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Just to Be Clear

Thank you for giving Entergy New Orleans Inc. the opportunity to settle the question posed by Clancy DuBos in Gambit Weekly ('DuBos responds," to "It's on the Up-and-Up," Letters, Oct. 14).

The announcement made by Entergy Arkansas Inc. in 2005 of its intention to withdraw from the System Agreement contract in December 2013 has generated in the last month some misinformation. Entergy New Orleans will continue to respond with the facts, and we appreciate that the debate has served to allow us to get more information to our customers.

First, as the defining issue identified by Mr. DuBos — whether Entergy Arkansas will continue making payments as required until the eight-year exit period expires in December 2013. That issue is easily addressed. As we have stated repeatedly, Entergy Arkansas will continue to participate in the existing System Agreement contract until December 2013. Until that time, it is obligated to make any and all payments required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Entergy New Orleans appreciates Mr. DuBos' efforts to tone down the arguments, and to focus everyone on the essential issues.

Second, Entergy New Orleans is working to create a successor agreement contract that would benefit New Orleans ratepayers by maintaining the advantages of a larger system and the accompanying economies of scale.

Third, the question regarding what obligations are imposed under the current contract after 2013 will be determined by the FERC, after all interested parties have had the opportunity to file their opinions.

I hope that Entergy New Orleans' response clarifies this important question for your readers.

Tracie Boutte
Vice president, Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations
Entergy New Orleans Inc.

A Different View of the Master Plan

I am profoundly disappointed that Gambit would choose to endorse a New Orleans Charter Amendment advocating the Master Plan ('Ballot Propositions," Commentary, Oct. 21). Voters will confront this issue on the bottom of the ballot on Nov. 4 and — if your endorsement carries enough weight — vote for this risky measure.

First, voting on a Master Plan for the city sight unseen surely represents a great risk. Planning processes in New Orleans haven't earned the public's confidence to the degree that we should trust the future direction of the city for the next 20 years to a Master Plan drawn up at this moment in our history.

We need maximum flexibility to meet future challenges, and proponents of this plan seem determined to remove all flexibility from any land use decisions and essentially strip the variance process out of the tools the city could use to encourage growth.

At a time when we should be making it easier for people to build and invest in our city to combat the decades of economic and population decline, we are going to try to make it harder. It seems foolish, to say the least.

Our current zoning system has led to our commercial sector being decimated as buildings fell out of their nonconforming status, and now in many of our neighborhoods, we are left with hundreds of formerly commercial buildings rotting and abandoned. This Master Plan proposal will accelerate that process and further our economic and population decline. And as our businesses leave the city in search of more friendly pastures, our people leave with them. And the proponents don't care — they want a mechanism to stop future development.

A city that doesn't grow and change shrinks and dies. We need to encourage growth and investment, but the Master Plan, with a further tightening of an already restrictive zoning code, is only going to lead to our demise. A city with plenty of houses, but no jobs. Plenty of empty buildings, but no investment.

We should be voting NO. And you should be encouraging your readers to do the same.

Anthony Favre

Parish the Thought

Thank you for such a detailed article regarding the proposed closure of some Catholic parishes ('The Mass Is Ended," Cover Story, Sept. 18). It is beyond my understanding why Archbishop Hughes would take such aggressive measures to close parishes that are either growing or financially sound, particularly given a 41 percent decline in the Catholic community since 1970.

Priests are trained as spiritual leaders, not managers, and certainly not turnaround professionals, which makes one wonder whether Father Jacques is the right person to formulate a parish closing plan. The reluctance to solicit external advice, coupled with Archbishop Hughes' refusal to speak candidly with either the media or parishioners signal that there is no intention of conducting business in the open as pledged. It is no wonder that the obscure decision-making process has inflamed local Catholics.

As long as the archdiocese continues its counter-intuitive actions, such as closing parishes with growing congregations, it should expect the decline in New Orleans' Catholic population to accelerate.

Ed Moise

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