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Our Views: Politics and flood control

On Thursday, the eve of the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a nominating committee for an area flood control board could demonstrate if anything’s really changed in the local political culture that came under attack in the storm’s wake. Katrina revealed huge deficiencies in the levee systems that were supposed to keep Louisiana… Continue reading →

Letter: Law misunderstood regarding prayer

I read Mr. William Bertolette’s letter to the editor in Tuesdays paper about the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing prayer at public meetings. I found it quite disturbing. Mr. Bertolette quoted the First Amendment, which I will repeat: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof ...” I give him credit, because,… Continue reading →

Letter: More arrests not always better

In its recent letter to the Advocate, the ACLU was critical of the Metropolitan Crime Commission for wanting more jail space in our Parish Prison. The commission seems to always want more of something from the criminal justice system in New Orleans, whether it is appropriate or not. From the DAs they wanted us to accept more… Continue reading →

Letter: Sal Perricone is a true gentleman, Mr. Gill

Regarding James Gill’s recent column on Sal Perricone: With the crucial state of affairs locally, nationally and abroad, you found time to denigrate an honorable man who committed no crime and who has dedicated his life to law with the FBI and later in the pursuit of justice as a federal attorney. While his postings on… Continue reading →

Guest Commentary: Red snapper rhetoric troublesome

Steve Tomeny

I recently attended a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council public hearing about Amendment 40 discussing sector separation. To say I was amazed at what I heard from some recreational anglers at the meeting is an understatement. It was as if they were following a script written by a group that either does not understand the issue or… Continue reading →

Inside Report: While waters recede, other features form

Louisiana is no stranger to seeing landmarks in its coastal zone disappearing. Boat global positioning systems regularly show pilots the land they’re driving over. Well, it was land at one point but has since disappeared under the bayous and lakes. In 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released new charts for… Continue reading →

Our Views: Bad, good news on ACT

New ACT results for Louisiana’s high school students show how much work remains to be done in raising academic success across the state. The composite average ACT score for public and private school students is 19.2, down from 19.5 last year and 20.3 the year before. Only Mississippi, North Carolina and Hawaii scored… Continue reading →

Letter: Tobacco-free policy now in effect at LSU

On Aug. 1, LSU joined 42 other state campuses and more than 1,200 national campuses that have tobacco-free or smoke-free policies. In addition, all other SEC campuses have either tobacco-free or smoke-free policies. To date, not a single college campus has rescinded its tobacco policy once established. LSU’s policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products on… Continue reading →

Letter: Exploration would have revealed more to Lewisburg

On the front page of your recent sports section, there was an article about the Saints’ arrival in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Your writer described Lewisburg as “… a small town, which boasts only a handful of hotels, a Wal-Mart and various chain restaurants.” Really? Obviously, your writer did not take the time to visit downtown Lewisburg. Instead,… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: OGB changes helping state employees, retirees

Scott McKnight

When I joined the Office of Group Benefits policy and planning board earlier this year, I joined as the insurance industry representative. I’ve never worked for the state and never was a member of one OGB’s plans. My knowledge of OGB was fairly simple. I knew they offered health insurance to state employees and retirees, but most of… Continue reading →

Inside Report: Police jury looks like reality TV

The most successful reality TV shows today either feature colorful personalities with conservative, Southern roots or brash “housewives” who entertain millions each week with staged dinners filled with shouting, name-calling and, sometimes, table-flipping. But there’s a powerful group of people in Pointe Coupee Parish that’s just as colorful, boisterous and controversial… Continue reading →

Our Views: Solid facts in dispute

Medicaid is complex, because private insurers paid by the program provide health coverage for more than 890,000 people in Louisiana. Yet the gap in understanding between the state agency overseeing Medicaid and the Legislative Auditor’s Office is worrisome, because the Legislature and the public need a solid assessment of significant changes made under Gov. Bobby Jindal.… Continue reading →

Letter: ‘Wretched refuse’ strengthens America

From “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild… Continue reading →

Letter: BR traffic enough to drive you mad

What’s your daily driving experience in Baton Rouge? It’s likely to include extended lines of vehicles on major streets; waiting several light cycles before finally reaching intersections; and irritating snarls, especially at entrances and exits for shopping centers and apartment complexes. This is the natural result of allowing development to proliferate without a concomitant increase in infrastructure.… Continue reading →

Letter: Social Security not at all secure

As we all acknowledge the 79th anniversary of Social Security, I must say I find the term misleading. The annual Social Security Trustees report recently came out and it said the program is not exactly “secure,” noting it has a 2033 date with insolvency. If we continue doing nothing, when the program inevitably does become insolvent, all beneficiaries,… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Welcome sights, grim reminders

In a historic neighborhood more accustomed to boozy jollity than bloody mayhem, it was a beautiful early-August sight: a red sea of hard-drinking, free-spending women and men — both genders in feminine attire after New Orleans’ annual Red Dress Run fundraiser — gently parted by a Louisiana State Police cruiser nosing its way across Bourbon Street.… Continue reading →

Our Views: A smear from losers

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to derail the new Common Core academic standards continues to get a beating in court, but that isn’t stopping the mudslinging by the governor and his aides, who are smearing their opponents as crooks. A preliminary injunction from Judge Todd Hernandez in Baton Rouge district court prevents Jindal’s Division of Administration from… Continue reading →

Washington Watch: Jindal’s Common Core stance politically useful

Maybe Gov. Bobby Jindal is onto something with this Common Core business after all. Not so much with his nominal constituency in the state of Louisiana, where his 180-degree turn against the educational standards regimen he once so warmly embraced has set him crosswise with the business community, the state education superintendent Jindal once supported, the Legislature… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Dems treat felon as embraceable EWE

It is long past time for the leadership of the Louisiana Democratic Party to get out of bed with Edwin Edwards. The very day in March that the disgraced former governor announced his candidacy for Congress in Louisiana’s 6th District, state party leaders should have issued statements distancing themselves and the party from him. They should have… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bill was colossal waste of time

The phone call came from a humble constituent, but the response must have left professional lobbyists green with envy. It is, after all, not often that they can get a bill through the Legislature with barely a peep, even if it fills a legitimate need. This one could only cause disruption. The caller… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Vitter’s subtle message: I’m no Jindal

On paper, Gov. Bobby Jindal and David Vitter have so much in common that a stranger might have trouble telling them apart. Both are Louisiana natives who went to Ivy League colleges, then won prestigious Rhodes Scholarships. Both are conservative Republicans who generally hew to the far right. Throughout their careers, both have practically oozed political… Continue reading →

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 →