Wednesday, 11 January 2012 00:00
by IND Monthly Staff
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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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 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.
OCT 21 Gambit offers its endorsements for the upcoming election in this post, including an endorsement of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. The best way to protect Louisiana's clout is to re-elect the senior senator, the paper opines. Sending a Republican in her place won't accomplish anything, the paper adds.
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 An audit finds very little federal oversight of coastal restoration grants, the Advocate reports here. Two federal agencies charged with overseeing how the money was spent didn't oversee the grants properly, didn't know enough about how the grants were supposed to be spent, and provided conflicting records about the money, the audit found.
OCT 21 The first Senate debate featuring all three candidates was a big ho-hum, columnist Jim Beam writes in this post. Nobody said anything new or interesting, and nobody emerged the clear winner, he says.
OCT 21 Bobby Jindal can't seem to leave Daniel Malloy alone, this post on NOLA Defender says. On a recent trip to stump for another GOP'er (Ever wonder: does any of his stumping really help these guys? Or is he just trying to get his name in other newspapers?) Jindal again ran afoul of Connecticut's Governor, who has no problem calling Bobby on his claims, the post tells us.
OCT 21 Jeremy Alford writes about David Vitter's playbook in this post, and frankly, there are some things we don't want to know. We've all heard about what's in that book, haven't we? That kind of stuff is not our idea of a good -- oh, wait. Jeremy's writing about Vitter's political playbook. Never mind.
OCT 20 Remember those great posts from blogger Jason Brad Berry that featured emails and letters related to the BP claims process? Well, apparently Patrick Juneau (who was featured, but not in a positive way, in those documents) ordered a background check on Berry because of it, this story in Louisiana Record says. Huh?
OCT 20 The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper, has posted its story on Louisiana's coastal loss here. In it, author Omar El Akkad clarifies it neatly: it's "a battle between prosperity and the planet's well-being." Are jobs and money worth the trade we're making? As Jonathan Foret says in the story, Mother Nature may come and answer that question for us.
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