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Coalition Rejects Council’s Vote, Condemns Police Riot at City Hall
by Darwin BondGraham Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 10:07 PM (email address validated)

The Coalition says that yesterday’s vote does not change their demands. They will continue to oppose demolition however they can.

Coalition Rejects Co...
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December 21, 2007

New Orleans - At a press conference in front of City Hall today, the Coalition to Stop Demolition rejected the City Council’s vote to demolish public housing, and also condemned the behavior of the New Orleans police, which they described as brutal and unnecessary.

Questioning the legitimacy of a vote taken after the public had been locked out, Coalition members asked whether or not the decision violated the state’s sunshine laws. Sunshine laws require openness and accessibility to public meetings, including the City Council. It is reported that inside the Council chambers during yesterday’s vote there were many empty seats. Activists say that the doors had been shut on those waiting to enter even before the seating limit was reached. “In the past I’ve been to meetings where they’ve filled the chamber beyond capacity, with people crowding the isles and spilling out the door. Yesterday they just wanted to shut us out, period,” said Monique Harden of Advocates for Environmental and Human Rights. Robert Horton of the Coalition pointed out that the council could have moved to meeting to a larger venue in order to facilitate true public comment.

The Times-Picayune reported today that the City Council had prepared for the vote weeks in advance, calling up more than 120 police officers to ring the area and block the entrance. Many of them were put on 12 hour extended shifts. Other officers were brought in to guard the council members homes day and night. The FBI was also present.

Sess 4-5 of the Coalition called the behavior of the police unnecessarily brutal. “They had metal detectors at the door. They searched everyone entering. If they knew there were no weapons in the room, how can they possibly justify using tazers on people, pepper spray, tackling people, and all such unnecessary force?”

Rejecting yesterday’s vote, the Coalition called it rigged, illegal, and not binding. The illegitimacy of the process includes not only the Council lock-out, but also the elections which installed the current white majority council, a first in 30 years. The black working class has been fundamentally disenfranchised in New Orleans. Stefanie Mingo, a resident of St. Bernard called the vote a sham. She asked why the police locked out residents, their legal representatives, and other advocates while allowing in HUD and HANO employees and developers.

The Coalition says that yesterday’s vote does not change their demands. They will continue to oppose demolition however they can.

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Stefanie Mingo
by Darwin BondGraham Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 10:07 PM

Stefanie Mingo...
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by Darwin BondGraham Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 10:07 PM

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by Darwin BondGraham Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 10:07 PM

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The Coalition ended the conference by lofting faces of Mayor Ray Nagin and Council member Stacy Head with dollar signs ringing their eyes.

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Propaganda Jim Zachary Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007 at 10:28 AM
Healthy dcutter47 Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007 at 9:28 AM

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