Government & Politics
2 cent cell phone fee riles governor; House ignores Jindal’s plea to kill bill — The Lens | A revealing article about the Jindal administration’s opposition to broadening small fees on phones to fund services for the hearing impaired. Legislators received warnings from the governor’s office that “Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based group headed by Grover Norquist, would flag [the measure] as a tax increase.” Two lawmakers told The Lens that “Taylor Teepell, the governor’s liaison with legislators, asked them to defeat the measure, offering the warning about Americans for Tax Reform. [Rep. Patrick Williams, D-Shreveport] and others said lawmakers got texts from Teepell afterward asking them if they realized they had voted for a tax. ‘The governor is more concerned about how you’re perceived than serving the interests of the people,’ Williams said.”
Zurik: S&WB chief set for huge retirement benefit – FOX 8 WVUE | Marcia St. Martin will be paid $175,000 every year for the rest of her life after she steps down from her post. Investigative reporter Lee Zurik explains her generous retirement benefits.
Unexpected visit in search of public records causes panic; DOA ordered into virtual LouisianaVoice lockdown mode — Louisiana Voice | This blog post describes “stonewalling and violation of state law by the State Division of Administration (DOA) experienced by LouisianaVoice publisher Tom Aswell in an effort to obtain public records from [the] DOA.”
WWL – AM870 — The Think Tank With Garland Robinette | The talk radio host talked with The Lens’ Bob Marshall about the never-simple topic of coastal restoration.
Southampton Homeowners Build Barricades to Hold Back Sea – The New York Times | An interesting post-Sandy tension between property rights and coastal concerns:
But the flurry of construction on beachfront residences since the hurricane is touching off bitter disputes over the environment, real estate and class.
Some local officials said they were worried that the owners were engaging in an arms race with nature, installing higher and higher barricades that could rapidly hasten erosion — essentially sacrificing public beaches to save private homes.
RSD staffers told to route requests from auditors, agencies to administration — The Advocate | The Recovery School District has added a puzzling layer of bureaucracy to information requests, which are now being funneled through the RSD deputy chief of staff. The story notes that the RSD has been the subject of two critical audits recently.
Education Reformers Have Facts On Their Side — Jeffrey Sadow — The Hayride | Sadow contends that school reform in New Orleans has shown amazing results, despite intense opposition.
Delicate balance: neighborhood peace vs. the city’s great treasure — its music — The Lens | Is there a war on live music, the lifeblood of New Orleans culture?
On eve of expected New Orleans City Council vote on food trucks, controversy flares anew — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “The New Orleans City Council is expected to vote Thursday on Councilwoman Stacy Head’s proposal to liberalize the city’s extremely restrictive rules for food trucks. “
Australian fertilizer firm plans $850M ammonia plant 20 miles from New Orleans — Associated Press | An Australian fertilizer company will invest $850 million in a new ammonia plant in Waggaman. “The site is a brownfield — land where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by known or possible contamination.” The town of West, Texas, is reeling from a massive fertilizer plant explosion Wednesday night that reportedly killed at least five and injured over a hundred.
NOPD says feds now looking into 2011 embezzlement from Lusher Charter School — The Lens
The New Orleans Police Department is working with federal investigators in an embezzlement case from 2011 at Lusher Charter School that so far has led to no charges against the admitted embezzler.
“They are interested in moving forward with a federal prosecution,” Officer Garry Flot, police spokesman, said Wednesday via email.
Federal Probe Hangs Over State Government — Louisiana Politics by John Maginnis | Informed speculation from Maginnis about the federal investigation into CNSI, a company which until recently held a nearly $200 Medicaid contract with the state.