Property Rights

The LSU/VA proposal requires the use of eminent domain despite the fact that the state has just passed a constitutional amendment to limit the exploitation of eminent domain. Should this proposal succeed in its current form it would set a dangerous precedent for communities across Louisiana. Many of the homeowners and small business owners affected by these land grabs are Hurricane Katrina evacuees who have fought hard to return to the New Orleans area. Many of those surveyed said that they would leave New Orleans or even permanently leave the state should their land be taken from them again. By ceding property rights in this case, the residents of New Orleans set a dangerous precedent that will make it that much harder to defend against future intrusions of the powerful who promise "economic development" in exchange for rote demolition of historic residential neighborhoods.

Below you will find a collection of articles pertaining to the property rights issue:

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Community Voices: New Orleans author Tom Piazza

Tom Piazza is the New Orleans-based author of City of Refuge and a writer for the upcoming HBO series Treme. His book Why New Orleans Matters, written immediately after Hurricane Katrina, received the 2006 Humanities Book of the Year Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Here Mr. Piazza speaks from about the importance of Charity Hospital from the porch of a Lower Mid-City home. "Charity is a central part of the community," he says. "New Orleans seems to be based, in large measure, on a respect for and an understanding of the past. If you lose that, you lose a lot of what makes the city what it is." See the full video here.

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New CEA between City and State

The new Cooperative Endeavor Agreement by and between City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana through the Division of Administration and Louisiana State University.

"Where I took my first breath of life" - Musician and Community Leader Gregg Stafford

Gregg Stafford is the beloved New Orleans trumpet player, community leader and co-founder of the Black Men of Labor social aid and pleasure club. Here Mr. Stafford talks about the importance of Charity Hospital in his own life, and the life of his City of New Orleans. Charity is "where I took my first breath of life," he says. "We're trying to rebuild the city and a lot of people need Charity Hospital to reopen." See the full video here.

 

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"Charity is a central part of the community" - New Orleans Author Tom Piazza

Tom Piazza is the New Orleans-based author of City of Refuge and a writer for the upcoming HBO series Treme. His book Why New Orleans Matters, written immediately after Hurricane Katrina, received the 2006 Humanities Book of the Year Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Here Mr. Piazza speaks from about the importance of Charity Hospital from the porch of a Lower Mid-City home. "Charity is a central part of the community," he says. "New Orleans seems to be based, in large measure, on a respect for and an understanding of the past. If you lose that, you lose a lot of what makes the city what it is." See the full video here.

 

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AP: Honore Ex-La. governor halted hospital reopening

Honore: Ex-La. governor halted hospital reopening

7/14/2009, 9:10 a.m. CDT

CAIN BURDEAU

The Associated Press

(AP) — NEW ORLEANS - Weeks after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans and worsened the medical plight of the city's poor, then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the publicly run Charity Hospital would not reopen, even though the military had scrubbed the building to medical-ready standards, the retired Army general who oversaw the work said.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore said Blanco told him in late September 2005 the 20-story building that served the region's poor residents would not reopen.

"'Ma'am, we got the hospital clean, my people report ... if you want to use it,'" Honore recalled telling Blanco. "Her reply to me: 'Well general, we're not going to open it, we're working on a different plan.'"

Honore's revelation raises questions of whether state officials used Katrina as an excuse to leverage federal financing for a new public hospital.

It comes as state and federal officials continue squabbling over how badly the hospital was really damaged and how much federal recovery funding should be allocated to it.

The state wants $492 million for a new hospital to replace the Depression-era building as part of a proposed $1.2 billion medical complex. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has offered $150 million for repairs. The dispute is on appeal at FEMA headquarters.

Blanco said she could not remember the conversation with Honore. She said she didn't know the military had scrubbed Charity until she was contacted by the AP.

But she said Honore's comments struck her as out of context. "I would not have made that statement because I would not have the first idea of having other plans for Charity at that moment," Blanco said.

Honore suggested that money, not medical judgment, was at the heart of the decision.

"This is about business, man," Honore said. "This is about rich people making more money. This is not about providing health care."

Keith Twitchell, president of the good-government Committee for a Better New Orleans/Metropolitan Area Committee, said "anything he (Honore) says must be given credence," but it seemed improbable that state officials hatched long-term plans so quickly.

"Two, three weeks after Katrina, it's hard to imagine anyone at the state level was thinking, 'Oh, boy, this is our chance to shut down Charity,'" Twitchell said.

Charity's closing forced needy residents to turn to the few overcrowded, private hospitals still operating, which financially stressed them.

FEMA also spent more than $90 million to open temporary facilities, including a hospital in a shopping mall.

In documents filed with FEMA, the state said a damage assessment was done at Charity within the first two weeks after Katrina. Citing floodwater in the basement, wind damage to the roof, widespread mold and human and medical waste, they claimed the hospital was destroyed.

Blanco said she was told Charity was contaminated because the air conditioning and heating systems flooded and "affected the core operations of the entire building."

She said she relied on the advice of Jerry Jones, director of State Facility Planning and Control, an office that oversees public buildings. Jones did not return repeated telephone calls seeking comment.

When the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in the ravaged city in early September 2005, Charity was identified as key. It was in the center of town and provided a lot of people care, said the division's commander, Gen. William Caldwell.

About 150 soldiers and a team of medical professionals worked to get the hospital running, Caldwell said.

Meanwhile, a German military team's pumps sucked water out of the basement. Air sampling found no contamination-a concern, considering the flooding and bodies in the flooded morgue, Caldwell said.

Caldwell recalled telling Honore the hospital was nearly ready to receive patients. "We were actually thinking of having a ribbon-cutting ceremony, give a thumbs up and turn it over to the health care professionals," Caldwell said.

But then, Caldwell said a decision came to stop the cleanup.

Dr. James Moises, a former Charity emergency room doctor who helped clean the hospital after Katrina, said Charity was made useable, and the medical staff was eager to see it back in use.

Moises said state officials used Katrina as an excuse to close Charity and ask FEMA for the money to build a new medical complex. Moises said: "It was their orchestrated plan. It was, 'How can we manipulate the disaster for institutional gains?'"

 

Original Article: http://www.nola.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/national-14/12476029321828...

Lawsuit: Thurman vs. Nagin

Petition filed for Thurman vs. Nagin, on July 14th, 2009. Lawsuit was filed in Civil District Court that argues that Mayor C. Ray Nagin repeatedly violated the New Orleans City Charter in authorizing the seizure of private property and the closure of public streets for the proposed Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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