Friday, March 30, 2007

Steve Scalise Calls For Repeal Of Stelly Plan

Rep. Steve Scalise calls for the repeal of the Stelly Plan tax increases on Louisiana families and businesses.

Judge Hunter Gives 42 Criminals Get Out Of Jail Free Card

Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Arthur Hunter said that next month he will release 42 poor defendants who remain in custody and suggested the public defender program should dump cases rather than continue working on them while it has only a skeleton staff, a staggering caseload and a lack of money. Judge Hunter said nothing about the crime victims' rights. Stories here and here.

Danziger 7 Prosecutors Ordered to Produce Documents

Attorneys for New Orleans police officers facing murder and attempted murder charges in fatal shootings on a bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina told a judge Thursday they need to see more documents from the grand jury that indicted the officers.

The judge in the case, Raymond Bigelow, ruled Thursday that prosecutors will have to turn over the documents to him, or make them available for review by all attorneys in the case. Bigelow gave the prosecutors until Tuesday to decide.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stop Light Fixed at St. Charles and Jefferson

The traffic signal at the intersection of St. Charles Avenue and Jefferson Avenue has been fixed. Only in New Orleans does the simple repair of a stop light at a major intersection merit discussion. I saw an accident at the intersection the weekend before they fixed the light, most likely caused by the light being inoperable for months.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Watch Out For Alligators

Drivers, beware: Alligators are out again, and they could be a road hazard. A motorist ran over one gator Wednesday morning along eastbound Interstate 10 between the Twin Span and Irish Bayou, killing it. "If you hit an alligator like this 10-footer, it's certainly going to cause some problems for your vehicle, depending on the size and condition of your vehicle, but even hitting a smaller animal can do some damage, and it is dangerous for people," Dietz said.

NOPD Can't Hire Officers Fast Enough

Despite more officers joining the New Orleans Police Department, officials said there's still a lack of manpower -- and boosting those numbers is an uphill battle.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Breaux for Governor of Maryland

Former Louisiana Senator John Breaux picked up an endorsement for Governor of Maryland.

Jindal is Either Good or Bad

Angelina Jolie Can't Eat Because She Misses Her Mom

Angelina Jolie's brother, James Haven, says she is not eating and is losing too much weight because she is grieving her mother's passing. Jolie and her brother made out on national tv onstage at the Oscars a few years ago.

Jindal Wants Criminals Out Of Public Housing

Bobby Jindal does not want criminals living in public housing. Makes sense to me, but the activists with other agendas will disagree.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Great Gift Idea for Bill Jefferson

If you're like me, from time to time you need to park a spare $90,000 in cash from a delicate and, shall we say, undocumented transaction. The wad of cash is too thick to fit through the deposit slot at the ATM machine, so where are you going to keep it all? We've all had this problem before. Happens to normal, everyday, law-abiding citizens all the time. Until now, I always hid my cash in the freezer, but everybody knows about that spot because that's where Congressman Bill Jefferson kept his spare change. I have found the perfect solution: the iceberg lettuce safe. Yes, you heard me right, a safe shaped like a "realistic looking" head of iceberg lettuce. That's an actual picture of the safe, not a real head of lettuce, on the left. The bottom of it detaches to reveal a secret hidden compartment. More details and ordering information here and here.

Governor Blanco Drops Out Of Governor's Race

Governor Kathleen Blanco officially dropped out of the Governor's race this evening. The worst kept secret in Louisiana politics for months has been that she would either drop out of the race or be forced out by the Democrats. Tonight, she made it official, clearing the deck for former Senator and current Maryland resident John Breaux to run.

Louisiana's law expressly prohibits Breaux from running, given that he lives in Maryland, votes in Maryland, pays taxes in Maryland and has a Maryland driver's license, among other things. I don't recall any recent out-of-state carpetbaggers seeking state-wide office in Louisiana, but it seems to be a relatively common occurrence for Louisiana politicians to run for legislative seats in districts in which they do not reside, claiming that they reside in their newly discovered district because their mama lives there. Louisiana courts seem to buy this legal fiction and read into the statutes an invisible caveat that the candidate for office "or his mama" live in the district. Breaux has already been playing the mama card and taking it to a nonsensical new level, claiming that his mother, unfortunately now passed away, used to live in Crowley, and he inherited half of two vacant lots there from her, which somehow makes him a resident of Louisiana.

