Government & Politics
Disciplinary board pursuing case against N.O. City Councilman James Gray —The Advocate | The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates lawyers, has recommended that New Orleans City Councilman James Gray be suspended from practicing law for three years. The office believes Gray is guilty of wrongdoing that includes overcharging clients and failing to provide competent representation, in four cases dating to 2003. In an interview with The Advocate’s Gordon Russell, Gray claims the charges are unfounded.
The Long Road to Marriage Equality – The New York Times
The Supreme Court’s soaring decision to strike down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional is a civil rights landmark, but the history leading up to it is poorly understood. Marriage equality was neither inevitable nor, until recently, even conceivable. And the struggle for it was not, as is commonly believed, a natural consequence of the gay liberation movement that gained steam in the late 1960s.
Let Jindal Be Jindal — National Review Online | National Review columnist Avik Roy doesn’t think the Jindal of the infamous Politico rant is the real Jindal. He calls on the governor to rediscover his inner policy nerd.
Politicians are at their best when they’re being themselves, when they’re comfortable in their own skin. ‘Let Reagan be Reagan,’ they used to say in Sacramento. Jindal needs not merely to accept the fact that he’s a big nerd, but to embrace it.
Galvan critics challenge law that shields ethics complaints —The Advocate | Terry and Laura King, longtime critics of embattled St. Tammany Coroner Peter Galvan, were criminally charged in 2011 for talking to the media about a state ethics investigation against the coroner. A Louisiana statute makes it a misdemeanor to speak publicly about an investigation by the state Board of Ethics. The charges were dropped, but the Kings are challenging the constitutionality of the law in a federal civil suit.
New Orleans City Council looks at crime spending — The Advocate | The New Orleans City Council on Wednesday kicked off a series of midyear budget meetings focusing on the city’s criminal justice agencies. Interesting revelations thus far: Just halfway through the year, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas says the police department has already spent $1.8 million of its $2.1 million overtime budget. And Traffic Court spent nearly $100,000 on temporary trailers that the court never used. “[Chief Traffic Court Judge Robert] Jones said City Hall told him to get ready for building renovations which were then put off, so he sent the trailers back.”
C.I.A. Report Finds Concerns With Ties to New York Police — The New York Times | An internal CIA investigation on the post-9/11 collaboration between the agency and the New York Police Department contains some troubling revelations. Even though the CIA is not allowed to engage in domestic spying, one agent was receiving reports from police that were not filtered to remove information unrelated to foreign intelligence gathering. Another was on unpaid leave from the CIA while at the NYPD and therefore did not consider himself subject to the prohibition against domestic spying, he told investigators. The report was released this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit, filed after a 2011 Associated Press report uncovered the relationship between the two agencies.
Teach For America aid sparks heated arguments —The Advocate | Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Lottie Beebe objects to a $1.2 million state contract with Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates from top universities, trains them for several weeks and places them in the state’s most troubled schools. “Why can’t we go to the universities and find our own people and give them four or six weeks of professional development?” she asked state Superintendent of Education (and TFA alum) John White at a recent meeting. “White later countered that Beebe’s plan has been tried and ‘we’ve got a bunch of F schools,’ ” an answer not likely to win him more fans among veteran teachers.
Persica: Construction investigation builds nothing —The Advocate | Dennis Persica on New Orleans Inspector General’s decision to end his contract overseeing RSD construction after state education officials refused to cooperate.
In the old crime movies of the 1930s and ’40s, after the cops had surrounded the suspected bad guys, the chief would get on a megaphone an issue an ultimatum. ‘Come out with your hands up,’ he would say. ‘Or we’re coming in.’ If they did those movies Louisiana style, the chief would probably say, ‘Come out, or we’re going to leave.’”
Corps of Engineers allocates funds to finish study for West Shore Lake Pontchartrain levee in St. John — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
The Army Corps of Engineers has earmarked $828,340 to complete a feasibility study for the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain levee project in St. John Parish, a $700 million hurricane protection system that has been in the works for more than 40 years, marked by repeated fits and starts.
This Climate Fix Might Be Decades Ahead Of Its Time — NPR | Peter Eisenberger, a Columbia University professor and entrepreneur, has developed technology to pull carbon dioxide out of the air at little cost. Eisenberger, co-founder of Global Thermostat, believes his “monoliths” can work for about $50 per ton of carbon dioxide, less than one-tenth of what most experts expect carbon capture to cost.
After latest emergency repairs, NOPD looks at plan to replace Second District station — Uptown Messenger | Robert Morris on the city’s plan to move the Second District out of its current home, a crumbling, termite-infested 110-year-old building on Magazine Street.
Environmental groups intervene in St. Tammany landowners’ gopher frog habitat lawsuit — The Advocate | A federal judge allows two environmental groups to intervene in lawsuits filed by St. Tammany property owners who claim the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is unconstitutionally taking their land by designating it a habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog.