Cost of Flood Insurance Rises, Along With Worries | The New York Times – Higher flood insurance premiums due to the Biggert-Waters Act are making national headlines.
Sharp increases in federal flood insurance rates are distressing coastal homeowners from Hawaii to New England and are starting to hurt property values and housing sales in areas just beginning to recover from the recession, according to residents and legislators.
Secret Oil Company Memos on Pollution in Louisiana | Harper’s Magazine – According to documents, oil companies disposing of pollutants in Louisiana had little to fear from environmental regulators, many of whom were former oil men. This is a companion piece to a larger article by Ken Silverstein called, “Dirty South: The foul legacy of Louisiana oil.” (Subscriber only.)
La. shrimp red-flagged | Tri-Parish Times – “The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, which rates seafood based on its sustainability and eco-friendliness, has placed all Louisiana shrimp among the 5 percent of US seafood products that it recommends its followers not purchase.” The article says the state’s policy on sea turtle protection resulted in the “red light” grade. It also notes that the Whole Foods supermarket chain makes “purchasing decisions based on the aquarium’s recommendations.”
Government & Politics
Louisiana women face grim statistics: Analysis | Associated Press – “A raft of recent reports and census data showed Louisiana fared poorly in pay equity, economic security, safety, representation in government and health outcomes.”
Public records still hard to get | Forgotston.com – Legislative watcher C.B. Forgotston proposes a remedy to ensure better government compliance with public records requests:
The only way the Public Records Law will have the meaning it was intended is when the leges get the political courage to hold the agency heads personally liable for the failure to comply with legitimate records requests. All costs incurred by a citizen in securing a record, after being denied, should be reimbursed to the citizen by automatically deducting it from the agency head’s paychecks.
Last week, The Lens wrote about compliance with a new legislative resolution calling on agencies to identify whom people should contact with their requests.
Fate of Avondale shipyard in limbo as deadline looms | The Advocate – Time is winding down for decisionmakers to figure out what to do with the Avondale facility so that it isn’t mothballed and workers remain employed.
The Tea Party thinks it hates Wall Street. It doesn’t | The Washington Post – Sen. Vitter has received a lot of notice, and a broad array of praise, for teaming up with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to push new banking reform legislation. However, this article questions Vitter’s commitment to the central reforms in the Brown-Vitter legislation. Is the overriding goal for Vitter and the Tea Party simply to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, rather than reform capital rules for big banks?
Mothers in jail reunite with young daughters in new program at Orleans Parish Prison | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A new program run by the Girl Scouts “reunites incarcerated mothers with their daughters in the jail’s new kitchen once a month to share a meal, do activities and just have fun together. The idea: Both moms and daughters will benefit from a stronger bond, which in turn will motivate each one to stay — or get — on track to fulfill their dreams.”
Heroin deaths in SE La. more widespread than thought | The Advocate — Authorities are sounding the alarm of a resurgence in heroin use.
Jefferson led the state in 2012 with 22 deaths, according to preliminary state Vital Statistics data, followed by St. Tammany with 11 and Orleans with six.
Bonus pay for teachers thoroughly discredited | Hechinger Report – A study on a pay-for-performance program in New York City’s schools “did not improve student achievement or teachers’ reported attitudes, perceptions, or behaviors.”
Poor communication between state, city preceded demolition of house during repair | The Lens – Karen Gadbois revisits the case of a house torn down this summer while it was being repaired with Road Home money. Before the demolition, a city official sent a short email to the state asking for an update on the property. The state employee said the house wasn’t eligible for one grant, but failed to mention the one that had been awarded.
Vacationland | Library Chronicles – There are several incisive passages in this commentary on gentrification. Here’s one: “A long time ago we decided that the best way to encourage people to visit New Orleans was to move New Orleanians out of the parts of town they will visit. And so now those parts of town are really for and by the tourists.”
Work on city’s new zoning law inspires concern over St. Charles Ave. mansion | The New Orleans Advocate – Some St. Charles Avenue residents are worried that an old mansion on Loyola University’s campus “is in danger of demolition or some unwelcome new use under the city’s proposed new comprehensive zoning ordinance, which would change the building’s zoning designation.”
St. Roch community leader is guiding force behind community revival | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Despite being diagnosed with cancer, Reginald Lawson pursues his goal of bringing a new swimming facility to St. Roch.