WWL>Topics>>6-2-14 1:10pm Angela: on NOLA development

6-2-14 1:10pm Angela: on NOLA development

Jun 2, 2014|

Angela talks with New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams about how best to continue the city's development and resurgence.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Happy Monday and what a beautiful Monday it is hopefully you dodged all those rain bullets over the weekend but -- tell -- that today is a pretty one. And I think we have a very interesting series of shows. Well one I'm so thrilled that these two people could join us for our first hour to the varsity counsel people who -- gonna -- and update -- on. Where we are reduced so many programs on the show. On issues that constituents. Need answers to so bless their hearts are here and I truly appreciate that. Our second program is going to be I cannot wait because I think I have a lot to learn on this. We have had for ever it seems like. Led to. In our soil and -- we have a world renowned scientist who has done all kinds of studies on this and he's going to be in studio. Along with they up a woman who is deeply concerned about the effects of -- in our soil on our children. So we're gonna find out the very latest study on that and not talk about what it really means and what can be done. And the third hour you're not gonna wanna miss because we're gonna talk about. All these controversies in sports. And we have our sports experts the great to Bobby a bear Deke Bellavia and from Baton Rouge calling -- T body there. So we're going to be talking about everything from what's happening with the sale of the clippers for two billion dollars to some of the issues within the NFL. Some of the players who are concerned about drugs they were given over the years so what's the whole -- of thought what's happening in sports. But we begin with -- Our new City Council is now sworn in and hard work so we thought we start -- week checking in on issues it's addressing. And issues that keep rearing their heads -- We are lucky enough to have new councilman at large Jason Williams. And veteran councilwoman LaToya Cantrell. With this for the whole hour so if you have any questions or comments but council people. Give us a call at 260187. And we do have much much much talk about but I wanted to ask -- millions. You're not campaigning anymore I mean it's real. You're sitting in their you've got to council meetings under your belt is it what you thought it was going to be. It's what I thought it would be and so much more Angela the rubber has hit the road. And and it brought to the races. It's been enjoyable experience have -- at the -- runs out very quickly as council members Cantrell told me it would there's only so many hours in the day. And -- have to be as efficient as you can and getting today as a means that mean that -- he can command a great time. And we're gonna every six months we're gonna have you you still happy are you still -- -- did it work. This is a lot of work and you know I have a new appreciation just doing the show the number of citizen issues that we've done. But the real respect I have for what you'll face constantly. I wanna talk about those I'd like to start with I think everybody's in agreement that we don't have enough money. And certainly with the the consent decrees we are really kind of thing not -- knees. And -- the mayor has gone happen and passed various. Legislative. Proposition summit failed some have worked and so the one that I'm talking about will be the one that we will vote on -- citizens. On whether to raise the villages. Of police and fire -- that'll give us some more money. I'd I'd like to know from you want your thoughts on that. And to it's it'll work because I think people have concerns once the audit and institute tax failed. Or we end in environments it's not going to accept. Any more taxes. OK well good afternoon. And thank you game for having me and it's really a great honor to be here with what my parents and that's so thank you for this. You mention the opera polls. Tax increase for police fire EMS. We do have a a real need here there's a tremendous deficit. The bottom line years -- and really I'm hoping that people are paying attention. We have to to first. Make it through a state wide vote. Before it comes to. Citizens of the city of New Orleans. If it makes it here that yes we're going to have to -- even before the vote. Come up with a real shredded sheet to format voters. Making them know why we need the additional money first while we need a lot more police officers on the street. You call 911 right now you don't get an answer may take you now. Group reports or responses accidents I mean I could be hours sometimes days before you give your reports completed. EMS there's a real short which there are far department we need more of firemen on the street and they need wages increase. Both not only with five also with our police. So and and crimes seems to be in as we -- number one issue and our city so whether or not it's needed absolutely now how weak. Propose this Reggie to get the buying in from our voters that's where where the really the rubber meets the row. And I think that citizens have been telling us a real story. Not just what the out of -- not institute tax a year before that it was -- 91116. That was voted down. But today 911 isn't working so that was something that we really need it. But we waited until the eleventh hour to tell our people that we needed that one -- extra. In addition -- -- the told bridge that was another so we have been giving a story told to us by the residents and we have to do a better job. Of of should teach agree laying it out for them not only why it's needed it but how the money will be used. In a manner that they can respect appreciate and feel valued at their money. Is going towards what we say it will go to it will be interesting days. And I know that and thank