Mitch Landrieu

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mayor Landrieu to Trump: "reconcile the divisive rhetoric" by reaching out to African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and women

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 12:37 PM

CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER

Following Donald Trump's election to U.S. President and Hillary Clinton's concession speech, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu congratulated the president-elect and encouraged him "to reconcile the divisive rhetoric from this campaign" by reaching out to African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and women. "One of the greatest aspects of our democracy is the peaceful transition of power," he said.

Landrieu also extended "sincere gratitude and appreciation" to Clinton "for her lifetime of sacrifice and service for our country. America is a stronger country because of her contributions."

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Short-term rentals in New Orleans get City Council approval

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:15 PM

At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."
  • At an Oct. 20 New Orleans City Council meeting, opponents of whole-home rentals in New Orleans wore "shame" buttons, with the Airbnb logo replacing the "A."

Airbnb now has a framework to operate, legally, in New Orleans. After months of debates and public meetings over short-term rentals (STRs), their proliferation, and the impacts they've had in the city over the last several years, the New Orleans City Council on Oct. 20 passed a measure — introduced by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration this week — that sets up permits, fees, taxes and an infrastructure for short-term rentals advertised on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

The motion prohibits full-time whole-home short term rentals in residential areas — but it will allow whole-home "temporary rentals" up to 90 days a year.

The vote followed a week of compromises laid out by Landrieu's administration, which initially supported the practice of whole-home rentals in residential neighborhoods, but backed off in favor of "temporary rentals" up to 120 days a year, then, ultimately, 90 days. Housing advocacy groups and residents — disappointed with the compromise vote — have demanded the city prohibit all whole-home rentals. Opponents, in red, wearing "shame" buttons and holding up signs, called councilmembers "sellouts"; proponents cheered.

The motion serves as a starting point to amend the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, the city's massive rulebook for land use through which all property manners adhere. It now will incorporate STRs.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Mitch Landrieu goes after Donald Trump on American cities, criticizes Trump's "confused, racist vision"

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Minutes after the second presidential debate concluded Sunday night, Mayor Mitch Landrieu published a polemic on the website Medium against GOP nominee Donald Trump and Trump's vision of American cities.

"It suits his politics better to parachute in to places like Detroit and Philadelphia for photo-ops," Landrieu wrote, "while mostly giving red-meat speeches in front of white crowds outside of the American cities he is talking about."

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bywater, Marigny, St. Roch residents march against whole-home short-term rentals

Posted By on Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 8:48 PM

A parade opposing whole-home short-term rentals was held today in the Bywater, Marigny and St. Roch neighborhoods. It was staged in Bywater's Mickey Markey Park.
  • A parade opposing whole-home short-term rentals was held today in the Bywater, Marigny and St. Roch neighborhoods. It was staged in Bywater's Mickey Markey Park.

About 125 downtown residents held a "neighborhood parade" this afternoon to protest whole-home short-term rentals. The issue — debated for years — has heated up in recent months in New Orleans, and it's scheduled to come before the New Orleans City Council for a vote Oct. 6. The City Planning Commission has recommended banning whole-home rentals, but the Council has been hesitant to rule them out completely, partially at the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration.  

The event was the brainchild of Bywater resident and artist Devin DeWulf, who said the homemade parade — complete with babies in strollers, dogs and the Treme Brass Band — was an "opportunity to celebrate a bit," and stressed that "no one" was objecting to a homeowner renting out a bedroom in his or her house as a side hustle. "But we have people who are out-of-town landlords that rent out whole houses like hotels," he said.

"The City Council can do whatever they want," DeWulf added, "but they have a history of disregarding the recommendations of the City Planning Commission."

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Gov. Edwards sues AG Landry over LGBT protections

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry rejected more than 30 state contracts because of LGBT protections. Gov. John Bel Edwards's lawsuit asks the court to get Landry to do his job. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry rejected more than 30 state contracts because of LGBT protections. Gov. John Bel Edwards's lawsuit asks the court to get Landry to do his job.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry rejected more than 30 state contracts because he refuses to follow an executive order from Gov. John Bel Edwards protecting LGBT employees of the state as well as contractors and their employees. In a lawsuit Edwards filed in Judicial District Court Sept. 30, Edwards argues Landry "explicitly" rejected the contracts including those protections, in accordance with Edwards' executive order, and that Landry "apparently believes that it is necessary that private attorneys who contract with entities within the executive branch must retain the right to discriminate against the persons on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."

In April, Edwards issued an executive order to protect LGBT employees of the state and state contractors and their employees from workplace discrimination, creating the first statewide protections for transgender people. Previous legislative efforts to include LGBT protections in nondiscrimination laws have failed. There still are no statewide nondiscrimination laws protecting all LGBT people.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"RIP affordable neighborhoods": New Orleans residents stage protest and "funeral" as the City Council prepares for short-term rental vote

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 1:30 PM

A political theater protest against whole-home short-term rentals in New Orleans included coffins for "affordable housing" and "actual neighbors."
  • A political theater protest against whole-home short-term rentals in New Orleans included coffins for "affordable housing" and "actual neighbors."

From the steps of City Hall, the Treme Brass Band provided the soundtrack for a funeral march following the deaths of "affordable neighborhoods" and "actual neighbors," casualties of the proliferation of short-term rentals in New Orleans. At least that's the future to come, according to several neighborhood groups, if whole-home rentals through companies like Airbnb are allowed to operate in New Orleans.

