the votes, primarily based on name recognition alone due to their presence in local politics.

Austin Badon wants to bring the National Guard to town to police our streets in camo and Humvees armed with M16s. Also, he thinks it will be a good idea to tax people who commute to New Orleans for work from other parishes since they contribute nothing and only consume toilet water and parking spaces (his paraphrased words, not mine). Never-mind this idiotic idea was obviously found unconstitutional when Dutch Morial tried it in the 1980s. Additionally, he wants to expand DBE access to city contracts and if you’ve been reading this blog, you know what a crock those are.

Stacy Head is the Mitt Romney of the bunch. Nothing really to love or forcefully hate. With her time on the council so far we know her to be your average bigger government Democrat. What I can say is that if she wins this election, that would create a special election to replace her District B seat (of which I am now a resident). So there’s that.

Cynthia Willard Lewis lost her election in the fall for her redistricted state Senate seat with JP Morrell and instead of looking for a real job is back looking for that tax payer funded check.

Of the remaining candidates, Gary Landrieu,  a contractor and cousin to the mayor, will most likely pull the majority of votes. His primary goal is to have traffic cameras removed. In fact, he guarantees it in his video. However, he also states that he wants to replace them with “crime cameras.” No thanks, Gary. Andrew Gresset, William “Poppa” Gant, and Norbert Rome round out the bunch but all have equally uninspiring platforms.

Reviewing City Budget Is A Novel Idea

Wait, you mean we’re supposed to actually review the budget during the year? Apparently, that is what our prestigious New Orleans City Council was asking itself last week.

I don’t know about you, but I check my bank account activity and balance and due date of bills every day of the week. Is it too much to ask that the city council do this at least once a month? After all, the meeting agenda says there’s a monthly budget report to be given by Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant. Oh wait, I almost forgot. Why should we expect them to keep a hawk’s eye on the city’s spending and income when it isn’t their own money we’re talking about, it’s our money.

To make matters even worse, when they finally did get around to meeting, they couldn’t even manage to keep from getting sidetracked by…..streetlights. That’s right, streetlights. Never mind that there is a constitutional crisis going on in the Orleans Public Defenders office. Why bother working on finding funds to keep the office functional and risk severe constitutional violations or defendants from being released without a trial when we can discuss streetlights? Maybe I’m overlooking something though. Perhaps the thinking is that if the streetlights are fixed, there will be less crime, so in turn fewer defendants to have to represent! Brilliant! I don’t give Budget Committee Chairwoman Clarkson enough credit apparently.

In all seriousness though, this is a complete dereliction of duty that cannot go unmentioned. Who can possibly be surprised about high taxes and questionable spending when our elected councilmembers can’t even be bothered to seriously review them? Shame on them.


New Orleans, Occupied

If Louisiana State Rep and candidate for New Orleans City Council at-large seat, Austin Badon (D-New Orleans), gets his way New Orleans will soon have soldiers patrolling its streets to assist NOPD. According to this article, Badon’s bill would authorize the governor to send National Guard troops to New Orleans when the murder rate exceeds 45 persons for every 100,000 (a figure NOLA exceeded in 2010 and 2011).

To that, I say hell no! Sure more people policing the streets would be good. But when those people are wearing fatigues and carrying M16s and driving Humvees, I don’t think so. Soldiers patrolling our city would only further exacerbate the heightened anxiety and nervousness of our citizenry and tourists. And in a city that heavily relies on tourism, you must be pretty dense to think that tourists want to visit a city that needs soldiers in the streets for basic safety.

We’re only 3 weeks away from the spring primary and I already wasn’t going to be voting for Austin Badon, but now I certainly am not. Hopefully this bill amounts to nothing in this years legislative session.

Down With Public Use, Long Live Public Use

Yesterday, February 13, 2012, WDSU reported comments by interim New Orleans City Councilman-At Large Eric Granderson stating his desire that the city step up enforcement efforts of franchise fees on local businesses. These “franchise fees” apply when businesses use public property as part of their business operations, be it tables on the sidewalk or a stage in the public right of way. The problem, according to Granderson, is that some businesses pay the fee and a lot seemingly don’t, costing the city, by Granderson’s estimates, as much as $800,000 annually.

Essentially what’s going on here is that the same government that would just as quickly condemn and seize private property under emminent domain laws for the supposed “public use,” gets all upset over the public actually using public property without paying the city it’s fair share. Sure the city has the right to charge fees to people for using it’s property, but aren’t these businesses and their customers already paying fees for property use indirectly through taxes?

This is just another example of the City Council seeing a revenue source and pursuing it aggressively, good sense be damned. Does Councilman Granderson not understand the implication of these fees? Instead of forcing them upon all non-compliant businesses and potentially putting some out of business (leaving no one to pay the fee or the existing tax income), how about repealing this system entirely and allow New Orleans to slightly become more business friendly increasing the tax base through PRODUCTION. I know, a novel idea.