Wednesday, 25 August 2010 01:00
by IND Monthly Staff
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 Written by The Independent Staff C’est Bon Baton Rouge daily The Advocate was the sole newspaper honored last week with the national Sunshine Award by The Society of Professional Journalists. The Advocate won the award, given for important contributions in the pursuit of open government, for a package of stories earlier this year detailing police harassment and brutality of Katrina refugees. The Advocate spent four years and tremendous resources fighting to obtain access to information for the story. In July 2006, the paper sued the Baton Rouge Police Department for access to the documents related to its internal affairs probe of the allegations. It took a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling this year before the department finally relented and released the information. In today’s environment of dwindling newspaper budgets, the paper’s financial commitment to the public’s right to know is rare and deserves recognition. Kudos.
PAS BON The circumstances surrounding the firing of Assistant City Prosecutor Marcus Allen couldn’t be more bizarre. Asked to resign following a charge from last month that he assaulted a bail bondsman, Allen refused, and then was summarily fired. D.A. Mike Harson says Allen is accused of pushing bondsman Vaughn M. Swilley outside the parish courthouse. The two had begun arguing inside a courtroom over the bond on one of Allen’s defense clients and the argument ended up spilling out onto the street. While Allen appears to be one lawyer who will literally fight for his clients, we’d like to see our local attorneys engage in more civil discourse.
Couillion The state’s former head of Alcohol and Tobacco Control evidently couldn’t handle his Powerade. And then there was the unlimited access to the aptly named state database, “Voyager.” Former Commissioner Murphy Painter resigned abruptly on Aug. 16 amid allegations that he stalked his assistant, Kelli Suire, cruising past her residence at 5 a.m. and calling to let her know he knew she was up early, inviting her to sleep over at his house and attempting to coerce her into a romantic relationship she wasn’t interested in — frightening her into going to the Louisiana Office of State Inspector General for help. Painter is also accused of perusing the personal files of fellow employees, members of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s staff, Suire and her attorney, Jill L. Craft, on the state’s database. The governor’s office gave him a choice of whether to be fired or resign, based on Painter’s alleged abuse of power. Painter denies committing a criminal offense and declares he is sticking around. “I don’t care,” he told WAFB TV in Baton Rouge. “Beat me up, try to screw me all you want, I’m not going to surrender.”
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OCT 22 This entertaining short (15 minutes) film on Munchies is all about Boudin. Thank goodness it's just a documentary-style piece filled with the voices and faces of south Louisiana, as opposed to outsiders waxing poetic about our regional specialties. But be warned, there is some pretty graphic pig butchery going on here, so if you're squeamish it may not be for you.
OCT 22 A state judge threw out the lawsuit of a former employee of the LSU Alumni Association, the Advocate reports here. The employee had claimed the former director of the group gave her a job so she'd have sex with him, and after she left agreed to continue to pay her -- so she'd have sex with him. Apparently you get no points for hutzpah.
OCT 22 Education blogger Mike Deshotels writes about the retraction of the Cowen report in this post. However you slice it, the Recovery School District is still failing, he says. (But Mike, doesn't that depend on what the intention was? If no one ever meant the RSD to fix public education, it's working perfectly, isn't it?)
OCT 22 A major Jindal donor was allowed to avoid the competitive bid process in the purchase of a state office building in Monroe, blogger Tom Aswell reports in this post on Louisiana Voice. The circumstances he lays out here are pretty stinky.
OCT 22 While Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry attempt to fan the flames of Fox Newsian hysteria into viable presidential hopes with talk of building walls to keep out the Ebola, LA Times columnist Mike Hiltzik gives them some national press they probably don't want: if you want to save lives, he says, try accepting Medicaid expansion. Wups!
OCT 22 It's hard to pick out the most interesting part of this post on Mother Jones about Texas lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick (His claim that migrant workers will bring leprosy to Texas? That Connie Chung's show should be called "Slanted Eye to Eye"?) But of course we must go with the comments about our very own Duck people, and how they are the spokesmen for God.
OCT 22 Advocate owner (and rich guy) John Georges must be doing a little happy dance today. As his paper reports here, the Times Picayune is further reducing its footprint in NOLA, by laying off 100 people and moving their printing operations to Mobile. (Yes, Alabama.) Does this mean the Advocate won?
OCT 22 Baton Rouge's downtown is now starting to show significant growth, this post on DIG Baton Rouge reports. With new construction, new restaurants and new housing units popping up, the downtown area is finally starting to look like a capital city, the story says.
OCT 21 Two St. John Parish employees were indicted in connection with the amoeba found in the parish water supply, WVUE reports in this post. They are accused of lying about testing the water for proper chlorine levels, the story says, claims that were contradicted by their government vehicles' GPS records.
OCT 21 The McClatchy DC blog posts this fascinating view of Louisiana's political landscape. It's a little heavy on the cliches, and also a little heavy on the quaint Cajun/Creole shtick, but it's still good reading -- if only for the outside view of our insides.
OCT 21 Here's an interesting story from the National Journal about New Orleans almost 10 years post-Katrina. There are demographic information and charts, as well as some commentary about the corresponding changes in the way the city looks and works.
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