Friday, August 24, 2007
Deja Vu All Over Again*
Money set aside to honor Katrina remains
Some on N.O. panel irked by fast action
Despite several members' unhappiness with the way the issue was presented, the New Orleans City Council voted 6-0 Thursday to provide $1 million in city money for a memorial honoring unclaimed victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Midura said she resented the way Nagin promised city money for the project without consulting the council, and Hedge-Morrell and President Arnie Fielkow agreed with her that the council should have been given more information and that the request should not have been presented on an emergency basis, leaving no time for review through the council's normal channels.
August 24, 2007
Council appoints board members
The yacht harbor is in Midura's district, and she has been critical of the way the board has run it. As chairwoman of the council's Governmental Affairs Committee, which reviews mayoral appointments of private citizens to boards and commissions, she tried for months to change Nagin's mind about some of his appointments.
Nagin refused to yield, and the dispute broke into the open at the council's Aug. 9 meeting, when Kenya Smith, one of Nagin's top aides, accused Midura of blocking action for months on a long list of nominations.
She denied the charge, saying she was ready to approve about half the nominees then and had received most of the other names only a few days earlier, leaving little time to review their qualifications before the committee met.
After a lengthy executive session, the council deferred action on all the nominations and Midura said the committee would consider the remaining names at a meeting Aug. 13.
The committee voted to approve all the names, including the Municipal Yacht Harbor nominations, which Midura decided to stop fighting after concluding that Nagin had the votes to get them confirmed and there was no sense prolonging the fight.
August 20, 2007
No clue? Council votes anyway
But rarely has the ignorance been quite as blatant as when the council this week considered an ordinance to "establish the NOBC Paragon Economy Fund." Although council members admitted they didn't have a clue what that fund would be or do, they passed the measure 7-0.
When the ordinance came up for a vote late in Thursday's long and exhausting meeting, Councilwoman Shelley Midura said she didn't know what the fund was and asked for an explanation.
Council President Oliver Thomas offered to explain to Midura the purpose of the NOBC, or New Orleans Building Corp., a public-benefit corporation created to find ways to enhance revenue from little-used city properties.
Midura replied that the explanation didn't tell her what the Paragon Economy Fund was.
Thomas, one of three council members who serve on the board of the Building Corp., admitted he wasn't familiar with the fund, but he noted that the ordinance was supported by Mayor Ray Nagin's administration.
November 4, 2006
*I was thinking of Yogi Berra, but if you're so inclined.