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Guest column: After leadership change, police still need support

Sandy Shilstone, left, and Bob Brown.

The New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation was founded in 1996 to support and improve the New Orleans Police Department. We have continued this effort through three mayoral administrations and six superintendents. Our focus remains unchanged. The NOPJF Board of Directors extends our deepest appreciation to Chief Ronal Serpas for his extraordinary efforts to… Continue reading →

Our Views: Vacations for U.S. presidents

President Barack Obama’s vacation this month has raised the usual questions about where, when or even if a commander-in-chief should take a break from his job. But there’s ample precedent for controversy when it comes to presidential vacations, as Lawrence L. Knutson reminds readers in a lavish new coffee-table book, “Away From the White House: Presidential… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Grieve for the shootings here at home

Terry Coleman

There was raw emotion on display recently when an unarmed black youth was shot and killed. A portion of the African-American community was shocked and others were outraged. A group got together to express how they felt about the tragedy, to express their sorrow and to alert the public that something has to be done to… Continue reading →

Letter: More incarceration doesn’t make for safer city

Thank you for your long and thorough examination of the status of the Orleans Parish Prison. I was surprised to read Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche quoted as saying that without more jail beds “there’s no point in hiring more police officers.” This statement illustrates the problem with the criminal justice system in New Orleans: The assumption… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Serpas era was a tough slog

When Mitch Landrieu was first elected New Orleans mayor in 2010, he said that selecting a police chief would be the most important decision he’d make. His choice, to nobody’s surprise, was Ronal Serpas, a New Orleans native who’d risen through the NOPD ranks, served at hugely successful superintendent Richard Pennington’s side and then left town to lead… Continue reading →

Our Views: At the gate, a year early

We’re amid qualifying for the big U.S. Senate race this fall, and voters go to the polls in November. But despite what seems to be more urgent political deadlines, Louisiana politicos are abuzz with another election a year away. Ours is one of the few states with off-year elections. Unlike the federal offices,… Continue reading →

Letter: Israel faces higher standard

The thrust of Romi Elnagar’s letter of Aug. 6 seems to suggest that she wants people to commiserate with her for the killings of innocents in Gaza by the Israelis. I commiserate. But who’s responsible for these killings? Are they not of Palestinians’/Hamas’ own making? Did not the Palestinians give their imprimatur to incorporate this terrorist group… Continue reading →

Letter: Seniors should know who voted for cuts

In response to Pastor John Sanders’ letter, “Raising age for benefits hurts elderly,” his heart is in the right place, but his facts are not accurate. Increasing the age for benefits is not what is hurting elderly seniors. During the 1990s, before Rep. Bill Cassidy became a politician, the retirement age for full benefits was changed… Continue reading →

Letter: Praise to EBR schools for accommodations

I know that we hear a lot of bad things about the East Baton Rouge School District, but I am writing to praise them. This week, the administration worked very hard to accommodate my friend who is severely disabled. She is a single mom with four kids, and she required some special considerations to make sure… Continue reading →

Letter: No satisfaction found in bigotry

In reference to the diatribe regarding his satisfaction of the Fairness Ordinance failure, published on July 15 by Gene Mills, I am relieved that we can still exercise bigotry against groups of people we don’t care for. Last time I checked, everyone’s blood is red. Perhaps he has some scientific evidence to disprove that. Ari Fisher… Continue reading →

Letter: News is all flash, no substance

Why I like reading the Advocate: The Advocate doesn’t get sidetracked by peripheral news, such as wars, famines and government intrigue. Instead, your paper focuses on the important issues. I’m referring to the Aug. 13 edition that featured this headline at the top of the front page, “DA’s brother flashes badge at officer.” Keep up the… Continue reading →

James Gill: Cats versus bears: a quick comparison

There are moves afoot to stop killing stray cats and to start killing black bears. The head of one campaign is called Slaughter, but it is not the one that favors potting Louisiana’s official state mammal. These are confusing times. Christel Slaughter is president of the Companion Animal Alliance, which… Continue reading →

