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Friday, April 28, 2017

    WHAT'S ON THE POLICE CHIEF'S CELL PHONE? The mystery surrounding former Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White's cell phone just took another turn, with the release of the police report relating to its disappearance to the local news media.  White, who has said he did not have a city-parish cell phone, then said he had one but it was lost or stolen, finally turned it over to his attorney last week.  You can read more about who the chief was talking to and what police say the phone was being used for at the link below.  

    Written on Wednesday, 10 April 2013
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Federal investigators who spent the past 10 months looking into problems within the New Orleans Police Department have issued a scorching report that will likely lead to a consent decree for the troubled force.  The report found routine constitutional violations, biased against certain demographic groups and consistent failures to follow procedures.  Despite efforts by the Landrieu administration and new Police Chief Ronal Serpas, shown here with Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, investigators found the problems continue. 
Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover says the city will not post a warning sign similar to those in other areas cautioning about the sudden drop off a sand bar in the Red River where six teenagers drowned, saying the "feel-good" measure would be ineffective.  But State Representative Roy Burrell said he plans to ask the Attorney General who has the authority to post such signs and is considering state legislation to address it.  Similar signs have been posted at Hamel Park stating a hidden waters edge, a short distance from where the teens waded off into the Red River.
The Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) has pulled a controversial TIF proposal to finance a luxury hotel in River Ranch which appeared to have more opposition that was originally thought.  While some are blaming the Tea Party of Lafayette, which opposed it simply based on it being a new tax and mounted a media campaign against it; others said the idea was controversial from its inception.  Because the TIF would have imposed increased taxes for a development where no taxpayers live, Parish President Joey Durel had supported the proposal arguing that citizens could "vote with their steering wheel" by not shopping there if they opposed the taxes. 

Both Democratic and Republican legislators are taking a close look at Governor Bobby Jindal's proposed budget with mixed reviews on the plan that would close outpatient pharmacies for the poor, end at-risk youth education programs and cut funds for charity hospital care, parks and museums and state employees. Legislators are lining up to question the Governor's use of one-time funds to balance the budget, a tactic Jindal has previously criticized. "This thing's scaring me.  Did Stephen King write it?" asked Representative Joe Harrison, R-Napoleonville. 

Despite bringing Baton Rouge to the top of most national rankings for a strong local economy, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, shown here, remains paid less than many of his staff as well as other parish elected officials, something that Metro Council members say is likely to stay the same.  The plan of government requires that the council review the Mayor's pay every four years and the Advocate has taken a look at others who make more than the Mayor.  Holden has not asked the Metro Council for a pay raise. 

The Monroe City Council has voted down a proposal to give a 2 percent pay raise to its firefighters with 20 years of service, joining a list of cities struggling to keep public safety services at their current levels.  The council pointed to increases in pension benefits as a reason the city could not raise firefighter pay. Both police and fire pensions have increased, with firefighters pensions increasing from 14 percent to 25 percent effective July 1.  Together the police and firefighter pensions will mean an additional $1.3 million for the city.

With Newt Gringrich and others teasing, Buddy Roemer filled a void this week and made the leap by announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to run for President.  From his office at the Business First Bank in Baton Rouge, Roemer, shown here with the ghosts of former Governors Mike Foster and Dave Treen in the background, captured the attention of national media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CBS News, Huffington Post and a host of political bloggers.  Ironically, his pledge to not take PAC money and only accept contributions up to $100 has come at a time when the news media is investigating connections between Governor Bobby Jindal's campaign contributions and appointments to government positions, making Jindal's own Presidential hopes appear based on politics of the past.

New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro made a promise to double the number of trials held in 2011, but attorneys are questioning whether his tactics to achieve that mission might be more public relations than necessity.  At least two recent cases appear to be what attorneys call "pick and pleas", which means that the defendant had already decided to plead guilty but the District Attorney insisted that a jury be selected and the plea made after that so that it could be counted as a trial.  Cannizzaro denies he would waste a jury's time by doing this, but defense attorneys and public defenders are questioning the practice.  Read more about this debate at the link below. 
Thursday, 03 March 2011


 With the release of a dramatic report raising questions about the survivability of South Louisiana and coastal reaches in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, the America's WETLAND Foundation launched an eighteen month program of Blue Ribbon Resilient Community Leadership Forums.  The first  program will be Hosted in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on March 22, by Mayor Randy Roach and followed by sessions throughout the Gulf Coast and chaired by Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne.  With the prospect of lagging support from the Federal Government, the new project with empower communities to envision their future by having greater transparency of data for local decision making and immediate action.  The prospect of moving entire communities is possible and the America's WETLAND Foundation wants to ensure that the citizens of communities have a say so in their futures.
A New Orleans fundamentalist preacher known for his protests against the largely gay Southern Decadence Festival was arrested for allegedly masturbating near a Lafreniere Park playground where children were present.  The Rev. Grant Storms, who appeared on ABC News Primetime Live to denounce the Labor Day festival as a "perversion" was released from a Gretna jail because of overcrowding, but could face fines up to $2500 and be imprisoned for up to three years.   
Reporters pouring over Governor Bobby Jindal's 1,300-page campaign finance report find it easy to determine that he raised over $3.4 million last year and has $9 million in the bank, but they have a harder time determining who hosted fundraisers for the Governor and who got the all-important face time, since his office rarely releases any details on his schedule.  What is clear is that he has raised money from all 50 states and is pouring campaign money into a massive fundraising structure that includes GOP consultants and fundraisers from across the country, indicating he is most likely using the funds to position himself for a future campaign on the national stage.  Read more about what you can and cannot learn from the Governor's campaign finance report in the AP story at the link below. 

A special election held Saturday to fill a vacant Senate seat in Acadiana has given the Republican Party control of the State Senate.  State Representative Jonathan Perry, Republican from Kaplan, defeated Nathan Granger, Democrat of Erath, who is a member of the Vermilion Parish Police Jury and owner of an oil services company.  With all 106 precincts reporting, Perry received 52 percent of the vote to Granger's 48 percent.  Read more about this race in the Daily Iberian at the link below.


Newsweek named New Orleans America's top dying city in late January, based on a sharper population decline than any other city, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.  The story is making the rounds on the web with New Orleanians jumping to defend their city and noting that much of the population has returned, and while the Census count may be down since 2000, it is clearly on the rise since the 2005 storm devastated the Big Easy.   With violent crime at an all-time high, this ranking could have just as easily been aimed at the number of murders the city has experienced.  Either way, it's clear that New Orleans needs a big dose of medicine to help it heal. 

The Pelican Republic debuts as a compilation of diverse viewpoints from different places and ideologies.  You may find that The Boiling Frog frets over societal values while The Purple Veil delves into personalities; Politique Deux Centimes digs around Acadiana while Anonymous Rex keeps Louisiana in the DC picture and The Lively Pelican weighs in with more blabber from the Crescent City region. 

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