Friday, January 14, 2005

Business as Usual...

The New Orleans City Council has decided that it is time to rewrite the chapter of the city code dealing with regulation of taxicabs and other types of for-hire ground transportation. Their objective is to bring greater clarity and order to Chapter 162, which, reports the T-P, many people in the transportation industry say is rife with contradictions, omissions and confusion.

So far, so good. Now comes the business as usual part. Although it has no experience in the field of transportation regulation, the "politically connected" law firm of Bryan & Jupiter is in line to get the lucrative contract. Learn to like the phrase "politically connected," because you'll see and hear it a lot in the local media.

The council's Ground Transportation Committee approved the firm's selection Wednesday with no discussion. The full council is expected to ratify the firm's choice without difficulty.

The motion to hire Bryan & Jupiter was made by Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt, chairwoman of the committee and, coincidentally (?), a political ally of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, former law partner of Trevor Bryan. Bryan co-owns his firm with Clare Jupiter.

You may remember B&J for their representation of the previous School Board majority in a number of futile, dilatory and punitive legal actions against Superintendent Anthony Amato that I am sure cost the financially-strapped school system a tidy sum. That the law firm advised the Board to pursue these actions seems to me to be exploitative.

But B&J probably needs the work. The T-P reports that Amato mailed and faxed the law firm a notification letter on Jan. 4, six days before the new board members were sworn in. "Pursuant to a conference held with incoming Orleans Parish School Board members, this letter notifies you that of January 10, 2005, your law firm should cease and desist all legal billing" to the board, the letter said.

Let me know what you think.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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