Parking lot owned by Landrieu siblings could be eligible for tax break to spur development | The Lens – The Landrieus’ property is across the street from South Market District, a major development expected to boost the surrounding area. Like South Market, the Landrieus’ lot is close enough to the Union Passenger Terminal to get a tax break if it’s developed. No evidence has emerged to indicate Mayor Mitch Landrieu used his influence to benefit the property, and he says he doesn’t see a story.
2 would-be WTC redevelopers discussing joint plan | The Advocate – An unexpected alliance may be in the works between the Tricentennial Consortium, which has proposed to demolish the former World Trade Center building, and Gatehouse Capital Corp., which intends to refurbish the building.
Iberville demolition marks end of an era | The Advocate – The impending demolition of the Iberville housing project “has sparked a larger discussion about how New Orleans public housing will be remembered: not only for high rates of poverty and violence, but also for music, food and tight-knit communities.”
Game of Homes: Real estate frenzy in Uptown and Garden District fueled by demand, few choices | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
A buying frenzy has struck some of the city’s historic neighborhoods as people moving into the area compete with local buyers who want to upgrade or try homeownership for the first time. The fever is being fueled by the fact that the number of houses on the Uptown and Garden District market hit a seven-year low recently.
Louisiana coastal erosion lawsuit: attorneys explain its chances and potential pitfalls | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Oil and gas companies may be responsible for some portion of coastal loss, but are they legally liable?
“The oil companies, they have seen it coming for a long time and they know they are responsible for this, but they have avoided for the most part being found liable for any of this,” said Bill Goodell, a private attorney who formerly worked as an environmental attorney in the state Attorney General’s Office. …
“The outcome of the case will not be dependent solely on whether they contributed to the wetlands loss, as responsibility is not the same thing as liability,” said Mark Davis, the director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy.
In terms of liability, the levee authority must prove that the companies were legally responsible for the consequences of their actions or that they failed to act when they should have done something, Davis said.
Our Views: Suit raises big questions | The Advocate – The editors are concerned about how the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East decided to file its suit against oil and gas companies. They claim the board did not hold a public meeting to discuss its suit, nor did they meet in public to vote to file it. They say these omissions raise “troubling legal questions … The board’s actions seem to violate the spirit if not the letter of the Louisiana Open Meetings Law.”
Meet with us about oil, gas, pipeline lawsuit on Aug. 15, East Bank levee authority leader tells state | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune — John Barry proposes that the levee authority and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority discuss the lawsuit during a public meeting.
BP mounts heavy media campaign as judge weighs spill case | Fuel Fix – Legal observers are baffled by the oil giant’s strategy to wage a high-profile media campaign just as a federal judge is determining punitive damages based on whether or not the company was “grossly negligent.”
Did Halliburton cut a good deal with Justice? | The Washington Post — An alarming detail from this story, which evaluates Halliburton’s plea deal regarding misdeeds after the 2010 oil spill.
The “cementing technology director” who instructed two colleagues to destroy computer simulations that would have been evidence in the investigation of the oil spill has retained his anonymity and continues to work for the company, officials said. That, some legal experts say, undercuts whatever deterrent the case might have against future misdeeds.
Halliburton will be arraigned on a misdemeanor charge Wednesday.
Government & Politics
Federal judge rails against Louisiana Legislature, says will allow Baton Rouge voting rights case to go to trial | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune –
The plaintiffs in the case, Baton Rouge residents Kenneth Hall and Byron Sharper, brought the suit in October 2012, stating that city court election sections should have been redrawn after census data showed the capital city became majority black more than a decade ago.
Layoffs rise, along with unemployment | Associated Press – This article tackles an issue explored by the Lens earlier this month. Despite optimism from the Jindal administration, unemployment has risen in Louisiana while it falls nationwide. Jindal’s economic development team disputes the notion that public-sector layoffs account for the growing jobless numbers. If trends continue, I’d add, Louisiana’s unemployment rate may eclipse the southern average, perhaps as soon as next month.
Bobby Jind-Oil | CenLamar – Blogger Lamar White claims that Jindal’s reaction to the recent lawsuit against oil and gas shows that he is beholden to Big Oil, which has long had a “vulcan grip” on state politics.
Teaching Lessons: What KIPP Did—and Didn’t—Learn From America’s “Best” Teacher | Andrea Gabor – Gabor reviews a new book by “public-school teacher extraordinaire Rafe Esquith.” What struck Gabor was how much of Esquith’s teaching philosophy differed from methods that are commonly associated with KIPP charter schools throughout the country. KIPP is the largest charter operator in New Orleans.
Louisiana is ignoring the poverty that limits children’s success in school: Robert Mann | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Mann blames state education leaders for ignoring poverty, which he claims is a central determinant of academic success.
Restorative-justice message unites students | The Advocate – The restorative-justice approach aims “to defang feuds and beefs before they escalate. Students gather in a circle to air grievances with an eye toward resolving them.”
Execution protocol requires drug be kept, but state can’t produce records | The Lens
For dozens of condemned state prisoners, a life-and-death question still hangs unanswered despite months of legal decisions, public-records requests and a leaked key state document: Does the state have the drug necessary to carry out an execution by lethal injection?
In the most recent development, a copy of the state protocol for executing prisoners appeared on NOLA.com after the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections asked a federal judge to keep the procedures secret. Even though the judge denied the request, the state still refused to release the protocol, citing safety concerns — a rationale the judge dismissed.
New Orleans inspector general seeks ethics investigation of Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s auditor | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
The New Orleans inspector general is asking state ethics officials to investigate the “indisputable conflict of interest” of an auditor who was hired to examine the 2012 finances of Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office despite being Gusman’s campaign treasurer.
EBRSO: Park arrests needed different approach | The Advocate – The sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish says a task force should have taken a different approach after deputies cited an invalid sodomy law in order to justify the recent arrest of a dozen gay men. Metro Councilman John Delgado called the arrests “despicable, offensive, hateful, bigoted.”
Stephanie Grace: Constitutional amendment leaves gun laws in disarray | Columnists | The Advocate – Grace writes that “a newly enacted constitutional amendment backed by those very same interests has thrown enforcement of existing state gun laws into disarray.”