Government & Politics
Arkansas health plan for poor to add limited federal costs — Reuters | The “unique” Obamacare deal spearheaded by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe would funnel millions of government dollars into private insurance to cover poor residents, rather than expand the Medicaid program. The Reuters article is nominally about an Arkansas study that projects savings if the state uses private insurance to underwrite the healthcare. But Louisianians should take note. On twitter @Toffleresque said: “Rumor is, this is the plan Louisiana will adopt.” Conservatives favor the concept “because the [Medicaid] privatization avoids a government expansion,” Reuters said.
Jindal tax plan would shift burden to businesses, administration aide says — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Seems to me the Jindal administration needs to improve this seemingly paradoxical argument in defense of its proposed tax swap:
Department of Revenue Executive Counsel Tim Barfield, who is serving as point man on the tax overhaul, acknowledged that many businesses will pay more under the proposal, which has been touted as a way to attract more business to the state.
“It’s very clear that business will be taking more of this burden… This is not an attempt to do tax reform on the back of the poor,” Barfield said.
LSU Board member named CEO of foundation taking over two LSU hospitals; ethics violation? What ethics violation? — Louisiana Voice | Blogger Tom Aswell finds an apparent ethics problem:
John F. George, Jr., M.D. is Vice Chairman of Biomedical Research Foundation and is slated to become BRF President and CEO on March 27, the same date as the scheduled vote on the foundation’s takeover of the two hospitals. The Jindal administration has dismissed any talk of a conflict of interest by pointing out that George will not receive a salary as president and CEO of the foundation, thereby allowing him to remain as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors. …
But [an] Oct. 25, 1996, Ethics Board opinion would seem to indicate that recusal was not sufficient to avoid a conflict.
Our Views: Awards tout transparency — The Advocate | Parish governments in Lafourche, Terrebonne and St. Charles won “Sunny Awards,” for their web sites. The awards honor government transparency.
Three Black teens allege they were racially profiled at Metairie parade — The Louisiana Weekly | Video of plainclothes cops who subdued two black teens in the French Quarter during Carnival received a lot of media coverage. Less so, this Feb. 2 incident in Metairie, during the Krewe of Caesar parade: “In that incident, it is alleged that three Black teens were racially profiled, beaten and wrongfully arrested by Jefferson Parish deputies. The three students — David Sampson, Ricky Jefferson and Joe Sharpe — are teammates and classmates at Destrehan High School. “
New Orleans Police Department can’t defend itself against charges of misconduct if it keeps bad records: Jarvis DeBerry — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “[Police chief Ronal] Serpas denies the charge of racial discrimination [during “stop and frisk” searches], but he can’t mount a proper defense because his department has not kept track of the race of the children it’s collared.”
Independent police monitor releases report on stop-and-frisk procedures | New Orleans’ Multicultural News Source — The Louisiana Weekly | This article offers more details on the New Orleans Police Monitor Susan Hutson’s report on “stop and frisk” searches. For example, Hutson suggests giving receipts to those who have been frisked. “This way, the person has a record of the stop, the officer’s name, and why the search occurred.” The article also notes that public demands for accountability have impact, since the Monitor’s report was initiated by public demand for an audit on the controversial search procedure.
DOJ RULES: ‘It Is Legal To Photograph And Film The Police’ – The Daily Bail | “Journalist Mannie Garcia was arrested for filming police as they detained two men in Maryland. Garcia was charged with disorderly conduct, but the Justice Department has confirmed that he was within his rights to film the cops.” As I’ve said before, two can play the surveillance game.
Feds rap offshore contractors for safety violations — Fuel Fix | This is the first time the feds have fined contractors since the Macondo oil spill, and the second time ever, according to my source in the oil patch.
Federal regulators this month issued a batch of safety violation notices to offshore drilling contractors, exercising an aggressive new interpretation of the Interior Department’s powers for the first time since the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The “incidents of non compliance” sent to Ensco Drilling, Nabors Offshore Corp., and three other contractors in recent weeks mark the very beginning of a long process that can lead to civil penalties of $40,000 per incident per day.
Texas Brine to buy out evacuated homeowners — The Advocate | “Texas Brine officials told legislators Monday that Assumption Parish residents will start receiving phone calls this week to begin a buyout process. … [An attorney for Texas Brine] said the appraisals will be done as if it were the day before the sinkhole was discovered.”
‘Wave Robber’ wins Entrepreneur Week’s water challenge — The Advocate | “[Webster] Pierce invented, produced and tested and patented a shelf-like structure that reduces the energy from waves while trapping sediment and building land. The event was moderated by Harry Shearer, who stressed the increasing importance of living with water, in the face of both drought and flood. “They’re not just neat ideas,” Shearer said. ‘They are crucial to the survival of this area.'”
Ira Thomas’ employment at Southern, seat on school board could violate state law — The Lens | “Ira Thomas has served on the Orleans Parish School Board for the past four years. And he has been police chief for Southern University at New Orleans for three and a half years. In holding both positions, he may violate state law.”
Detroit: Pulling Out of the Death Spiral – Vander Ark on Innovation – Education Week | Detroit can turn around its school system, just like New Orleans, according to this column:
Enrollment in the state’s largest district has dropped by more than 100,000 students since 2003 — more dramatic than New Orleans. The Detroit News reports that, “District officials have shuttered more than 100 school buildings in an attempt to right size the district as it fell deeper into a financial crisis. The city is in even worse shape and was taken over by the state on March 1st.” … Why write about the disaster that is Detroit? Like New Orleans, Detroit families are beginning to benefit from the man-made disruption and corruption. The portfolio emerging from the disaster is worth watching.
Other People’s Property: A Blighted New Orleans – frobba | On his blog, Geoff Gauchet documents vermin and insect problems stemming from the vacant, overgrown lot adjacent to his property. Eight months after notifying the city, about the issue, no progress has been made. (via noladder)
Property owners blast city for lack of illegal short-term rental enforcement — Blog of New Orleans | “Bed-and-breakfast operators, property owners and representatives of the city’s tourism industry demanded more stringent enforcement of short-term property rental laws, saying the city’s apparently lax attitude toward the problem takes business from legitimate bed and breakfasts and hotels and costs tax dollars.”