Local attorney Stuart Smith tactics revealed in NOLA.com article

My blog has consistently identified local attorney Stuart Smith as the “puppetmaster” and bully behind the Vieux Carre Property Owners and Residents Association (VCPORA) and French Quarter Citizens’ efforts to pass a highly restrictive noise ordinance, which could potentially have a devastating effect on live music in the French Quarter, the Faubourg Marigny and the remainder of the city.

Journalist Richard Webster of NOLA.com and the Times-Picayune wrote a revealing investigative article that shows that Smith, who does not even live in the city full-time, has threatened and intimidated others who have been involved in trying to work up an equitable means to create a viable noise ordinance in the city. A public records request shows that Smith sent intimidating emails to Cm. Kristin Palmer, and threatened local businessman Robert Watters if Smith’s agenda wasn’t followed.  Smith and his public relations firm have consistently attempted to use character assassination and negative spin to cast aspersions on the character and expertise of Dave Woolworth, a principal at Oxford Acoustics, who was hired by the City Council to prepare a report on noise issues, and to suggest potential solutions to the issues at hand. Woolworth was accused of a conflict of interest in the the missives sent out by the “Krewe of Truth,” Brylski’s firm. While it cannot be proven, there was a YouTube videe posted by a fictitious person that disparaged Woolworth’s role in preparing a report.

Smith and his krewe apparently will do anything to achieve their agenda, to the point of character assassination, untruth, intimidation and what could even be considered blackmail.

We applaud Webster’s story and investigation, and recommend that you read the article here.

It’s a pity that Mr. Smith has used not one, but two, citizens’ groups to further his agenda. Mr. Smith is obviously a very smart and competent attorney, and has done some good things for the community (including liberal spending with Loyola University’s law center). Instead of spending his time and money trying to intimidate others in the community, perhaps he should work out a plan and spend his money trying to actually solve a thorny problem, rather than to exacerbate it by the manipulative techniques he’s been using.

The biggest issues in putting together a workable noise ordinance is enforcement. If Stuart Smith really wants to make a positive change in the city, perhaps he should help set up and fund organization that represents all of the interests of the residents and businesses in this city, and not just his own.

 

  • KidNola

    There was no thorny problem ’till he told us there was one…

  • Michael Patrick Welch

    Yeah, there was no thorny problem cept maybe for a single-digit number of people. We don’t need new sound laws, but because of him we will get them. Or even if they just start enforcing the current sound laws then New Orleans music is fucked anyway. Everyone needs to either push for a culture of permissiveness, or else accept that they will continue compromising over the years until the other side gets 100% of what they initially wanted. So even though I derive great pleasure from this recent turn of events, Stuart Smith still won, even down to getting the city to agree on the ridiculous notion that music is a health hazard.

    • BFREI

      You need a new sound law because the limits in the old law are too low. If the police get interested in enforcing them again, they can do a lot of damage. The law Smith and Chapman were pushing is a disaster. A good law would be fairer all around and protect people from draconian enforcement and private lawsuits.

      • Michael Patrick Welch

        I agree with you, I have just never known tinkering with sound laws to end in said laws becoming MORE liberal. That is what should be done, you are correct, but I cannot even picture a scenario where that actually happens. Historically, this issue only moves in one direction. I mean, for example, I used to live behind a music club in an industrial area of town where it was totally legal to make as much noise as we wanted, and yet the club and my own parties would get hassled by The Man for years because the cops couldn’t believe any laws existed to protect sound. Anyway I hope you are right!

        • BFREI

          Follow and support the Oxford Acoustics/ Woolworth process. You can see it in process today at FQMD meeting/presentation, 3.00 PM at Bourbon Orleans hotel. Understand it, and be ready to bring the house down around their ears if City Council tries to undermine it again, like they did in December. Woolworth does not care what it was before, only what works, fairest possible for all sides.

          • Michael Patrick Welch

            I’ve been following it and understand it enough to know that it is more liberal than the current sound laws in several regards. But Woolworth isn’t making the new laws he’s just informing them, and I assume that in the end they will not take his advice where it would make the laws more liberal (as evidenced by City Council’s real desire to almost completely ignore the guy’s advice last month). I cannot attend today — I have a job, which is another part of this that sucks: I have to take time out of my job to fight people whose job it is to make these laws. But I’m doin what I can…

          • BFREI

            That’s what I’m saying: be ready to bring the house down if the council try it again, which they well might, because the same crew was largely re-elected.

            You can see video of last weeks on MaCCNO web site. This weeks will probably be filmed as well.

            Smith being discredited helps. Permanent exile, jail time or disbarment would be safer.

            Personally, I don’t know whether liberal is what I would subscribe to. The Woolworth process is science augmented by trial and error designed for balance and fairness, not just a bunch of amateur partisans screaming for one way or another.