The race to replace retiring 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Max Tobias is already heating up with three lower court judges – Criminal Court Judge Laurie White and Civil District Court Judges Tiffany Chase and Regina Bartholomew Woods – tossing their hats in the ring. Attorney Kevin Guillory who previously ran for a Criminal Court judgeship is also campaigning.
By Julie Schwam Harris
I feel compelled to set the record straight. Owen Courreges recently published a piece opposing a meaningful Equal Pay for Women bill and opposing State Rep. Helena Moreno’s actions to promote women’s equality in elected representation, economic opportunity and freedom from fear of violence.
It is critical to recognize the link between the two events that inspired Moreno to action with the “It’s No Joke” campaign. Rep. Havard’s sexist “joke” about a bill trying to prevent young strippers from being mired in potentially dangerous situations on May 18 and the defeat of a good compromise Equal Pay bill on May 19 are linked because they are two sides of the same coin – sexism and unintended discrimination against women – that are hurting women, families and the economy in Louisiana.
State Rep. Helena Moreno is on something of a tear lately following recent events in the legislature. First, one of her fellow state representatives, Rep. Kenny Havard, submitted a controversial amendment to a bill requiring exotic dancers to be of the age of majority. The amendment would have also tacked on a maximum age of 29 and a maximum weight of 160 lbs.
Havard tried to pass off the amendment as a “joke” about the dangers of overregulation. However, he ultimately voted in favor of the unamended bill, which tended to refute the notion that he was somehow satirizing government overreach.
Long ago, the law respecting the idea of sanctuary was embedded in British common law. Fugitives would be immune from arrest in sacred places, such as places of worship. You’ve probably seen a movie where some neer-do-well runs into a church with police on his heels and yells “sanctuary,” as though he’s discovered some trump card against getting caught.
However, sanctuary wasn’t quite the unequivocal boon to absconding felons as it would first appear. If he made it inside a church, the fugitive would then have 40 days to surrender to secular authorities or confess their crimes and be subject to forfeiture of their worldly possessions and permanent exile, i.e., “abjure the realm.”
Republican State Rep. Kenny Havard’s proposed “joke” amendment to Senate Bill 468 mandating that strippers be no older than 28 years of age or weigh no more than 160 pounds is just the latest example that many male elected officials still haven’t figured out that women deserve respect, let alone equal pay for equal work.
Perhaps the most crucial skill a citizen can have when viewing the myriad policies proposed by politicians is knowing the difference between that which is substantive, and that which panders. The electorate should know when a politician is genuinely trying to make the world better, as opposed to merely looking like they’re trying to make the world better.
Alas, New Orleanians were exposed to the latter this past Friday, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu, flanked by Councilmembers Jason Williams and James Gray, proposed a five-part ordinance “aimed at promoting gun safety in New Orleans.”
The rapidly evolving plan to return all schools in New Orleans to local control by 2018 — effectively ending the 10-year reign of the state’s Recovery School District — was hailed as a vitally important milestone in the rebuilding of the city’s school system, school leaders and education activists said Tuesday night at a forum on the the process of re-unifying the school district hosted by the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans.
Their comments were greeted, however, with questions ranging from the skeptical to almost hostile from the audience, underscoring the degree to which many residents remain unconvinced that 10 years of publicly celebrated reforms have made any substantive differences in their neighborhoods.
Charter schools are big business in New Orleans. They basically operate in their own world and are answerable not to the voters but only to their individual boards, each of which is like a mini OPSB.
Charter school organizations can hire whomever they want, pay whatever salaries they want, and purchase supplies and equipment from vendors of their own choosing. As the more successful charter school organizations get the opportunity to start up (or take over) additional schools, their fiefdom grows.
It’s not uncommon for something to sound wonderful that is ultimately a bad idea — “freemium” games, bacon-wrapped pizza, going to Bourbon Street — the list is endless. It’s easy to get whipped into a frenzy by hype or sexiness and ignore practical realities.
That’s the category to which the oft-debated commuter rail line between New Orleans and Baton Rouge belongs.
Louisiana boasts many peculiarities; things that just don’t fly in most places are commonplace here. Among these, of course, are drive-through daiquiri stands.
I won’t call the drive-through daiquiri stand “the last bastion of American freedom,” but in this regulated, sanitized age, we’re running out of ramparts. Oftentimes that which makes Louisiana more free also makes us unique.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education sent a controversial decision on how to fund individual schools in New Orleans back to the Orleans Parish School Board on Thursday, in a move that appears to at least partially satisfy some schools’ request for more time to consider the impact of a new formula.
The recent announcement that former state senator and current chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, Foster Campbell, has thrown his hat into the U.S. Senate competition is just another sign that Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana’s Democratic Party are preparing to aggressively compete against the state’s Republican Party in every race.
Lusher Charter School could be as close to a week away to decision whether to file a lawsuit over a proposed change to state education funding formulas, even after a leading advocate for New Orleans charter schools called the information Lusher is providing to the public “incomplete and wrong.”
Whether we live Uptown, in Uruguay or Uzbekistan, we are all impacted by oil and the global economy. Though many sectors of New Orleans economy like real estate and technology are prospering, the war in the Middle East and its related immigration crisis, China’s economic slowdown, the broad impact of the continuing drop in oil prices coupled with new state and local taxes on the horizon could squeeze many lower and middle class New Orleanians in 2016.
As Baton Rouge area residents listen President Obama’s remarks on Medicaid expansion today, we can’t help but think how strange our politics are getting. Governor Jon Bel Edwards can’t get his choice for speaker elected but at least St. Rep Walt Leger gets the consolation prize of Pro Tem. The next day Governor Edwards signs an Executive Order expanding Medicaid for a couple hundred thousand Louisiana residents who cannot afford health insurance, which made the President want to visit here this week. Who else noticed that Congressman Cedric Richmond was with the President on Air Force One?
New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has really thrown down the gauntlet vis-à-vis his support for gun control. Next year, he plans to lobby the Louisiana legislature to pass an unconstitutional anti-gun law. Not only that, he actually expects the NRA to aid him in his endeavors.
A move to weight the state’s per-pupil funding much more heavily toward students in New Orleans with special needs could lead to a “devastating” budget cut of around $1.2 million at Lusher Charter School, officials said Saturday morning.
Are voters of Louisiana ready to forgive David Vitter? We’re not so sure.
Vitter is now openly discussing ‘the worst mistake of his life.’ We believe in the power of forgiveness and the opportunity for people to atone for their sins in order to rebuild their lives. Let’s face it: adultery is more common that many people like to admit. Even the number of extramarital relationships sought by women is rising.
But we’re not sure the public can forgive him enough to elect him as Louisiana’s next governor.
It seems like almost everyone is jumping on John Bel Edward’s bandwagon. More than a year ago we ran into John Bel and Donna Edwards at an event in the river parishes. Donna proudly proclaimed that John Bel was going to be Louisiana’s next governor. Yeah, sure, we said at the time. Now we might have to agree.
Today’s endorsement by former candidate Republican Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne who received 166,000 votes is just another indication that Republican voters can give serious consideration to a Democrat who they might not agree with on every issue. We can also add Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand to that growing list of Edwards supporters along with the powerful Louisiana Sheriff’s Association.