Proposals to fill in canals not gaining much traction | The Advocate – Over the years, scientists and legislators have supported efforts to backfill canals that slice through wetlands. But landowners have balked at the proposal.
Officials have confidence in Jefferson’s flood-protection system | The New Orleans Advocate
On the technical level … officials say they are confident in the protective system that rings Jefferson Parish and in the post-Katrina upgrades that are still under way.
“The levee system (in Jefferson Parish) performed fairly well during Katrina, and it’s been improved with these projects,” said Bob Turner, executive director of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which oversees the levee systems on the east bank of Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes.
Why wasn’t there a plan? | The Charleston Gazette – Government officials were caught flat-footed when a devastating chemical leak in central West Virginia polluted the water supply in nine counties.
Mayor claims success in fighting blight, challengers say not enough | Home | The New Orleans Advocate – Mayor Mitch Landrieu pledged to get rid of 10,000 blighted properties by 2014. A UNO researcher says between 10,828 and 14,591 have been eliminated.
Landrieu, clearly proud of the achievement, has made it a prominent talking point in his re-election bid.
One campaign leaflet pictures him at a construction site wearing a shirt that reads “Fight Blight.”
“We are taking down or fixing up blight faster here than anywhere else,” the flier boasts.
Still, it is impossible to drive through many neighborhoods and not see abandoned houses, boarded-up windows and unkempt lawns.”
Bayou St. John residents look into restricting activity near the waterway | Mid-City Messenger – A new coalition wants to preserve Bayou St. John by limiting “active recreation” on it.
The 50 most downloaded land use articles on SSRN in 2013 | Land Use Prof Blog – A broad array of academic papers on land use topics — definitely worth a browse. Papers range from “Banning lawns” and “Agenda 21 Is Evil: The Agenda 21 Disinformation Campaign in the United States: An Ethical Critique of an Attack on Sustainability.”
Government & Politics
Voters skew away from mainstream parties | The Advocate – As LSU-Shreveport political scientist Jeffrey Sadow points out, data show that party registrations are moving away from the historically dominant Democratic party. More people are registering as Republicans, with other parties or no party at all.
Political Horizons: Unions could help develop workforce | The Advocate –Gov. Bobby Jindal has said workforce development will be his top priority in the 2014 legislative session. It would seem that unions could assist in this effort, but columnist Mark Ballard reports that politics may make such a partnership a non-starter.
Non-Profit Trying To End Poverty Without Government Social Programs | WWNO – The Family Independence Initiative provides assistance to families “with non-traditional funding, like micro-loans and Kickstarter online campaigns.”
Poverty map of New Orleans | @petercook — The New York Times used Census data to map where poor people live in the U.S. Peter Cook looked at New Orleans:
In a related blog post, the Times suggests how teachers and students can explore the issue of poverty.
Watch Me Do My Thing: Surveillance in New Orleans | Antigravity Magazine – A long, deeply skeptical piece on the prevalence of security cameras in the city. “When we know or think we’re being watched, we behave differently.”
Three candidates pledge changes at Orleans Coroner’s Office | New Orleans | The Advocate
The issue of whether politics has tainted Coroner’s Office decisions animates the race. It’s driven by questions about whether [retiring coroner Frank] Minyard and a former pathologist incorrectly classified deaths that occurred at the hands of police officers, failing to label them homicides.
At a recent public forum, [Dwight] McKenna questioned why none of the office’s employees stepped forward when controversy swirled about Minyard’s death classifications — a barb aimed squarely at [Jeffrey] Rouse, the deputy coroner who has Minyard’s endorsement.
A Moral Outrage: Albert Woodfox’s 41 Years in Solitary Confinement, Despite Three Overturned Convictions | Dissident Voice – The long-term solitary imprisonment of Angola 3 members has gained national and international attention.
Probe eyes Kenilworth’s vendor business | The Advocate – Federal investigators are looking into vendor contracts by Kenilworth Science & Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge. Andrew R. Lee, an attorney who represents Pelican Educational Foundation, Kenilworth’s nonprofit operator, “said ‘one of the elephants in the room’ is the focus federal authorities have placed on businesses owned by people of Turkish descent. He said groups with a shared affinity tend to want to do business together.”