Trojan has taken its "Pleasure Cart," which resembles a hot dog stand, to major cities including New York, D.C. and Boston, where it was initially greeted with resistance from the mayor. Recently it stopped in San Francisco and Los Angeles to provide a "tax day stimulation package."
The Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition released a statement today demanding that New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman put an end to their dispute and agree to the OPP consent decree.
Landrieu says the cost of the consent decree — estimated in the tens of millions annually — combined with a $55 million four to five year consent decree over the New Orleans Police Department (which the Landrieu administration is also fighting after initially supporting it) would bankrupt the city, forcing massive layoffs and/or furloughs of essential employees.
During a fairness hearing — to determine whether conditions at the jail warrant the adoption of the consent decree — held earlier this month, the city took the position that the consent decree is unnecessarily broad, yet at the same time called for a more extreme measure to fix the jail: federal receivership, which it later formally requested.
Meanwhile Gusman favors the consent decree, yet maintains that his jail is not being run unconstitutionally.
U.S. District Court Judge has not yet made a ruling on the fairness hearing. Two more hearings on Gusman's budget and funding for jail improvements are scheduled for May 28 and July 1.
The impending Consent Decree would force the City *and* the Sheriff to finally do the right thing and make the changes necessary to ensure the safety of staff and inmates in a facility that now boasts over 700 assaults each year. However, instead of supporting the consent decree, our Mayor and his attorneys have engaged in the worst kind of hypocrisy, denying that conditions in OPP are unconstitutional while at the same time, claiming that things are so bad that the court should place the jail in federal receivership. The political chess game which is playing out in both the media and in U.S. District Court is a slap in the faces of the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters incarcerated in OPP, and the families of the 41 people who have died there in the last 8 years. It is also a threat to all New Orleanians, because we are all made unsafe by our dehumanizing, unconstitutional jail.
The statement ends with a call to "evacuate" all nonviolent offenders in the jail.
We are in a state of perpetual and untenable crisis. In terms familiar to New Orleanians, the storm at OPP has escalated to 'category five' status. It’s time to evacuate.
With a renewed sense of urgency we demand that persons held on non-violent charges — who, by law, would be set free in the event that a Category 3 hurricane were in the Gulf — be immediately released from Orleans Parish Prison. These individuals pose no threat to the community, but conditions in the jail do pose a significant threat to their lives.
(Read the full statement after the jump)
Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) president Michael Glasser writes in an email that his group will not boycott security details at the upcoming New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as a protest of a proposed overhaul to the New Orleans Police Department's off-duty detail system.
"The idea has merit, and may yet be one which the rank and file may choose to pursue," Glasser writes. "However, the recent terrorist attack in Boston underscores the vulnerability we have as Americans, and especially in places of major public events attended by large crowds. Nowhere is this more common and more prevalent than in New Orleans."
(Read the full email after the jump)
The Ehrhardt Group, the public relations firm that represents the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office, issued a press release Friday afternoon on the death of inmate Ricky Russell, the subject of our lead news story in this week's Gambit.
The release doesn't contain answers to the inquiries we submitted last week, including whether security staff conducted rounds on Russell's floor and where Russell was located relative to inmates making claims that he was acting strangely the night before his death. Nor had the sheriff's office, as of Friday, handed over records — including deputy assignment sheets and supervisor sign-in logs — it says it reviewed following Russell's death. (Gambit submitted records requests for the documents on Feb. 15.)
From the press release:
However, the press release does provide some additional details. It also directly disputes inmate Jaime Hernandez's claim that Russell was laughing throughout the evening and into the early morning:
5) Inmate Hernandez alleges being awake during the night and hearing inmate Russell. He also alleges that the security officers arriving to assist in reviving inmate Russell “were the first deputies that I saw since roll call the night before.”
a) The three inmates housed in the cells next to inmate Russell dispute inmate Hernandez’s account, stating that the tier was quiet throughout the night and that inmate Russell went to sleep following the 10 pm news. These inmates and others on the tier confirmed that inmate Russell was not yelling, screaming or causing any other disturbance, as inmate Hernandez falsely alleges.
b) Out of 33 inmates housed on this tier during the night of Feb. 6, only three, including inmates Hernandez and Groves, claim to have heard a disturbance.
c) An OPSO deputy was assigned to oversee the protective custody tier, according to OPSO staffing guidelines. This deputy conducted evening roll call, in which all inmates participated and were present, including inmate Russell. This deputy then moved to the supervision module, where the deputy monitored the tier throughout the night. In addition, an OPSO sergeant conducted a security check on this tier between 11 pm and midnight on Feb. 6. Both the OPSO deputy on station and the OPSO sergeant noted that the tier was quiet and found nothing out of the ordinary. All of these activities were noted in the OPSO log book.
(Read the full press release after the jump)
According to a press release from the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office, 1,681 people were arrested in New Orleans between Friday, Jan. 25 and the end of Tuesday, Feb. 12, including 289 arrests during Super Bowl weekend. The Advocate reports 879 Carnival season arrest actions — a number that includes suspects who received summonses rather than being taken into custody — in the New Orleans Police Department's Eighth District, which covers the French Quarter and the Central Business District. That compares to 1,056 Eighth District arrests last year.
According to Lindsay Meaux, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office, the numbers released today represent only people who were arrested and brought into custody.
Average daily arrests over the season (Jan. 25-Feb. 12), based on OPSO's numbers:
88.47 per day overall.
72.25 per day during Super Bowl festivities.
92.8 per day for the Carnival season not including Super Bowl days.
The Metropolitan Crime Commission reported in May that 33,117 people were arrested in all of 2011. That works out to an average of about 90.7 per day.
