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Open Letter To Mayor Nagin and City Council

Open Letter To Mayor Nagin and City Council
Dear Friend,

We need your help. The Lower Mid City Residents and Business Owners Affected by the LSU/VA Hospitals is asking for support from all New Orleanians who are concerned about democratic process, citizen input into decision making about the future of our City, and preservation of our historic neighborhoods.

Without any public hearings with our elected City officials, plans are being made behind closed doors and agreements are being signed which provide for massive demolition of 71 acres in Lower Mid City to build new hospitals. Fundamental questions remain un-answered and alternatives are being ignored. Where is the sense of build it better in all of this? Why is our heritage being squandered instead of being cherished and integrated as a part of the new New Orleans? Why isn’t the city honoring the views of residents and neighborhoods as expressed through the Lambert and UNOP process?

We support the development of a comprehensive, quality health care delivery system for all residents and veterans. However, the process by which critical decisions are being made sets a terrible precedent. We fear what lies ahead for our City as millions of dollars come pouring into the City for re-development with complete disregard of the residents and neighborhoods views, citizen participation, and open, transparent and accountable government. The old, pre Katrina way of doing things is not acceptable to those of us who have fought hard to rebuild and restore our homes, our neighborhoods and our community.

Our neighborhood has been shut out of this process by our elected city officials. Your neighborhood could be next. The Mayor signed an agreement with the VA to bulldoze 34 acres which will destroy scores of private homes and small businesses in the Lower Mid City historic district with no public hearings. The co-operative endeavor agreement underlying this project has expired and is set for renewal. We are asking for your support to request public hearings before the City Council before any new agreements or decisions are made regarding this project. Please write now to the Mayor and members of the City Council and tell them that you support the call for public hearings for the proposed LSU/VA hospitals. A copy of the Open Letter to Mayor Ray Nagin and Members of the City Council of New Orleans is attached. It lays out some of the questions which we wish to discuss in a public forum. We would also appreciate it if you would provide us with a copy of any correspondence which you may have with City officials about this matter.

Bobbi Rogers
bobbirogers@gmail.com

Lower-Mid City Residents and Business Owners Affected by the LSU/VA Hospital (LMCR&B)

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use for Squandered Heritage. For her work with television reporter Lee Zurik exposing widespread misuse of city recovery funds — which led to guilty pleas in federal court — Gadbois won some of the highest honors in journalism, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

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  • David R. Kent

    The VA is the largest healthcare delivery organization on the planet. The VA is so poorly managed that it makes City governance look like an efficient, well-oiled operation. Federal operations and protocols are far too cumbersome to be integrated with other private or public hospital management groups. Before consenting to any affiliation with the VA bureaucracy citizens and officials should study this agreement irrespective of the site selection process.

  • Billygoat Park

    At the scoping meeting to discuss the possible use of the old Lindy Boggs Med Center as a location for the proposed VA hospital, Ed Blakely told the audience the city would neither fund nor support ANY option other than locating the hopitals between Rocheblave, Claiborne, Tulane and Canal (the area to be clear-cut according to last year’s MOU among the city, state and VA).

    At the same time the “recovery czar” spoke of hotels and “other ammenities” envisioned for the hospital site and its environs.

    Transcripts of this and other scoping meetings are available online. The URL for the Lindy Boggs transcript is: http://www.valsumedcenters.com/index_files/Meeting_Info/Site_Selection/8-11-08/Lindy_Boggs_transcript.pdf

    In recent months, the city announced in the local newspapers its partnership with Tulane Avenue developers. At the same time, residents within the city’s desired hospital footprint remain under a building permit moratorium imposed last December by the neighborhood’s own city council member.

    The city and project insiders continue to create the impression that hospital site selection has taken place. It has not.

    A public comment period regarding site selection and impact for the proposed VA hospital remains open until September 27th. The public notice has been published in the local press but may also be viewed online at the following URL:

    http://www.valsumedcenters.com/index_files/Page353.htm