Government & Politics
Louisiana’s voter ID law from 1997 eases effects of Supreme Court decision — The Lens | Unlike Texas and Mississippi, where officials have signaled plans to immediately move on implementing voter ID laws rejected by the federal government before this week’s Supreme Court decision effectively striking down the Voting Rights Act, Louisiana is unlikely to see any immediate effects from the ruling. That’s because the state’s voter ID law, which gives voters without an ID the alternative of signing an affidavit and was approved by the Justice Department, has been in effect for 16 years.
President nominates Polite for U.S. Attorney in New Orleans —The Advocate | President Obama nominates lawyer Kenneth Polite for the U.S. Attorney post. If confirmed, Polite will replace Interim U.S. Attorney Dana Boente, who has been filling in since Jim Letten resigned in the midst of a growing scandal in the office.
Jindal For Senate? Not Likely – National Journal
Jindal’s approval rating in his home state has plummeted since he was elected to a second term in 2011. Just 38 percent of voters said they approved of his job performance in March, according to a Southern Media and Opinion Research survey, the lowest numbers he’s ever registered. That poll, conducted for conservative businessman Lane Grigsby, showed that even President Obama has a higher approval rating in the state than Jindal does.
Letter to John White, State Superintendent of Education Re: Review of Program Management/Construction Management (PDF) — New Orleans Office of Inspector General | Ed Quatrevaux — who recently ended his contract overseeing Recovery School District school construction after, he claims, the RSD wouldn’t cooperate — releases a letter summarizing some of his findings.
The failure to amend the 2007 contract to reduce the professional services fee when only 48% of the construction value was completed cost taxpayers an estimated $9,472,055 for services not required. The failure to amend the 2010 contract when the value of completed construction projects was reduced by 56% cost taxpayers an estimated $23,207,386 for services not required.
Interim Orleans Parish schools superintendent to stay on job despite challenge, attorney says —NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Orleans Parish Schools Interim Superintendent Stan Smith says he’s going to stay on for now, even if the school board president Ira Thomas keeps asking him to leave. Thomas insists that Smith’s contract isn’t valid. Smith’s lawyer concedes the contract indeed contains a flaw, but that does not nullify the agreement.
Lycée Français decides on new CEO; hopes to have him start on Monday — The Lens | The troubled school decides on a new leader after a months-long search.
In Louisiana, journalists face jail time for publishing gun info — Poynter
I see this as a pretty clear case of prior restraint,’ Steve Beatty, the editor of the New Orleans nonprofit news organization The Lens, told Poynter in a phone call. ‘It’s threatening us with criminal penalties if we publish information we come into possession of.’
New Orleans City Council committee advances measures creating new office to oversee police details — NOLA.com/TheTimes-Picayune | The Council’s Budget Committee advanced two Landrieu-administration-backed ordinances that provide funding for the newly created Office of Police Secondary Employment, which will oversee New Orleans Police Department off-duty details as required in the federal consent decree. Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell — who has two sons in the police department and was working with New Orleans officers’ associations on the bills — attached amendments to one of the ordinances reducing the administrative fees for officer details and adding $17 per hour holiday pay to the detail pay schedule. The amended proposals must still go before the full Council for final approval.
FAQ: What you need to know about the NSA’s surveillance programs — ProPublica | Does the NSA record everything about everyone, all the time? How long can the NSA keep information on Americans? Is all of this legal? ProPublica answers these questions and more in this handy primer.
Determining how much oil spilled from BP’s Gulf well ‘not an easy task,’ judge says — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | In the second phase of the BP trial, government experts are poised to argue that between 4.5 and 5.5 million barrels of oil flowed into the company’s Macondo well in 2010. BP believes it’s half to two-thirds that much. At stake are potentially billions of dollars should the court find BP negligent for the spill. “From what I’m hearing talking to counsel, that is not an easy task to calculate that,” Judge Carl Barbier said. “First of all, there’s no meter on that well.”
Inadequate federal grant money dims hopes of flood-weary Mandeville residents — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Some Mandeville residents are hoping a new round of federal hazard mitigation grant money would be allocated for raising lakefront homes that have repeatedly flooded. But parish officials say more people would be helped if the money were used for a regional flood mitigation project, like building a retention pond system near Lacombe.
Human Transit: end of the loop for sydney’s transit toy
This weekend, Sydney will complete a long and predictable narrative that cautions us yet again about the danger of relying on tourist experiences as a basis for transit planning. The Sydney Monorail, built in imitation of Seattle’s, has now been through the predictable phases of exuberance, delight, irritation, and boredom, and has finally arrived at the point of being more of an obstacle than a service. … So it’s coming down. Last ride is this Sunday.
Via Jeffrey at Library Chronicles, who notices a monorail in a local redevelopment plan.
New Orleans’ noise law can work for everyone: Nathan Chapman | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The leader of a neighborhood coalition hoping to tighten the city’s noise ordinance offers a rebuttal to Owen Courreges’ angry Uptown Messenger column:
Today I hear a city ready for commonsense change. Our list of supporting organizations is now at 14 and growing, as other neighborhoods are calling to help. We range from New Orleans East to Algiers, Lake Vista to the Garden District, and, of course, most of the downtown neighborhoods.