Last week, City Hall announced plans to hire Peter Bowen as a new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) in charge of the city’s land use. They will also expand the duties of the job, creating a new agency, the Office of Business and External Services (OBES), a project of Gilberto Montaño, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer.
The OBES will include the regulatory agencies already under the leadership of the DCAO and add agencies in charge of economic development and buying, selling and leasing city-owned land.
Bowen is a former general manager for Sonder, a short-term rental company that became the largest operator of STRs in New Orleans in 2018. Bowen fought against regulation for the STR industry and “blitz scaled the New Orleans market for Sonder from launch to 1,000 apartments (2,500 rooms) in under 36 months” (from his application for the DCAO position).
The last DCAO left the position in the wake of scandals based around big business dodging city regulation. A building inspector was indicted on taking $65,000 in bribes, and two building inspectors were suspended for falsely claiming multiple inspections of the Hard Rock Hotel on Canal St.
City Hall has failed in its duties to regulate the STR industry, and appointing an STR exec to a powerful regulatory job makes it even more clear that our city government is catering to corporations at the expense of New Orleans locals. The needs of our city residents come before the profits of wealthy developers, especially during an economic crisis and looming mass evictions.
We oppose the hiring of Peter Bowen as a DCAO for the city and the creation of the OBES. We demand Gilberto Montaño step down as CAO and for City Hall to make good on its promise to regulate the STR industry fairly. Take action – send a email to City Hall officials today and sign our petition here!
Are you interested in getting involved in this campaign to oppose the hiring of Peter Bowen? Email email@example.com to get connected with a leader from our Municipal Action Committee or come out to one of our upcoming events!
What’s next? Join our our next Local Council meeting, TONIGHT at 6:30 (register here). This is the monthly meeting of our chapter’s leadership body, and everyone is welcome to attend these meetings. And put the August General Meeting, which will be on August 22nd at 2 PM, in your calendar today! General Meetings are held monthly. These are the largest meetings of the General Membership (that’s you!) each month, and this is where the entire chapter membership makes collective decisions on how to move forward. If you can only make one meeting a month, a General Meeting is the place to start!
New Orleans DSA
P.S. New to DSA? Check out our chapter’s new member resources here. You can always email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about how to get involved or about the work our chapter is doing.