New report hammers at some Orleans judges | The Advocate – The Metropolitan Crime Commission has released its annual judicial efficiency rankings, revealing significant disparities in how quickly criminal judges moved through their dockets. Judges say the lack of analysis makes the ratings simplistic.
Sheriff’s claim of scorpion infestation raises eyebrows | The Advocate – Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman points to scorpion infestation as one of the reasons his office “spent $340,000 on extermination contracts in 2011 and 2012.”
Stop-and-frisk practice violated rights, judge rules | The New York Times – Breaking news this morning: “In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms.”
Government & Politics
City Hall battles Wisner heirs over valuable real estate | The Advocate –Mayor Mitch Landrieu argues that dissolving the lucrative Wisner trust would serve the public good; Wisner heirs believe it’s a power grab.
Political Horizons: Politics long part of tax assessments | The Advocate – Despite reforms and increased scrutiny in recent years, there are renewed complaints that parish property tax assessors still are too beholden to politics.
La. officials try to shrink disabled services wait | The Advocate
Louisiana’s health chief is looking for ways to trim the 10,000-person waiting list for a program that provides in-home services to the developmentally disabled, including prioritizing the list to ensure those with the most dire needs get help first.
A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water | The Guardian – “Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.”
Exclusive: U.S. system for flagging hazardous chemicals is widely flawed | Reuters – Owners of facilities that store hazardous chemicals often incorrectly identify their inventories, complicating oversight measures and emergency response.
Video: Hunt for BP oil continues on La. coast | The Advocate – Ninety contract workers are still scanning the coast for oil from the 2010 oil disaster. However, state officials say BP must do more until all the oil is found.
New Orleans’ Tulane Avenue real estate market heating up, but not as fast as some expected | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Redevelopment along Tulane Avenue brings hope for a renaissance along the corridor. But business owners claim that the preponderance of low-rent motels must be “sold and redeveloped because, according to the NOPD, they are magnets for crime.”
St. Claude Zoned as Arts & Cultural Overlay District | NOLA DEFENDER – St. Claude Avenue has been rezoned to encourage continued small- to medium-sized business growth and to foster “arts-related uses.”
Swift departure | Greater Baton Rouge Business Report – Editor Stephanie Riegel writes about the demise of the LA Swift bus service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans:
[Bus] riders are apparently something of an afterthought among the powers that be, which gets to the real problem with LA Swift: It was a bus, and there exists in this country an inherent class prejudice against riding buses—particularly in the Deep South, where middle-class and wealthy people are wedded to their cars.
Stephanie Grace: Jindal’s position on Common Core bears watching | The Advocate – Gov. Bobby Jindal is put in a ticklish position as the political right ramps up opposition to Common Core, which he has supported.
When Charter Schools Are in Churches, Conflict Is in the Air | The New York Times
Because they are publicly financed, charter schools are required to teach secular, state-approved curriculums. When founded by a faith-based organization, they are also required to operate under a separate nonprofit entity. Because charter schools do not receive facilities financing from the state, a leasing agreement with a church, whose grounds often stand empty during weekdays, can be a cost-efficient arrangement for both parties.