Inside metro politics for March 9, 2013

City Council outlaws ‘fairy tale’ birds

It’s almost like the Brothers Grimm had something to do with the city’s new pet-ownership laws.

Buried in the legislation is a section that forbids “exotic and wild animals.”

There are the animals you would expect would be prohibited as pets in a city: monkeys, raccoons, skunks, wolves, squirrels, coyotes, foxes, leopards, panthers tigers, lions, lynxes, venomous or constricting snakes, and any crocodiles or alligators.

But when the City Council’s Governmental Affairs Committee on Monday met to discuss the new laws, one aspect appeared to take everyone by surprise: Chanticleers would no longer be allowed as pets in Orleans Parish.

Councilwoman Susan Guidry stopped Louisiana SPCA Executive Director Ana Zorrilla as she discussed what type of animals will no longer be allowed as pets in the city,

“Could you tell us what a chanticleer is?” Guidry asked.

Zorrilla said she wasn’t quite sure. That term came from the veterinarians who worked on the ordinance with the LA/SPCA and Guidry’s staff, she said.

“My guess is it must be some type of breed of chicken that is male because they very specifically said there’s no real reason why people need to have roosters,” Zorrilla said.

The Oxford dictionary defines a chanticleer as “a name given to a domestic cock, especially in fairy tales.”

In real life, though, they are now forbidden as feathered friends. The full City Council on Thursday voted 7-0 to approve the new pet laws.

Cantrell appoints ex-opponent to board

District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell apparently did not forget the support she received from Eric Strachan, her former contender, once he dropped out of the race and threw his backing her way.

A motion Cantrell authored earlier this month to appoint Strachan as a member of the city’s Industrial Development Board passed unanimously during Thursday’s City Council meeting. Strachan’s term expires Jan. 1, 2017.

The IDB is a public nonprofit economic development corporation. Its directors are volunteers who are appointed by the City Council, with one appointment by the mayor.

During Monday’s Governmental Affairs Committee meeting, Strachan publicly thanked Cantrell for nominating him to the board.

S&WB lacks sense of urgency, Cantrell says

District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell was nearly as hot as the fire that cut off the power at the Sewerage & Water Board’s plant Sunday when she addressed officials from the utility two days later.

Appearing before the council’s Public Works Committee on Tuesday for a pre-planned meeting, Cantrell told S&WB executives that she didn’t feel a sense of “urgency” from the utility during or after the 20-minute power outage that resulted in a 30-hour boil-water advisory for the east bank of the city.

“The thing is this is serious,” Cantrell told the S&WB officials. “It has a direct impact on the health of our communities.”

She said she her main concern was that for more than a day, people with children could not bathe them.

“It’s serious,” she said. “I would just like to feel the sense of urgency from the Sewerage & Water Board as it relates to our health in the city of New Orleans. This is not a game. It’s real.”

Marcia St. Martin, the S&WB’s executive director said that the utility is “committed to the health of the community” and that it was difficult to announce the possibility of contamination in the water supply.

Still, she said, the utility did its job but then had to wait for test results to come back before it could do anything else.

“The most prudent thing to do … is take that very difficult step,” St. Martin said.

Cantrell said she understood that, but residents need to feel a more concern from S&WB when events such as boil-water orders occur.

“That’s when we feel that what you’re saying is real and ... sincere,” Cantrell said. “At the end of the day it’s the action.”

Compiled by

Danny Monteverde