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City Council June 18, 2015 Regular Meeting News Summary

June 18, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council meeting, the Council adopted ordinances to reduce false alarms so that police resources can be deployed more effectively, to enhance public safety in the French Quarter, to establish the Youth Study Center as the appropriate adult facility for the pre-trial detention of juveniles, and to designate "Clean Zones" for Essence Music Festival.

In other business, the Council honored retiring Xavier University President Dr. Norman C. Francis and recognized the 50th Anniversary of Head Start. 

Prior to the Regular meeting, the Council convened as the Governing Authority of the French Quarter Economic Development District (EDD) to adopt a resolution calling a special election on October 24, 2015 for French Quarter voters to consider the levy of an incremental sales tax increase of .2495% within the boundaries of the French Quarter EDD.



Passed Measure to Reduce False Alarms

The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,796, authored by Councilmembers Williams, Head, Brossett, and Guidry, establishing guidelines and penalties for false alarms. False alarms are defined as any alarm eliciting a police response when an emergency situation does not exist. The purpose of this ordinance is to establish guidelines to reduce the occurrence of false alarms and to modernize requirements for operation and maintenance of alarm systems.

Under the ordinance, alarm system users are required to register with the alarm administrator each year with no processing fees. For the first false alarm, the alarm administrator will send a false alarm notification and request identification information from the alarm system user. No fine will be assessed. If the alarm system user fails to return the alarm user identification information within fifteen days, police alarm response will be suspended. For the second false alarm, the alarm system user will be fined $75.00. For the third false alarm, the alarm system user will be fined $150.00 and will receive a notice of impending police alarm response suspension. For the fourth false alarm, the alarm system user will be fined $150.00 and police alarm response will be suspended. If a fine has not been paid within 30 days of the notice, the alarm administrator will send a second notice and a $25.00 late fee will be assessed. If the late payment is not received within 10 days of the second notice, the alarm system user may receive a $100.00 fine and police alarm response suspension. Alarm system users may file an appeal to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Alarm Administrator. The NOPD Alarm Administrator will be able to waive one $75 fine a year if the alarm system user either presents verification of an alarm equipment check or if the alarm system user completes an Alarm User Awareness Class. At the end of each year, false alarm counts will revert to zero if the alarm system user has paid all fees and fines. 

The NOPD Alarm Administrator will submit an annual evaluation and analysis to the Council by March 1 of each year. 

Council President Williams said, "Our goal is a twenty to fifty percent reduction in calls for service related to false alarms. Through the passage of this ordinance, we are requesting alarm system users to partner with us, to prevent false alarms, and promote public safety by keeping officers on the street, and reducing response times due to fewer calls for service."

 

Authorized CEA to Enhance Public Safety in the French Quarter


Jackson Square
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,778, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a CEA between the City, the French Quarter Economic Development District, and the Louisiana State Police (LSP), to enhance public safety in the French Quarter. The French Quarter EDD is bounded by the Mississippi River, the centerline of Canal Street, the rear property line of the properties fronting the lakeside of North Rampart Street, and the rear property line of the properties fronting the downriver side of Esplanade Avenue to the Mississippi River.

In related business, the Council convened prior to the regular meeting as the Governing Authority of the French Quarter Economic Development District (EDD) and adopted a resolution calling a special election on October 24, 2015 for French Quarter voters to consider the levy of an incremental sales tax increase of .2495% within the boundaries of the French Quarter EDD. The incremental sales tax will be used to fund economic development projects and a long-term contingent of Louisiana State Police troopers to patrol the French Quarter. It is estimated that a quarter cent sales tax within the district boundaries would generate approximately $2 million annually.

 

Established Youth Study Center For Pre-Trial Detention of Juveniles

The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,680, authored by Councilmember Guidry, establishing the Youth Study Center (YSC) as the appropriate adult facility for the pre-trial detention of all children less than the legal age of the majority who are charged as adults in local courts. It also calls for the transfer of youth from Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) to the YSC within 45 days. 

The prison is currently under a federal consent decree which requires that youth housed at OPP be kept separately from adults and be given "developmentally appropriate mental health and programming services." The majority of the youth in OPP are housed in protective isolation due to their high risk of becoming victims of physical and sexual abuse. Routine isolation is known to cause paranoia, anxiety, and depression, and studies by the Federal Bureau of Justice, National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, and Centers for Disease Control have demonstrated that youth incarcerated with adults are at a higher risk for suicide, sexual assault, and subsequent arrests. OPP has not taken any significant steps to provide these services, and the OPP facilities are not equipped to house youth safely, constitutionally, or cost-effectively. The YSC, which is operated by the City of New Orleans for the housing of pre-trial juveniles and transfer youth, has demonstrated the ability to provide appropriate housing and programming for youth in a secure and constitutional environment. 

