News & Politics

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Former U.S. Senate candidate Maness urges veterans' groups to boycott New Orleans

Posted By on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 4:31 PM

click image Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a candidate for the Louisiana Senate last year, suggests veterans' groups boycott New Orleans. - MOUNTAINMAN23/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • MOUNTAINMAN23/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a candidate for the Louisiana Senate last year, suggests veterans' groups boycott New Orleans.

Last year, Ret. U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness was running for the U.S. Senate to represent Louisiana. Today he suggested veterans boycott New Orleans, the state's largest city.

On the syndicated Lars Larson Show, which was broadcast this week from WBRP-FM in Baton Rouge, Maness said veterans' organizations should avoid holding events in New Orleans due to the controversial takedown of four Confederate-era monuments in the city.

"Don't use racism and slavery and those sort of things to attack men who were serving their countries" at the time, Maness told Larson.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Louisiana's child care assistance program to start waiting list July 1

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 5:55 PM

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Louisiana's aid program to help cover the costs of child care will open a waiting list as the program braces for "overwhelming demand" with a limited budget. Eligible families must apply by June 30 to secure a slot, according to an announcement from the state's Department of Education. On July 1, they’ll immediately be added to a waiting list.

The federally funded Child Care Assistance Program offers child care support for low-income working parents or parents in job training or in school. Recent eligibility requirement changes bumped the number of recipients to 18,000 as of last month. "If and when funding becomes available," the program will contact waitlisted households, according to the department. After one year on the wait list, families have to reapply. Waitlisted households will be given 30 days notice before the lists are purged.

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The 2017 New Orleans mayoral race: A familiar but unique election scenario

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:18 PM

Who's moving in next year?
  • Who's moving in next year?

No two elections are alike, but this year’s race for mayor of New Orleans reminds me (so far) of the 2002 mayor’s race. Ray Nagin won that contest, but don’t panic. I don’t see another Nagin in our future. What looks familiar is the slow pace at which the field is taking shape and the lack of a clear front runner, at least as this stage.

Now consider this factoid: the last three mayors didn’t announce their candidacies until shortly before qualifying. That’s what leads some to whisper that we haven’t yet heard the name of the next mayor.

Of course, two of those three late-entry candidates were named Morial and Landrieu. They didn’t need to start early. The third was Nagin, and he won mainly because the eventual front runner, then-state Sen. Paulette Irons, imploded in the final weeks.

I don’t see any of this year’s candidates imploding, but I do see other parallels between this year’s race and the one that gave us Nagin.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

'Scalise Strong' blood drive in Metairie garners 40 pints of blood

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 3:38 PM

Forty pints of blood were donated yesterday at a "Scalise Strong" blood drive in Metairie, in honor of the local U.S. Congressman who was shot last week. - ALLEN JOHNSON JR.
  • ALLEN JOHNSON JR.
  • Forty pints of blood were donated yesterday at a "Scalise Strong" blood drive in Metairie, in honor of the local U.S. Congressman who was shot last week.

Local Democrats and Republicans alike turned out yesterday for a Metairie blood drive in honor of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot last week at a baseball practice in a Virginia suburb. Scalise still is hospitalized, but his condition continues to improve, according to doctors and visitors.

“I didn’t vote for him, but this shouldn’t have happened to him,” one woman said as she left the one-day "Scalise Strong" blood drive hosted by the real estate firm of Engel & Völkers in Metairie.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

As Senate quietly drafts health care bill, Louisiana senators remain mum on its contents

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 5:00 PM

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a February town hall, where constituents peppered him with questions on health care. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a February town hall, where constituents peppered him with questions on health care.

In March, a group of doctors and nurses — some in scrubs and lab coats — second-lined their way down Basin Street, rallying behind the imperiled Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. There were demonstrations at congressional offices and die-ins; many citizens came forward to tell their personal health stories and explain their opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the legislation meant to repeal Obamacare that passed the House May 4.

In recent weeks, and as the bill has passed to the Senate for revision and consideration, the ruckus has died down somewhat. But it's not because lawmakers have crafted a bill that appeases the public. Rather, the Senate has offered an unusual lack of information about the drafting of the bill, in a process some observers think was designed to chill public outcry. To date, no public hearings on the bill have been held or scheduled, and as reported by The New York Times, CNN and Vox, even some Republican senators aren't sure what's in it.

Speaking to CNN, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed her confusion — and frustration.

