Choice cuts from Acadiana's news media for Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014:
'Reefer Madness' lives on
When it comes to Louisiana’s stance on marijuana, our state is and will continue to be stuck in the stone age, as was witnessed Tuesday in the capital. The issue, according to this report from KATC TV 3, came up for discussion during a hearing before the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee. Arguing against any changes to our state’s marijuana laws (not even decriminalization?) was Louisiana District Attorney’s Association President Charles Scott, who offered the outdated stance that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” To further bolster his argument, Scott adds this confusing nugget of wisdom: “When you’ve served in the drug section and you’ve spent time in the drug court and you’ve seen addicts come in that are hooked on drugs.” At least ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman was on the scene to give this sage advice (though it’s likely to have fallen on deaf ears): “I think we need to realize that our laws are out of sync. They’re out of sync with our neighbors and they’re out of sync with popular opinion. Certainly it makes sense to consider whether we are treating people far too harshly for an offense that ultimately hurts no one.” In Louisiana, a second conviction for marijuana possession carries a potential sentence of five years in prison and 20 years for a third. Considering decriminalization couldn’t even pass muster with our legislature, and that was only last year, it’s probably a safe assumption that legalization will be a long time coming. In the meantime, the only thing getting higher, at least legally, will be the number of nonviolent offenders going on lock-down in our already overcrowded jails.
A courthouse lovers’ quarrel
Based on this report from the Opelousas Daily World, it seems the recent actions of John Moreau — the now former St. Landry Parish Registrar of Voters arrested Friday on a felony charge — were those of a scorned lover unleashing his fury on the vehicle of a “former dating partner.” That, at least, is how his victim, Susan Gerace, listed her relationship with Moreau in a restraining order filed last week. Complicating matters even further, or at least adding a little drama to the story, is that Gerace and Moreau’s wife both work in the office of 27th Judicial District Judge James Doherty; talk about an awkward work environment. It appears this court house love triangle, however, has since come to an end, as Moreau tendered his resignation shortly after his arrest last week.
When lips are sealed
Within one week, there have been reports of two separate shooting incidents in Abbeville in which the victims refuse to name their assailants. The reason? They either fear retaliation for being a snitch, or perhaps, they’ve got something to hide. Either way, it’s got local law enforcers perplexed. “It is frustrating and I do not understand,” Abbeville Police Chief Tony Hardy tells Vermilion Today. According to this report from the local paper, here’s a plausible explanation for the silence from the victim of the second shooting: When officers arrived at the scene Monday, they spotted a blood trail, which led them to an empty garage behind an empty rent house, and inside the garage, a whole lot of drugs. The first report, however, involved a male victim who was shot in the groin, which sounds painful and could very well explain why he hasn’t gotten around to talking yet.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Security breach at White House; Bejing won't back down from protesters; pressure on third-graders and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The American Zombie blog by New Orleans independent journalist Jason Berry has a photograph of U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier having dinner with Lafayette attorney Pat Juneau — yeah, that Pat Juneau, the BP claims administrator whose fate Barbier will soon decide.
But retirees and employees who face the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs responded angrily, telling lawmakers that they shouldn't be held responsible for what they consider the Jindal administration's mismanagement of the Office of Group Benefits.
Indictment accuses ‘chef’ who claims to work for the needy of stealing from a disabled man in his care.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's top budget adviser says the state employee health insurance program will face a dire financial scenario without the heavily criticized changes planned by the administration.