Here's a list of the top 10 things I believe could improve New Orleans in 2011 and beyond. I encourage all New Orleanians to create their own list and work to animate positive change.
1. Market New Orleans. We can re-grow our population by promoting New Orleans as a great place to live, not just visit. (This is why we talk about NorthWest Carrollton as the next coolest neighborhood in New Orleans)
2. Incentivize homeownership in the city. We need a plan to support people who want to buy and restore blighted property. (This is why we participlate in the PRC's Great Neighborhood Sellabration. We're looking forward to 2011.)
3. No more spot zoning. Changing allowable use for one piece of property circumvents zoning that exists to protect our quality of life. (This is why we know where CPC is and contact the office when we have concerns. This is also why the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance is so important and why we worked so hard to get an overlay on Earhart Boulevard. Now if Mr. Mendoza could just wrap his brain around Complete Streets.....)
4. Turn more vacant lots into urban gardens with the help of a fully funded city program. (Can you say the Orchard on Fig?)
5. Cut shoes off wires. Ensure that drug dealers don't mark territory and stop hanging trash from marring our streetscapes. (Or report activity to NOPD or make sure abandoned cars and other trash doesn't become a permanent part of the neighborhood landscape... Criminals don't like clean....)
6. No new development until every salvageable house is back in commerce. Why do we allow developers to build new when so many houses are empty and blighted? (Interesting question... We have a number of building under repair and construction. We're happy to have these older buildings availble for occupancy.)
7. Accessible sidewalks for everyone. Bust the inconsiderate boobs who park on sidewalks. Replace broken concrete and cut back overgrown weeds. Children, elderly and disabled people shouldn't have to walk in the street. (Agreed. Children, elderly and disabled people shouldn't have to walk around cars parked on or across sidewalks and into the streets. This is why we work with NOPD on removing abandoned cars and on parking enforcement.)
8. More children should attend school close to home. It costs the public schools an estimated $24 million a year for school buses operated by an out-of-state company. (Remember that comment about Complete Streets and the other about sidewalks. Children pass through NorthWest Carrollton on their way to Lafayette School on Carrollton Ave.)
9. Hire locally in our schools. Let's give jobs to teachers who know our culture and will invest more than a few years in our kids.
10. Go green at Mardi Gras by throwing fewer plastic beads and cups from China.
Carnival krewes should throw handmade, recycled and biodegradable items like Muses shoes and Zulu coconuts. (I certainly don't need more plastic cups....)
Ann Marie Coviello