Lee Zurik Investigation: Sheriff’s budget bloated by legal fees – Fox 8 WVUE | Sheriff Marlin Gusman pays $65,000 every two weeks for legal representation of Orleans Parish Prison. But the work is not itemized, which raises questions about accountability. In this companion piece, Zurik compares Gusman’s legal billing arrangement to the one in St. John Parish.
I-Team: Thousands of criminal cases in St. Bernard Parish, few head to court — WDSU Home | It seems almost no criminal cases go to trial in St. Bernard Parish. “Plea bargains are the norm, but a criminal watchdog group and some St. Bernard Parish officials question if the plea bargains are best for the parish safety. In St. Bernard Parish, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all criminal cases make it to trial.”
State high court affirms jury trial rule — The Advocate | Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell explained the ruling: “This prevents a criminal defendant from waiving a jury trial, in favor of a judge-only trial, at the last minute, which can prejudice the state’s trial preparation plans.”
Freed Louisiana death row inmate thrives in Minn. — KARE11.com | Damon Thibodeaux, who was exonerated in October of a murder conviction, is acclimating well to the free life up in Minnesota.
115 Delgado employees will lose their jobs June 3 — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | There were layoffs earlier this year due to a budget deficit, but this new round of cuts includes over 64 non-tenured faculty members.”
Student-run record label debuts in Metro Nashville at Pearl Cohn magnet — The Tennessean | Wouldn’t this concept appeal to many students in New Orleans? “Pearl-Cohn is the first school in the nation to house a student-run label affiliated with a major record label, said John Esposito, president and CEO of Warner Music Nashville. Students will operate the label just like the corporate model, with profits going toward music education.”
Putting Inner City Students on a Path to High-Paying Jobs, For Real – The Atlantic Cities | “Kids are learning how to make video games, create and market products, run for political office, and much more, all under the instruction of professionals who are volunteering their time to teach kids real-world skills. It’s all part of a program called Citizen Schools, which aims to enrich the offerings of urban public schools by extending the school day and bringing in members of the private sector to share their knowledge and expertise.”
Government & Politics
Sewerage & Water Board asks firm to research new fee to fund drainage projects — The Lens | Not again. “Five months after raising water and sewage rates, the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans is contemplating a new fee — this time to pay for an estimated $356 million in drainage projects in the coming years.”
Richard Campanella, Mayor Landrieu and others comment on New Orleans’ birthday — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Is May 7 the city’s birthday? Mayor Mitch Landrieu thinks so, but historian and demographer Richard Campanella does not know of a precise date. This article collects various highlights from social media. The city might want to reach a consensus on this issue before the tricentennial.
Jindal team, business lobbyists join forces to beat back Fiscal Hawks budget plan — The Lens | The Lens’ Tyler Bridges reports that the conservative Fiscal Hawks caucus lost a round in their budget battle with Gov. Bobby Jindal.
La. officials hope to form coalition with other communities impacted by flood insurance law — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune |
Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., leading a delegation of 20 officials from 20 South Louisiana parishes, said the impact of the 2012 flood insurance bill hit most coastal communities.
“There’s no reason to think that Brooklyn will fare any better than Plaquemines,” Hecht said.
Outside the Walls: People living outside new levees fight – Fox 8 WVUE |
While the government is spending $14.6 billion on a risk-reduction system for most of metropolitan New Orleans, hundreds of thousands of people outside the new levees, gates and floodwalls remain essentially defenseless.
Nicholls ‘pioneers’ use of drones to map coast — Houma Today | Professors in the Geomatics Department of Nicholls State University contend that drones are the most efficient way to map Louisiana’s rapidly changing coast.
Special partnership saves historic home by moving it down the road — WWLTV.com | A century-old home could have been demolished for a movie lot, but will be trucked five blocks down the street before it is restored.
Why can’t New Orleans just cut the grass at its ballparks? — Uptown Messenger | It’s hard to play baseball when the grass is almost knee high.