One objective in undertaking this project is to encourage a more effective, transparent, and equitable city government. The existence of satellites can be an asset in achieving public goals—for example, by introducing greater technical expertise in public decision making, more diversity among public officials, and more flexibility in public administration. But satellites can also be detrimental to the public good if they lack transparency or obscure the lines of accountability. Our database seeks to offer greater transparency by systematically collecting and presenting information on these sometimes obscure satellite entities. The database will facilitate analysis of those characteristics that make satellite entities serve (or disserve) the public interest.
We invite broad participation in this analytical process. We and our academic colleagues (faculty and students) will use the database to serve scholarly and educational objectives. Civic organizations may use it to advance governmental reform efforts. Journalists may use it to enhance public understanding of city government. Public entities may use it to learn and share best practices. And individual citizens are welcome to use it for whatever purposes may motivate them to become more engaged in public affairs.
We gratefully acknowledge the considerable contribution of our research assistants, Jonathan Kim, Wu Yao, and Adrienne Wheeler, who expended many months of effort to gather the financial and legal information that comprise the heart and soul of this database. Their partnership in this process was invaluable, and their professionalism throughout proved exemplary. Denny Juge created the website's graphic design, and David Martin created the web application. Funding support was provided by the New Orleans Center for the Gulf Coast, the Provost Office of Tulane University, the Murphy Institute of Political Economy , the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, and the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching. All errors or omissions are the responsibility of the principal investigators.
Aaron Schneider David Marcello