Government & Politics
Vitter likely to loom over state Legislature as he preps for 2015 governor’s race | The Lens – A consummate pol, Vitter has been known to dabble in both the state’s legislative agenda and the make-up of the two chambers that pass it. Tensions between him and Gov. Jindal are anticipated in the upcoming session.
Louisiana politicians spent millions on meals, golf, tickets, other perks, review shows | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Lenient laws allow officeholders to use campaign funds almost like a private expense account, “turning contributions into little more than gifts to candidates,” according to critics. A companion story by Fox 8 investigative reporter Lee Zurik examines the “constituent” loophole that gives politicians great flexibility to make questionable expenditures on gifts, meals and travel.
Mitch Landrieu’s ‘enemy for life’ claim discussed: Tyler Bridges interview | BayouBuzz — In a Google Hangout interview, Bridges, a Lens reporter, talks with Bayoubuzz Publisher Stephen Sabludowsky about Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s alleged vindictive streak.
Lower 9th Ward residents unveil three proposals for redevelopment of former Holy Cross School site | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Residents favor a proposal to convert the 14-acre Holy Cross site into a public park, not housing, according to Sarah Debacher, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association.
One year later, Touchdown for Homes’ plan to revitalize Lower 9th Ward is sidelined | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Blight and lack of services in Lower Ninth Ward have stalled a plan to revitalize the neighborhood by building 40 homes.
Atlas shrugging | Library Chronicles – In a reversal of recent history Carnival parades are becoming more concentrated in Uptown. “Seeing the main events of a regional celebration confined to such a narrowly defined space is probably not a healthy sign,” writes Jeffrey Bostick.
Former jailer says Gusman overcharging the state for deputy pay | The Lens – Whistleblower Bryan Collins says about 50 deputies aren’t eligible for $500 a month in supplemental pay.
Nagin trial testimony opens detailing alleged bribes | The New Orleans Advocate – Coverage of former Mayor Ray Nagin’s corruption trial includes a short, crisp video interview with Investigations Editor Gordon Russell about the days events. In it, Russell reveals a surprising fact: No one in the entire jury pool claimed that they held strong opinions about Ray Nagin.
Prisoner release law saving less than expected | The Advocate – This must be a disappointing report for sentencing reform advocates.
Louisiana’s Corrections Department isn’t saving nearly as much money as expected from a new law that allows nonviolent drug offenders to leave prison early and others to avoid jail if they complete a drug treatment program.
A report from legislative budget analysts released this week says this year’s budget assumes $6 million in savings from the law. Instead, the Legislative Fiscal Office says the expectations have dropped by more than $5 million, to $815,000 in savings projected for the 2013-14 budget year that ends June 30.
Who Really Murdered the Jeff Davis 8? | Medium – Writer Ethan Brown investigates the deaths of prostitutes in Jennings, Louisiana that were commonly presumed to be the handiwork of a serial killer. Brown argues that corrupt law enforcement has not disclosed important facts about the case that cast “serious doubt” on the serial killer theory. Brown writes: “I’ve learned that all eight [victims] snitched for local law enforcement about the Jennings drug trade, a detail that has never been revealed to the public.”
Louisiana ranked second in country for teacher evaluations, new report says | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality ranks Louisiana second in the country in teacher preparation and evaluation.
Children learn much from field trips that they can’t get from lectures or textbooks | The Washington Post
In the KIPP charter school network … each year ends with a week-long trip, the culmination of hours of lessons. In most schools such experiences are rare. They get less encouragement because school leaders think trips take time away from preparing for state exams. But KIPP students do very well on those exams. We need more such experiences, not fewer.
Senate OKs delaying flood insurance rate hikes | The New Orleans Advocate – Obstacles remain as the modified bill goes back to the House of Representatives for approval.
Louisiana-Army Corps agreement to provide new money for coastal restoration projects | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – “Developers in Louisiana’s coastal marshes now have to pay operators of privately-owned ‘mitigation banks‘ to rebuild wetlands, or must build their own mitigation projects.
AWF GAME ON! “Eagle” | marmillionco YouTube – Here’s the America’s Wetland commercial that will air before and during the Super Bowl. It emphasizes the rate of coastal loss due to “Mississippi river levees [that] have starved our wetlands” and points to the state Master Plan as the “game plan” toward a better future.