Week in Review: Entergy New Orleans could face $2 million fine over frequent outages

Entergy New Orleans could face $2 million fine over frequent outages
The New Orleans City Council’s utility advisers are recommending a $1.5 million to $2 million fine against Entergy New Orleans for failing to adequately maintain the city’s aging electrical distribution system — the poles and wires that run down New Orleans streets to connect buildings to the grid. In a report handed over to the council last month, and included as part of Thursday’s council meeting agenda, the council’s contracted legal and technical advisers concluded that the penalty was appropriate because the company’s “actions, inactions and delayed reactions caused adverse impacts on tens of thousands of ratepayers, both commercial and residential.”

According to the advisers’ analysis of data provided by Entergy New Orleans, there were 2,599 outages between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017 alone, most of them on fair-weather days.

Week in Review: Cantrell unrepentant over unannounced traffic camera changes

Cantrell unrepentant over unannounced traffic camera changes
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell and her top deputy, Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montaño, went before the City Council’s budget committee on Monday morning to defend the administration’s decision not to inform the public that it was lowering speed thresholds for traffic camera tickets. Cantrell said she made the decision with safety in mind, not to increase ticket revenues.

Week in Review: Parents anxiously await OneApp results

Class Dismissed: OneApp
Parents anxiously await New Orleans’ enrollment lottery results from the time they submit applications in late February to mid-April, when the mysterious algorithm that controls every child’s school placement spits out answers. “It doesn’t allow for hopes to be brought about in a timely way,” parent Alex Lafargue said.

Week in Review: Fired New Beginnings ‘whistleblower’ asks board to rehire him

Fired New Beginnings ‘whistleblower’ asks board to rehire him
A former New Beginnings Schools Foundation employee who raised a red flag on what he said are suspicious grade changes at John F. Kennedy High School asked for his job back at a special meeting of the charter school network’s governing board Thursday night. Runell King hired employment lawyer Dorothy Tarver this week.

Week in Review: After Lens and WWL-TV investigations, charter school network CEO suspended

At an emergency meeting Monday night, the New Beginnings Schools Foundation board placed CEO Michelle Blouin-Williams on paid leave pending the outcome of an independent investigation into allegations of grade inflation and falsifying public documents related to a bus contract. The three-school charter network’s board voted unanimously to hire the law firm Adams and Reese to conduct the investigation.

Week in Review: How have the City Council’s utility consultants kept their contracts for so long?

In 1985, New Orleans residents decided that New Orleans Public Service Inc. — now called Entergy New Orleans — should be regulated by the City Council rather than the state’s Public Service Commission, which had overseen the utility for the three previous years. Ever since, the council has relied almost entirely on a group of outside consultants to fulfill that authority.

Week in Review: The final year in a closing school

Class Dismissed: The final year in a closing school
On a Friday afternoon in January, a few parents and two ministers gathered at Medard Nelson Charter School at the corner of St. Bernard Avenue and Gentilly Boulevard hoping there was something they could do to keep the school open past May.