"I have no idea if we even have a bill," she said. "I learned more from you all in this conversation that there may have, in fact, have been [a draft bill] submitted to CBO (Congressional Budget Office), but if that's the case, I don't know what it is nor what it says."

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After Wednesday's State of the City, ask questions of the mayor at forum

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 11:05 AM

Mitch Landrieu. - CREATIVE COMMONS/NICK PRETE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/NICK PRETE
  • Mitch Landrieu.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu will deliver his annual State of the City address Wednesday, but later that day he'll be taking questions at a forum hosted by the civic group Engage NOLA. The forum will be held at the New Orleans Jazz Market from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21.
Landrieu is nearing the end of his mayoralty, and the event, according to organizers, will be "about the legacy of his administration, its accomplishments and work left undone, and what community members should consider in evaluating the candidates vying to fill his shoes and tackle the City’s endemic problems."

It's not a totally open forum — the event page promises "a facilitated discussion where participants may submit questions which will be vetted by event volunteers." WWL-TV's Sheba Turk will moderate. Admission is free with RSVP.

Engage NOLA will hold "networking hours" in the bar before and after the event (5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.-9 p.m.)
Location Details Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market
1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
Central City
New Orleans, LA
(504) 371-5849
Bar

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Orleans mayoral candidates Bagneris and Cantrell discuss minimum wage, law enforcement

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 3:35 PM

LaToya Cantrell and Michael Bagneris fielded questions from progressive group Indivisible NOLA.
  • LaToya Cantrell and Michael Bagneris fielded questions from progressive group Indivisible NOLA.

New Orleans mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris and LaToya Cantrell found a lot of common ground at a forum hosted by progressive group Indivisible NOLA, broadly covering wage inequity, immigration, racial justice, homelessness, substance abuse and mental health services, among other issues. Another announced candidate, Civil District Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, also was invited to the forum but had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. But the invitation-only event was this year's candidates' first large public introductions before qualifying begins.

Candidates sat in front of an orange Black Lives Matter banner at First Unitarian Universalist Church at Jefferson and Claiborne avenues June 17, fielding questions from event moderators, Indivisible members and members of the roughly 300 people in attendance.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Mayoral candidate Scurlock decries Indivisible NOLA for 'reverse racism'

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Frank Scurlock, mayoral candidate. - FACEBOOK/FRANK SCURLOCK
  • FACEBOOK/FRANK SCURLOCK
  • Frank Scurlock, mayoral candidate.

Mayoral candidate Frank Scurlock, who was excluded from tomorrow's town hall forum for declared mayoral candidates hosted by Indivisible NOLA, has accused organizers of "reverse racism" for not inviting him to the event. (Scurlock is white; the invited candidates, Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet, all are black.)

"Are the Indivisible New Orleans decision-makers petty elitists and snobs?" Scurlock said in a statement. "Their action smacks of the worst kind of reverse racism and will only further divide New Orleans voters."

Indivisible NOLA founder Joyce Vansean responded, "We as an organization do not believe that reverse racism exists."

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Charbonnet drops out of Saturday mayoral candidate forum; WHIV-FM will broadcast

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 3:38 PM

Declared mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris and LaToya Cantrell will attend the first mayoral forum of the election Saturday morning. Desiree Charbonnet (right), who originally had committed to the forum, will not be attending, citing scheduling conflicts.
  • Declared mayoral candidates Michael Bagneris and LaToya Cantrell will attend the first mayoral forum of the election Saturday morning. Desiree Charbonnet (right), who originally had committed to the forum, will not be attending, citing scheduling conflicts.

The first forum of the 2017 mayoral race, set for Saturday morning at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, has lost one of its participants: Former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, who originally had confirmed her attendance, now has backed out, citing a scheduling conflict.

In a note, Charbonnet said she inadvertently had been "double-booked" and will be in Washington, D.C. this weekend. That leaves two candidates with confirmed attendance: former Civil District Judge Michael Bagneris and District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.

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LSU announces operators for medical marijuana program

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 3:05 PM

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Louisiana State University announced plans to partner with GB Sciences for the state's medical marijuana manufacturing program. LSU's AgCenter will contract with the Las Vegas-based company — pending approval of the school's Board of Supervisors — to grow weed and produce a medical-grade marijuana-based product available for prescription by 2018.

The program comes two years after the passage of statewide legislation to begin planting, cultivating, dispensing and prescribing medical marijuana in Louisiana — a long, strange trip that began in the 1970s with the passage of a statewide medical marijuana law but was effectively useless over the last four decades, until now.

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