District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "As Chair of the Council’s Criminal Justice Committee, I have made getting children out of the dangerous conditions at OPP a top priority. While my goal is the removal of all children from OPP, this ordinance is a strong first step, establishing the Youth Study Center as the appropriate adult facility for children whom the District Attorney has chosen to charge as adults. I look forward to continuing to work with the other members of the Youth Transfer Working Group to ensure that all children held pretrial are housed in a manner that is safe and age-appropriate."

 

Designated "Clean Zone" for Essence Music Festival

The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,765 to provide for the designation of public property within areas of the City as a temporary "Clean Zone" relative to the use of this area in conjunction with the 2015 Essence Music Festival, which begins on Thursday, July 2 and ends on Sunday, July 5.

This designation provides for the temporary prohibition of the transaction of any business on public streets, sidewalks, rights of way, and outside of an enclosed building, including the sale of food, beverages, and/or merchandise within the "Clean Zone" areas. Permits relative to the aforementioned prohibited activities shall be suspended, and inflatables, unauthorized general advertising and the placement of unauthorized tents will be prohibited within the "Clean Zone" during the effective dates and times. 

The Ordinance establishes the "Clean Zone" within the area bounded by Earhart Boulevard to Calliope Street, Religious Street to Orange Street proceeding across the Mississippi River along the West bank levee, continuing across the Mississippi River to Elysian Fields Avenue, North Claiborne Avenue to Tulane Avenue, North Broad to Earhart Boulevard thereto, the Mississippi River, excluding the Superdome property, the New Orleans Smoothie King Arena property and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Property. The temporary "Clean Zone" will be effective from 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 28 until 6:00 p.m. on Monday, July 6. 

District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "We are proud to have Essence Festival call New Orleans home. Each year citizens and visitors attend the Essence Festival to enjoy world-class music and New Orleans' unique culture. By establishing the 'Clean Zone' we are helping to ensure that festival patrons have a safe and pleasant experience in our City."

 

Honored Retiring Xavier University President Dr. Norman C. Francis

Retiring Xavier University President Dr. Norman C. Francis 
with the City Council and Mayor Mitch Landrieu
The Council honored retiring Xavier University President Dr. Norman C. Francis for over 50 years of work at Xavier University. Dr. Francis graduated from Xavier University in 1952. After serving in the U.S. Army and becoming the first black Loyola Law School graduate he returned to work for Xavier University in 1957 as the Dean of Men. In 1968, Dr. Francis became the University's first black and first lay President. Since assuming the University's Presidency, Xavier has more than tripled its enrollment, broadened its curriculum, expanded its campus, received national attention for its award-winning academic initiatives, and raised its endowment from $20 million to over $130 million. 

Dr. Francis has served in an advisory role to eight U.S. Presidents. He has served as a board member of the Educational Testing Service; the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; the College Board; the Southern Education Foundation; and the American Association of Higher Education. He has also served as chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority; the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation; the Southern Education Foundation; the New Orleans Aviation Board; and the Metropolitan Area Committee Education Fund. Dr. Francis is the recipient of 43 honorary degrees and numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He will retire this month after being the University's President for 47 years. 

District "D Councilmember Brossett said, "On behalf of the City Council I would like to thank Dr. Francis for his unwavering commitment to educational and social equality, spiritual enlightenment and community service as Xavier University's President."

District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "Dr. Francis is an inspiration to us all and has done an extraordinary job as Xavier University's President. He has left a long lasting legacy of outstanding leadership, dedication and deep compassion for higher education, and motivation to impact and enrich the lives of countless people. He will truly be missed by many throughout the University's campus and the City of New Orleans."

 

Recognized 50th Anniversary of Head Start

Total Community Action, Inc. 
President & CEO Thelma French
The Council received a presentation from Total Community Action, Inc. (TCA) President and CEO Thelma French, recognizing the 50th Anniversary of Head Start. Head Start is a federal effort initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to ensure that at-risk children across the nation receive a quality early childhood experience. The project has served 32 million children and their families, providing comprehensive early learning services that prepare at-risk children for kindergarten and offer families a path to self-sufficiency. TCA is a non-profit, community-based agency that works in conjunction with Head Start to help families overcome social and economic conditions that perpetuate poverty. Among the services provided by TCA are early childhood development, energy conservation, commodity distribution, case management, workforce and job development, financial education, asset development, advocacy and community engagement.

District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "TCA's programs are helping to shape the lives of many New Orleanians. The TCA early childhood development program helps to prepare pre-school children for school, and gives parents the time needed to work so that they can provide for their children. On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank TCA for supporting Head Start for 50 years."

 

 
  
 

Passed Measure to Reduce False Alarms

Authorized CEA to Enhance Public Safety in the French Quarter

Established Youth Study Center For Pre-Trial Detention of Juveniles

Designated "Clean Zone" for Essence Music Festival

Honored Retiring Xavier University President Dr. Norman C. Francis

Recognized 50th Anniversary of Head Start

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