If Legislature forbids levee lawsuits, Louisiana taxpayers will pay the price of coastal repairs: Mark Davis | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Don’t miss the first paragraph in this op-ed by Mark Davis, a senior research fellow at Tulane University. Pending legislation, he writes, would re-politicize flood protection and innoculate oil and gas companies from repairing environmental damage. Last week, The Lens’ Bob Marshall explained how the state plans to come up with the money for coastal restoration.
Big El Niño Coming? | Living on Earth – The periodic band of warm water known as El Niño is forecast to energize storm activity in parts of the Pacific. However, El Niño should make for a “subdued Atlantic hurricane season,” according to climate scientist Kevin Trenberth.
This Simple Trailer Has Everything You Need to Deal With Disaster | Autopia | WIRED – Students from Penn State University designed Apparatus X, “a mobile headquarters packed to capacity with renewable electricity, clean water, power tools, and, most importantly, people ready to teach victims and volunteers how to use it all.” They plan to bring Apparatus X to the 9th Ward for a demonstration.
These 10 Design Proposals Might Save Us From the Next Sandy | Curbed NY – Innovative storm protection designs aim to make the Northeast coastline more resilient to flooding.
Six months of talks on WTC building have produced no agreement | The New Orleans Advocate – A lease deal for the vacant World Trade Center building was expected months ago, but negotiations continue between the city and Gatehouse Capital Corp., which plans to redevelop the property into a W Hotel.
Mid-City Neighborhood Association votes to allow secret ballots | Mid-City Messenger – Board members worry that open votes on controversial issues might spark retaliation against their businesses.
Where are the most potholes in the City? There’s an app for that. | Chicago Tribune – A time-lapse map of pothole complaints made to the city of Chicago.
Secrecy surrounds execution drugs in most states, including Louisiana | Associated Press – A survey found the majority of states with the death penalty refuse to divulge the source of their lethal injection drugs. The states cited “concerns about backlash that could endanger the supplier’s safety.” See the Lens’ extensive coverage of this issue in Louisiana.
New Bethany | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A powerful chronicling of Jennifer Halter’s return to New Bethany Home for Girls, where she says she endured physical, mental and sexual abuse as a teenager 25 years ago.
Court clerk riles mayor, DA with evidence room closures | The Advocate
Complaining of more staff losses at a shrinking office that he says the city has refused to fully fund, Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Clerk Arthur Morrell announced Friday that he is shutting down the court’s evidence room two days a week.
The reduction, which Morrell said began this week, means prosecutors will not be able to retrieve evidence for trials or hearings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Government & Politics
Civil Rights Sins, Curated by One of the Sinners | The New York Times – A civil rights museum in Mississippi will be the first in the country to be state-operated. In February, backers of a privately-funded Louisiana Civil Rights Museum lost out on a bid to buy a building in New Orleans, despite offering $2 million more than the chosen bid.
Booming economy? Jindal orders yet another spending freeze | Something Like the Truth – If the state’s economy is booming, government revenues should be surging. So why did the governor need to enact a spending freeze?
Bobby Jindal Will Take Away Your Insurance | Daily Intelligencer – New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait issues a scathing analysis of the politics and policy behind Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recently announced health care plan: “There is more to Jindal’s plan than to repeal Obamacare and then drink cocktails made from the tears of the uninsured. But there isn’t much more.”
Medical Marijuana For Louisianians? | The Hayride
Medical marijuana could become an option for some glaucoma, epilepsy or cancer patients if a bill by Louisiana State Senator Fred Mills (R-Parks) comes to fruition.
Essentially, Mills’ SB541 would address how medical marijuana would be distributed, grown, regulated and prescribed by physicians, as medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 1991, it just has not been obtainable by patients.
The circular tourism economy | Library Chronicles – There’s not much trickle-down effect from many big tourism events in New Orleans, according to blogger Jeffrey Bostick:
For all practical purposes, hotel occupancy has become equated with whether or not we judge an event successful. But it’s deceptive to assert that occupied rooms translate into direct benefit to anyone other than the hoteliers themselves. Keep in mind, the great majority of revenue generated by the hotel/motel occupancy tax goes to right back into supporting tourism related entities.
Jindal joins forces with foes to fight Common Core | The New Orleans Advocate – Jindal’s flip-flop on the enactment of tougher Common Core standards “put him in an alliance with the very groups he repeatedly blasted in 2012 when pushing his own education overhaul through the Legislature, including tougher tenure laws and an expanded voucher program.”
Common Core remains in play but effects might be delayed for a third year | The Lens – Members of the Legislative Black Caucus say they support a plan to extend the consequences of the new standards for another year.
AP Analysis: Gaps start to show in Bobby Jindal budget plan | Associated Press – To fill budget holes, legislators may chop a new fund to promote higher-ed programs that prepare the workforce for the rapidly expanding energy sector.