Gambit's Pro-Gun Control Cover Story

The Gambit has a horribly biased cover story on the increase in gun sales in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. It discusses what it calls the "delicate balance between people's need to protect themselves and the proliferation of guns in an increasingly violent city," when the real balance is between law-abiding citizens and criminals. It suggests that former Mayor Marc Morial's disastrous and hypocritical lawsuit against the gun industry failed due to opposition from the legislature and the NRA, when it failed due to the obvious fact that killers, not gun manufacturers, are responsible for their actions. The article wanders into irresponsible fantasyland when it suggests that the police can preempt crime from happening so that self-protection is unnecessary.

Food Network to Feature Zapps, Hubig's Pies and Haydel's

The Food Network's "Road Tasted" show was in Louisiana recently shooting footage for a segment on the Simon Hubig Pie Co., Zapp's Potato Chips and Haydel's Bakery.

McDonald's Franchisee Donates Vests to NOPD Recruits

The owner of 12 New Orleans area McDonald's restaurants has donated bulletproof vests to the 38 graduates of the first New Orleans police recruit class since Hurricane Katrina. Chris Bardell said he responded to a request for vests from police Chief Warren Riley.

San Antonio Gives Up On Saints

San Antonio never had a chance at landing a professional sports team, despite Tom Benson's desire to move his team there. They have given up on the idea.

Two More Candidates for Governor

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell made his race for Governor official. Also, Walter Williams, the creator of the Saturday Night Live character Mr. Bill (ooohhhhh nnoooooo) plans to run.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Nagin Suggests Plot to Keep Blacks Away

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is again being skewered by the national press and blogosphere for his latest absurd comments after Katrina. See this Washington Post story for his discussion of the alleged plot to keep blacks from returning to the City.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Jordan and Riley Agree to do Things They Should Have Been Doing for Years

District Attorney Eddie Jordan and Police Superintendent Warren Riley have agreed to do simple things that they should have been doing for years in terms of cooperation between the DA's office and NOPD, yet they hailed it as if they just invented sliced bread. They tried to bill it as a solution to a longstanding problem, i.e., one that dates back to Harry Connick's days as district attorney, but that is false. The problems stem entirely from Eddie Jordan and Chief Compass and Riley's watches.

City Council Approves Trump Tower

I still don't think it will ever come to fruition, but Donald Trump has City Council approval to build his 70 story tower at Poydras and Camp.

GOP to Run Ads Targeting Breaux's Maryland Citizenship

The Louisiana Republican Party will run ads pointing out former Senator John Breaux's Maryland citizenship. "We feel like he is not a resident or citizen of Louisiana and we want to make this known to Louisiana residents," James Quinn said Thursday. "With all the supporting evidence and everything, we just want to make it clear that if he tries to run, we don't think he can."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Traffic Light and Pothole Update

The Times-Picayune has an update on the state of traffic lights and road improvements. The light at the intersection of St. Charles and Jefferson should be fixed soon. There is no good explanation for why it took so long to address that light. Somehow, the City pulled the wool over the Feds' eyes as to the condition of our streets and convinced the Federal Highway Administration to pay for street repairs that were, wink, wink, necessary due to Katrina damage.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

NOPD Flip-Flops Again

After a weekend marred by bloodshed, New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley said Monday his department is now focusing more on the city's most violent criminals and less on the small-time offenders.

His statements signal a major change in tactics and a marked departure from previous statements that the department would aggressively pursue even the lowest-level offenders.

This is a mistake. The notion of focusing on only one segment of criminals is misplaced. Violent criminals also commit lower level crimes. If you pick up people for the lower level crimes, you end up catching people who are wanted for far more serious offenses. To say nothing of the fact that it's just the right thing to do. Surrendering to small-time criminals in pursuit of the bigger fish is wrong. New York had revolutionary success in reducing crime by targeting all crime, not just the violent crime.

New Orleans area bloggers oppose Chief Riley's flip-flop. See here and here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Liberate Lower Magazine Street

Here is a website dedicated solely to fixing the idiotic problem that has closed down Magazine Street for years. It is unacceptable for any street to be shut down that long, even a tiny dead end street much less a major shopping and commuting street. This fiasco is a perfect example of the lack of leadership in this city. I understand there are different aspects to this dispute such as historic preservation, street and drainage work, litigation, etc., but a leader would somehow cut through all that and find a solution. How much business are Magazine Street merchants losing because their street has been shut down for years?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Vitter Endorses Giuliani

The Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee today announced that Senator David Vitter will serve as the Southern Regional Chair. Senator Vitter will help lead the campaign’s efforts to build support in the south and in the United States Senate.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Judge Blasts Prosecutors for Making a "Mess" of the Danziger 7 Case

Prosecutors created a "mess" by compelling three of the seven police officers charged in deadly bridge shootings in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath to testify before the grand jury that later indicted them, the judge presiding over the case said Friday. Stories here and here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Silence is Violence's Revamped Website

Silence is Violence has revamped their website.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What is Breaux Waiting For?

