Orleans Parish Prison whistleblower who helped expose problems fears for his job | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A deputy who helped expose unconstitutional conditions at the city jail fears retaliation.
Deputy Bryan Collins, a four-year employee of the Sheriff’s Office, has not been allowed to report for duty for a week, and has, through a lawyer, reported his concerns about retaliation to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office confirmed late Thursday that the office is pursuing criminal and administrative probes into Collins. In a brief written statement, a Gusman spokesperson said Collins violated department policies when he brought a cell phone into the jail and took the photo of a bloody jail cell that later appeared on NOLA.com.
Consultant says Gusman can shave $5 million off consent decree | The Lens – Mayor Mitch Landrieu has proposed much less funding for the Sheriff’s Office than Marlin Gusman has requested. A city consultant says Gusman can cut the cost of complying with a federal consent decree by reducing the jail population.
Sandy’s Unwritten Toll | The Crime Report – Flooding from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 led to “a huge and still unquantifiable” loss of FBI records.
New Orleans schools have comparatively high rate of testing irregularities on standardized tests | The Lens – New Orleans public schools have a comparatively high percentage of possible cheating on standardized tests, The Lens found after reviewing the most recent state data available. Testing experts offered a broadly accepted rationale: Cheating tends to increase when standardized tests are used for rewards and punishments of schools, teachers or students. New Orleans schools have more riding on the outcome of test scores than public schools elsewhere in the state.
Education reform? Or “reign of error”? | Something Like the Truth – Bob Mann writes a positive review of school-reform critic Diane Ravitch’s controversial new book, which argues that the reform movement is wrong to treat schools like businesses.
The Children Left Behind | The Investigative Fund – In-depth piece showing that mandatory high-stakes testing as part of No Child Left Behind is not a victimless policy.
Influential insurance group fights delay in flood insurance premium increases | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has come out against legislation to delay flood insurance rate increases put in place by the Biggert-Waters Act.
In Louisiana, a former Army commander goes to war against Big Oil | The Institute for Southern Studies – This link is admittedly self-serving, as it quotes from my latest opinion column on Lt. Gen. Russel Honore’s advocacy for environmental justice and accountability for the mineral extraction industry. Thanks also to environmental lawyer Stuart Smith, who wrote a blog post with references to my column.
Government & Politics
New study raises questions about Louisiana congressional district lines | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A study raises questions about Louisiana’s long, narrow 2nd congressional district. The authors ask, but do not answer, the provocative question: “Where do we draw the proverbial line between a valid majority-minority district and packing of minorities into a single district?”
Government shutdown cost Louisiana $91.75 million, report says | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – “Among metro areas, New Orleans was hit with a 0.31 [percentage point] drop in GDP, compared with only 0.09 in Baton Rouge, according to the Moody’s Analytics report.”
Renovated Charity Hospital could be home to range of social services, medical museum | The Lens – Building a medical museum at Charity could help people learn about the history of medicine and modern diseases, writes Dr. Marianne Maumus in this opinion piece.
Proposal for recycling Charity Hospital emphasizes mental health services | The Lens – In another opinion piece, community organizer Janet Hays explains how Charity can be repurposed at no cost to city taxpayers.