by Kevin Allman
Statement from City Council vice president Arnie Fielkow:
"I am truly frustrated with Governor Bobby Jindal's decision to apply a line item veto to $14.2 million in funds dedicated by the Legislature to the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital - one of the last vestiges of mental health facilities in Orleans Parish.
"Governor Jindal must know what this veto will mean for those New Orleans-area citizens in need of hospitalization: the reduction of in-patient beds by another 35 for a total loss of 231 in-patient beds since Hurricane Katrina; that parents, guardians and/or significant others will be forced to commute 40 miles to see and assist in the assessment and treatment of their loved ones; and there will be zero public sector facilities in New Orleans to provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services for children and adolescents.
"I beseech Gov. Jindal and Department of Health and Hospital Secretary Alan Levine to reconsider this critical decision. I heartily thank all legislators who voted against the closure and who voted in favor of additional funding to keep this crucial facility open. Various groups have requested, and I have accepted, to sponsor a forum for advocates to appeal to legislators to override Governor Jindal's veto. The meeting will be held on July 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the City Council Chamber."