Letter of Support for Rep Patrick Connick’s HB266

May 2017

Just weeks after the levee breaches during Hurricane Katrina – with New Orleans still underwater – a small group of business people had a plan crafted and ready. Using full-page newspaper ads and purchased media, the group quickly convinced a traumatized populace that it needed “Levee Board Reform.”

In the chaotic environment of February 2006 – years before levee investigators concluded that the US Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for the flooding – the Louisiana legislature approved this reform. And it turns out that the two new authorities – the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority (SLFPA) East and West have no authority to oversee or directly influence the Corps.

However, the SLFPA East and West do control how more than $60 million of taxpayer money gets spent every year.* The “levee board reform” took control of who gets to award lucrative contracts out of the governor’s hands and gave it to a small group of people.

This small group is the SLFPA Nominating Committee and they have their positions for life. There are no term limits. This committee – at the end of the day – decides who will spend upward of $60 million of taxpayer dollars annually. And are at least indirectly responsible for protecting multiple parishes from flooding.

We, the undersigned, support Rep Patrick Connick’s HB266 which requires term limits for the SLFPA Nominating Committee. We are calling for staggered terms of four years. And any person who serves four years cannot serve again for at least three years, no matter who designated the person.

Respectfully,
Sandy Rosenthal, Founder of Levees.org
Keith Twitchell, President, Committee for a Better New Orleans
Dawn, Hebert, New Orleans East resident & candidate N.O. City Council District E
Stacy Head, New Orleans City Council Member-at-Large
Susan Guidry, New Orleans City Council Member, District A
Latoya Cantrell, New Orleans City Council Member, District B
Chip Badeaux, President, City Council of Thibodaux
Harry Shearer, actor producer New Orleans part time resident
Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association
William P Waiters, President, Holy Cross Neighborhood Association
Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Sandra T. Herman, Friends of LA Center for Women in Government & Business
Cyn Sarthou, Gulf Restoration Network
Len Bahr, author of LACoastPost
Lt General Russel Honore, Leader of the GreenARMY
If you would like to add your name or organization, please contact Sandy Rosenthal at sandy@levees.org

* Produced with data from page 17 of SLFPAE’s financial report and page 13 of SLFPAW’s financial report for fiscal year ending June 2016