Our Views: Better start for jobs

Louisiana’s “career diploma” for high-schoolers never achieved the lofty goals of its promoters. Those goals included both the high academic standards demanded by the state’s accountability program and proficiency in a chosen vocation after high school. It’s still a tall order, but we are encouraged by… Continue reading →

Letter: Public should fight political antics

This may be read to the tune of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-a-Dee-Ay, my oh my, what a Louisiana day!” Growing up in a household where my grandfather was a Baptist preacher and my grandmother was my idol, I had plenty of truisms to learn. I’ll never forget her looking me square in the eyes,… Continue reading →

Our Views: New fight over judges

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has earned the thanks of the taxpayers of New Orleans in the cause of trimming court expenses. That has meant taking on the entrenched political power of judges, but we believe that Landrieu and legislators are right to tackle those difficult struggles. A… Continue reading →

Letter: Congress should renew Land and Water Conservation Fund

The energy industry is known around the country for a lot of things, including technological innovation, job creation and its dedication to providing America the fuel that keeps our economy humming. Yet one of the industry’s most enduring characteristics often gets lost among debates over offshore drilling and hydraulic fracturing: its long-standing role in helping preserve… Continue reading →

Letter: Improve scrutiny of illegal immigrants

We now know that facts concerning thousands of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border are muddled and scarce. Blame secrecy by federal agencies who transport illegals to nonborder states to become permanent residents with absolutely no thought of informing us. It is shameful that our governor’s staff had to search a federal website to learn Louisiana… Continue reading →

Inside Report: Ascension council at bump in parish roads

Ascension Parish voters made a resounding statement in November 2012 when they rejected parish government’s half-cent sales tax for roads. The proposed 25-year tax went down by 14 percentage points to the surprise of parish officials who believed in the weeks and months leading up to the vote that the polling and anecdotal… Continue reading →

Our Views: Board splits go to voters

While this fall’s Louisiana election for U.S. Senate will get most of the spotlight, area school board races also are worth watching. Election qualifying, which includes races for nine seats each in East Baton Rouge and Lafayette parishes, is Wednesday through Friday. Who signs up to run will be closely parsed for clues as to the… Continue reading →

Letter: Consumers, policymakers must find solution to drug costs

In nearly all areas of the economy, innovation provides better products and lower costs for consumers. Drug companies, however — responding to marketplace incentives — are linking pharmaceutical innovation with higher prices for important specialty drugs. This is becoming a troubling trend, with no better example than Sovaldi — a hepatitis C treatment that costs $1,000 a… Continue reading →

Letter: BESE comment quoted without context

On Aug. 17, in its “Capitol Buzz” column, The Advocate used the headline “Beebe lashes out at White,” and reports that, during a “lengthy meeting last week,” I challenged state Superintendent of Education John White, by saying, “I’m sure you can read.” Although I did say those words at an Aug. 12 Board of Elementary and… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: Changes mean problems for state employees

State Treasurer John Kennedy

Here’s a tip for state workers once new health plan changes take effect: Don’t break a leg. It could cost you a month’s pay. The Office of Group Benefits, which insures thousands of state workers, retired state workers and dependents, is spending more than it takes in. The burn rate is an eye-watering $16.1 million a… Continue reading →

Inside Report: Council members support testing for candidates

Two Lafayette city-parish council members are asking seven of their colleagues to back an effort being pushed by strict interpreters of the U.S. Constitution. A resolution, pushed by councilmen William Theriot and Andy Naquin, would show official Lafayette support for state legislative passage of a law requiring all candidates for public office… Continue reading →

Our Views: Split verdict on insured

If the goal of the Affordable Care Act was to promote insurance, the initial reports are mixed. More than 300,000 consumers who signed up on the exchanges still had, in July, delays based on questions about citizenship and immigration status. Those consumers have until Sept. 5 to upload their documents to… Continue reading →

Letter: Gun regulation does not equal bans

Just as Doug Johnson believes that Jean S. Smith’s letter deserves an answer, I believe his does, as well, about the fight over guns. He concludes that because the anti-gun crowd wants some gun control laws, it would be tantamount to an eventual elimination of all private gun ownership in the U.S. This is patently false.… Continue reading →

Letter: What would Jesus do in St. George?

