Jean-Paul Villere: The free market versus gentrification — Uptown Messenger | Villere tackles a ticklish subject: “When gentrification comes up like the elephant in the room, people stop. And it’s like a conditioned response, because you see, you aren’t supposed to mention, embrace, or even remotely endorse gentrification. You think the Pilgrims didn’t displace the Indians? You think that suburb you grew up in wasn’t someone’s farm once? And for goodness sake, is the Louisiana Purchase not the most prime example of gentrification?”
Billboard house collapses while city debates its demolition — The Lens | Why hasn’t a blighted house, that now apparently shelters vagrants, been demolished?
Urbanist Bracket Challenge: Sweet 16 – The Atlantic Cities | A little bit of bracketology fun, for people (like me) who enjoy the twin passions of urban studies and basketball prognostication.
‘Emergency’ meeting on jail reform raises questions about proper notification — The Lens | “Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for an emergency meeting of the City Council [Friday] morning, an announcement that triggered hue and cry over whether his last-minute announcement violated the state’s open-meetings law.”
NOPD chief Ronal Serpas faces cynical crowd on racial profiling questions — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “Armed with tales of New Orleans police officers pulling aside black men with no valid reason, a riled-up audience took little satisfaction Wednesday in NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas’ responses to questions about the department’s ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy.” The three-minute video accompanying the article includes a collection of comments from citizens, City Council members, Serpas, and NOPD Independent Monitor Susan Hutson.
Andrew Weissmann: FBI wants real-time Gmail, Dropbox spying power | “The bureau says it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a ‘top priority’ this year.”
Sherman Copelin posts bond, gets out of jail – WVUE-TV | “The former lawmaker for New Orleans faces two charges, theft and contractor fraud. … Copelin is accused of stiffing sub-contractors he hired to rebuild a West Bank school after Katrina. Copelin’s own company was hired by the school, using FEMA money, as one of the main contractors on the job. One of his sub-contractors, Lyle Doublet, says he’s owed hundreds of thousands of dollars and he turned to the sheriff’s office two years ago for help.”
Government & Politics
Fiscal Hawk goes Jindal one better on tax exemptions: Cancel all of them — The Lens | “[State Rep. Jerome “Dee”] Richard is filing a bill to repeal all tax exemptions not embedded in the state constitution. This would free up a revenue stream that would have totaled $4.8 billion in 2012. Richard, a member of the conservative legislative group who call themselves Fiscal Hawks, said he would use the increased tax revenue to lower income and sales taxes.” In a related development, the state’s largest business lobbying group has come out in opposition to Jindal’s proposed tax swap.
Conservatives wary of Chief Justice Roberts in same-sex marriage cases – The Hill | “The conservatives were angered by Roberts’s surprise backing of President Obama’s healthcare law last year, and they don’t want to see a similar surprise in the two [same-sex] marriage cases the court considered this week. ‘I certainly think his credentials were tarnished with the ObamaCare decision,’ said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council [and former Louisiana House rep]. ‘Does he care about his standing with conservatives? I don’t know.’ “
Homeless Numbers Plunge In New Orleans Region — WWNO radio| “The number of homeless people in Orleans and Jefferson parishes has dropped 79 percent since 2007. A non-profit dedicated to getting those numbers even lower credits a coordinated effort for the success.”
The Army Corps of Engineers Excels at Wasting Money – usnews.com | The money quote (pun intended): “For nearly two centuries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been one of those agencies that seems to excel at wasting taxpayer money.” (via Noladder)
Researchers link largest quake yet to drilling waste injections; 2011 Oklahoma tremor was 5.6 – The Washington Post |
“An unusual and widely felt 5.6-magnitude quake in Oklahoma in 2011 was probably caused when oil drilling waste was pushed deep underground, a team of university and federal scientists concluded. That would make it the most powerful quake to be blamed on deep injections of wastewater, according to a study published Tuesday by the journal Geology. The waste was from traditional drilling, not from the hydraulic fracturing technique, or fracking.
We shouldn’t be alarmist about “man-made earthquakes” or raise imperfect comparisons to the expanding sinkhole at Bayou Corne. However, I think we should prioritize a statewide audit of all Louisiana injection wells that have indications of integrity problems due to subterranean pressures caused by drilling waste-water pumped back into the ground. There’s apparently a lot we still don’t know.
Five ways to get kids to want to read and write — The Washington Post | What conditions are necessary to create in kids the “intrinsic motivation” to read and write? The article excerpts from a book that identifies three key elements.
Letter: Remember and learn from N.O. schools — The Advocate | A historian and former Orleans Parish School Board employee writes about our “amnesia” towards the long history of New Orleans schools. “Whether through ignorance or arrogance, we have chosen to forget the generations of very real women and men who, from the 1840s, remained in the classroom and never gave up on our children. We have forgotten the innovations in the schools, and we have forgotten the stubbornness and the struggles.”