Since The Lens revealed that some of the people at City Council chambers at last year's hearing over a proposed Entergy power plant were actually paid to speak in favor of the power station, the new New Orleans City Council has been debating how to address the practice, known as "astroturfing."
Now City Council President Jason Williams will hold a press conference tomorrow outlining the council's options and next steps.
[jump] Though astroturfing isn't illegal, Williams and Council Vice-President Helena Moreno issued a joint letter last week saying such tactics "fly in the face of the dignity, courtesy, and respect of traditional public discourse vital to our democratic process."
[content-1] In a statement announcing tomorrow's presser, the council wrote:
"The practice of artificial grassroots organizing, known as astroturfing, regrettably creates the perception of a tainted process, and unfairly impacts the hard work and countless hours the Council, staff and parties to the docket put into this critical decision. The harmful impact of this nefarious process is unfortunate, unappreciated and in contravention to the true democratic deliberative process. Regardless of the 2,700 pages of evidence supporting the necessity of the power station, the City cannot move forward until this issue is resolved."
Williams will address the issue tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.