For the past three months, a CC’s Coffee House on Esplanade Avenue has served as a sort of satellite City Hall office for an hour or so every Tuesday morning.Maybe the JP approach is better. Looks like a lot of business got done at these meetings. Should there be a public record?
It started out as a way for newly elected members of the New Orleans City Council to get to know one another and to swap advice as they built up their staffs and prepared to take office.
As the weeks passed, the coffee klatch evolved into a series of sessions to develop policies and sketch out strategies.
They’ve even divvied up areas of emphasis, based on the special needs of their districts or their areas of expertise.Each character has his or her own special abilities. Just like in the comics. Or maybe Jason Williams had the better analogy.
Moreno, who is taking over the at-large seat long held by Councilwoman Stacy Head, is taking the lead on criminal justice initiatives, along with issues related to the budget and ensuring that City Hall departments and revenue collection are run efficiently.
Nguyen, whose District E includes large swaths of undeveloped and underdeveloped land in New Orleans East and the Lower 9th Ward, will focus on economic development.
Banks, who will represent Central City and the Central Business, Warehouse and Lower Garden districts as the District B member, will spearhead efforts on community development.
Giarrusso, whose District A includes Lakeview, Carrollton and some Mid-City neighborhoods hit hard by last year’s flooding, will be the point man on public works, including the Sewerage & Water Board.
Palmer, the District C member who represents Algiers, the French Quarter, Treme and Marigny as she returns to the council after four years away, will focus on transportation issues.
Councilman Jason Williams: I truly feel honored to work with this group. I think it’s an A team.— Jessica Williams (@jwilliamsNOLA) May 7, 2018
Well, okay, maybe not THE A Team but they do sound like a team. But don't let that fool you. We're not going in for that One City One Voice business anymore. This time it's more like two voices at the most.
Though the two councils that served alongside Mayor Mitch Landrieu had their own initiatives and successes, they tended to follow the administration’s lead on many issues.That's all well and good until Mayor Thanos collects all the stones. Then maybe we won't feel so good. Until then, though, say hi to the new team. Action figures are still being manufactured. They're trying to get Joe Giarrusso's socks just right.
By contrast, the incoming council members said they expect to be, as Banks put it, “an equal participant in governance” with new Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“We obviously want the administration to be successful,” Giarrusso said. “But at the same time, we realize we are a co-equal branch of government, and we are going to operate that way.”
Banks added: “I think we will have the kind of council where the lines in the sand won’t be about individual (personalities), they’ll be issue-oriented. We will not be adversarial, but it will also not be a rubber stamp. I think this council is going to take its responsibility very seriously as one of the three branches of government.”
sock game pic.twitter.com/TjayNksGha— skooks (@skooks) May 7, 2018