Staging a political theater protest and march Sept. 27, artists and neighborhood groups (including Neighbors First for Bywater, the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association and Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association) carried two caskets, placards illustrating short-term rental listings, and signs representing each New Orleans neighborhood saying "no" to whole-home rentals. The march turned into a dirge as the band played "A Closer Walk with Thee" before disbanding at City Hall, where caricatures of New Orleans City Councilmembers lay on the steps.

In August, the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) agreed to prohibit short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods, but commercially zoned areas don't fall under the same restrictions. The City Council will have final say on new short-term rental rules when it votes on the CPC's recommendations on Oct. 6,

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

The real 'sanctuary city'

Posted By on Sat, Sep 10, 2016 at 2:23 PM

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has railed against "sanctuary cities," but it's Congress, not local communities, who are dropping the ball on illegal immigration. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has railed against "sanctuary cities," but it's Congress, not local communities, who are dropping the ball on illegal immigration.

We hear a lot of noise these days about immigration, but not a lot of objective information. Let’s start with the basics: Immigration is a federal matter, not a local one. Nevertheless, in recent months some Louisiana politicians have grandstanded on the issue of so-called “sanctuary cities,” a term that isn’t even defined in the law. Even a cursory look at the facts proves the demagogues wrong on virtually every count.

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Attorney General Jeff Landry's demagoguery in plain sight

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 5:01 PM

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID KROLL
  • PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID KROLL
Earl Long used to scoff that if you wanted to hide something from then-Attorney General Jack Gremillion, put it in a law book. Today, Uncle Earl would surely say something similar about Louisiana AG Jeff Landry — only put it in plain sight on a map of Louisiana. Landry clearly doesn’t know Jefferson Parish from New Orleans.

That must be the case, because in his zeal to make political hay out of a tragedy, Landry erroneously stated that an illegal alien who clearly lives in Jefferson Parish is nonetheless a beneficiary of New Orleans’ alleged “sanctuary cities” policy. Indeed, there are so many things wrong with Landry’s shameless, ham-fisted, demagogic attempt to grandstand on the bodies of two innocent people killed in a tragic accident in St. John the Baptist Parish that it’s difficult to get them all into one column.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mayor Landrieu unveils five-year affordable housing plan

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 7:30 PM

CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's annual "State of the City" speeches chart the city's post-Hurricane Katrina gains and, more importantly, glimpse where his administration is headed to address its shortcomings. Crime, poverty and a crumbling infrastructure always are at the top of that list. In his 2016 address, delivered on the roof of the Broad Street Whole Foods on June 21, Landrieu unveiled two reports: a progress report on the criminal justice program NOLA for Life, and — amid contentious debates over the future of Airbnb, the increasing creep of property developers, gentrification fast tracks, rising rents and deplorable housing conditions, all wrapped in stagnant wages and dwindling jobs — Landrieu teased a five-year plan for more affordable housing in New Orleans.

According to the plan, the city will "build or preserve" 7,500 affordable housing units by 2021 — with 4,000 units available by 2018, followed by an additional 3,500 units.

"People are flocking here, but rising demand and job growth means that housing costs have risen by 50 percent since 2000," Landrieu said in a statement. "Now, due to a broader loss of income-affordable rental units along with low-wage jobs and inadequate public transit, many New Orleanians pay more than 50 percent of their income just on housing costs. That is unacceptable and unsustainable. ... We must ensure that working people do not get priced out of New Orleans — they are the backbone of our City."

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The "hotelization" of New Orleans: city planners question Airbnb

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 7:45 PM

Caroline Thomas' Coney Island-style satirical signs in 2015. - PHOTO COURTESY CAROLINE THOMAS
  • PHOTO COURTESY CAROLINE THOMAS
  • Caroline Thomas' Coney Island-style satirical signs in 2015.

Sometime this year, New Orleans will likely begin legalizing short-term rentals, creating some kind of framework for permitting and taxing properties on websites like Airbnb. It's been a long, drawn-out debate among residents feeling the squeeze from increasingly tourist-filled neighborhoods, Airbnb operators trying to make a buck, indecisive city officials and departments, and now hotel operators, who fear not only losing business but the hospitality industry itself, pushed further from the heart of the city, unable to afford it.

And despite continued objections from many residents, the City Planning Commission (CPC) and members of the New Orleans City Council, the city planning staff keeps floating the legalization of renting out entire homes — "principal" residential short-term rentals — per the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration. The CPC's June 14 meeting was set to vote on those staff recommendations for changes to the city's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, but the Landrieu administration requested moving the vote. The CPC agreed to move it to Aug. 9, which could mean a vote could come from the City Council, who has the final say on policy, as early as Aug. 11.

A packed crowd inside City Council Chambers on June 14 stuck through several hours of comments, mostly coming from residents from the Garden District and French Quarter and representatives from the city's hotel and tourism industry. Commissioners largely agreed Airbnb's creep could deal a crushing blow to the city if not legislated, enforced or regulated properly. "This is an emotional and complicated issue," said CPC Chair Kyle Wedberg, "This is a hyper-local issue. It happens house by house, block by block, neighbor by neighbor. ... An issue that's not only vital for us to solve but vital for us to get right."

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