When is former Senator John Breaux going to announce his candidacy for Governor? He needs to quit delaying and announce so he can start raising campaign cash. The worst kept secret in Louisiana politics is the Democrats' desire to push Governor Kathleen Blanco out of the Governor's race. The face-saving script calls for her to say she has worked tirelessly for the people of Louisiana since Katrina and that she wants to be able to spend more time with her family and grandchildren, so she has made the difficult decision not to seek reelection. Democrats need to make this happen now if they are to have any chance of winning this fall.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Vote on Jefferson's Homeland Security Post Delayed

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has again put off a controversial vote on seating Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, on the Committee on Homeland Security. Perhaps the appointment of Jefferson does not fit with her promise to make this "the most honest, ethical and open Congress in history."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Boasso Makes It Official

State Senator Walter Boasso formally announced his candidacy for Governor.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Peyton Manning to Host SNL

Peyton Manning will host Saturday Night Live on March 24.

Last Chance

The Times-Picayune has a cover story and interactive graphics on the need for coastal restoration.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Orleans Levee


How New York Solved its Crime Problem

More on Rudy Giuliani's successful crime fighting in New York:

As mayor, he instituted a "zero tolerance" approach that cracked down on quality-of-life offenses like panhandling and public urination (in a city where some streets reeked of urine), in order to restore a sense of civic order that he believed would discourage larger crimes. "Murder and graffiti are two vastly different crimes," he explained. "But they are part of the same continuum, and a climate that tolerates one is more likely to tolerate the other." He linked the Dinkins era's permissive climate, which tolerated the squeegee men (street-corner windshield cleaners who coerced drivers into giving them money at the entrances to Manhattan), to the rise of more serious crime. "The police started ignoring all kinds of offenses," Mr. Giuliani later recounted of the Dinkins years. They "became," he deadpanned, "highly skilled observers of crime."

Mr. Giuliani changed the primary mission of the police department to preventing crime from happening rather than merely responding to it once it had occurred. His police chief, William Bratton, reorganized the NYPD, emphasizing a street-crimes unit that moved around the city, flooding high-crime areas and getting guns off the street. Mr. Bratton also changed the department's scheduling. Crime was open for business 24 hours a day, but most detectives, including narcotics cops, had previously gone off duty at 5 p.m., just as criminals were coming on "duty." No more.

The department brought modern management techniques to its new mission. It began compiling a computerized database to track the city's crime patterns and the effectiveness of the NYPD's responses to them. That database, known as Compstat, helped police target their manpower where it was needed, and in due course it became a national model. The department drove authority down to its precinct captains and emphasized that it expected results from these top managers. Mr. Bratton replaced a third of the city's 76 precinct commanders within a few months. "If you were to manage a bank with 76 branches every day, you would get a profit-and-loss statement from the bank," explained Mr. Giuliani. "After a week or so, you would see branches that were going in the wrong direction, and then you would take management action to try to reverse the trend. That is precisely what is happening in the police department."

The policing innovations led to a historic drop in crime far beyond what anyone could have imagined, with total crime down by some 64% during the Giuliani years, and murder (the most reliable crime statistic) down 67%, from 1,960 in Mr. Dinkins's last year to 640 in Mr. Giuliani's last year. The number of cars stolen in New York City every year plummeted by an astounding 78,000.

City Considering Tax Increase for Quarter

New Orleans is considering creating a special taxing district in the Quarter. Raising taxes will hurt the Quarter, not help it. Here is the story:
The city of New Orleans is reviving the idea of creating a special taxing district to generate funds to clean up and promote the French Quarter. Mayor Ray Nagin has appointed lawyer Virginia Boulet, one of his opponents in last year's election, to spearhead the effort. She said Nagin wants to find ways to enhance cleanliness, public safety, capital projects and enforcement of quality-of-life regulations in the district and to market it as a shopping and weekend-vacation destination.