Remembering the ‘economic development’ that nearly doomed New Orleans tourism — The Lens | Opinion piece by preservationist Milford Wayne Donaldson reminds us about the narrowly-averted plan to run a freeway through the French Quarter. “Without local people dedicated to preserving their local heritage, and the federal cavalry arriving just in time … today there would be a multi-lane high-speed expressway between Jackson Square and the Mississippi River.”
Officials break ground on new east N.O. Walmart — The Advocate | Councilman James Gray is optimistic about Walmart attracting development as an anchor store for the east. “This site is going to be the catalyst for other development,” [Gray] said. “We’re going to do great things in this area. If you have money, you need to invest in this area.”
How Historic Architecture Can Anchor Economic Development – The Atlantic Cities | New Orleans is a reference point as Providence, RI, stands poised to leverage its historic downtown architecture.
Government & Politics
Audit reveals new details about motion picture tax credit program – FOX 8 WVUE | “Louisiana’s legislative auditor released a report Monday that shows the state issued $196 million in tax credits in 2010, but received only $27 million in tax revenue back. That resulted in a net cost of $169.8 million to the state. But, there’s a flip side, as explained by the state treasurer. ‘The state spent $196.8 million in tax credits and those tax credits generated $1.08 billion in total economic output,’ [John] Kennedy said.”
S. 798: A bill to address equity capital requirements for financial institutions — GovTrack.us | This legislation-tracking site gives the Brown-Vitter banking reform bill only an “8% chance of getting past committee. 1% chance of being enacted.” Those seem to be small odds for legislation generating this amount of press (Bloomberg) and high-profile endorsements (The Washington Post).
Owen Courreges: Big Brother and the new era of “good government” — Uptown Messenger | A recent unfortunate (but accurate?) comment by Council member Jackie Clarkson leads Courreges to wonder “if we’ve really adopted clean, good government, or we’re just allowing another class of politicians to pretend to engage us while simultaneously using every trick in the book to abuse, deride and exclude us.”
‘Deliberative’ secrets — Gambit | Clancy DuBos connects the Jindal Administration’s use of the “deliberative process” excuse to shield records from public scrutiny to the current scandal related to Medicare contracts won by CNSI. “Former state Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein, who previously worked for CNSI, pushed through changes to the bid solicitation that helped his former employer win the state contract. Surprised? Don’t be. Details about those changes, how they came about, and when, are precisely the kind of things that Team Jindal typically deems ‘part of the governor’s deliberative process.’ ”
Bayou Buzz publisher Steven Sabludowsky makes a similar connection between lack of transparency and potential corruption in a piece titled “Greenstein scandal turning Jindal ethics reform gold medal into dead lead.”
Sheriff Gusman, in deposition, refused to accept feds’ criticism of jail, denied knowledge of inmate videos — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune |
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman claimed in a deposition last month that he never viewed the now infamous, viral videos showing inmates injecting and snorting drugs, sipping from cans of Budweiser and unloading bullets from a handgun behind bars, and in one case carousing in the French Quarter — even though he later testified in federal court to having at least some recollection of watching the videos four years ago. Gusman also insisted, as he did in court, that the U.S. Department of Justice was wrong in finding myriad constitutional problems in the jail.
Henry Mouton seeks record of misconduct in River Birch probe, alludes to separate federal probe of FBI’s actions — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Mouton’s in a difficult spot, as he has pleaded guilty to taking bribes from the owners of River Birch landfill, even though the feds decided to drop their River Birch investigation in the wake of the online-comments scandal that took down top management in the local U.S. Attorney’s office. “In a motion filed Monday, [Mouton’s lawyer Mary Olive Pierson] asked for an order to force the Department of Justice to turn over records of misconduct by Sal Perricone and other former prosecutors involved in Mouton’s probe and in the negotiation of his 2011 plea deal. The motion said the records are essential to determine ‘whether Mouton’s prosecution was incurably infected by government malfeasance.'” A related T-P article — Probe into possible misconduct at U.S. attorney’s office may continue ‘for some time,’ motion says — indicates that the longtime federal investigators will have to endure a lengthy probe.
How the Prison-Industrial Complex Destroys Lives – Truthout.org interviews Marc Mauer, the executive director of The Sentencing Project.
Charts: Are the NYPDs Stop-and-Frisks Violating the Constitution? — Mother Jones |
NYPD officer Pedro Serrano, who says he himself has been stopped by the police while off duty, testified that officers were expected to fill quotas that forced them to make more stops than they would have otherwise. Serrano also made a secret recording of a superior stating that “the right people” were to be stopped, which seems to validate claims of racial profiling — but the NYPD’s defenders say the statement was taken out of context.
Practice of workers covering-up Gulf oil spills widespread, whistleblower says — WWLTV.com | Is there an offshore oil culture of faking water safety tests and firing whistleblowers? One whistleblower thinks so:
“When you’re in the offshore industry if you want to get along, you better go along,” said Randy Comeaux of Lafayette, who was a contract employee assigned to W&T platforms in 2009. “And what happens offshore stays offshore. You break any one of those two rules, in one fashion or another, you will not be working offshore.”
Here is a link to Randy Comeaux’s blog.
What the Government Has Spent on Sandy So Far – The Atlantic Cities | Informative pie charts show various federal spending breakdowns for hurricane-affected areas.
What the Energy Panel Would Look Like Under Chairwoman Landrieu – NationalJournal.com | Retirements seem to set up Sen. Mary Landrieu to chair the energy committee, if she wins re-election. What will be her agenda and focus? Related: “Landrieu Primed to Lead Energy Panel“
Education official’s spending probed — Shreveport Times | BESE member Walter Lee’s use of credit cards has raised concerns, and has been reported to the FBI by education officials. In Part 2, the Shreveport Times questions Walter Lee’s salary.
Mandeville High newspaper’s fake story gives restaurant indigestion — The Advocate | Don’t pull April Fool’s pranks three weeks late, without a wink and a nod.