City Council passes the City’s $492 million 2013 Budget

Today, the New Orleans City Council passed the City’s 2013 Budget. Council made a few, but not many modifications to what was proposed by the Mayor. City Council added $1 million for a NOPD recruiting class or two, took $300,000 from the Sheriff, added $300,000 for VERA’s pretrial services, restored funding to the LSU Ag Center for the 4-H Club, and included $100,000 for senior centers. I also think that the budget included $55,000 to fund City Planning’s Neighborhood Participation Program. You can read more about the passage of the City’s 2013 Budget by reading articles from The Gambit and nola.com.

 

NORD Commission Governance Committee makes some changes to its proposed Neighborhood Participation Plan

At today’s NORD Commission Governance Committee meeting, they made some modifications to its proposed Neighborhood Participation Plan (NPP). NOLA CPP provided some comments on the NPP. The Governance Committee made changes based on our comments. You can view coverage of this meeting on twitter by using #NORDC. The Draft NORDC NPP can be found on the Neighborhood Engagement Office’s website and go to the “what we are working on” tab. http://new.nola.gov/neighborhood-engagement/

The revised plan will be submitted to the full NORD Commission at its Tuesday, December 4 meeting (5pm, City Council Chambers). The full Commission is expected to vote on the NPP at its January meeting.

Here is the twitter coverage of that meeting (note that the earliest tweets start at the bottom of the page):

NOLA CPP ‏@NolaCPP

With that, I am out of here #NORDC

NORD Commission will receive the revised NPP at it December meeting for a vote in January #NORDC

Committee votes to send the revised Neighborhood Participation Plan to the full NORD Commission #NORDC

NORD Commission will have to provide a rational for denying the CATs’ request. Provide a time for a “reasonable response” in 5 days #NORDC

The secretary just needs to certify the vote #NORDC

They made changes to the plan so that NEO or NORD staff doesn’t need to count the vote & votes don’t need to be ‘ratified’ #NORDC

Now they are discussing the need to wait two meetings before taking a vote. They say that they can vote at the next meeting #NORDC

Now they are discussing the need for a typed ballot for voting. Say that there just needs to be a record of the vote #NORDC

Now the are discussing if agendas should be sent? Yes. Number of Days for notice? 5 #NORDC

#NORDC thinks that the 25% deliberation standard is too high. They recommend that the item must be discussed before you agree to have a vote

25% of the membership need to recommend an item for a vote #NORDC

Now they are talking about a requirement of 25% of the people to “deliberate” on an item before a vote can take place #NORDC

Next comment was that the CATs require at least 2 of 3 Officers to be present. #NORDC changes it to only one if no vote will take place

NORDC feels that they do not need to be specific about nomination process, they will cover it at orientation #NORDC

Next one of my comments is that there is no specifics on the nomination process for officers #NORDC

NORDC considers if you are president of a group (or representative) like NAACP you cannot be a CAT Officer. NORDC says you can. #NORDC

There is some confusion over who can be Officers for the CATs. Non-profit members can’t, but neighborhood members can. #NORDC

Now talking about when people can join the CAT. Not going to make any changes, just clarify the language #NORDC

NORDC says that the Officer duties should be specific by position. Commission makes that change #NORDC

Should the Officer duties be general or specific to the position? #NORDC

NORD Commission did get by comments! Lucas is reading them to the Committee now #NORDC

Commission moves to have the voting age of participants to be 18. Motion passes 2 to 1. #NORDC

Commissions say that this is a dynamic document that will be changed & to keep the voting age at 18 for now #NORDC

They say that they want the teens to be able to have input but the teens do understand the big picture enough to vote #NORDC

Other commissioners, Michael Darner and Roy Glapoin, disagree #NORDC

Commission Thomas wants to let the NORDC Team Advisory members be able to vote and to develop as leaders #NORDC

The comment was about the age of people to be able to vote in Community Advisory Teams (it is 18, want to lower it to 13) #NORDC

The Chair received one comment on the plan (he did not get my comment) #NORDC

They are moving to the #NORDC neighborhood participation plan

3 commissioners just showed up and the the meeting is getting starting #NORDC

At NORDC Governance Committee meeting. Staff is here, but waiting for all of the Commissioners to show up #NORDC

NOLA CPP Global Giving Project Report

The New Orleans Citizen Participation project is wrapping up one of its most successful years ever!

As we reported previously, the New Orleans City Planning Commission adopted the first major piece of the New Orleans Citizen Participation Program this summer.  The Planning Commission calls its piece its “Neighborhood Participation Plan”, or NPP.  Since the Commission’s adoption of the NPP in July, the Plan was reviewed and unanimously approved by the New Orleans City Council’s Governmental Affairs Committee, and final ratification of the Plan by the full Council is expected in early December.  However, the mayor’s proposed 2013 budget initially did not include funding to implement the NPP.  Fortunately, subsequent negotiations between the administration, the Planning Commission and the Council have led to inclusion of the necessary funding in the Commission’s 2013 budget.  This ensures that residents, neighborhoods and businesses will be receiving information on both private and public sector projects that will impact them beginning early next year, and will also have the opportunity to meet with developers prior to any discussion of permitting, zoning, etc.

CBNO has also completed its Latino Community Survey and report, in partnership with Puentes New Orleans, a Latino organizing and advocacy organization.  The report details the needs and priorities of Latino residents in New Orleans, as well as their attitudes towards government and community participation.  It also examines the barriers Latinos experience to participation and the obstacles to obtaining needed government services.  This has already led to a meeting with the leadership of the city’s Department of Health and a commitment from them to work with both Latino and Vietnamese communities in New Orleans to improve access to health care services and information.  Follow-up work will involve additional conversations with city government as well as Latino leaders, neighborhood leaders and other service providers.  The full text of the report can be found via the link at the end of this report.

The Neighborhood Boundary Mapping pilot project in the city’s Planning District 6 has also been successfully concluded.  This will serve as a template for mapping neighborhood boundaries in all 13 Planning Districts, which is critical for the success of the Citizen Participation Program as well as for equitable economic development in New Orleans, for city service delivery and for many other vital reasons.  The report on this project has been provided to the city administration, and we hope to collaborate with the city to complete the mapping project over the course of the next year.  This report can also be found via the link at the end of our Global Giving report.

Building on our growing outreach to the New Orleans business community, the Citizen Participation Project also organized our Business Advisory Council.  The initial meeting of the BAC led to some new insights into business priorities for the CPP, as well as some excellent thoughts on how to continue building business support and to move the next phases of the project forward in 2013.  Among the more subtle but important accomplishments for the Project in 2012 is our expansion of awareness of and support for the CPP in the diverse New Orleans business communities.

Finally, less than two weeks ago a year-long tug of war over a proposed amendment to the New Orleans Master Plan came to a final resolution in front of the City Council.  The administration-proposed amendment would have substantially weakened the Community Participation chapter of the Master Plan; further, the amendment was offered with no community input, to a Master Plan that was created with the input of thousands of community members.  From our standpoint, this made the amendment a bad idea in terms of both content and process.  Though accepted by the City Planning Commission, the amendment in its original form was sent back to CPC when it came before the City Council.  CBNO worked with CPC staff on the language, and the revised version was significantly less damaging; however, we still felt that it was unnecessary, damaging to the advancement of meaningful civic engagement in New Orleans, and contrary to the spirit of community input that shaped the Master Plan.  The Planning Commission almost voted to reject the amendment, then ultimately decided to forward it to the City Council.  At the Council meeting where the amendment was considered, there was lengthy debate before the Council finally voted 4-3 to reject it, putting the issue to rest at last.  CBNO is very appreciative of the community voices that weighed in with the Council in opposition to the amendment, as well as the willingness of the Council members to examine the amendment thoroughly and take a stand against.  We do see opportunities to improve the Master Plan going forward, and hope to work with the administration on both language and a community process that ensures this is done in a way that is inclusive and productive.

With a critical piece of the Citizen Participation Program adopted by New Orleans city government, with two major reports completed and serving as the basis for community actions in 2013, with growing support for our work and the threat of damage to it in the Master Plan eliminated, we look back on 2012 with satisfaction — and as always, with tremendous gratitude to the many people who support our work with their time and their contributions.  Best wishes to all for the year ahead!