you so much bring up that has to. Beat Penn State law and then it will come here before your accounts and then it will go for the fuel to. That's the line and I understand what that means it means that New Orleans for the most part we're beholding to the state of Louisiana. Well hey the 5060 years ago we're still living with Huey. Decisions have impacted the quality life of the city for generations. And so for us to change that will have to fight Baton Rouge and New Orleans really doesn't look up on all favorably. At the state level. So we are people to get more involved get engaged in advocates. At the state level because the city of New Orleans. Our future truly depends upon. All right we are going to do no limitation because again the money thing I think is Paramount but. Let let's talk about this last week we head. A very interesting show with two groups of people. Or New Orleans one fighting for street lights the other -- fighting for the dad gum roads. And they have just form these armies of to the media of people who are fed up. They want the light fixed and they want the roads and they don't wanna be told as one was told he'll get it Tony eighteen. That's too much and that's really too much realistically what can be. Well I mean I think council member catcher hit the nail head accused talking about. All the things that we need to pay for now. And the revenue that we don't have to pay for. One of the reasons that I keep I keep hearing the story over and over again from our citizens taxpayers are constituents would you call them. They wanna know and they wanna see what we've done. With the tax dollars eight -- pay royalties. And as you know we talk about this last time they run after the election I was here with councilman Ramsey. Our streets have been bad for generations you know -- that's not a Hurricane Katrina issue. That's always been an issue in struggling to figure out on strategically come with a with a plan to address those things. We've never tackled in any realistic way. And that has to happen we talk a little bit about what Billy and I guess it was doing. And and plaque was pairs. Deal with some of the FEMA money reaching a settlement on that. On that dollar before it goes away if we have started certain projects. We have to have a realistic conversation with the administration about that with the parts of the street lights and that's a little bit of a different scenario. Because years ago that was something that Entergy. Was to blow up and then we took ownership of that. -- and I think it's safe to say we have not done a wonderful job maintaining. -- give it back to -- and that's and the conversations that we've been we've been talking about having. There's this some new technology out there and now that got -- Some them. Some some some moneys that would actually go back to that the ratepayers he start talking about more efficient bulbs. But being that we have so many lights are out of commission that along that that way past just like ball scenario. We -- with a strategic plan for getting those back and commerce it would have been working on that for about fourteen. Million dollars just went. To address that and we're looking at using some other repair refunds to do something like that later known as well. But I'm not gonna lie to Republicans say that there's such a strategic plan right now. To deal with it that's what we've got to do next year. You can understand people's frustrations and it is about quality of life and the irony is. I think that there's overall feeling in this community but a lot is going right. That many positives are happening retailer is back -- got a building boom downtown make lots of good things in neighborhoods. These two issues cheap. Surfacing. Well I mean it's it all boils down to -- better quality of life and so all of those residents. Saint Charles avenue. Organization enough fix my street no organization that's popped up. All of them are right on target. These City Council as other council may just mentioned we are about to let's pass committee. Reallocate -- this fourteen point seven million dollars that we have received from the front from energy. -- we will be voting on it -- real soon it's going to goal towards the energy Smart program where of that program has been extremely. Affective but that is on. LED lights that is not that's on the conversion size. So this is not. Decorative -- me this is not a street repair. Our -- repairs that are. Tied to the Levy failures so. We have I -- real big problem. As it relates to street lights but we are working only real solution and we understand that it is a public safety issue. How will -- -- to hit it in our neighborhoods you know we're we're suffering as well. In addition to. Just the street -- even there payers you know we started off with forty million dollars. Of street repair money and that was the recovered rose program. But we have to work for years to get that money that. Dollar amount from forty. To 400 million and the city has done so there are extensive -- with peers that are happening even outside. Of that rose recovery program you will see. They're rolling out over the next six months even turow. And in my district it's going to receive the street appears they've been fighting for the for a long period of time but it is. It is a problem and I do believe that the council. Want to do all the McCain. Says to find and see the gaps in the funding prior to going to the people saying look. We were gonna need you to. Any up a little bit -- little bit more taxes that is not the route we want to take. But we are looking at a surplus that we have seen come out of 2013. That we will be dealing with in 2014. Council president hand who is -- and the Budget Committee. Is really aggressively looking at that dollar amount and seeing how we can allocate more money. Primarily to street lights of the -- repairs. Where we're making