Government & Politics
‘Fiscal Hawks’ fly to Jindal’s right, denounce governor’s budgeting — The Lens | The executive budget Gov. Bobby Jindal presents today relies on hundreds of millions in one-time revenues. Tyler Bridges profiles the group of conservatives in the Legislature who could give him the most heartburn as they staunchly oppose using non-recurring revenue to balance budgets. The “Fiscal Hawks,” as they’re called, seek a state Constitution prohibition to prevent such budgetary gimmickry.
Retirees could kill Louisiana tax overhaul plan — The Advocate | Retirees are a powerful voting bloc and are also one of the groups that will bear the brunt of Jindal’s proposal to raise sales taxes in order to eliminate income taxes. Jindal’s allies in the House are “working on a few different options” to amend the plan to prevent political blowback from seniors, though they’re mum on the details.
Lee Zurik Investigation: Coroner’s cashed-out vacation days – FOX 8 WVUE | Zurik continues to probe St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan’s office, this time revealing documents that suggest Galvan may have illegally paid himself $177,000 in sick and vacation time.
Road work scaled back amid debt ceiling worries – Associated Press | Due to a shortage of construction funds and debt ceiling constraints, the state will borrow $150 million less than it planned for road repairs.
Two former HANO employees charged with stealing from the agency — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Two former Housing Authority of New Orleans employees are accused of embezzling $661,904 from the agency over two years. Janice Staves, who worked at HANO until 2009, funneled the money to a former co-worker, James Youngblood, even though he’d performed no work, according to a bill of information filed in federal court Wednesday.
Researcher links lead contamination in soil with violent crime in N.O. — wwltv.com | A Tulane University pharmacology professor connects soils polluted by leaded gasoline emissions to blood-lead levels in children, and then to behaviors associated with crime. For more on this topic, see my editorial on lead poisoning and crime.
ExxonMobil Baton Rouge refinery did not disclose accident, inspect corroded pipes: uncensored EPA report — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | An inspection report by the Environmental Protection Agency shows ExxonMobil failed to inspect hundreds of corroded pipes in the years prior to an accidental benzene leak that occurred last June. Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a local environment group, obtained the EPA report after ExxonMobil refused to provide a copy that wasn’t heavily redacted.
One In Three Fish Sold At Restaurants And Grocery Stores Is Mislabeled — WWNO | The story suggests that a main reason for the rampant “mislabeling” is the preponderance of imported seafood in the U.S., which affords fraudsters “a lot new options for substitutions.”
Rumored Energy pick stirring fears on left – The Hill’s E2-Wire | Insiders believe Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Ernest Moniz will be selected as the next Secretary of Energy. He is a supporter of the controversial drilling process known as “fracking,” which has powered an energy boom in Louisiana and the nation. Former Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard was reportedly in the running for the job.
Will Ray Nagin continue to resist the lure of a plea?: James Gill | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Gill observes that “chaos would overtake the justice system” if more defendants followed former Mayor Ray Nagin’s lead and pleaded not guilty to charges. The column is a thought-provoking meditation on Nagin’s difficult legal circumstances, the coercive power of federal prosecutors, and the high-stakes gamble of a trial.
After shooting, John McDonogh radio show broadcasts positive message about school — NOLA.com/The Times Picayune | These are difficult times at McDonogh as students grapple with a recent shooting that will likely reinforce what they view as an unfairly negative portrayal of the school’s challenges on the docu-series “Blackboard Wars.”
Why wealthy foreigners invest in U.S. charter schools — The Washington Post | Foreigners are channeling millions of dollars to build facilities for charter schools in order to extend visas so they can stay in the U.S..
How Historic Preservation Can Reverse Population Loss in So-Called “Shrinking Cities” — Preservation Resource Center | The article explains how historic preservation can maintain a city’s uniqueness and density, providing a “viable solution to the problems of blight, vacancy, and depopulation.”