Mayor Landrieu’s 2017 budget has been released, and true to form, Landrieu proposes to nickel and dime the citizens of New Orleans for scraps of revenue. In order to generate an additional $5 million, Landrieu plans to double the number of red light and speed cameras, adding a whopping 56 cameras around the city.
There are not too many legislative initiatives that Congressman Cedric Richmond and all seven members of the City Council agree on, but the opportunity for the Office of the Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson to become more independent is one of them.
Street renovations certainly are continuing apace along Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, a.k.a. “OCH.” The pavement has been stripped of asphalt and the newer, wider neutral ground is almost completed. Mayor Landrieu and other city leaders are already patting themselves on the back.
The only problem? Oretha Castle Haley was fine the way it was, unlike other infrastructure in the city. Most other streets remain smoldering dumpster fires.
In a passionate speech that made frequent references to his seven-week old daughter Kate, State Rep Walt Leger laid out his vision for New Orleans and Louisiana’s future to a packed, appreciative audience of business, tourism and political leaders at his fundraiser Monday night. With a rousing introduction by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Leger delivered what could easily be considered an opening salvo in the 2017 mayor’s race.
Although the November elections for president, U.S. Senator, Congress and other races are still more than a month away, political insiders are already looking ahead to next year’s campaigns when a new mayor, city council and other municipal office-holders will be elected in the fall 2017 but take office in the spring of 2018. There will be several judicial races in March 2017 as well.
In a speech laced with religious references, Governor John Bel Edwards told 200 attendees at a dinner last night sponsored by the Jefferson Parish Democratic Executive Committee that he was pleased that the federal government has taken the first step in committing $500 million of what he hopes will be a multi-billion dollar aid package for Louisiana’s flood victims. The group honored Edwards with their 2016 Blue Horizon award.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Bureau of Governmental Research today that the state will have no choice but to make additional cuts to departments and agencies of state government starting in January 2017 to balance the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends June 30. It’s simply a matter of cash flow, Dardenne explained.
When journalist Ethan Brown began researching the interconnected, unsolved slayings of eight women in rural Louisiana for what would become his new book, “Murder in the Bayou,” he knew he had immersed himself in a chronicle of the abuse of police power and easily discarded lives.
What Brown didn’t know until much later, however, was that a central location in those women’s lives and deaths would lead him straight to a well-known employee of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, in a connection that is now drawing more attention than the unsolved murders themselves.
“That was a really surprising moment, to say the least,” Brown said. “I never imagined it would be someone who works for a Congressman.”
As Election Day grows closer, there is lots of political jockeying at the national and local level. Hillary Clinton has decided to be more open about her health, Donald Trump is calling for paid maternity leave and tax credits for working parents, and Sept. 16 birthday boy Governor John Bel Edwards is making progress after two relatively successful trips to Washington to help flood victims.
There is a strain of thought in some police circles that cops need the ability to charge citizens with a crime for doing nothing more than disrespecting them. In order to command respect on the streets, the trope goes, mouthing off to a cop can’t be tolerated.
This pernicious notion is the source of much police misconduct, and it persists to this day.
For the first time in many years, the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee gave candidates an opportunity to meet with their voting members prior to their upcoming endorsement meeting. Last night’s meeting brought out more than a dozen candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress, various judgeships and the Orleans Parish School Board. They distributed hand cards and football schedules while pouring on the charisma and munching on finger sandwiches.
Samuel Johnson once said that “[e]very man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.”
Many armchair commentators from the past couple of weeks should heed Johnson’s words. When San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem, many of his supporters immediately began spouting platitudes about freedom of speech and the First Amendment. Kaepernick, the trope went, was being squelched by his critics
Mitch Landrieu is one smart cookie. Residents all across New Orleans are salivating that their neighborhood streets might get repaired with the $2 billion FEMA allocation, the starting point of the city’s massive $5 billion street rebuilding project.
It’s almost as though Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter were spat out of central casting. The portly, arrogant, hot-headed lawman is the archetype of the corrupt Southern sheriff. “You ain’t from ‘round here, boy,” might as well be tattooed on his forehead.
Playing to form, Larpenter doesn’t appreciate being criticized. His thin skin was certainly on display when a local muckraking blog called “Exposedat” suggested that Larpenter had misused public funds due to a conflict of interest.
The Republican Party has spent the 21st Century peddling off-base predictions and promises they can’t keep to the American people, culminating in the rise of Donald Trump, said strident Democratic consultant James Carville to an eager audience Friday night at Octavia Books.
Yesterday evening, the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee heard from seven of the two dozen candidates running for the U.S. Senate to replace David Vitter. Although their endorsement won’t be announced until after tonight’s forum for candidates running for judgeships and Orleans Parish School Board, it was obvious from the vibe in the room that state Treasurer John Kennedy is the clear choice of many New Orleans Republican heavy hitters.
The American Red Cross labeled it “the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy.”
With last week’s devastating floods which displaced more than 40,000 citizens and caused 11 deaths, along with Tuesday’s 47th anniversary of Hurricane Camille and the upcoming 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s citizens should focus on what climate change has already done to our state and their personal responsibility to create a more sustainable future.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week shows that only 1 percent of registered African-American voters overall support Donald Trump. Some strategists consider this trend problematic and could cost Trump the popular vote in many states like Louisiana with high African-American registration. In fact, Louisiana has the second highest percentage of African-American voters (32 percent) than any state in the nation except Mississippi (37 percent).
Trump of course is making up for his lack of African-American voters by his continued (though slightly eroding) support from the white working class who feel their way of life is being threatened. Trump simply tapped into their establishment-hating attitudes that have been simmering for years.
More than a year ago while addressing the West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana’s colorful, powerful and legendary 50th governor Edwin Washington Edwards said that Donald J. Trump would ultimately “wear himself out.” And so he has.
Trump just can’t seem to help himself. No matter how hard he tries to convince voters that he has the judgment and discipline to lead the world’s greatest democracy, Trump continues to spew bombast rhetoric that is embarrassing Republican leaders and mainstream voters across the nation — many, like Newt Gingrich, who are now having second thoughts about his electability.