games there. With a lot of programs and projects that are coming out of out of the ground so and so I know that people wanna see mower. But they also have to understand as we're showing them more. They're gonna have to be a little bit more patient. With -- to and from places throughout the city because we did constant complaints about. The coordination. Of these projects but at the end of the day it's really boiled down to -- That's getting the dollars. Giving the the programs of the projects in place. And the money is on -- mine and the projects have to go so with that hey we really need that the community to be patient with us. The -- very serious about pride -- that it's at the top of all okay -- and an active tea had a good conversation with council member injury. About alleyways certainly view and so work -- and yes I'm raising machine. -- can at least start start that work going again because it's been it's been halted for a break down time but it's it's or it's a part of that. First five minutes -- every conversation we -- We have to take a break stay with this we're talking to -- to counsel people about your balance right after this. Well we welcome you back and we are so delighted to have councilman Jason Williams and councilman LaToya Cantrell updating us on. Issues of great concern to many. You know what we're gonna take a couple of calls some of them are gonna go back tomorrow other questions let's start with Stephen you've been holding on. Pretty. First -- might say that my day since Katrina. My taxes have gone up 400% -- house. All but one of the big things is known sportsman of the city we moved the book great commission. Over across the street from City Hall so now we have one there's only three people who who -- commission and only one problem spent a couple of hours a week. During the today in the French Quarter to try to keep the French Quarter cleaned up and from what I have spoken to him several times. There answer basically handcuffed. Because they can't beat -- like to see what these merchant that are. The -- out three to kind of stop farther outside chatters. Bartlett let's let's talk about them with the council people. About enforcement consent comes up as well. We have laws on the books we have rules and but who is enforcing. What you have various. In terms of enforcement absolutely. Across the board we have to have better enforcement. Mainly coming out of the code enforcement as well as around with safety permits. A but it really depends on on the matter at hand which will determine who's responsible for enforcement. But I agree a 100%. It's something that we haven't done well for a long time and I know that it's a priority for us moving full. I appreciate that call Steve. Yeah appointment went well okay quickly. Our magazine street has eighty are almost every one problem at outside. -- It's more over and over what they have the inside and I'm sure they're not paying -- -- here taxes than they are supposed to. On the sidewalk and the galleries they use. Well I have to say thank you Steve and thank you call me. Of these the servitude agreements you're right on point. I know that since I've been on the council in my district particularly and magazine is in most of it is in district beat. We have really been going out and insuring that our businesses are paying the city. For the space that there occupying. Once sidewalks. It is a permit that you have to receive you do have to go through that process. And you do have to pay for. Of the space that's being utilized. And I would have to say I've seen in approve more servitude agreements in the past year and a half. And I've been told that the has that have been cast. From years on out so we're making games there and I tell you if you have. A particular business MRI and you don't believe that they are paying. Their fair share please contact our office contact my office to should be or are councilman office and we will definitely. Do the hallmark. And ensure that people would do when you're paying their fair share. It's about him. -- -- Stephen thanks a -- we're gonna take another break with got to go to the newsroom but stay with us as we continue our top. With councilman Jason Williams and councilwoman LaToya Cantrell financial on -- you well. We are talking with the council. Councilman Jason Williams and councilman LaToya Cantrell about the issues they are facing and rear facing and we. Continued to chip away. It's going to blight. It says on the city web site that there were 985. Inspection seventy judgments 34 share of sales. Zero demolitions. Do you think were ever gonna catch up. We will we're moving forward. But a lot more aggressive than we used to be due to some good work of the council before -- even got there. Been very very aggressive that's one area that enforcement has. Has picked up the pace. A little bit. But we still have a lot. More blight that's not even on the books I think the general public assumes that houses and implied for a long period of time and in city home -- about it. And you know one of the ways we find out about this is my provinces and Colin and and in the process starts from that call so that's one of those things that. There's a partnership. Between public officials. And citizens. And that's something that we have to work on together as leaders in every neighbors again leaders on the dais at city elegantly in every neighborhood. We need those leaders to get involved. An end to note that address. And let us know at City Hall so we can get the process started on that. Like abatement program but we're moving forward but we've got a lot more. What do you think is the biggest obstacle. To toe moving more quickly. What are you talking about property rights which which we protect very much in this country for -- variety of different reasons. And so you know the process cannot be adjudicated. As quickly as as we would like for