About The CPP

The Essence

 

The essence of what a Community Participation Program does is simple:  it allows residents to have a greater say in city government decision-making and priority setting, and it gives government officials an effective means for communicating with the people.  Ultimately, a CPP is a vehicle for each individual resident to have a direct impact on the policies and actions of city government.  Thus it is one of the most powerful tools available for creating true equity, by bringing voice and meaningful input opportunities to all residents, regardless of race, socio-economic status, language barriers, or previous levels of civic participation.

 

A CPP does not replace existing aspects of government, or change the way city government conducts its business.  Nor does it replace existing neighborhood associations or community groups; in fact, it works very closely with them.  It simply offers an additional tool for residents, business people and city officials to communicate with each other and work together.

 

The intent of a CPP is for residents to be aware of the activities of government before they occur, and to be an integral part of the decision-making process.  Instead of having residents overflowing City Council chambers distressed about a proposed development or reacting to a project after it has been implemented, people will be aware of proposals in their early planning stages and will be in a position to provide input on decisions that directly affect their neighborhoods and the city.  Residents will also be able to proactively assess neighborhood needs and assets, generate their own proposals and projects, and resolve many of their needs and issues without turning to government for help. Finally, the CPP is an ideal construct for establishing community-based emergency preparedness networks, to manage everything from hurricane evacuations to hazardous materials incidents.  It also provides a mechanism for enabling residents to set up communications protocols to maintain contact during an evacuation period, and expedites communications and planning after a major event.  This makes the CPP an absolutely essential tool for resilience.

On the government side, city officials charged with making important decisions will have a much better feel for what the views and preferences of the people are before they take action.  With a better understanding of community needs and priorities, government can design and deliver its various programs and services more effectively and more efficiently.  In addition, the business community can work more closely with both neighborhoods and government with the CPP structure in place.  Underlying all of this, establishing predictable, accessible communications structures enables all three – residents, businesses, government – to build trust and become

true partners in the future success of the city.

 

Strong support for the Community Participation Program exists across neighborhoods spanning the entire geography of New Orleans, as well as within the business community.  Combined with the commitments from the incoming city government, this creates the “three-legged stool” of government, business and neighborhoods upon which a strong city must be built.

The Background

 

The original call for a Community Participation Program (CPP) in New Orleans comes from the “New Century New Orleans” document, created by a citizen group in 1992.  This desire was strongly restated in the Unified New Orleans Plan final version in January 2007, and mandated by the November 2008 amendment to the New Orleans City Charter.  It is further developed and mandated as a full chapter of the 2010 New Orleans Master Plan.  Finally, an October 2010 resolution of the New Orleans City Council called for adoption of a New Orleans CPP by summer 2011.

In 2003, the New Orleans City Planning Commission asked the Committee for a Better New Orleans (CBNO) to develop a CPP for the city.  Though the work was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina, it was ultimately strengthened by the much higher levels of civic engagement that emerged in the aftermath of the storm.  After regrouping in summer of 2007, CBNO guided a process through which some 200 New Orleans residents developed a New Orleans CPP model.  The draft version was released in February 2008.  This was followed by two years of vast community outreach and input, during which time more than 1800 additional residents reviewed and commented on the NOLA CPP model.  CBNO also worked closely with Planning Commission staff on refinements to the model; received input from City Council members and other city agencies; and worked closely with leading business groups to introduce them to the model and get their input.

The final draft was reviewed by the Planning Commission and the core community member team; it was also circulated to leaders of CPPs around the country, by whom it was acclaimed as the most innovative and inclusive construct since such programs were first developed in the early 1970s.  The NOLA CPP model was formally submitted to the City Planning Commission in September 2010.

 

The October 2010 City Council resolution directed the Planning Commission to establish a process through which there would be one final, robust community review of the NOLA CPP model.  CPC was directed to make any final revisions based on this review and submit a final version for adoption by June 2011.  Funding was provided for this process, and the Planning Commission launched the process in January 2011.  Unfortunately, in March 2011 Mayor Landrieu halted the process.

 

In the 2017 municipal election cycle, many different entities included the CPP in their platforms and priorities.  These included the Forward New Orleans Coalition, EngageNOLA and the New Orleans Coalition.  Mayor-elect Cantrell signed a pledge to implement the Forward New Orleans platform, including the CPP.  Councilwoman-at-Large-elect Helena Moreno also signed this pledge.  Councilman-at-Large Jason Williams has made strong public statements in support of adopting and implementing the CPP.  Finally, all the incoming district Councilmembers signed the Forward New Orleans pledge, including adoption of the CPP.

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