Despite generally good salaries, an 85% faculty majority is said to favor unionizing | The Lens – The effort to unionize teachers at Ben Franklin High comes to culmination next week. School leader Timothy Rusnak’s discretion over who gets paid what has been a hot topic since the organizing drive began. Rusnak says it gives him leverage in bidding for the services of the best teachers.
TOPS eligibility bill rejected by Louisiana House committee | The Advocate – The TOPS tuition program may not be quite a “third rail” in Louisiana politics, but it’s close. Legislators show little willingness to shrink the popular tuition program, despite ballooning projected costs.
Bill to ease RSD removal clears Louisiana House committee | The Advocate – The House Education approved a bill that “would make it easier to move public schools from state to local control.”
N.O. charter school ranks second among La. schools | The Louisiana Weekly – “Within a week, the three schools under the governance of Collegiate Academies were accused of violating the civil rights of their students while the organization’s flagship school, Sci Academy, was ranked as the #2 high school in Louisiana by U.S. News and World Report.”
Mayor Mitch Landrieu voices support for Holy Cross, opposition faces long odds | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The mayor’s support for the mid-rise project lengthens “the already daunting odds that a last-minute push from residents will succeed in scuttling the project.”
Holy Cross condo plan: Are we already abandoning post-Katrina reforms? | The Lens – The community senses that its input, including a 74-page argument to uphold currently legal height limits, is losing ground to an overblown development scheme.
Cost of Treme Center renovations nearly doubles to $6 million | WWL-TV
Mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrated the re-opening of the Treme Center as a symbol of the city’s recovery in 2013. But getting the facility renovated not only cost double what the city had anticipated, but parts of the center’s major improvements had to be re-done because of problems with construction.
Government & Politics
Live blog: Lawmakers to vote on two Landrieu-backed taxes Wednesday | The Lens – Reporter Tyler Bridges is live-blogging Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposal to have New Orleans voters approve a hike in cigarette taxes.
Nola gives more than a million dollars | The New Orleans Advocate – The first GiveNOLA fundraiser for over 300 area nonprofits surpassed expectations and raised over $2 million in 24 hours.
Zurik: Will Ethics Board, feds tackle legislative vets? | FOX 8 WVUE – The president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says the state ethics board should investigate questionable campaign finance filings by longtime Senate President John Alario and Senator Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb. The companion story by the Times-Picayune is titled “Alario and Dorsey-Colomb should face probe for double billing, watchdog says.”
Drone bill dies in Louisiana House committee | The New Orleans Advocate
Steve Beatty, editor of The Lens, in New Orleans, said his news organization has had the occasion to use drones. He said SB330 would do little more than outlaw one technology.
Grand Isle sinking rapidly — even faster than metro area’s storm surge barrier | The Lens – The risks associated with a rising sea level will only increase if greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, scientists assert.
National climate change report says effects on Louisiana will be significant, costly | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Human-induced global warming is projected to hit the state with a double-whammy: more droughts in the North, and stronger storms and flooding in the South.
Environmental groups protest bill aimed at levee board lawsuits | The New Orleans Advocate – Retired U.S. Army Gen. Russel Honoré, leader of the Green Army environmental movement, “said the energy industry is trying to keep the case out of the courts by having the Legislature pass laws that would negate the litigation filed by the levee board.”
Author John Barry joins chorus of Tammany fracking critics | The New Orleans Advocate – Former flood authority vice chairman John Barry sees a between legislative attempts to derail his lawsuit against Big Oil and attempts to allay concerns over fracking in St. Tammany Parish:
“The industry is trying to evade the law,” he [Barry] said. Specifically, he criticized a handful of bills under consideration during this legislative session that he said would give the industry “virtual immunity” from lawsuits filed by local governments and individuals seeking to recover damages from oil industry operations.
Jarvis DeBerry: Can Marshall Coulter be saved from tragedy? | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – New reports call into question previous statements about Coulter, who apparently returned to a life of chronic burglary after being shot in the head last year while on Marigny homeowner Merrit Landry’s property. In a related piece, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune columnist James Varney writes: “At this point, any further law enforcement moves against Landry are not only pointless but also vengeful.”
NOPD underbilled state grant to fight drunk driving, IG finds | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
In the end, the [New Orleans Police] department not only failed to collect more than $59,000 of the grant that could have been used to cover traffic officers’ overtime pay, but it also failed to catch an officer who is now accused of falsely reporting his overtime hours under that program, according to a new report released Wednesday (May 7) by Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux’s office.