(Read the press release after the jump)
Basically the same press release as usual, but it bears repeating.
(Mayor Mitch Landrieu is scheduled to hold a press conference on city preparations for Mardi Gras and Super Bowl XLVII at 2 p.m. today.)
CITY ANNOUNCES 2013 MARDI GRAS ENFORCEMENT
NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, the City announced its enforcement policies for the 2013 Mardi Gras season. Parades begin Friday, January 25, 2013.
MARDI GRAS PARKING ENFORCEMENT
Two hours prior to the scheduled start of each Mardi Gras parade, any unauthorized vehicle on any part of the published parade route will be ticketed and towed. This will ensure public safety and facilitate the flow of the Carnival Krewes ($75 fine and seizure);
Two hours after a Mardi Gras parade ends, any unauthorized vehicle on any part of the published parade route will be ticketed and towed. This is done to clear the route for the City’s Department of Sanitation ($25 fine and seizure);
Beginning the Friday before Mardi Gras, at 12:01 a.m., until the Wednesday after Mardi Gras, at 6:00 p.m., no vehicles, except those issued permits, are allowed into the French Quarter between Iberville, N. Rampart, Dumaine, and Decatur ($50 fine and seizure);
Parking of vehicles equipped with living accommodations is prohibited during certain hours. It is strictly enforced during the Mardi Gras season, particularly in the Central Business District, Warehouse and Garden District.
(More after the jump)
C. RAY NAGIN, FORMER NEW ORLEANS MAYOR, INDICTED ON FEDERAL BRIBERY, HONEST SERVICES WIRE FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING, CONSPIRACY, AND TAX CHARGES
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - C. Ray Nagin, 56, a resident of Frisco, Texas and formerly the Mayor of New Orleans, was charged in a 21-count indictment with bribery, honest service wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, and filing false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Anderson, and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge James Lee.
According to today’s federal grand jury indictment, between December 2004 and the present, Nagin and several others participated in a conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud. The indictment alleges that Nagin, in his role as chief executive, devised a scheme to defraud the City of New Orleans and its citizens of his honest services through bribery and a kickback scheme, whereby Nagin used his public office and official capacity to provide favorable treatment, including awarding contracts, that benefitted business and financial interest of individuals providing him with bribes and kickbacks in the form of checks, cash, granite inventory, wire transfers, personal services, and free travel. The indictment charges Nagin with accepting numerous bribes and payoffs from consultants and contractors, money laundering conspiracy, and filing false tax returns for the years 2005 to 2008.
“This office will continue its history of investigating and prosecuting public corruption” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “This is an important part of the office’s mission to serve the citizens of the Eastern District of Louisiana and make certain they have honest public officials.”
When asked if they have a higher opinion of either Congress or a series of unpleasant or disliked things, voters said they had a higher opinion of root canals (32 for Congress and 56 for the dental procedure), NFL replacement refs (29-56), head lice (19-67), the rock band Nickelback (32-39), colonoscopies (31-58), Washington DC political pundits (34-37), carnies (31-39), traffic jams (34-56), cockroaches (43-45), Donald Trump (42-44), France (37-46), Genghis Khan (37-41), used-car salesmen (32-57), and Brussels sprouts (23-69) than Congress.
The good news for Congress: America's august legislative body is more popular than telemarketers, North Korea or gonorrhea. So there's that. But overall:
Congress’s overall favorability rating stands at just 9% favorable and 85% unfavorable. Women (13-81) view Congress slightly more favorably than men (6-89), as do Democrats (13-82) than Republicans (9-87), perhaps reflecting Democrats’ higher level of satisfaction with the recent fiscal cliff deal.
Get the full details here.
City of New Orleans press release:
PRECAUTIONARY BOIL WATER ADVISORY ISSUED FOR THE EAST BANK OF ORLEANS PARISH
NEW ORLEANS, LA—Sewerage and Water Board and the state Department of Health and Hospital officials are warning the residents of the East Bank of Orleans Parish not to drink, make ice from, brush teeth, bathe or shower, prepare or rinse food with tap water unless it has been properly disinfected until further notice.
A momentary loss of 25-cycle power at about 8:30 a.m. at the main water plant brought water pressure to low levels throughout the eastbank of the city. Out of an abundance of caution, residents are advised that the quality of the water may be unsafe due to bacteriological contamination. Therefore, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans in conjunction with DHH has issued a BOIL WATER ADVISORY effective Monday, October 8, 2012 for the entire east bank of the City of New Orleans. Residents may expect the boil advisory to continue until water quality testing has proven the safety of the water. This does not affect Algiers.
State officials are cautioning users of the water system to disinfect their water before consuming it or using it for food preparation by the following means:
Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one-minute starts after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. If there is a flat taste, it can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.
This boil water advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
More on the hospital at www.hsdeast.com
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a commitment to insure a $97.6 million mortgage loan for the New Orleans East Hospital. The mortgage insurance ensures that the financing package will be completed and construction can progress on time. The mortgage, insured under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Section 242 Hospital Mortgage Insurance program, will support the construction of a full service hospital in New Orleans East.
Since he took office in May 2010, Mayor Landrieu has worked aggressively to open a full-service hospital at the former Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital site. The $130 million project will restore full-service healthcare to residents in New Orleans East.
“This is an important milestone that could not have been achieved without the commitment, collaboration and hard work of the board and local legislators,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We are now one very important step closer to achieving our goal. The strength of the U.S. Government is now behind the financing of the New Orleans East Hospital and we will continue to move forward to bring this full service hospital to the New Orleans East community.”
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