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The New Orleans Advocate: Politics/Gov't
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Two years after the French Market Corp. canceled a controversial deal with a private firm to manage three city-owned parking lots and auditors accused that contractor of overbilling the city agency, the French Market is seeking in court to recoup what it says it lost. Meanwhile, that same contractor, SP Plus Corp., continues to collect cash from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration under a separate contract it received months after auditors questioned its dealings with the French… Continue reading →_



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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu last week added a new twist to his call to remove monuments to Confederate leaders and a post-Civil War white supremacist militia from their prominent sites in the city, suggesting that he’d be happy for the state to take them and put them in a park. After being criticized during a community budget meeting for his plans to take down monuments to Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis,… Continue reading →_



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Some Jefferson Parish Council members fired back Thursday at the parish’s inspector general over his report Wednesday that criticized the council’s management of $4 million in consulting contracts related to the leasing of the parish-owned West Jefferson Medical Center to private management. The 426-page report criticized parish officials for allowing the $1.1 million contract with the hospital merger and acquisitions consulting firm Nemzoff & Co. to be uncapped and for never ratifying the $2.9… Continue reading →_



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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey will host a community budget meeting Thursday night in Algiers. The meeting is a chance for residents of City Council District C to offer their views on the city’s 2017 budget priorities and other concerns. It will take place at Alice M. Harte Charter School, 5300 Berkley Drive. Advocate reporter Jessica Williams will live blog the meeting below. It will start at 6… Continue reading →_



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The Democratic National Committee hoped to dig into Donald Trump’s failed attempt to build a high-rise tower in New Orleans as it ramps up for a campaign sure to take shots at his reputation as a real estate developer and businessman. But a request for city documents related to the project came up empty. A DNC researcher filed a public records request with the city last week, seeking correspondence, complaints, investigations and other… Continue reading →_



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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey will host a community budget meeting Thursday night in Algiers. The meeting is a chance for residents of City Council District C to offer their views on the city’s 2017 budget priorities and other concerns. It will take place at Alice M. Harte Charter School, 5300 Berkley Drive. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Officials will be on hand starting at 5:30 p.m. to… Continue reading →_



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Jefferson Parish’s handling of two hospital consulting contracts worth almost $4 million — one of which didn’t even legally exist — was marred by mismanagement, lax oversight and poor communication, the Jefferson Parish Inspector General’s Office said Wednesday. In a scathing 426-page report, Inspector General David McClintock laid out numerous problems his office identified in reviewing parish contracts with Nemzoff & Co., a consulting firm that specializes in health care mergers and acquisitions, and… Continue reading →_



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A recent exposé by a reporter who went undercover to work as a guard at a privately run state prison in north-central Louisiana raises questions about the operations of Winn Correctional Center and, more broadly, about the case for privatizing corrections. The article, by Shane Bauer, of the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones, alleges that Corrections Corp. of America, the oldest and second-largest for-profit prison operator in America, skimped on services at Winn — which it no… Continue reading →_



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Up to 8 percent of the homes in New Orleans would be eligible to be converted into whole-house short-term rentals, in addition to an unknown number of half-doubles and condos, under proposed rules being considered by the City Planning Commission. If every house that under the rules could be rented to tourists in fact became a whole-home rental, there would be about 15,000 of them throughout the city under the density caps included in the… Continue reading →_



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St. Tammany’s high turnover in parishwide offices is making it a little hard to keep the names straight. Rick Franzo, president of Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, had to start over as he was being interviewed by WWL-TV at Sheriff Randy Smith’s inauguration Friday morning. He had referred to Smith as “Sheriff Strain,” a reference to Jack Strain, the 20-year incumbent whom Smith defeated. Then 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery, who was giving… Continue reading →_



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Mayor Mitch Landrieu this week will kick off his annual series of community budget meetings, one of the steps in creating his administration’s 2017 spending plan for the city. Landrieu has held the budget meetings, one in each City Council district, each year since taking office in 2010. They give New Orleans residents a chance to offer their views on what the city’s priorities should be in the coming year and what the administration… Continue reading →_



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In the latest black eye for Louisiana’s troubled film subsidy program, the state’s inspector general released a report Wednesday that says a production company behind two programs about the New Orleans Saints bilked taxpayers out of at least $420,000 and possibly more than $1 million. The report from Inspector General Stephen Street’s office says Horizon Entertainment, which produced “The Sean Payton Show” and “Saintsational,” inflated its expenses associated with… Continue reading →_



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More than two years into his second term as mayor, there’s been a shift in the way Mitch Landrieu talks about his administration and its accomplishments. While he’s still pushing an agenda on crime, infrastructure and, most recently, affordable housing, his acknowledgements that the clock is ticking have become more common as the second half of his final term starts to unfurl. The change in focus comes as early signs of the next mayoral campaign are… Continue reading →_



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The race for an open Kenner City Council seat has been largely quiet so far, but that is changing as the sign-up window for the Nov. 8 primary approaches later this month. Long rumored to be potential candidates, state Rep. Tom Willmott, former City Councilman Kent Denapolis and businessman George Branigan — known for his involvement with local playgrounds — all recently confirmed they are strongly considering running for the at-large Division B seat. The… Continue reading →_



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Gretna City Councilman Joseph Marino III was automatically elected to the District 85 seat in the state House of Representatives on Friday when he drew no challengers at the close of qualifying for the scheduled Aug. 6 election. Marino, a criminal defense attorney whose political career began with his election to the City Council in 2013, will replace Bryan Adams, who stepped down to become assistant state fire marshal. “I will continue what… Continue reading →_



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Businesswoman and civic association head Rajender “Raj” Pannu will fill a vacancy on the St. John the Baptist Parish Council for the next few months. The council voted Tuesday night to appoint Pannu to temporarily succeed Buddy Boe, who resigned from his LaPlace-based District 7 seat to join Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser’s staff as communications director and senior adviser. Pannu was immediately sworn in to her post by state 5th Circuit Court… Continue reading →_



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Entergy New Orleans is trying to rush approval of a new power plant at Michoud in New Orleans East while failing to justify the size of the project, City Council members and their advisers said as they blasted the utility Thursday. The council’s Utility, Cable, Telecommunications and Technology Committee demanded the utility hand over data and documentation justifying the $216 million project within 30 days amid questions about whether the plant, which would be capable of… Continue reading →_



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After six months, at least one member of a task force created to develop a long-term financing plan for fixing New Orleans’ cratered streets is getting fed up with the slow pace of the group’s work. Freddy Yoder, the retired president and chief operating officer of Durr Heavy Construction, told the other members of the city’s Fix My Streets Financing Working Group on Wednesday that the process has become bogged down. He pointed to… Continue reading →_



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New Orleans officials have no way of telling who is buying gas on City Hall’s dime and should tighten up oversight to prevent fraud, according to a report released Wednesday by city Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux. Quatrevaux’s office said it examined six years of data from the city’s $3.2 million-a-year fuel program. It found that employees with city-owned vehicles often shared city-provided gas cards and the PINs associated with those cards in violation… Continue reading →_



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St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith and Clerk of Court Melissa Henry were sworn into office in separate ceremonies Friday, each looking out at an audience full of uniformed employees who also had to take oaths of office. The inaugural festivities marked the first turnover at the top in 20 years for the two parishwide offices. All Sheriff’s Office employees with commissions had to be sworn in as well, a procedure that began at midnight… Continue reading →_



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