C'est Bon Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Pat Cooper noticed something was missing as he reviewed the agenda and related documents for his first board meeting on Jan. 4: Included in the personnel reports was a list of administrative contracts up for renewal by the board — with no performance evaluations attached. LPSS Marketing Director Angie Simoneaux says the board typically renews school principals’ contracts “kind of in bulk” upon expiration. “I’m not sure how they’ve done it in the past, but for me there’s got to be some paper trail as to why we’re renewing contracts, based on school performance, supervisor evaluations and a lot of other data,” Cooper explains. “That’s not to say it’s not there. But I was caught by surprise.” Cooper asked the board during his first meeting to pull the administrative contract renewals from the personnel reports pending further review. “I’m not saying I’m against renewing any of the contracts,” Cooper says. “I just want to make sure we have a reason for doing so.” The simple action Cooper took may be just one small step for LPSS, but it marks what we hope will be one giant leap for the kind of accountability the community has come to demand.
Pas Bon By today — Wednesday, Jan. 11 — former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer is probably figuring out his exit strategy from the field for the Republican presidential nomination, if he hasn’t already announced his departure. Otherwise, he should properly reside in the next category. Roemer failed to get any traction in a glut of candidates most Republicans would agree has ranged from less than inspiring to no chance of beating Obama. Roemer wasn’t invited to any of the roughly dozen debates leading up to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and by press time was polling at less than 1 percent in the Granite State, where he took up residence months ago to campaign and where he blew his meager $250,000 campaign wad. Roemer’s inevitable exit from the field is a pity because among the various messages and platforms of the candidates in the November general election, from both parties, his rang the most compelling: money has rotted the American political process, and if we don’t address it, we’re screwed.
Couillon There are still prime fishing areas closed due to oil contamination. The most recent shrimp season was one of the worst in memory. Gulf Coast tourism continues to struggle, at least according to accounts from merchants in the areas most affected by the 2010 oil spill. But don’t tell that to BP. The British oil giant has been behind a public-relations blitz over the last month, airing commercials in Gulf Coast markets and elsewhere featuring images of pristine beaches, clean waters, nets bursting with fresh seafood and bustling shops. BP even hired seafood trucks to hand out free fish tacos and seafood jambalaya to hungry football tourists in New Orleans. With deep pockets and a keen sense of PR, the company is effectively buying its own reality of life on the Gulf Coast 18 months after the spill.
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DEC 10 The state's tax amnesty program paid off in a big way, with more money collected than expected, Jeremy Alford writes in LaPolitics. There are laws that govern how that money is supposed to be spent -- but surely the leges will find a way around that, Alford predicts. After all, it has happened before: if there's one thing we're good at, it's robbing Peter to pay Paul.
DEC 10 Tom Aswell continues his coverage of the New Bethany Home for Girls in this post. Although the school shut down years ago, the story has been revived -- especially after several former residents returned to Arcadia last week to file sexual assault complaints against the man who ran the school. Only two of the women filed complaints; the others came (from other states) to lend support. It's a compelling story Tom tells here.
DEC 10 Blogger CB Forgotston isn't buying what the legislature's selling (to itself) regarding Louisiana's fiscal outlook. Leges are telling everybody they don't need to worry about mid-year budget cuts. The Legislative Fiscal Office's predictions aren't being questioned like they should -- except by reporters, CB says.
DEC 10 The Picayune's Jarvis DeBerry writes about Nelson Mandela in this post. The former President of South Africa, who died last week, was not the simple, sanitized "cuddly" guy being portrayed in the simple-minded, easily-distracted American pop media, he says. He's hoping that Mandela's legacy will not receive the same "whitewash" that has been perpetrated against MLK.
DEC 10 Sen. David Vitter's continued efforts to force a vote on lawmakers' health care doesn't pass the "moral high ground test," columnist Stephanie Grace writes in this post. There's no "real policy argument" here and the vote he's trying to force (in true Vitter style, by embarrassing his colleagues) will accomplish "almost nothing" except hurting people, she says. So if he runs for guv and wins, we can look forward to more pointless, empty political posturing? Great.
DEC 10 So who is behind David Vitter's SuperPAC? Blogger Bucktown Pirate takes a look in this post on the Kingfish. With "the internets" and "a modicum of free time," Pirate has done some digging and it's pretty interesting stuff. So why should citizens have to do this much digging to find out who is behind organizations that raise tons of money then spent to influence elections? Good question.
DEC 10 Bob Marley's children and widow have sued Raising Cane's for use of the words "One Love," this blog post on Spin says. The words were registered by the chicken chain years ago, but the family says they're owed damages, attorney fees and all profits attributed to the use because it also was the name of a song recorded by Bob Marley with the Wailers.
DEC 10 Here's Gambit's take on Gov. Jindal's refusal (so far) to take the Medicaid expansion money. He's done this before, the editorial post says: posture and pose for the cameras, then show up in a dark alley to take the money anyway. That time, he handed out the money using big goofy checks with his name as the payer, the post reminds us. So he's not "entirely allergic" to federal bucks after all, the post says.
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