Unfortunately, it appears I was correct in my last post. Possibly overlooked as a result of the more advertised decision to support NIMBYs and hamper Tulane’s new football stadium plans, was this little nugget from Thursday’s (May 3, 2012) New Orleans City Council meeting.
Seriously, what else could Hedge-Morrel and Johnson’s childish reaction signal? Yes, race politics are still alive and well in this city.
I had hoped to use this post to take the rare opportunity to praise Johnson and Hedge-Morrel for opposing the vote yesterday on the Interim Zoning District, but alas, it must be overlooked as a result of their final actions of the day.
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.
Another item on our October 22 ballots is a proposal to extend a 20 mill tax on the New Orleans Regional Business Park in New Orleans East. The business park has existed since 1979 and the 20 mill tax funds about 1/3 of the $600,000 budget for the park which is home to a modest (in context of the praise it receives) 85 businesses. Only the businesses are effected by the tax. The major tenants are Folgers Coffee, Entergy, and NASA’s Michoud facility. Unsurprisingly the New Orleans City Council, lead by Jon Johnson who’s district includes the park, announced their unanimous support for this today.
Now I don’t know Councilman Jon Johnson personally, nor do I live in his district, but if I were given the chance to ask him a question, it would be this. What part of economics and common business sense says that if you add an extra special tax to an area you hope more businesses will move to, then naturally, the businesses will magically beat down your door to move in? That’s essentially what he’s saying here and here.
Instead, I offer another idea. Let’s all vote against the renewal of the tax and see what the existing businesses do to expand with the $220,000 they’ll save all together and maybe we’ll finally see some of that promised growth in the New Orleans Regional Business Park that we’ve been hearing about since 1979.
Also found in the Eggler piece is a gem of a paraphrase of Johnson, “he is heartened by the fact there appears to be no organized opposition to the renewal. In the absence of an opposition campaign, he said, tax renewals normally pass, especially if the vast majority of those voting don’t have to pay the tax.” Councilman Johnson, are you using typical New Orleans voter apathy as proof that this is a good idea? I wish I could say I was surprised. Well, while I may be late to the party in becoming an organized “opposition campaign” I am going on the record now as being just that.