Behind The Lens
 

Behind The Lens episode 7: ‘You’re out of order’

This week on Behind The Lens, producer and host Tom Wright interviews Lens education reporter Marta Jewson about this week’s tense Orleans Parish School Board meeting.

Members of the public came to the meeting to speak out against Orleans schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis’ plans to close five schools next year. But they found they weren’t going to be allowed to speak publicly. This led to a number of angry outbursts from people who felt they were being prevented from participating in a public meeting of the elected board.

Then, Tom talks to reporter Michael Isaac Stein about this week’s city budget hearings. Mayor LaToya Cantrell has proposed eliminating a number of traffic cameras, partly fulfilling one of her defining campaign pledges. Instead, she and New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison developed a plan to ramp up traffic stops by NOPD officers as part of a new “enhanced traffic enforcement program.”

The public defenders office — which gets part of its budget from traffic camera tickets — thinks the plan will lead to more arrests, meaning a heavier workload. But unlike the police and the District Attorney’s Office, the mayor’s 2019 proposal does not increase the defenders’ budget.

Behind The Lens is available on Apple Podcasts.

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About Tom Wright

Tom Wright is a staff writer and producer covering the environmental beat for The Lens. He also hosts and produces The Lens' podcast Behind The Lens. His previous work includes investigative producing with local broadcaster Lee Zurik, legislative affairs reporting for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and global affairs coverage for CNN. Wright is a winner of the DuPont, Peabody and Murrow awards for his investigative production work.