Public accountability & private school choice | Thomas Fordham Institute – The pro-reform think-tank argues that policymakers can design smart accountability structures to ensure school voucher programs work as intended. The report, which is accompanied by an infographic, lauds Louisiana as a model state that has “generally gotten these [school voucher] policies right.”
UNO grapples with falling revenue, enrollment | The Advocate – Since 2008, state funding to the University of New Orleans has dropped from $56 million to $32 million and enrollment has declined nearly 50 percent, according to University of New Orleans President Peter Fos.
Act III of Act 1 Fight Ends: Time to Prepare a Backup Plan | PE + CO – In light of a recent District Court ruling that a teacher-tenure reform was unconstitutional, education consultant Peter Cook advises policymakers to prepare a backup plan in case the Louisiana Supreme Court agrees.
Another $750,000 Needed For Jindal Lawsuits | LaPolitics
The Department of Education is asking the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to spend another $750,000 on non-bid legal contracts to defend the landmark reform laws ushered in by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Wisner Dog Run opens, signaling new day for dog parks in New Orleans | Uptown Messenger – In 2012 there was public discussion of plans for as many as 20 new dog parks throughout the city. “Instead, city officials are now evaluating new spaces for dogs to get off-leash exercise on a case-by-case basis.”
‘We Won’t Be Railroaded’ coalition gains steam | Mid-City Messenger – A petition against a proposed rerouting of freight train traffic through Hollygrove and Mid-City already has over a thousand signatures.
Vacant buildings at Canal and Camp streets to be renovated into apartments | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
The announcement marks the latest in a wave of downtown apartment projects to meet growing demand as the Central Business District evolves into a more residential neighborhood.
History of the Pigeon Town Neighborhood in New Orleans | GoNOLA.com – Writer Edward Branley explains how Pigeon Town— which is officially called Leonidas— is considered an “Uptown Backatown” neighborhood.
71 percent of wetland loss on Gulf Coast | The Advertiser “Phil Turnipseed, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center, said in a news release that “Louisiana’s coastal land loss is the greatest environmental, economic and cultural tragedy in North America.”
Port enlarges its container capacity to meet Panama Canal’s growth | The Louisiana Weekly
New Orleans port president and CEO Gary LaGrange said preparations for bigger Panama ships are two-pronged and include further modernization of the Napoleon Ave. container terminal and efforts to get the Lower Mississippi River’s draft deepened.
Uptown New Orleans sees 25-percent drop in armed robberies in 2013 | Uptown Messenger “Despite a citywide rash of armed robberies around New Year’s, Uptown New Orleans ended 2013 with roughly 25 percent fewer armed robberies than the year before, presenting both a similar rate of success and challenges as the reduction in murders across the city.”
Crime increased overall in Mid-City districts last year | Mid-City Messenger — “Overall, crime is increasing in Mid-City, according to statistics provided by the two police districts that oversee different parts of the neighborhood.”
Government & Politics
Political consultant: ‘Do we care if Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been an asshole sometimes during his first term?’ | Gambit – A Gambit story on a commentary sent out by political consultant and public relations specialist Cheron Brylski has received significant social media attention. Brylski argued, essentially, that Mayor Mitch Landrieu is a “productive asshole” — by her lights a political phenomenon that is neither bad (or rare). I would point out that Brylski has sent out a correction and an apology because she errantly claimed in her piece that Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos once wrote that Mayor Dutch Morial was “an asshole, but he’s our asshole.” Brylski later sent a correction that showed the quote was from a Gambit editorial endorsement of Dutch Morial, which was written by Gary Esolen, but not bylined. The actual quote in that piece was: “He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch.”
The taxicab bureau’s comedy of errors | Uptown Messenger – Columnist Owen Courreges continues his investigation into apparent abuse of authority by a taxicab bureau employee, which was caught on video. Courreges says that the buck should stop with Mayor Landrieu.
#OurNOLABlight Jan 13. Conversation with Civil District Court Clerk’s Office | Whose Streets? – Blogger “Smallaffair” provides what she claims is an “accurate transcription of a maddening conversation” she had with a bureaucrat regarding forms needed to appeal a blight judgment.