Government & Politics
Property tax for Audubon Zoo, Aquarium on the ballot Saturday | Uptown Messenger – The property tax for the Audubon Commission would bring in nearly $12 million per year for upgrades to Audubon properties. The story addresses the debate over whether this a new tax or a renewal — the ceiling for the new tax is the same as two existing separate taxes, but the City Council would have to vote to bring it up to that level.
Owen Courreges: Admission-based Audubon Zoo does not need your tax money | Uptown Messenger – Courreges says the rationale behind the initiative is dubious:
The zoo and aquarium are already well-supported by admission fees and the existing millages. In fact, one could argue that instead of debating a new, higher millage, we should be talking about cutting the cord.
SADOW: The Era Of Jindal-Led Transformation Is Over | The Hayride – Columnist Jeffrey Sadow advises Gov. Bobby Jindal to use his shrinking political capital wisely. The “light touch” he taken so far with the Legislature is potentially problematic because it “allows for rambunctious legislators to put him in the position of having to make decisions on divisive issues that could erode his power more.”
City to plant new oaks, clear unwanted trees along Esplanade | The New Orleans Advocate – The city plans to spend $450,000 in federal grants on 27 new oaks for the Esplanade Avenue neutral ground between North Rampart and North Miro streets.
Federal City Community Garden Takes Root | WWNO – The garden is an attempt to connect families in Federal City with surrounding neighborhoods.
Judge upholds AG Buddy Caldwell’s approval of levee authority’s vote in wetlands damage suit | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell acted appropriately in approving the east bank levee authority’s vote to hire a law firm for a wetlands damage suit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies, a Baton Rouge judge ruled Monday. The judge also ruled that the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association’s lawsuit attempting to overturn Caldwell’s approval was frivolous.
Oceans of trouble for U.S. taxpayers | New England Center for Investigative Reporting – The National Flood Insurance Program, $24 billion in debt and rising, underwrites the repair of million-dollar vacation homes.
The Senate is expected to pass a House-approved bill this week that would still raise premiums, but not as steeply as the 2012 law. While second homes and properties that are repeatedly hit would experience greater increases, their owners would still be eligible for sizable grants to elevate and fortify homes and there remains no limit on the number of times a property can collect.
Election 2014: Does climate change stand a chance against the oil boom? | The Daily Climate – For energy interests, the oil and gas boom is perfectly timed to fund favored candidates in the midterm elections. “The Cook Political Reports 2014 voter index lists the most likely Republican takeovers in pockets of the country heavily seeded by oil and gas revenue: Arkansas, West Virginia, Alaska, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Montana. Big money is gearing up to steer the message.”
Funds for tracing Gulf seafood slated to expire | The Louisiana Weekly – Funding for Gulf Seafood Trace, a program that tracks seafood “from Gulf to plate,” is set to expire at the end of the year.
National Common Core test not for Louisiana high schools until 2016 — if at all | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
The state Education Department decided in November to postpone, by one year, the high school tests being developed by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. On Monday, Education Superintendent John White said it’s already too late to use the tests the following year, 2015-16 — and the state might never use them.
That’s even though Louisiana is a founding member of the partnership. “We’re going to wait and see how the marketplace resolves itself,” White said.
Despite jail debacle, Gusman seen as frontrunner in runoff | The New Orleans Advocate – WIN Partners, whose polling before the primary election proved exceptionally accurate, says Sheriff Marlin Gusman is in the driver’s seat in the runoff. Former sheriff Charles Foti disagrees, naturally, and appears to have made numerous recent TV advertising buys.
Inmate attorneys praise plans to cool death row | The Advocate – Attorneys representing three Louisiana men condemned to death urge approval for a plan to install air conditioners at Angola.