How Post-Katrina New Orleans Inspired Civic Engagement — KCET | This story cites the Lafitte Corridor greenway as evidence of post-storm civic spirit. “Jason Neville, NOLA native and former Los Angeles city urban planner, says that the project is ‘one example of the wide variety of grassroots recovery projects that have taken hold of the city.'”
BeltLine Provides New Life to Railroad Tracks in Atlanta – The New York Times | Atlanta is considering a similar project to transform old urban railroad corridors to green space. “The BeltLine would be the most expensive rails-to-trails project, urban planners say. It would add 40 percent more parks to Atlanta. Only 4.6 percent of Atlanta is parkland, compared with 25 percent in New Orleans and 19 percent in New York.”
Biking on the rise outside N.O. — The Advocate | Increasing traffic in bike lanes in New Orleans has caught the attention of adjacent parishes. “In Jefferson Parish, the bicycle push is a shift in philosophy as the parish tries to position itself as the go-to destination for young professionals and their families.”
Holy Cross community looks askance at proposed riverfront towers — The Lens | “Sarah DeBacher—she is on the board of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, but speaks as owner of an adjacent home—said she isn’t interested in looking out her kitchen window at a high-rise project. ‘What we were presented last night was hugely different from what was narrowly approved four years ago,’ she said.”
Lil Wayne’s New Orleans skate park hits more snags — The Associated Press | Since its launch in September, the rap star’s skate park in the Lower 9th Ward has been bedeviled by problems such as a failed electrical inspection and staffing shortages. “‘We really put the cart before the horse on this project, and right now we’re at a crossroads,’ said Ward ‘Mack’ McLendon, who manages the facility.”
Feds Slam City on NOPD Consent Decree Claims — NOLA DEFENDER | The Department of Justice harshly responded to the city’s complaints about the costs of consent decrees related to the police department and the city jail, in effect questioning Mayor Landrieu’s sincerity: “If the City failed to appreciate the implication of its constitutional obligations in OPP, it is because of its own lack of due diligence.”
Bills aimed at lowering criminal penalties — Star-Telegram | A movement to reclassify minor crimes, in order to hold down prison costs, gains steam in Texas.
Fired LSU professor releases emails in levee case — The Advocate | Emails show that university and state government officials “were intent on silencing” former LSU professor Ivor van Heerden after he pointed out failings in the levees protecting New Orleans. Van Heerden and LSU settled his lawsuit a week before the trial, which was supposed to start Tuesday.
Students are Succeeding – Tri-Parish Times | Gov. Bobby Jindal writes an op-ed touting school improvements: “The inflection point to change our education system happened over seven years ago when Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans’ school infrastructure … The storm made us rethink the way we deliver services to our people … So we set out to improve our schools in New Orleans and across the state to make sure we focused on what’s best for parents and students.”
What is Gov. Bobby Jindal talking about? — The Answer Sheet | Washington Post education blogger Valerie Strauss finds research that undercuts Jindal’s claims of success. After several point-by-point responses to statistics cited by Jindal, Strauss concludes that “after seven years, the RSD-NO is still a district in academic crisis with the vast majority of its students attending failing or substandard schools with respect to achievement.”
Class Struggle: How charter schools get students they want — Reuters | A Reuters investigation finds that many charter schools “aggressively screen student applicants” in violation of federal and state laws.
Gulf of Mexico Well Evacuated Due to Uncontrolled Gas Flow — WWNO | A blowout was avoided and there are no reports of oil leaks. The well appears to be under control, so this might be an instance of safety systems working.
Green groups rally on climate, urge Obama to reject Keystone project – The Hill’s E2-Wire | “The pipeline would bring fossil fuels from Canadian tar sands fields to the Gulf Coast. Environmentalists are painting [President] Obama’s upcoming decision as the litmus test for whether he plans to make good on recent comments about tackling climate change.”
Loophole lets refiners punt on part of tax bills — Fuel Fix | “A jury in Galveston recently sided with San Antonio-based Valero and slashed the appraised value of the company’s Texas City refinery by more than $189 million. The result: The Texas City school district will have to repay about $2.5 million. The city, county and community college district combined will have to refund about the same amount.”
Government & Politics
Bobby Jindal is governing like it’s 2016 – POLITICO | This line from Bob Mann, a former Gov. Kathleen Blanco aide, encapsulates the gist of the article: “There’s an overriding sense among insiders here … that most of the higher-profile initiatives that [Jindal’s] embarking on here are all with the national audience in mind.” RedState’s Erik Erikson criticizes Politico’s Emily Schultheis for missing key details in her article and slams her for overly relying on a “political hack” like Mann. He responds to Erikson at his Something Like the Truth blog.
Jindal on the road — The Advocate | “During 2012, Gov. Bobby Jindal spent almost one day of every four — at least 86 of 365 days — out of the state, mostly campaigning for Republican candidates around the nation and speaking to conservative political groups.”
Gov. Jindal scoffs at latest approval rating poll – WAFB 9 News | The governor contends he is focused on Louisiana, not falling poll numbers.