Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Budget Season

Last week, the city announced this year's slate of community budget meetings. Here they are.

District C
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
L.B. Landry High School 1200 L.B. Landry Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70114

District A
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Edward Hynes Charter School 990 Harrison Avenue
 New Orleans, LA 70124

District E 
Thursday, August 22, 2013 Joe W. Brown Recreational Center 5601 Read Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70127

District D
Monday, August 26, 2013 Lake Area New Tech Early College High School 6026 Paris Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70122

District B
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 KIPP Central City Academy 2514 Third Street
New Orleans, LA 70113

Last year there was some controversy over whether citizens on both sides of District C (which spans the river) were being properly served by only one meeting. Seems like the reduced ferry hours would make that an even bigger issue this time around. 

Mitch's meetings might be of questionable utility but they are not without a certain entertainment value.  Bruce Eggler put it well in the T-P last week.
The "budgeting for outcomes" process is intended to ensure improved government performance and accountability. It encourages agencies to prioritize their spending based on the overall end results the city decides each year that it wants to achieve.

In practice, however, the meetings often turn into general gripe and question-and-answer sessions about the city and its government, with little specific attention to budget priorities.
Last year's peak "general gripe" moment came in the opening District B session when local gadfly Sandra Hester was (unnecessarily, in my opinion) escorted out of the room by the police.  Ms. Hester (never one for poor timing) has waited until the day before this year's meetings kick off to file suit over last year's ejection

For what it's worth, I was on hand at the meeting where Ms. Hester was arrested. I wrote about the incident here.

What happened was the Uptown Ladies in the crowd started trying to shout Hester down the moment she began speaking. Instead of asking for patience, the Mayor basically egged the mob on and the situation deteriorated. Sandra Hester may be something of a buffoon. But she can be a useful person from time to time in spite of that. Mitch Landrieu is just a bully and that's about the worst thing a public official can be.

Anyway, check the program above and see if there's a show near you.  I am told The Lens is planning to live-blog each meeting for those who can't be there so look for that.  But, if you can, do try and make it to one. As free entertainment goes, it's usually worth what you pay.

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