THE TIMES-PICAYUNE. JANUARY 27, 2010. By Molly Reid
Numerous candidates for New Orleans mayor and City Council signed onto a platform Tuesday that cited environmentally sensitive building and energy efficiency as a largely untapped engine of local economic development.
Among other things, the platform calls for green building incentives; programs to help finance energy-efficiency measures; green economic development through a public-private partnership; restored municipal recycling service; increased local water management and coastal restoration advocacy; and greater remediation of sites contaminated by lead, arsenic and other toxins.
"This green platform represents the work of 36 organizations in New Orleans who are focused on the importance of building a green economy for the city, both to make sure we create good, well-paying jobs for the citizens of New Orleans, but also to make sure we rebuild as a resilient city," said coalition representative Beth Galante, executive director of the New Orleans office of Global Green.
Four of the six major mayoral candidates -- John Georges, Troy Henry, Nadine Ramsey and James Perry -- expressed their support for the group's eight-point platform, either in person or through a proxy.
Candidates agreed most strongly with the platform's emphasis on developing the so-called green economy, which includes environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient building, solar and wind power, biofuel production, recycling services and workforce development.
City Councilman Arnie Fielkow, who has long advocated for a public-private partnership to handle the city's economic development, said the emerging green economy presents "a phenomenal opportunity to build a new industry, to maximize economic development."
Perry asserted that "economic development isn't at odds with green development," and the mayoral candidate joked that despite some racial tension surrounding the mayor's race, he would be not a black mayor or a white mayor but a "green mayor."
Though it wasn't part of the "green platform," the proposed plan by Louisiana State University to build a new teaching hospital instead of repairing Charity Hospital became a leitmotif at the news conference. Both City Council District A candidate Jay Batt and Perry called the plan, which calls for the demolition of 27 blocks of lower Mid-City, environmentally irresponsible.