Wednesday, October 15, 2008


James "no more business as usual" Carter and Jackie "priority budgeting" Clarkson will join Willard-Lewis and Hedge-Morrell in voting to approve funding for most of the economic development projects that come up for a vote tomorrow. I've been too busy to comment on the economic development grants since the T/P first reported on the matter Saturday, and I really don't have much to add what E wrote here and here. He even said almost the same exact thing that I had in mind:
The administration refuses to follow the law, withholds information, or otherwise fails to provide reasonable rationales behind whatever it is they press upon Council. Then, because this city is so desperate for infusions of cash, so desperate for construction, for ANYTHING, Council is under the most immense pressure to rubber stamp whatever it is just so that the cash gets spent. Any 'no' vote is seen as obstructionist or worse, even if 'no' means 'well at least provide us with the basics we'd need to make an informed decision.'

I suspect that we'll read something similar to the following next month:
The charter sets a Nov. 1 deadline for the mayor to present his proposed budget to the council. Starting during last year's hearings and periodically since then, Fielkow urged administration officials to get the 2008 budget to the council before the deadline so members would have more time to review it. However, this year's presentation again came on the last day possible.

Bruce Eggler wrote that last November.

I also question the proposed $2.7M for the new VA hospital. $2.7M for infrastructure assistance for a proposed hospital before its site location is determined? Sounds like that could be a way of trying to influence the site selection or a favor to the developer illuminati. Personally, I go back and forth on where the hospital should be located, but it doesn't seem like a proper use for the fund -- especially since $2.7M is more money than the millage that generates the fund produces in a typical year.

Other than the $2.7M, most of the projects are small potatoes, and I don't believe that unspent money from the fund can go to fund normal city services. The big question is whether we'll see the same thing next month.

Update: Happy to have been proven wrong, but I won't be proven totally wrong, or not, until December.

This from the article you linked to

Although much of the proposed development is residential, at least two hotels near the academic medical center have sold in the past year. Local developer Joseph Jaeger bought the former Jung Hotel on Canal Street in October, but he did not return calls for comment on his plans for the building. Another local developer has reopened the historic Crescent Palms Motel just outside of downtown on the promise of business from the new hospitals.

"We invested, between the purchase price and the renovation, over $1 million in anticipation of the rebirth of the whole area with the LSU medical center," developer Michael Dezura said of the motel.

Crescent Palms was one of the business on the EDF grant list.
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