Gusman questioned in court on spending — The Advocate | Sheriff Marlin Gusman took the stand Monday, the first day of the second hearing on the prison consent decree. The hearing is focused on the sheriff’s budget, which turns out to be a troublingly interesting topic. “The sheriff’s accounting practices are reminiscent of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” said Harry Rosenberg, who’s representing New Orleans city government in the case.
In court, Sheriff Gusman predicts $4 million budget shortfall, not including potential consent decree costs — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | How about this newspaper war? Here we have two distinct and worthy stories on the OPP consent decree hearing. And don’t forget The Lens’ liveblog. From the once undisputed local paper of record:
Because of a drop in the inmate population at Orleans Parish Prison, Sheriff Marlin Gusman told a federal judge Monday that he is anticipating about a $4 million budget shortfall through the end of 2013. That estimate does not include potential costs associated with a pending federal consent decree that could cost as much as $22 million a year to implement broad changes at the prison, which has long been plagued by high rates of suicide, violence and escape.
Assange, back in news, never left U.S. radar – The New York Times | The Times has an update on Julian Assange, who’s back on the front page this week because of WikiLeaks’ support for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Here’s the interesting part: The Justice Department confirms to the newspaper that it is investigating WikiLeaks, which published confidential government documents. Of course, WikiLeaks’ partners, The New York Times and The Guardian, did the same thing. “If the government charged WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange as co-conspirators, it would be arguing that, unlike their partners, they are not journalists.” The Times’ assistant general counsel says a proposed shield law meant to protect journalists from prosecution “tries to define Wiki-like publishers out of the definition of news organizations.” More on that from the First Amendment Center.
Government & Politics
Supreme Court voids key part of Voting Rights act — The Associated Press
The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965. But the justices did say lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington’s approval, in advance, for election changes.
Private company takes over management of New Orleans public hospital — The Advocate | Louisiana Children’s Medical Center quietly took over Interim LSU Hospital on Monday. The hospital’s CEO described the privatization as a “non-event.” Here are some other non-events in this story: The LSU Board of Supervisors agreed last fall to privatize all 10 LSU hospitals. It is now this summer, and only five of those deals are done — none fully and truly done, however, because the federal agency that determines whether the new operators are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid payments has yet to sign off on any of them.
New Orleans lawmakers angry about Jindal vetoes, want override session — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Some New Orleans lawmakers said Monday they are not happy with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to remove funding for children and people with disabilities from next year’s budget, and support holding a special veto session to consider overriding those cuts. However, they acknowledge the possibility of convening such a session is slim.
Lawmakers aren’t the only ones who are angry.
The kids are all right: The State of the State by Jeremy Alford — Gambit | Jeremy Alford profiles the unusually young members of the New Orleans legislative delegation, including 35-year-old House Speaker pro tem Walt Leger III and 34 year-old Sen. J.P. Morrell, who wants to run for New Orleans mayor one day, “but not against the current guy.”
Isaac: the rest of the story, Part 2 — Fix The Pumps | Mechanical engineer Matt McBride offers more Army Corps of Engineers internal email exchanges from Hurricane Isaac. This time he focuses on problems at the Orleans Avenue Canal, subject of an August 2012 Lens story.
Obama to Outline Ambitious Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases – The New York Times
President Obama will propose a sweeping plan to address climate change on Tuesday, setting ambitious goals and timetables for a series of executive actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and prepare the nation for the ravages of a warming planet.
The speech is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. (CDT) today.
Anti-pet coke activists blockade Detroit dock — Michigan Radio | Protestors in Detroit block the Kochs’ coke. Petroleum coke has been piling up in huge, uncontained dust mountains along the Detroit riverfront. Just in case that wasn’t enough to start a protest, many of the coke piles are (1) owned by the arch-conservative Koch brothers, who (2) ship and sell them as a cheaper and even dirtier alternative to coal. Local outrage: The particular coke pile featured in this story is owned by Manuel “Matty” Moroun, the unpopular owner of the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit to Canada.
Union leaders meet with Morris Jeff school’s governance committee for first time — The Lens | The city’s first charter school union has its first official meet-and-greet with the governing board. “On Thursday, union co-presidents Tiana Nobile and Rowan Shafer sat down to talk with committee members about everything from potential charter revisions to the possibility of engaging a labor attorney for future questions,” reports Della Hasselle of our Charter School Reporting Corps.
Louisiana Education Superintendent John White pitches diploma revamp in Mandeville — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | White says the high school diploma system has to be revamped to “better prepare students for college or the workforce.” That, again, is college or the workforce. White proposes one type of diploma with two tracks: college-bound or technical training.
Owen Courreges: How to read the new ‘anti-noise’ proposals — Uptown Messenger | Owen Courreges really, really hates a new seven-point plan to crack down on “excess noise” proposed by a coalition of neighborhood groups. He says their ideas for enforcement are unreasonable and have already been taken down in the courts. He also says this: “Because these folks are not only fascists but cowards, they also cancelled their planned press conference when it came to light that protests would erupt.”
I supported Brazil’s World Cup bid, but the expense is now crippling us — The Guardian | In Brazil, massive street protests have brought attention to the 2014 World Cup and the $13 billion the government is expected to spend on stadiums and other related projects. Brazilian soccer player turned politician Romário weighs in on a debate sure to resonate in New Orleans, which just hosted its tenth Super Bowl. In an AP report, the head of FIFA, soccer’s governing body, says he’s “not ashamed about what we are doing.”