Rush to oppose coastal reclamation suit exposes weakness of Jindal’s case | The Lens – Sandy Rosenthal is the founder of Levees.org and a board member of Restore Louisiana Now, both nonprofits. In her op-ed she says “If there were a good reason for Jindal to continue shielding Big Oil from its legal responsibilities to the people of Louisiana, we would have heard it by now.”
Governor unveils plans for game-changing research facility on riverfront | Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to announce this morning plans for a world-class research facility called the Water Campus that will establish south Louisiana as an international hub for research in coastal restoration and sustainability, while simultaneously transforming the downtown Baton Rouge riverfront.
Between the Water Institute of the Gulf and this new Water Campus announcement, Baton Rouge has laid claim to being the headquarters for Gulf Coast restoration and water management projects.
Are Hurricanes Getting Stronger? Science May Finally Be Approaching an Answer | Mother Jones – The average maximum wind speeds of hurricanes in the North Atlantic Basin keep increasing. Have we entered the era of super storms?
How School Staffing Turnover Impacts Students, Families | WWNO – Education writer Sarah Carr discusses how constant staffing turnover reduces continuity in New Orleans schools. Inspired by Lens reporting, the WWNO story has a companion piece over at the Hechinger Ed blog, titled “How to stop the revolving door of teachers, principals at charter schools.”
Repairing instruments for local schools | Gambit – A lack of funding makes it difficult to properly outfit school marching bands. A band director estimates that nearly half of his school’s musical instruments are broken and stored in a back room. Therefore “horn doctors” who repair instruments for school bands are a godsend.
Government & Politics
The 2014 mayor’s race heats up | Gambit – Opinion writer Clancy DuBos says his sources indicate that former Judge Michael Bagneris’ surprise candidacy for mayor “will benefit from a massive anti-Landrieu fundraising effort directed by Republican mullahs who are hell-bent on tarnishing the Landrieu brand in advance of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s re-election campaign next year. If that means financing a Bagneris campaign for mayor (or mounting a third-party ad campaign to help him), so be it.”
Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant, S&WB search committee’s top choice for top job | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – After a seven-month national search for a new Sewerage & Water Board chief, a deputy mayor has emerged as the lead candidate.
S&WB President pro-tem Ray Manning said Grant’s background in the military and city government and his familiarity with the S&WB and federal agencies elevated him to run an agency overseeing an infrastructure in desperate need of dire repairs.
Orleans coroner agrees to look again at Henry Glover killing | The New Orleans Advocate – Coroner Frank Minyard said he’ll reopen the case after Glover family members and protesters demanded that he reclassify Glover’s killing as a homicide. Minyard said autopsy and toxicology reports would have to support a decision to reclassify the death.
DHH hasn’t done outside performance review of company with $363M state contract, audit says | Associated Press – The state legislative auditor believes the Department of Health and Hospitals should get an external analysis of Magellan Health Services’ performance, before it extends its “$363 million privatization contract for mental health and addictive disorder treatment services.”
New Orleans’ new hiring policy aims to remove barriers for people with felony convictions | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans joined a growing list of cities to “ban the box” when the Civil Service Commission voted unanimously Monday [Dec. 16] to eliminate the requirement that anyone applying for a city job disclose prior felony convictions, typically by checking a box on the application.
In a city where one in seven black men are in prison or on parole or probation, and 50 percent of working age black men are unemployed, it is imperative to remove as many roadblocks to employment as possible, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in announcing the new policy.
Company closes in on no-bid deal to build billboard at city-controlled land along I-10 | The Lens – Marco Outdoor Advertising has tried for a few years to get the 911 board to let it put up a billboard next to its call center — prime advertising space along the interstate. The board has refused, saying it should seek bids for the space. Now the city has stepped in with an agreement that could lead to approval of the deal.