Climate Change Will Force Us to Abandon Cities if We Don’t Prepare Now | New Republic – The long-term future for coastal cities is grim, according to a range of experts. They say combatting rising sea levels will become prohibitively expensive and cities will have to become walled-off islands, or be abandoned.
Federal appeals court refuses to hear BP’s settlement appeals | WWL-TV – The court’s refusal to hear appeals by BP “could get oil spill claims payments going again for the first time in eight months.” BP lawyers have previously said they will take the case to the Supreme Court. “BP has been fighting these issues since last summer after realizing that the settlement, as it was being implemented, would likely cost it billions of dollars more than it originally estimated.”
Louisiana lawsuits seek oil and gas industry money to restore coastline | Los Angeles Times – National attention from the left coast on the oil and gas lawsuits by local parishes and the flood authority.
The Gulf’s sinking stepping stone | Louisiana Sportsman – The state’s Master Plan to restore the coast includes projects to help the small town of Leeville, but initial phases won’t be complete until 2031. Leeville residents wonder if, at the current rate of marshland erosion, if it will be too late.
Fictional Hurricane Phil tests levee officials days before 2014 season begins | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The hurricane scenario was developed by the National Hurricane Center and FEMA to help national, state and local officials coordinate flood protection responses in an evolving, real-time exercise.
Fact-check: Landrieu’s account of improving New Orleans schools mostly accurate | The Lens – The schools in the Recovery School District have shown the most improvement.
Jindal still playing a hand in Common Core | The New Orleans Advocate – If the legislature fails to act, Gov. Bobby Jindal may use his executive authority to opt out of Common Core tests.
LSU petroleum engineering program close to losing accreditation, university president says | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – LSU President F. King Alexander said that without more state funding, the petroleum engineering program will have to reduce enrollment or risk losing accreditation. It’s hard to imagine Alexander coming up with a more effective tactic to get the Legislature’s attention, other than saying the football program might go on the chopping block.
Government & Politics
New Orleans, the mayor wants to raise your property taxes — how much more would you pay? | The Lens – Mayor Mitch Landrieu says it’s necessary to pay for improvements at the Police Department and the jail.
Changed Contract-Cutting Bill Clears Major Hurdle | LaPolitics
While the measure as originally introduced directed state agencies to reduce spending on their professional, consulting and personal contracts by 10 percent, it was amended to simply have the Joint Legislative Budget Committee review all such contracts over $40,000 that are paid with state general funds.
Efforts to tweak TOPS fail in Legislature: Analysis | Associated Press – The TOPS college tuition program is projected to cost the state $250 million next budget year and $387 million by 2019. Legislators balked at small modifications to the program to make it more sustainable.
New Sewerage & Water Board appointees heading for council OK | The New Orleans Advocate
The newly constituted board, in line with changes approved by the state Legislature and a voter referendum last year, will have 11 members instead of 13. The three council members who have served on the board will be removed, professional qualifications are now required of most first-time members and members’ terms have shrunk from nine years to four.
City must pay up in firefighter retirement fund battle | Associated Press/FOX 8 WVUE – The U.S. Supreme Court says the city — which stopped contributing in 2010 — must make its share of payments to the fire department’s retirement fund. Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin said the payments, on top of other obligations, “will be devastating to the city’s budget and could potentially lead to cutting critical city services.”
As Court Fees Rise, The Poor Are Paying The Price | NPR – “A state-by-state survey conducted by NPR found that defendants are charged for many government services that were once free, including those that are constitutionally required.”
Mid-City Security District addresses crime camera complaints | FOX 8 WVUE – After a recent shooting, Mid-City residents are wondering why their security district is sitting on $1 million for installation of new crime cameras. One of the reasons for the delay: “The security district tried to develop its own software for the cameras but that fell through.”
Proposed Canal Street hotel facing opposition from Landrieu, preservationists | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The developer says it would be cost-prohibitive to renovate the historic buildings in the CBD, versus demolishing them and building a hotel from scratch.
How Tacky T-shirts Became Contraband in New Orleans | Reason – The libertarian magazine is skeptical of recent efforts aimed at reining in T-shirt merchants in the French Quarter:
Whether T-shirt shop opponents will make any real dent in the souvenir trade remains to be seen. But the city’s inability to create (and uniformly enforce) sensible policies that take into account what people are and have been doing for generations seems certain to continue.