Government & Politics
Hedge-Morrell’s amendment to cops’ off-duty work could benefit her sons | The Lens – State law requires elected officials to recuse themselves from voting on issues that benefit an immediate family member.
The amendment, co-sponsored by Hedge-Morrell and Councilwoman Stacy Head, would likely mean that Sgt. Todd Morrell and Officer Nicholas Morrell would be exempted from a new requirement that they be periodically rotated out of their Fair Grounds detail.
The [NOPD consent] decree … requires that officers who work regular details be rotated out at least once a year in order to provide “a fair and equitable number of secondary employment opportunities to all NOPD employees.”
$15 million of ice meant for Hurricane Isaac victims went elsewhere or was allowed to melt, report says | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
More than $15 million worth of ice purchased for Hurricane Isaac victims in Louisiana was allowed to melt or was given away by the state to private entities, according to a report released by the state office of inspector general on Thursday. The mishandling of the incident means 10-pound bags of ice, originally $2.10 each, ended up costing more than $28 apiece, including transportation costs.
I wondered what $15 million of ice looks like. Fortunately, the article includes a photo of piles of ice in a warehouse.
Gov. Jindal was right before, Medicaid is key to health care for uninsured: Jan Moller | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Instead of taking advantage of an opportunity to expand coverage with federal dollars, Gov. Bobby Jindal has chosen to double down on a broken status quo, promoting the traditional two-tiered system where tax dollars are funneled to a set of state-owned hospitals instead of having those dollars follow the patients through an insurance-based model.
It wasn’t always this way.
As recently as November 2008, the governor was also in favor of expanding coverage.
Starwood Hotels criticized for vacant Canal Street property | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Starwood Hotels owns the Katz building, which sits in one of the most prominent locations on Canal Street. Yet the property has been vacant for over 30 years.
Lyons Center pool, all city’s other outdoor pools, now closed for the summer | Uptown Messenger
Less than two months after Mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrated its reopening with a jubilant splash, the pool at the Lyons Center is now closed for the summer, along with all the other outdoor pools in the city.
Closing the pools at the end of July was budgetary decision based on the return to school in August, but residents and some officials say another week or two would have been appropriate.
In June, The Lens reported that the city’s swimming program had to deal with a $700,000 cut in federal funding.
Local schools are crimping summer vacation in a bid to boost learning | The Hechinger Report – Schools nationwide are adding time to the school year — lengthening days, requiring Saturday classes or shortening summer break. But it’s unclear whether more class time equals more learning.
The Tony Bennett flap | The Education Gadfly Weekly – Reaction and commentary about the fallout from revelations that Tony Bennett, the former head of education in Indiana, intervened to change a state rating for a charter school run by a well-connected GOP donor. Bennett resigned as Florida education commissioner Thursday. Now there are renewed questions about the value of having states issue letter grades to rate schools.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s top coastal official also raises questions about Halliburton plea deal in Gulf oil spill | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Garret Graves, the chairman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, agrees with U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who recently questioned a “paltry” $200,000 fine levied on Halliburton Energy Services for destroying evidence after the BP oil spill. Is such a relatively low fine enough of a punishment for a large company that destroys evidence?
One year later: Bayou Corne sinkhole still a mystery | The Advocate – A good recap of the history of the sinkhole and lingering questions: How much more will it expand? How deep is the doggone thing, anyway? What are the risks of further subsidence to property and infrastructure?
NASA-funded Researchers Classify New Type of Storm Fueled by ‘Brown Ocean’ | Nature World News – This is unwelcome news: Scientists have discovered a new type of cyclonic storm that feeds off inland moisture. That means a tropical storm could make landfall and still intensify, drawing on moisture from the ground.
Embattled Sheriff Gusman proudly shows off new Orleans Parish Prison facility | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Gusman believes the $145 million facility will be a huge “step in the right direction.” For example:
The new lockup includes an independent generating system so that the Sheriff’s Office will not have to evacuate inmates during hurricanes, which has been a source of problems in the past. The 1,438-bed facility will also improve efficiency, Gusman said, since it will let the Sheriff’s Office consolidate operations now spread among a sprawling complex of 11 buildings and tents.
After reading the story, Lens reporter Tyler Bridges tweeted, “Why is Gusman’s atty the one saying the New Orleans prison will open later than planned? Why not the engineer?”
The Untouchables: America’s Misbehaving Prosecutors, And The System That Protects Them | Huff Post Politics – As an example of prosecutorial overreach, the article explores the case of John Thompson. Thompson was wrongly convicted on two separate occasions, spending 14 years on death row before being exonerated. Is the entire criminal justice system broken? In 2011, The Lens interviewed Thompson the nature of crime in New Orleans.