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Ray Nagin's Chevron Building Dream 

  When the New Orleans City Council voted last year against Mayor Ray Nagin's proposal to buy the Chevron building and make it the new City Hall, council members thought the matter was resolved. Now it appears Hizzoner may be planning to use FEMA Disaster Community Development Block Grant funds to buy the building, a course that would allow him to bypass the council. In November, Martin Altman, an administration program manager, sent a letter to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, which serves as an intermediary between the feds and local governments seeking FEMA funds. Altman's letter asked the state to approve the purchase as an "improved project" because the amount of work deemed eligible by FEMA for storm-damage repairs was not enough "to restore City Hall to its former functional status." Now, the council is attempting to block Nagin's move by enacting an ordinance that would require council approval before the administration can spend the $8 million or more needed for the Chevron building purchase. The ordinance was introduced at the Jan. 7 council meeting, and one council source says the measure should come up for consideration Thursday (Jan. 21). That could set the stage for another veto showdown. — David Winkler-Schmit

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