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Nearly two years after my initial attempt to petition the New Orleans City Council, and eight months following the city's "Consolidated Plan Briefing" (Jan 2007), I appeared before the New Orleans Recovery Committee. This administrative committee's official charter was to receive input from concerned citizens, and report back to the New Orleans City Council with citizens' concerns, ideas or questions. The bureaucratic nightmare was made worse when this committee deemed that anyone who desired to address the committee needed to get advance approval AND appear on the docket for the scheduled monthly meeting. When the Chairman of this committee (Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis) noticed that I was in attendance, she approached me and said: "Mr. Randall, no one is allowed to address the committee unless they are scheduled to do so IN WRITING (i.e.: appear on the docket)." I replied: "Madam Councilwoman, my name appears on the docket, and I'm listed as the last speaker before the committee today." She then turned immediately, and sought a paper schedule from the nearest staff assistant. As she read it, I could discern that she was not happy to learn that I was, in fact, on the schedule to speak.
The meeting began shortly thereafter, and Ms. Willard-Lewis (as Chairman) had each group address the committee, and she made it clear that she was in charge of the meeting. After the three groups that preceded me finished, the Vice Chairman announced me as the final speaker. At this point, Ms. Willard-Lewis arose and announced: "I have to go to the bathroom." She (as Chairman) left without recess or