Gun Violence in U.S. Cities Compared to the Deadliest Nations in the World – The Atlantic Cities | Don’t expect this map, which compares domestic urban gun murder rates to other countries, to be part of the “New Orleans story” that city officials trumpet during Super Bowl week. According to Richard Florida, if New Orleans were a country, it would have the second-highest gun homicide rate in the world.
Gulf Restoration Network believes GoCoast 2020 Commission’s final report needs to do more — The Mississippi Press | The Gulf Restoration Network said the GoCoast 2020 Commission’s report— which outlines how RESTORE Act money from the BP oil spill will be used— sometimes privileges economic stimulus over ecosystem rejuvenation.
New Lens reporter Bob Marshall points out a similar dynamic that played out last weekend as the council in charge of distributing RESTORE funds added “economic recovery” to the approved uses for money that had been designated for ecosystem restoration. A kerfuffle involving environmental, state and federal groups ensued; it has apparently been ironed out.
Cities Declare War on Food Trucks — The American Interest | Walter Russell Mead contends that byzantine regulations discourage food trucks in cities like Chicago. “This is pointless, self-destructive policy, not only because it’s keeping downtown office workers from delicious street food, but also because it makes it harder for small, undercapitalized entrepreneurs to employ themselves—exactly the kind of people cities should be helping, not hurting.” Food truck operators in New Orleans have similar complaints; the City Council is considering changes to the rules, including a requirement to move every 45 minutes.
Education laws topic of forum — The Advocate | Educators complained about new teacher accountability laws at a forum in Tangipahoa Parish. Some claimed the new Compass teacher evaluation system has led to more retirements in Tangipahoa Parish, and the chief academic officer for the Tangipahoa school system said 75 teachers in the parish have retired since August.
Earlier this week state superintendant for schools John White claimed figures from the state show a flat retirement rate, which has hovered between 10 and 11 percent since 2009.
Government & Politics
Investors say visa program with ties to Nagin is wrought with fraud —wwltv.com | “In 2006, Nagin signed an exclusive 30-year deal with Maryland businessmen William ‘Bart’ Hungerford Jr. and Timothy Milbrath to run the city’s EB-5 operation,” which is part of a little-known federal immigration program that awards green cards to foreign investors if they fund job-creating projects in the U.S.. Hungerford and Milbrath vowed to create 1,500 jobs and collected $15.5 million from investors for a hotel project that included a restaurant and conference center. The result? Only an “empty lot” and lawsuits claiming fraud.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu makes hay of Sal Perricone flap in bid to reverse order on NOPD reforms | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The city’s 30-page motion claims a recently-approved federal consent decree should be invalidated because former federal prosecutor Perricone expressed a hidden agenda in online comments concerning the NOPD. Perricone participated in negotiations related to the decree while posting comments that expressed strong opinions that U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, or perhaps even Perricone himself, should head the NOPD.
Hiring a new watchdog in Jefferson Parish: Editorial — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The editors applaud Jefferson Parish’s new inspector general and remind readers of the agency’s expressed goals for the coming year, which include: “evaluate the disposition of DWI cases in city courts, the medical examiner functions in the coroner’s office, the spending on school rebuilding and how numerous other agencies use public money.”