it to be for a from a from a for a -- enforcement standpoint because folks have certain rights to protect the property -- mean you'd even be talking about a huge. Apartment building has been laying -- New Orleans east for number of years. Or to be talking about. An older woman. Trying to make it. And maintain her property. With a fixed income and those are two very different scenarios. And have to be treated differently and that's where you have adjudication process. Which some of what slows it down we worked on some ways of trying to do a bit more efficient. But that that that property right aspect of it is what slows down. And I do I -- have to say as accountants and that our system. Was set up to be complaints yet. In do you call 31 line and that's how the city's made aware. And and a lot of data. With this administration. With the transition of it. A lot of data that was lost. Back in the day when I was still implied assessment in my neighborhood in every property everybody property so the city doesn't have. -- -- we know about the belie that we don't know about all -- so I would definitely here to the countenance recommendation. To contact 31 line to ensure that we know about the blighted property. However. The administration and the council we've made great distracts. We have a -- working group that performed in September of 2013 which told us frankly. You know pay. We need better strategies. All of neighborhoods are not created equal both strategies need to be -- with the markets of those communities. We need a light -- -- AG's that are from the bottom up. Not top down we need a coordinated effort to to target. Reinvestment and redevelopment. And from. Listening to the people we have now stream guys indeed the lien waiver process. Significantly. We have also approved a of -- -- to own program that's coming out of the ground. We are also we've streamlined the process for the city to cut overgrown vacant lots. That process with streamlined to seven days -- noticed. The city will be going -- we've allocated -- money towards that urban development money. Will go mobile hot and in the property. -- been beaten me for the amount the city has had to pay to clean that particular lack. We're looking at moving our adjudicated properties. Back into commerce through an auction so that should be coming on very lives real soon so we're making. Strides -- just to go ahead we'll have much. It's a lot it's a whole lot it really is but it has to be -- holistic approach. We have to target blight -- overgrown lots where every development. Has occurred so that -- so it's not spotty. Right and and many of our 101000 properties that the administration targeted. It was really spotty it was in and day centralized area we can say okay we tip this section. And so I think with a coordinated effort -- entities that we will most -- will see a big difference. Moving on to we didn't show that was very hot to actually. The number of people who are now renting short term their properties and the controversy around that neighbors. Very upset by a growing number. And they are illegal and it goes back to the enforcement. And I mean I had people sitting in the studio who said you know -- called the thing here's the guy he improvement and nothing happens. At -- but it's a lot and and and one of their thoughts was that there isn't a big motivation. Within City Hall because in fact they want people in town spending money and enjoying the city. And this is more more tax revenues coming in itself. While account that I think that there is a great deal of motivation. To deal with the short term mental issue. I know of that council member -- has organized. A coalition of people that will make recommendations. To the counsel to the committee the community development committee. We're going to tackle this issue but it will be balanced -- have some residents who don't. Have a problem with that but overwhelmingly. We do have neighborhoods where they do not want. We need people to pay fair fair -- Hey are are people who are following the process that are operating legal eagle bidding practices. We don't need to price them out they should you know and this is of a big a huge problem and these people who are doing -- illegally and not paying -- they're not paying attack me. And that's at the end of the day. That's the issue. If you're going to do it we need to ensure that the city is reaping the benefit of -- doing it. And for folks who are doing at the right way following the process it's not -- Stay with this we'll be right. Well we are back talking tour council people. In her final segment I wanted to ask couple things first of all last week we had inspector general -- -- -- -- on his most recent report was about. You know here we struggled for more manpower on the police force and he identified nine me. Positions that he feels could be used but had taken by civilians. Then releasing mining officers that we meet just your thoughts on his report. I think his report was very salient I think it was a point. There are certain task that police officers are forced to deal with that it literally just take them away from. More pressing needs us I think he's on point I think there may be a bit more specificity it's even necessary. To make that work for example if there is little a burglar alarm goes off and -- A police officer has to respond that he has to make series make contact with someone. It's of of that and take up to two dollars and typically they are false alarms to bad battery. In the unit now what they do in Charlotte is they they they require. EDT and other alarm companies to contract now with -- neighborhood security. Program which allows against civilians -- to take that burden off of police offices something else has been -- recently the number of high ranking. Police officers good skill police -- those folks I know books I've grown up with -- better and better