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LA Times columnist says ’60 Minutes’ piece lazily echoed BP’s claims about oil spill settlement

The anti-fracking movement in St. Tammany Parish reached a boiling point Friday as separate recall petitions were circulated against Parish President Pat Brister and all 14 members of the Parish Council, and Brister became the target of criticism from retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, a hero of the post-Katrina rescue efforts and now the leader of an environmental movement.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East represents an area of the state that has been hit the hardest by coastal erosion and land loss. If something isn’t done to stop erosion and repair the damage, some of those areas will disappear into the Gulf of Mexico in the not-too-distant future. That is why the authority’s lawsuit deserves to survive. The goal is to protect the one million people the authority represents.

The night before the deadline to file bills, Landrieu summoned Perry, Audubon Nature Institute CEO Ron Forman and Mercedes-Benz Superdome boss Doug Thornton to his office. The mayor laid out his legislative agenda, revealing that — among other things — he wanted to bring in $18 million by increasing tourists’ hotel room taxes.

For two hours, the meeting unfolded before ending with niceties. Perry offered to help on everything but the hotel tax, then waited to see if the mayor would take his advice.

The next day, then-state Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans, filed House Bill 1083, calling for an additional tax of 1.75 percent on hotel rooms in New Orleans. It was the same tax that tourism officials had warned Landrieu against pursuing.

For years the “Heh, Heh, Heh Ethics Board” has been using a patently unconstitutional law to intimidate ordinary citizens. The law has finally been declared unconstitutional by a Federal judge. Story here.

The state law prohibited a whistle-blower from talking about an ethics complaint that they had filed. It made it a crime.

By contrast, there is no such state law to prohibit one from talking about a criminal charge made against someone.

While the construction continues, the deal between the state and LCMC Health, which runs Children’s Hospital and Touro Infirmary, to have LCMC also run the successor to Charity Hospital has come under scrutiny. Federal officials last month rejected the state’s financing plan for operating the New Orleans LSU hospital and others around the state.

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About Charles Maldonado

Charles Maldonado covers the city of New Orleans and other local government bodies. He previously worked for Gambit, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly, where he covered city hall, criminal justice and public health. Before moving to New Orleans, he covered state and local government for weekly papers in Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.