Brace yourself, New Orleans. Yet another cop show is coming. And this one features a stand-in for the city’s most famous garbage man.
Fox is developing a cop drama based on former trash magnate Sidney Torres’ sponsorship of an off-duty police detail in the French Quarter linked to a crime-reporting smartphone app, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The series is to be based on a New York Times report that looked at Torres’ role in starting and funding the police detail, and the show’s description is unlikely to find favor with either Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration or the city’s population as a whole.
“The drama is inspired by the article and explores what happens when an enigmatic tech billionaire makes a deal with a bankrupt, dying city to provide a privately owned and operated police force,” according to the Hollywood website.
Ironically, the provocative premise of the series turned out to be short-lived in real life. Torres’ involvement with on-the-ground operations of the task force ended this summer, when he turned it over to the French Quarter Management District.
The leadership of that state entity is drawn largely from the hospitality industry and French Quarter businesses, and a handful of cops working details for a public board is a far cry from the ripped-from-“Robocop” plot of a police force taking orders from a shadowy and powerful “billionaire.”
Torres still owns the app that once was at the heart of the program, but its use has fallen dramatically in recent months.
Credit rating service praises firefighter deal
New Orleans firefighters aren’t the only ones happy about a settlement that will see them getting $75 million in back pay.
Last week, Moody’s Investors Service issued a report referring to the deal as a “credit positive” for the city.
While the rating agency expressed concerns about the stresses that the promised payments of $15 million next year and $5 million the following year could place on the city’s budget, as well as about more pressure should voters reject a 2.5-mill tax that would cover the payments in future years, the report casts the deal as a positive step for the city.
Much of the Moody’s report focuses on the estimated $275 million in payments to the firefighters pension system the city is projecting it will save over the next 30 years as a result of the deal, in which firefighters agreed to retirement concessions the city had sought.
The report says the deal also will be positive for the city’s credit because it requires the administration to pay the actuarially required contribution into the firefighters pension system each year. That’s something it has not done in recent years while the back-pay issue was ongoing, and that failure prompted its own lawsuit, which also was settled with the agreement.
“Final settlement details must be finalized by vested parties, yet resolution of the disputes shows that the city is actively addressing back pay and pension issues to its net benefit,” according to the report.
Black pastors urge mayor to end disputes
A small group of black pastors says Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s high-profile battles with other elected officials, including Sheriff Marlin Gusman, are sowing racial discord in the city.
Pastors for a Better New Orleans last week called on Landrieu to give it a seat at the table to discuss that dispute, as well as fights he has had with other black elected officials over budgetary matters.
Several members of the group, which is largely focused around Pastor Tom Watson — a mayoral candidate back in 2006 — and members of his Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries, rallied at the Algiers Courthouse last week and said those fights have been racially divisive.
Landrieu has been involved in several disputes with other elected officials in the city, largely over budgetary matters. Many of those officials, including Gusman, are black, though that’s a reflection of the large number of African-American officeholders in the city.
In addition to those fights, the group said, ongoing discussions of Landrieu’s call to remove Confederate monuments in the city have had an adverse effect on racial reconciliation in the city.
They also called for a better approach to dealing with crime in New Orleans.
One city attorney leaves, another arrives
New Orleans City Attorney Sharonda Williams is headed back to the private sector.
Williams has worked for the city since 2011, when she joined Landrieu’s administration as chief deputy attorney for litigation. Before that, she was a partner at the firm Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klien and Hilbert.
Williams will leave the city payroll Nov. 1 to pursue a private law practice, according to a news release from the Landrieu administration.
“Sharonda has been an integral part of our team and a trusted adviser,” Landrieu said in the release. “She will be sorely missed. She has overseen matters that will be important for generations,” ranging from “complex litigation from consent decrees governing the New Orleans Police Department and Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office to lawsuits with the firefighters and taxicab and civil service reforms. I want to personally thank Sharonda for her hard work and service on behalf of the people of New Orleans.”
Rebecca Dietz, Landrieu’s executive counsel, will take over Williams’ spot.
Director of State and International Affairs Suchitra J. Satpathi will replace Dietz as executive counsel.
Compiled by staff writer Jeff Adelson