Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Serpas Signal: NOLAusterity edition

The Holidays are coming. Time to exercise more caution out there on the roads. 
The New Orleans Police Department’s Traffic Division will conduct a sobriety checkpoint, in Orleans Parish, on Wednesday November 20, 2013, beginning at approximately 9:00 P.M. and will conclude at approximately 5:00 A.M.  Motorists will experience minimal delays and should have the proper documentation available if requested, i.e., proof of insurance, driver’s license, etc. 
I've been looking for a word that captures the current enthusiasm for squeezing New Orleans drivers, renters, bicyclists, or any minor code violators for whatever they're worth while also handing out tax breaks and other such incentives to big developers. NOLAusterity is the best I can come up with. See if you can do better.

In the meantime, today, there is this.
The New Orleans City Council will vote Thursday on a controversial ordinance, proposed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, requiring the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans to cut off water service for residents and businesses who are delinquent on their monthly trash fee, a staff member for the ordinance’s sponsor, Council President Jackie Clarkson, told The Lens.

Thursday’s meeting will be the first time the ordinance will be subject to public debate. It was introduced in late October, deferred without discussion during the Nov. 7 meeting and has not gone before any of the council’s committees.
I rent. The water is included in that so I have no idea whether the landlord is ever delinquent on the sanitation fee.  But I'm going to be the one held accountable if this passes. (It will pass. Otherwise they wouldn't even be voting on it.)

Naturally, the other part of the plan to collect more money for trash services is to offer less of that service.
Kopplin told council members that an analysis by the city and the Office of Inspector General found that rebidding the agreements would have cost as much as $7 million more. But Councilwoman Stacy Head said the analysis was based on faulty assumptions, namely that the city needs its garbage picked up two times per week.

“I think we should ask for less in those contracts, so we could pay less, and use that money” for more essential services, Head said. She noted that other cities, including Dallas, have recently switched from twice-weekly to weekly pickup.

Councilwoman Susan Guidry agreed.

“Change is difficult for people, but we have to help them to get there,” she said. “I’ve heard this in other places that have gone to one-day pickup, it changes the way people deal with waste.”
Thank you, Ms. Guidry, for guiding us through this difficult change. Don't know how we would have done it.

Also on this front, during its portion of the city budget hearings,  the Downtown Development District made plain that their goal is to increase the number of citations they issue for panhandling (even though that very day the city's panhandling ordinance had been ruled unconstitutional).

They also intend to cite more bicyclists.  If their new signage is to be believed, the plan is to cite them for riding on the sidewalk.

The worst thing about this is the DDD's jurisdiction includes stretches where riding on the sidewalk is usually the safest option for cyclists. I'm thinking about St. Charles Avenue around Lafayette Square and  Magazine Street near the Federal Courthouse primarily but there are many other spots down there with wide sidewalks and narrow streets where it actually makes sense to ride that way.  And now they're going to cite you for it.  

Still probably better than getting caught up in Serpas' entrapment scheme. But be careful out there anyway.

1 comment:

mominem said...

I work downtown and some of the cyclists that ride around the CBD are a positive danger to themselves and others.

Not long ago I was almost rundown from behind by a cyclist on his mountain bike. Wearing a helmet, gloves and elbow pads on the sidewalk on Poydras Street he barely slowed down weaving through the crowded sidewalk.

Another evening recently I was sitting in the left turn lane at the light at the corner of Poydras and Baronne when a cyclist came hurtling down Baronne the wrong way, ran a red light across on comming traffic and nearly ran into my stopped car.

One morning recently driving down Girod Street I had two cyclists run red lights at high speed on two successive street corners.

The number of times I see cyclists violating traffic rules endangering themselves and others has increased markedly in recent months.