Crime experts question NOPD stats that paint New Orleans as a safe city with a murder problem — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The police can’t explain why the city has a high homicide rate despite a much lower ratio of non-lethal gun assaults. The strange lack of correlation between the two statistics, which usually closely track one another, perplexes criminologists. But even if the city’s standout crime problem is homicide, I would argue, that’s obviously bad enough. And it’s an increasing problem, relative to the rest of the country, as overall homicide rates continue to plummet.
New Orleans parade shooting: Arrests show city’s reworked approach to policing – Christian Science Monitor “The arrests of two brothers after a Mother’s Day parade shooting appear to be an example of the dramatic shift in gang-war policing that New Orleans has made under Mayor Mitch Landrieu.” (Via Noladder.blogspot.com)
Beyond the Brady Rule – The New York Times | The NYT editors remind us that prosecutors are duty-bound to seek a fair trial, and not seek to win by any means necessary.
The 2011 case of John Thompson is particularly instructive — as an example of atrocious prosecutorial misconduct and of the Supreme Court’s refusal to hold the prosecutor accountable. Mr. Thompson spent 14 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. He was exonerated when an investigator found that lawyers in the New Orleans district attorney’s office had kept secret more than a dozen pieces of evidence that cast doubt on Mr. Thompson’s guilt, even destroying some.
Government & Politics
Lax state rules provide cover for sponsors of attack ads — The Center for Public Integrity | The deep South doesn’t fare well in a new analysis of state disclosure requirements for outside campaign spending groups such as super PACs. Louisiana receives an ‘F’ grade.
Poverty up in N.O.’s suburbs — The Advocate “A new report on poverty shows that the number of poor people living in the New Orleans metro area suburbs increased by 20.2 percent from 2000 to 2011, less than a third of the average percentage change reported for the nation’s largest cities.” Twitter-user @skooks linked to the article and observed that the “poor are being pushed to the suburbs as city gentrifies.” This article in The Atlantic uses the same data to create a national map showing the suburbanization of poverty.
Louisiana Legislature 2013: Full bill breakdown — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | A useful status report of the major bills of the Legislative session, which is set to adjourn in three weeks.
Louisiana’s Bayou Is Sinking: Can $50 Billion Save It? — National Geographic | “To achieve its goal of stopping the loss and achieving a net gain in land within 50 years, Louisiana needs not just $50 billion and a lot of mud. It also needs a relatively optimistic scenario of future sea-level rise to come true.” For more on this topic, don’t miss our “Last Call’ for the Louisiana Coast panel discussion moderated by Lens environmental reporter Bob Marshall on Wednesday at Loyola University.
Deepwater operators look to new frontiers – Offshore | The future still looks bright for deepwater drilling: “Even though recent challenges such as the global economic downturn, credit crises, increased capital costs, and environmental concerns affect deepwater operations, the strong positive growth in offshore E&P [earnings and profits] trends will likely continue, making deepwater a key contributor to conventional reserve replacement with rapidly increasing share in global hydrocarbon production.”
Alien ‘crazy ants’ invading southern U.S. – Los Angeles Times | According to the article, these ants are believed to have entered the United States through the Port of New Orleans. They are a potentially serious problem, since they are massively invasive and seem to be drawn to electrical wiring. ” I’ve been keeping track of this crazy ant story for years, though, and have yet to see a widespread influx.
Federal reports outline cost increases and time delays in Mid-City Veterans Affairs hospital construction | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
The hospital’s initial completion projection of December 2014 has pushed back to February 2016. GAO reports from April 4 and May 7 outline the changes, although officials already had started using the $995 million and February 2016 estimates.
BR tax incentives draw mixed reactions — The Advocate | Tax Increment Financing (TIF) incentives are intended to lure investment into blighted and underdeveloped neighborhoods. Have too many of them become, in effect, government subsidies for corporations?
Woody Jenkins, chairman of the East Baton Rouge Republican Party, said if the government wants to lure business to Baton Rouge, it should do so only by creating a desirable environment for businesses with low taxes, good schools and streamlined regulatory policies.
Using tax money to subsidize corporations means “small business owners and ordinary guys are subsidizing the big guys,” he said.
Backlog of maintenance — The Advocate | “From buildings filled with mold to faulty water and sewer systems that back up into classrooms, higher education leaders across Louisiana are growing increasingly concerned with the state’s backlog in repairing and renovating campus facilities. “
Are Vouchers Dead? — The American Prospect | The article examines school vouchers after the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled their funding mechanism was unconstitutional. The article notes that public support for voucher programs is difficult to gauge. Polls show support for them, but no state has ever passed a voucher bill through public referenda, despite several attempts.
EPA’s inspector general now investigating Operation REACH’s use of $50,000 grant — The Lens “The troubled education nonprofit that couldn’t account for nearly $900,000 in federal grants over three years is the subject of a new federal probe, this time by the Office of Inspector General for the Environmental Protection Agency.”