New research: Louisiana coast faces highest rate of sea-level rise worldwide — The Lens | “Stunning new data not yet publicly released shows Louisiana losing its battle with rising seas much more quickly than even the most pessimistic studies have predicted to date.”
Most Louisiana members get low grades from environmental advocacy group — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
CASSIDY: Is Louisiana Natural Gas The Future Of American Energy? — The Hayride | U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge) argues: “Natural gas can be the fuel that powers the 21st Century and create an entire new sector of good paying jobs along the way.”
Katrina Red Tape Keeps New Orleans Homeowner in Limbo – NYTimes.com | A story on the agonizing delays, red tape and other post-K Catch-22’s that continue to stymie homeowners trying to rebuild. (Warning: article may cause uncomfortable flashbacks for some readers.) A taste: “Guidelines come and go, directions contradict each other, adjustments are made to fix one problem only to create another, and even the most responsive officials are often bound by rules they cannot change.”
Ire grows over abandoned NO East apartment complex — WDSU
Residents say the apartment complex, across the street from a children’s day care, is a haven for vagrants, drug dealers and criminals. “It’s not safe,” said Rosedale resident Paula McFarland.”
State Superintendent John White announces education initiatives for the year — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | White’s new “Louisiana Believes” plan includes five main components: “unifying early childhood education, improving graduation rates for students with disabilities, turning around more F-graded schools, revamping the Career Diploma and guiding teachers through the new national standardized testing standards, called Common Core.”
U.S. teachers’ job satisfaction craters — Washington Post.com | Recent poll shows that teacher satisfaction has declined to the lowest level in 25 years. Another interesting finding: “Seven in 10 principals say the job responsibilities are not very similar to five years ago.”
Louisiana’s plan for special education concerns some stakeholders — The Town Talk | Laureen Mayfield, with the Louisiana Association of Special Education, says Superintendent White’s plan to base special education funding on the degree of a child’s disability has been tried and abandoned in other states, and may violate the Individual with Disabilities Education Act.
OPSB Needs to Work with RSD on NMTCs — Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives | This piece criticizes the Orleans Parish School Board for not voting to pursue New Market Tax Credits to finance construction of the Phillis Wheatley Elementary school building in the Treme, which is part of the School Facilities Master Plan. The Cowen Institute says the Recovery School District and OPSB “must work together to pursue NMTCs.” Here’s why:
Although the NMTCs for the Wheatley building may only amount to $2 million, NMTCs for the entire Master Plan could amount to $40 million, money the Master Plan desperately needs. In fact, without NMTCs our analysis predicts the Master Plan will be short $94 million … roughly equivalent to building or renovating four schools or stabilizing 24 schools.
Lee Zurik Investigation: Sheriff’s budget bloated by legal fees – FOX 8 WVUE | Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office claims that paying a flat $130,000 per month in unspecified lawyer fees is far less expensive than a fluctuating hourly rate arrangement. Zurik does the math, and wonders if the reverse could be true. “In 2011, the Orleans Parish Sheriff paid outside attorneys, including Usry Weeks & Matthews, almost $1.9 million. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff, which is billed hourly, spent much less — $700,000.”
Roots of violence — The Advocate | At a forum on the causes of crime, Cecile Guin, director of the Office of Social Services in LSU’s School of Social Work, produced numbers showing that youth who commit violent crime “usually have low reading level(s), live in a dangerous neighborhood and have an untreated mental health and/or substance abuse issue.”
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal has a similar story: “Each inmate admitted to a Mississippi detention facility is different, but state Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps says most of them have two things in common – a dependency on drugs or alcohol and an inability to read past a middle-school level.” (via http://www.southerneddesk.org)
Drop in Crime May Be Linked to Small-Scale Efforts — LiveScience | Others believe that extra security in business districts and private security has played a role in crime reduction. Duke University criminologist Philip Cook says: “There are more private security guards than there are police in this country … I believe that private action, though it has been largely ignored, deserves part of the credit [for the long-term national drop in crime].”
Government & Politics
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wins latest round to reform the Sewerage & Water Board — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Mayor wins vote on advancing his plan to reform the S&WB:
The S&WB voted 10 to 1 in support of a new governance structure that will all but eliminate the influence of the City Council on day-to-day policymaking and establish a protocol for selecting new members.
Proposed legislative bill seeks to limit reach of red light, speeding cameras — wwltv.com | A North shore lawmaker contends that red light cameras should only ticket residents in that jurisdiction. If passed, the bill poses obvious budgetary ramifications for New Orleans, a city which draws both tourists and commuters, and takes in about $13 million a year through its (ever-expanding) red-light camera network.