Government & Politics
Louisiana’s employment performance more mixed than Jindal portrays — The Lens | Gov. Bobby Jindal is fond of touting Louisiana’s relatively low unemployment rate during his tenure, but there’s more to the story. Though it’s below the national rate, Louisiana’s unemployment rate has risen to 6.8 percent from 3.8 percent since January 2008. The state’s rate has gone up 1.2 points since December.
Top Recipients of Lobbyists’ Cash, 2013 — OpenSecrets Blog | Sen. Mary Landrieu is number nine on the list.
N.O. murders down sharply over first 6 months of 2013 — The Advocate | There were 76 homicides in New Orleans from January through June. If the rate holds steady, the city will see just over 150 murders by year’s end, the lowest number in decades. Is this an aberration or are the city’s anti-violence initiatives working?
FBI Uniform Crime Report | Speaking of the homicide rate, the FBI last month released its preliminary Uniform Crime Report numbers for 2012. And guess what? New Orleans didn’t have the highest homicide rate among major cities. That’s not because New Orleans saw a major decrease in homicide, it’s because the population has grown. According to this table, New Orleans’ population increased from 346,000 in 2011 to 362,000 in 2012, and homicides went down from 200 to 193 — resulting in a homicide rate of 53 per 100,000 population last year. Meanwhile, Detroit’s population went down from 713,000 to 707,000, and homicides went up from 344 to 386, giving that city a homicide rate of 54 per 100,000. Nothing to get too excited about, but at the very least it’s no longer accurate to call New Orleans the nation’s murder capital.
NOPD cop busted for DWI wins job back — The Advocate | The New Orleans Civil Service Commission ruled that the Police Department’s Public Integrity Bureau violated the Louisiana Police Officers Bill of Rights by taking too long to complete an investigation into an alleged drunken driving incident involving Officer Keyalah Bell, a key government witness in the trial over the police killing of Henry Glover. The commission’s ruling follows an appeals court decision this year requiring police departments to complete internal investigations within 120 days. “The March appeals court ruling could result in still more reversals of NOPD firings, though how many is uncertain,” reports John Simerman.
Owen Courreges: Save the World Trade Center? At the very least, don’t waste it — Uptown Messenger
He [Mayor Mitch Landrieu] wants to tear down a monument to trade and economic vitality and replace it with “open space” proximate to the convention center and tourist attractions. It’s like signing the death certificate on the local economy, an official statement that we aren’t coming back and should reach for whatever tourist scraps we can.
New Orleans S&WB member fed up with lag time on street repairs — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | One long-serving water board member on Monday sounded like she has had enough. Flo Schornstein, who is not known for harsh rebukes, demanded the S&WB staff do whatever it takes to speed up the street repair process. “The complaints that I hear from the public have to do with: We start to make a repair in the street and somehow we don’t get back to it for a very long time,” she said at a committee meeting.
2014 2018 CIP Request Property Management Revised — City of New Orleans | The New Orleans Department of Property Management is asking the City Planning Commission to sign off on a $300 million renovation of the former Charity Hospital to convert the building into the New Orleans Civic Center — a new City Hall. See page 18 for a full description of the project.
Louisiana high school end-of-course test results rise slightly — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Statewide, 59 percent of students scored “good” or “excellent” on the high school exit exam, up four points from last year. Not every district showed significant improvements, though: “New Orleans continued to show a bifurcation between its two districts, the Orleans Parish School Board and the state Recovery School District.”
Thieves in The Temple — The American Zombie | Blogger Jason Berry is looking into claims of corruption and favoritism in claims processing by attorneys in the BP Plaintiff’s Steering Committee. Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has ordered an investigation of a lawyer who worked for claims administrator Pat Juneau’s office.
Obama Seeks New U.S. Role in Climate Debate — The New York Times | “Mr. Obama’s speech kindled hopes for a couple of reasons. The centerpiece of his plan does not require Congressional approval. And he announced that the United States would no longer finance the building of conventional coal-fired plants overseas, which would help curb emissions in developing countries.”