Regarding “Frontline: Separate and Unequal”: I saw the recent Frontline coverage on the move by some St. George citizens to incorporate. I felt empathy for both sides: St. George and Baton Rouge. But then one statement in the segment hit me like a stinging slap in the face, and, in one instant, it completely determined my viewpoint.… Continue reading →

Letter: Pollution levels are on EPA website

Sen. David Vitter and Congressman Bill Cassidy should be at ease regarding a reduction in the ozone pollution standard. While, technically, any reduction will approach the background level, even the lowest proposal (60 ppb) is well above the policy’s relevant background level (15-35 depending on season and time of day). Those interested in the difficulties involved in determining… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Elections sign-up period begins

Think you’re tired of campaign ads now? Get ready for the onslaught. Louisiana’s election season is about to intensify, as the official slate of candidates in the Nov. 4 races is set during the sign-up period that runs from Wednesday through Friday. After months of combing through polling data, working the fundraising circuit and testing campaign… Continue reading →

Our Views: Strong core in BESE vote

By a 3-6 vote, the state’s top school board has rejected a disruptive proposal to abandon Common Core tests for the school year now underway. It is the right call by the majority. We commend them for refusing to buckle to pressure from Gov. Bobby Jindal. An unusual alliance, to say the… Continue reading →

Washington Watch: Scalise now playing in center court

If House Republicans were looking for a majority whip who could stay persistently on message and doggedly deflect questions from pesky interviewers, they may well have found their man in U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, of Jefferson. But for all his talking-points skill, Scalise, elected June 19 as whip, may be learning that the intensified glare of… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: In McAllister’s quarter, Tarpley campaigns sharply

Ed Tarpley is running for Congress from central and northeast Louisiana. He might not have the highest name identification, but he has serious bona fides as a solid, thoughtful, real-world conservative. When I was active in Louisiana Republican politics a quarter-century ago, very much as a strong conservative, I often was frustrated that too many activists… Continue reading →

James Gill: Perricone’s defense sounds like nonsense

Sal Perricone says he had a constitutional right to post all those wacky tirades online and should not, therefore, be banned from practicing in the federal courts around Baton Rouge. He is out for good in the New Orleans district, having “resigned in lieu of discipline” for appending pseudonymous comments to reports on federal cases on… Continue reading →

Our Views: Oyster prices hit diners

FILE - In this June 24, 2014 file photo, Morris Smith, an oyster shucker and kitchen captain, shucks oysters at the Bourbon House Restaurant in New Orleans. Oyster harvests along the Gulf Coast have declined dramatically in the four years since the BP oil spill. Even after a slight rebound last year, thousands of acres of Louisiana oyster beds are producing less than a third of what they did before the nations worst offshore oil disaster.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

A real crisis has many fathers, and the blame-shifting for high oyster prices goes around considerably. Prices are hitting between $45 and $62 per sack, depending on quality, said an Alabama dealer that buys across the Gulf Coast markets. And that, Chris Nelson told The Associated Press, is with many oysters being sold… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: My little mountain (mis)adventure

This is a tale about doing something stupid, and it’s a story about my recent vacation. So, if you are like me and don’t like vacation stories, feel free to check out right now, and there will be no hard feelings. About a week ago, I tagged along with my wife on a trip to… Continue reading →

Letter: U.S. immigration policy remains unclear

Our polarized Congress seems to have become turbocharged this week in regards to immigration reform. Americans obviously have strong opinions about immigration yet have little on which to base those opinions. Over the past 10 years, I’ve tried to get anyone to explain, in layman’s terms, our American immigration laws. In an age in which you… Continue reading →