The creation of a new medical complex will be the largest economic development project in the city's history, yet decisions are being made behind closed doors, without transparency, and without citizen involvement. No public hearings have been held by the City Planning Commission or the City Council on the $1.2 billion project, because no evaluation of alternative proposals for the medical complex have taken plan by the Planning Commission staff. The decision to shutter Charity Hospital in the first place remains shrouded in mystery and controversy. When municipal, state, and federal agencies entered into cooperative endeavor agreements and binding memorandums of understanding to acquire individually-owned lands in Lower Mid-City, the decisions were made behind closed doors without any basic disclosure to the affected public, let alone the opportunity for input. Similarly, the impetus for the creation of the Greater New Orleans Biomedical Development District (GNOBEDD) to provide special tax status for an even wider area including almost all of Mid City remains unknown. Because the city is an active participant in the LSU/VA decision, citizens are increasingly disenchanted with the planning process. New Orleans City Council members have done nothing to lead on this issue and ensure that their constituents are heard. Citizens of New Orleans ask why they should remain involved in the planning process to produce the Master Plan to guide the city into the future when the hired planners have been told not to include the medical district in plan. It is becoming clear to many citizens that the most significant economic/health decision facing New Orleans is being made behind closed doors.

Below you will find a collection of articles pertaining to the government transparency issue:

New Orleans VA's hospital plans going before public tonight

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Times-Picayune: "Jindal tells New Orleans City Council he still backs hospital"

Gov. Bobby Jindal gave private assurances to New Orleans City Council members that he still backs the proposal to build a $1.2 billion state teaching hospital in lower Mid-City, despite a growing collection of individuals and organizations asking both the council and the governor to reassess the plans.

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FEMA Project Worksheet 02/04/09

This FEMA project worksheet outlines the federal agency's $150 million reimbursement offer for hurricane damage to Charity Hosptial claimed by the state of Louisiana. This was an increase from an initial offer of $23 million.

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MOU between Veterans Administration & City of New Orleans; CEA between City & State of Louisiana

This agreement where the City of New Orleans agrees to acquire the land for the VA hospital in Lower Mid-City. Signed November 19th, 2007. Includes cooperative endeavor agreement between the City and State of Louisiana.

November 2005 Damage Assessment of Charity Hospital by Adams

Executive Summary of Emergency Facilities Assessment from Adams Management Services of the Charity Hospital building, conducted November of 2005. This is the document that LSU uses to support their case for the shuttering of Charity Hospital.

41 Organizations Call on Governor and City Leaders For Open Process In Decision-Making For Major Hospitals

On Wednesday, March 25th, 41 local and national organizations - including a diverse range of community groups, professional organizations and planning associations - are asking state and city leaders to engage the public more directly in the search for a solution. Attached is the press release from the event.

Times-Picayune: "Savings won't be realized with new hospital in Mid-City - VA, LSU out of sync on sharing services"

Building a new state hospital alongside a planned U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in lower Mid-City won't produce the initial level of savings once touted by the Louisiana State University System, according to the school's top health officer.

Dr. Fred Cerise said the primary reason is that a lack of clear financing has put LSU behind its original schedule, while federal money is lined up for the Veterans Affairs hospital slated to open in 2012, negating plans for sharing some equipment and facilities.

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