Council Member Kristin Palmer continues her assault on our beloved New Orleans culture. On Thursday, August 22nd, the City Council was asked to pass Ordinance 32,693 before the drafting of the proposed rules were even completed. We saw such a fundamentally flawed process that it boggles the mind.
On the City’s Council’s published Agenda, the original Ordinance, filed on June 6, 2019, was attached along with a power-point presentation describing proposed Amendments dated August 22nd. A hard copy of the actual amendments for review and consideration by the council and the public was missing. During the hearing and only after repeated requests to see a copy of the amendments, council staff admitted that the amendments were still being drafted. Council Members and the public were led through the powerpoint presentation but couldn’t see the new language. How in the world can Councilmembers be asked to vote on something without seeing the actual language of the proposed law?
There are multiple problems with the substance of the Ordinance. The Ordinance is part of Ms. Palmer’s continuing attack on the hospitality industry in New Orleans. Incidentally, it was just announced this week, that the hospitality industry added more jobs to the New Orleans area than any other sector. Though she claims she has no desire to change the culture of New Orleans, not one person at the meeting spoke in favor of the Ordinance and the entire industry, represented by the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the French Quarter Business League, the United States Bartenders Guild, and numerous small bar and restaurant operators opposed the Ordinance. Let me repeat: NO ONE SPOKE IN FAVOR.
Ms. Palmer falsely claimed to have the support of these groups despite the fact that they were all at the meeting testifying against the proposal.
The real tragedy is Council Member Palmer’s misplaced priorities. On May 31st, a bartender was shot while working in the 200-block of Bourbon Street. In her press release in response to the shooting, she said she was working “with the administration to implement the type of changes which will minimize violence in the French Quarter.” Apparently, her idea of work that will minimize violence is to introduce this Ordinance in the week following the shooting. This is a punitive ordinance that will allow a host of city employees to subjectively suspend a liquor license for undefined “emergencies.” Typical blame the victim conduct.
Palmer continues to attack our coveted industry rather than making any meaningful effort to improve the security situation in the French Quarter. Businesses in the French Quarter and throughout the City have raised over $8,000,000 for supplemental police services and all we have to show for it is increased violence, out of control street hustlers, unlicensed street vendors who don’t collect or pay taxes and certain law enforcement officers either sitting in their cars or giving brake tag tickets on Esplanade and Rampart.
Assaults, rapes and random muggings soar in the Quarter even as crime drops city-wide. When will we get sufficient, active policing on Bourbon Street and in the French Quarter? Instead of doing the hard work of demanding accountability for the resources we’re paying for Council Member Palmer would rather craft yet another useless law that will burden good operators while the scofflaws carry on.
OZ New Orleans
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