in offices. That are not on the street people like. Bruce and little someone who's been involved in all sorts of hi raking in low level. Situations in terms of -- of solving crimes getting the right. -- that's wasting good may have. That's -- that's something else -- addresses well. Okay yeah I agree to an even -- and looking at. And at city hall and the City Council second floor and the number. You know PD police officers that we have. Working there. And so we really have to look at this and see where. You know what do they do up there there are they what they're working B receptions. One receptionist desk now when you come to the second floor. Making sure that people you know signing and sign out in the presence of the police -- is great you know week we'd love to feel. Safe and secure but we are in a crises. And so it will require us to do some things differently and -- Look at how we're running our own shop. Yes well that's very good to hear I'm gonna go to Atlantic league you've held on. -- -- with us. Hello hello -- yes. Good evening thank you for taking Michael. My question is. You know we've talked about the protection as we go talked about the impact of bring your -- But it seems as it is. People who lived in -- these Lower Ninth -- are second to get any kind of services have been as. -- the taxes that we pay per -- 42% of the of the total city budget. That come through roughly about 240 million dollars in property traction about a military court to order a million dollars in sales. We are not getting return on investment. Also the medical facility. Out there that they're that the -- scouting. That's going to be from what I understand. I ordered a post or to get hospital that could be a bigger house. And it's it to me is no more than a -- -- to stabilize people to. Ship -- -- carry them over to that you hospital in the central the central business district. In the different. And a particular. Hospital. They're talented and they as they stroll Serb hospital. Where -- at what level there are different levels according to academy of surgeons. What level that is not going to be a level one trauma like charity used to be north going to be -- two or tree it's going to be -- level four. Our hospital. And that means there will be no doctors present there will be on call. There will be no orthopedic surgeon progress expert and there will be on call. And here I'm I'm just gonna in Iraq because we're gonna be running at a time and are really that like their response. Are you all aware of of what he's saying about how that they were the hospital in the east is going to be. Well I know that the hospital. Is going to be a primary care. Facility. They are doing a great job of hiring. Very qualified. Doctors and you know physicians nurses. That will occupy in serve. The New Orleans east community. It is a I would say an investment. In the New Orleans east that we tend not to now hi. Exist. And it is in the heart of that area. Where you have other redevelopment. Happening and it's being leveraged. At no point is New Orleans east where it needs should be. But I can say that you have the City Council. Regardless of where district are at large. That we recognize. That New Orleans east coming back better than it was before. Is a -- -- -- for us and it's something that if it doesn't none of us has done a good job. So is a price ya RD and I know that you're councilman is also. A very focused. On improving the quality of life in the east. As well as we talk about them I was thinking coming here. -- that interstate street lights on the interstate. And and that is an issue for the Department of Transportation and it's why and that the City Council must. Address as as a date that's a state issue but it doesn't is there's. We have to -- advocates for people right. I do it caller right there it's it's not gonna be that level trauma center. It's well look there's only one there's only one level one trauma center I think until -- -- Baton Rouge. And that's gonna but I think what you're saying -- is that you don't think there even going to be doctors on staff. You know they'll be doctor -- -- nurses on the Media General. Practitioner they have an amateur but there. But I don't know if it will -- not be any competing surgeons anesthesiologists. -- correct excursion and major accident on the east on the industry like we get several years ago we got a lot of people are gonna -- 01 and a vocal person who died because an end and it didn't respond and had to take their particular patient. -- true with -- -- quoted in died that they didn't had it been exposed to. Adequate health care. That could have been -- -- now you know we talked to access. 220. Million dollars in taxes and property tax -- -- 35 million dollars in sales tax. Your period over two billion dollars it has been taken from the the people can't talk about what they're street lights all and -- this special that we. Street -- or we want more than Yemeni police officers the market square my dollars that we care which is -- 71 where my house. Of -- expects to -- And again they are gonna be very good for the police officers appeared struggled in the French Quarter well I'll tell. -- Netflix content is always on call on standby. We wore our community back we want better schools we don't think. We talk about the what you portable you won't -- it structured it's Cold. War and infrastructure. Our infrastructure is expected to give it to -- -- where our downtown. They can't control an integral and it will treat you so. Much infrastructure repair -- they -- in -- -- -- I really appreciate all of your thoughts in your very thought out and I appreciate this call we are out of time give us a call again. Thank you so very much stay with the second one will be right back. Jason Williams LaToya Cantrell thank you so much we're gonna have them back stay with this we're going to be talking lead in the soil.