 
Attachments:

 

Nola.com Article on City Council Vote Keeping District Councils

Nola.com has published an article on City Council’s vote to defeat Text Amendment #19, which would have removed District Councils from the Master Plan. The article explains the background of the situation, arguements on both sides of the issue, and the reasons why the Councilmembers voted as they did. It also states that the next steps are unclear.

The defeat of this Amendment leaves District Councils unchanged in the Master Plan; however, there is no mandate that they need to be implemented. Therefore, we need to continue working with City Council and the Administration to make District Councils a reality. Here is the link to the article…

www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/11/city_council_sends_new_orleans.html

NOLA CPP Year-End Celebration and Holiday Party December 13

NOLA CPP Year-End Celebration and Holiday Party

Thursday, December 13 – 5:30-7:00pm

CBNO’s Office – 4902 Canal Street, Suite 300

 

It has been an exciting year for the New Orleans Citizen Participation Project, and now it is time to celebrate all we have accomplished. On Thursday, December 13 at 5:30pm, we will host a holiday party to celebrate the past year and to look forward to the next year. Snacks and refreshments will be provided, so you only need to bring yourself. RSVPs to Nick Kindel (nolacpp@gmail.com or 267-4665) are appreciated, but not required. We look forward to seeing all of you on December 13!

 

Thanks,

The NOLA CPP Team

Council votes to reject Text Amendment #19 & keep District Councils

At today’s Council meeting, the New Orleans City Council considered the last 15 amendments to the Master Plan. One of those amendments, Text Amendment #19, could have removed or weakened District Councils in the Master Plan. City Council voted 4 to 3 to reject Master Plan Text Amendment #19. By rejecting this amendment, this section of the Master Plan (Chapter 15 on Community Participation) will not be changed and District Councils will remain in the Master Plan.

Text Amendment #19 was proposed by the Director of the Neighborhood Engagement Office (NEO). NEO was not around when the Master Plan was adopted, so it would be reasonable for NEO to make minor modifications to the Community Participation Chapter of the Master Plan to include their Office. However, NEO proposed major revisions that would have removed much of this Chapter, including District Councils, from the Master Plan. This Amendment, proposed by one person without any community engagement, would have undone the work of thousands of New Orleanians in dozens of community meetings.

The New Orleans Citizen Participation Project (NOLA CPP) opposed Text Amendment #19 from the start. The City Planning Commission initially recommended approval of Text Amendment #19. The City Council, however, sent the Amendment back to City Planning for more review. NOLA CPP worked with City Planning staff on modified language for Text Amendment #19. This language was better than what was initially proposed by NEO, but the modified language still would have substantially weakened District Councils in the Master Plan. The Planning Commission voted 7 to 0 to send the modified language to City Council, after the initial 4 to 3 vote to reject Text Amendment #19 failed (it needed 5 votes to pass). Today, the final decision rested with the City Council who voted 4 to 3 to reject Text Amendment #19.

 

NORD Commission Neighborhood Participation Plan

The Neighborhood Engagement Office has been working with the NORD Commission on developing a Neighborhood Participation Plan (NPP). The Neighborhood Engagement Office has developed a draft NPP Plan. The NORD Commission is seeking public input on this plan until Monday, November 26. You can provide your input to Lucas Diaz at ldiaz@nola.gov or NORDC staff at nordcommisssion@gmail.com. NORDC is expected to vote on this plan at its December meeting. Here is some more information from NEO’s website:

 

New Orleans Recreation Development Commission  Neighborhood Participation Process (NORDC NPP) – the Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office was asked in 2011 to develop a Neighborhood Participation Process (NPP) for the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC).  The NPP framework was approved during NORDC’s June 2012 public meeting, and the timeline for approving the NPP was approved during NORDC’s July 2012 meeting.  Our office conducted community input meetings in each council district between September and October 2012 to secure additional input from the community on the details, specifics, protocols, and policies of the NPP.  We will then take this input and finalize the NPP for approval in December, with the goal of launching the program in January 2013. Key documents from our public meetings are available here: