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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

The Downtown Development District
is spending $18,000 to hire 20 construction workers to dismantle Mardi Gras parade reviewing stands in the CBD. The goal is to have the stands cleared away a month earlier than last year. Removal of the stands took seven weeks in 2000; DDD officials estimate that with the extra manpower, this year it should take about three.

Bobby Jindal
president of the University of Louisiana system, has been chosen to be Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Jindal is expected to be responsible for several key issues, including the Bush administration's proposed Medicare renovation. While Jindal's federal appointment is a loss for the UL system, the nation has gained an excellent policymaker for an important role.

The Department of Environmental Quality
has not enforced routine water quality reporting by at least one company that operates a wastewater injection well near the Lafayette/Vermilion parish line. Residents believe the spate of cancer cases in the area may be due to drinking water contaminated by wastewater from oil drilling sites. The well's owner, J&R Well Systems Inc., has not paid licensing fees since 1998 and has not submitted routine test reports to the DEQ since 1996.

Some state legislators
are proposing that Louisiana scrap one of the two agencies that scrutinize government spending and pinpoint fraud and abuse. Several lawmakers accuse the Inspector General's office and the Legislative Auditor's office of doing the same job; officials for the agencies insist there is little overlap between their investigations. At a time when corruption in office is appallingly commonplace in Louisiana, the state needs all the watchdogs it can get.


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