Cantrell’s newest flight, landlord relief, and mowing to own 2023

Mayor LaToya Cantrell traveled to Los Angeles this weekend to celebrate Juneteenth, promote New Orleans, attend events for next year’s Jazz Festival, and rename a street the “New Orleans Corridor.”

Cantrell’s office said that the mayor would “join in the cultural precursor of the 2024 launch of the Los Angeles Jazz Festival” during a roundtable conversation with the LA Jazz Festival Foundation.

The “cultural precursor” will include New Orleans musician Irvin Mayfield, who was freed from federal jail this year for stealing $1.3 million in public library contributions.

Cantrell’s spokeswoman informed WWL-TV that the mayor had nothing to do with Mayfield’s performance, despite her earlier backing.

Over the last year, the mayor’s expensive, taxpayer-funded visits to France and Switzerland for sister city and jazz events have drawn public attention.

Cantrell had to reimburse New Orleans for tens of thousands of dollars in seat upgrades and other expenses from those visits and others in her second tenure.

Cantrell spokeswoman Gregory Joseph, who travelled with her, said the South Korea trip won’t be paid, even though the planes contained first-class upgrades that were against municipal protocol.

Healthy homes delayed

Cantrell moved to New Orleans after attending Xavier University in New Orleans. She’ll celebrate with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and other California politicians.

Louisiana officials like Cantrell have been traveling. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is promoting Louisiana tourism in Australia and New Zealand for two weeks. This weekend, Gov. John Bel Edwards will visit France and Belgium to develop foreign economic relations, according to his office.

Last Monday, the council postponed the regulation’s implementation date for New Orleans tenants with substandard housing conditions.

The November City Council “healthy homes” proposal would have compelled all landlords to register their flats with the city and achieve minimal requirements starting July 1. After last week’s legislation, landlords of bigger buildings have until January 1 to install smoke detectors, electric systems, hot water, and cooling systems.

A new phased implementation strategy gives smaller landlords a few more months.

The city may hire more inspectors and establish landlord registration processes with the extra time.

The delay hurts housing activists who have lobbied city officials for years to make landlords accountable for dangerous rental property. In November, they called council members’ last-minute decision to delete a measure requiring large landlords to undergo regular inspections “gutted.”

Even modest protections are needed now, they believe.

“We get calls every day from people stuck in unsafe and unhealthy places with mold, leaks, rats and all sorts of other hazards,” said Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center policy director Maxwell Ciardullo. “So we’re just urging you to move as quickly as possible.”

On July 1, the council enacted a second law to safeguard renters who complain about conditions from retribution.

That abandoned lot? All yours…

Just clean it beforehand.

Last Monday, the City Council changed its “Mow to Own” program, which allows property owners to claim unoccupied properties next to theirs.

The initiative is one of several strategies municipal authorities are using to fight blight amid increasing violent crime and citizen dissatisfaction with quality of life.

The City Council streamlined blight enforcement in October. Two months later, they added $10 million to destroy structures and preserve vacant lots. Thomas Mulligan, the new code enforcement director, has stressed expediting the process.

Critics say the “mow to own” scheme allows speculators to buy property cheaply and doesn’t assist transform barren lots into houses.

If you gas up the mower, you must follow the city’s regulations to claim the property.

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