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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

City Council standoff: The emails are flying

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 5:57 PM

  • Will they be at City Council tomorrow?
Just in time for the end of the work day: The New Orleans City Council standoff/imbroglio gets a couple of new wrinkles.

Council president Jackie Clarkson and Councilwoman At-Large Stacy Head have fired off a statement regarding the quorum stalemate at the council — while AWOL councilmembers Jon Johnson and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell have done the same.

The takeaway: Clarkson and Head find the standoff "disappointing," but will try for a quorum again tomorrow morning at the council's regular meeting. Meanwhile, Hedge-Morrell and Johnson want you to know "the absence of City Council legislative action at its May 3rd regular meeting" in no way will affect the ongoing project to fix the city's streetlights ... which sounds like they won't be in chambers tomorrow. (Though we certainly will. Join us on Twitter tomorrow morning, won't you?)

Under the jump: She said she said she said he said ...

Councilmembers-at-Large Jackie B. Clarkson and Stacy S. Head issued this statement:

"The Council’s recent breakdown in communications and cooperation is disappointing. As the at-large councilmembers, we have made every effort to work out any differences among our group. All councilmembers have agreed to support Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell’s and Jon Johnsons’ ballot initiative to change the city charter regarding at-large elections, and we have assured Councilwoman Hedge-Morrell that committee assignments will not change with an interim councilmember in District B.

"Ultimately, it appears that the real issue is about council integrity and autonomy. Standing on different sides of an issue is an expected and necessary component of a democratic body and should not result in the cessation of city business. We urge our colleagues to return to the council tomorrow for our regular meeting at 10:00 a.m. so that we are able to establish a quorum and resolve unfinished matters.

"We look forward to putting this awkward and trying situation behind us, but until then, we will continue to serve all citizens to the best of our abilities."

Councilwoman Head added: "As the former District B representative, I made my nomination and I stand by Mr. Errol George. I hope that a vote will occur tomorrow as we will not meet again as a body until June 7.

Joint Statement:

District "E" Councilmember
Jon D. Johnson
District "D" Councilmember
Cynthia Hedge-Morrell

"We would like to take this opportunity to allay any concerns that the public may have regarding statements made concerning a possible delay in street light repairs across the City of New Orleans. The City Administration has assured us that the absence of City Council legislative action at its May 3rd regular meeting pertaining to this matter will in no way impact the ongoing street light program. Street lights are currently being repaired, and we are on schedule to have every light in the City turned on by the end of the year. The Landrieu Administration has prioritized the repair of street lights throughout the City evidenced by the Mayor's recent announcement regarding the progress and goals of the street light repair program. Further, the Mayor has committed to double repair crews and they are currently on the ground working. We fully appreciate the necessity to have street lights repaired as quickly as possible and in no way would we hinder or jeopardize progress to that end."

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