I offer the following for your consideration: the Executive Summary of the report that started off the whole mess re: LA SB 573 and the Hospitality District: “Celebrate Our History, Invest in Our Future: Reinvigorating Tourism in New Orleans.”
My request for access to the full version of the report was simple and straightforward:
I am interested in reviewing the data and recommendations of the full version of this report and comparing such with the legislation regarding the proposed Hospitality District. The question I’m attempting to answer is whether or not the Hospitality District (as proposed) will satisfy the needs and/or requirements as detailed in the report.
Unfortunately my request for access to the full version of the report was denied by New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau staff due to its “proprietary” nature. Instead, I was offered a link to the press release issued by this agency in January 2010: New Orleans Launches Strategic Unified Master Plan for the Tourism Industry.
But consider this: If this report is serving as the rationale for major policy decisions, taxing authority considerations, and unprecedented acts of legislation in our city, then shouldn’t it be available for review in the public realm for proper scrutiny and consideration?
Meanwhile, I’m considering filing a Public Records Request for information regarding the expenses associated with the commissioning of this report.
If even one penny was funded via the taxpayers of New Orleans, then it’s
a public document by default.
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau wants it both ways — they play “public agency” when it suits them to do so, then masquerade as a private group the rest of the time.
Should the citizens of New Orleans be trusting such an entity with additional public funding (as proposed in the Hospitality District legislation that’s currently on the table)?
It’s a reasonable question.