Government & Politics
Elderly care fund could be almost entirely wiped out by 2016 | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Louisiana’s Legislative Fiscal Office reports that the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly, once flush with more than $800 million in cash, will be “almost entirely depleted” if Jindal’s budget for the next fiscal year goes through as proposed. By the middle of 2015, it will be completely wiped out, according to the analysis.
Nagin long shown tendency to deny, rewrite reality | The Advocate – An expansive review of former mayor Ray Nagin’s belief that reality is flexible — for him. Nagin was convicted on bribery and other corruption charges last week.
Interview with the zombie | Gambit – Political analyst Clancy DuBos credits blogger Jason Berry, who authors the American Zombie blog, with being the first to the story of Nagin’s corruption.
St. James industrial growth not without some pain | The Advocate
The plants have come in, but that has not been followed by a population bump. Residential neighborhoods, retail sales and employment levels have remained, curiously, the same.
“We have not grown, population-wise, in 100 years. Our younger people are leaving the parish,” said Blaise Gravois, assistant director of operations for the parish.
Part of the reason, some say, is the unregulated growth of industry in a parish without zoning.
Last week The Lens reported that investments in the energy and petrochemical industries has powered recent job growth in the state. However, skilled-labor shortages might boost development costs and lead to the cancellation of some planned multi-billion dollar projects for the Gulf Coast. In my view, the industrial boom is nearly unstoppable. The central question is whether Louisiana will participate in the boom or merely “host” it.
The Line at the ‘Super PAC’ Trough | The New York Times — An editorial by the Times:
Strictly speaking, these groups [Super PACs] can have no contact with the candidate, but that prohibition is a joke. Most of them use the same voter lists as the campaigns, make the same points in their ads, and often are run by cronies of the candidate.
The super PAC of Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, was set up Charles Spies, whose law firm represents Mr. Vitter. The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that two of the fund-raisers for the super PAC are also paid fund-raisers of Mr. Vitter’s campaign. If that’s not coordination, it’s hard to imagine what is. But that kind of thing goes on all the time, because there’s little enforcement of the rules by the toothless Federal Election Commission.
‘Educare New Orleans’ a poster program for closing the education gap | MinnPost – A local early-childhood education program aims to improve school readiness, and some say it could become a national model. It’s not cheap, though: “It costs about $18,000 per child per year to provide Educare’s quality services, even in lower-wage Louisiana.”
UNO facing layoffs, staff reductions to deal with budget crunch | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune — The University of New Orleans plans another round of staff cuts, as it it did in 2012, to balance its finances after years of state budget cuts.
Judge orders newspaper to turn over info on two online commenters | The New Orleans Advocate – NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune has been ordered to turn over user information for “aircheck” and “jammer1954,” two commenters on NOLA.com. Lawyers for Stacey Jackson, the former head of New Orleans Affordable Homeownership who was indicted in 2013 on bribery charges, suspects that federal prosecutors may have written comments under those names. “In his order, [U.S. Magistrate Joseph] Wilkinson said he believes a right to anonymous speech exists but that it is limited when applied to federal law enforcement.”
3-year study of Louisiana’s judiciary concludes more study is needed | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A committee tasked with right-sizing the state’s judiciary says it needs more time to acquire workload data. The Bureau of Governmental Research, which has advocated for a reduction of judges in Orleans Parish, says the call for more study is a stall tactic.
Some want to speed executions | The New Orleans Advocate – State Rep. Kenny Havard, R-St.Francisville, would like to streamline the execution process, which has become more controversial in recent months. A critic says changing the law could further extend the process while the new provision is litigated.
Bayou changes still up in the air | Mid-City Messenger – A neighborhood group would like to preserve Bayou St. John by more strictly managing events and activities on the bayou. City Councilwoman Susan Guidry seems to have a looser interpretation, saying bayou grounds should be used like a park.
Most efforts to win legal claims for Katrina damage have failed | The Advocate – “Property owners’ efforts to win damages in the actual courts have been consistently frustrated for years, capped recently by the 9-3 jury verdict that cleared Jefferson Parish government of culpability for flooding tens of thousands of homes and businesses.”
Tulane to announce $1 million prize for ‘dead zones’ solution on Monday | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The hypoxic dead zone is caused by algae blooms and expands thousands of miles into the Gulf. Fertilizer runoff into the Mississippi River is one of the causes.