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City Adoption Program Started

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) is participating in the California KARE (Katrina Aid and Relief) program, which will introduce Louisiana cities in need to California cities offering aid.  PAR helped to coordinate the City of Palo Alto’s adoption of the City of Kenner in the first such local government match.  A City of Palo Alto news release on this project follows. For further information, please call Jim Brandt at 225-926-8414 or email him at jimbrandt@la-par.org.

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The City of Palo Alto launched an initiative today to help connect California cities that want to aid Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery in Louisiana and Mississippi cities. “California Cities KARE” (Katrina Aid and Relief Effort) will be a way for California cities to find a city to adopt.

“Having learned from our own experience,” said Palo Alto Mayor Jim Burch, “we want to assist other cities to establish a community-to-community relationship.”

The City of Palo Alto kicked off the project this week by adopting the City of Kenner, Louisiana, a city similar in size to Palo Alto and a suburb of New Orleans.

“The response from city employees and residents has been tremendous,” said Burch. “People appreciate having direct contacts with the people in need in that stricken area.”

Palo Alto is partnering with statewide nonprofits in Louisiana, the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) in Baton Rouge, and in Mississippi, the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University (Stennis Institute) in Starkville, to connect California cities to cities in those states. Both organizations have a broad network of contacts in local government.

PAR is a fiscal “watchdog” organization that publishes in-depth research reports on issues facing state and local government. Over the years, PAR recommendations have resulted in: the creation of a Legislative Auditor’s Office; limits on future state debt; a balanced state budget requirement; strengthening of the open meetings/public records laws, campaign finance laws and ethics laws.

“We are grateful for the assistance the City of Palo Alto has committed to Kenner.  We look forward to matching more California cities to other Louisiana cities, which have been stricken by this disaster,” said PAR President Jim Brandt.  “PAR will serve to identify cities for those offering help and to ensure that clear communication channels between the cities are established.”

The Stennis Institute’ s mission is to integrate research, service, and teaching activities to improve government in the state, as well as promote the training of students who seek careers in public service.

“It’s very important to Mississippi cities in the hurricane-ravaged area to know that there are other cities out there that know what they’re up against to get back on their feet,” said Dr. Marty Wiseman, Director of the Stennis Institute. “Having counterparts in city government who can share their concerns is tremendously appreciated.”

Cities interested in participating should complete the Hurricane Relief form on the Palo Alto website (http://cityofpaloalto.org/katrina) and e-mail it to renata.falk@cityofpaloalto.org.

For More Information Contact:
Jim Burch – City of Palo Alto Mayor
(650)858-2348

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