Category: Louisiana Politics

Ongoing investigation of drug task force capped by today’s FBI raid playing out like Denzel Washington’s ‘Training Day’

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by Tom Aswell

  • Theft of seized drugs and cash.
  • Shakedowns of drug dealers.
  • Selling confiscated drugs.
  • Witness tampering.
  • And just for good measure, sex and violence.

Plot lines out of the Denzel Washington movie Training Day or Martin Scorese’s movie The Departed?

Nope and nope. Some or all of the above are possible reasons behind a massive RAID on the Hammond Police Department and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Hammond substation by upwards of 100 FBI agents on Thursday.

The raid was conducted as part of an ongoing—and widening—investigation of members of the joint Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office and Read more

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Legal Services of North LA Loses Funding Contract to Acadiana Legal Service Corp.

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cold-turkeyby John E. Settle, Jr.

A big turkey arrived early for the attorneys and staff of Legal Services of North Louisiana (LSNL) on the day before Thanksgiving,-no federal funding grant for 2017. This did not make for holiday of thanks, since it could mean pink slips for many of those working for LSNL providing legal services for the poor. The grant of $1.5 million was awarded to Acadiana Legal Services Corporation (ALSC), effective New Year’s Day.

Currently, LSNL has 3 office locations; the central office is in Shreveport and the branch offices are in Monroe and Natchitoches. LSNL has a staff of 40, that includes 14 attorneys and 5 paralegals. LSNL was formed in February 2002 by a merger of Northwest Louisiana Legal Services, Inc. of Shreveport and Kisatchie Legal Services Corporation of Natchitoches (KLSC); LSNL now serves 26 parishes in the state. LSNL and its predecessor, Caddo-Bossier Legal Aid Society, have served Shreveport and Bossier since 1967. KLSC began providing legal services to the Natchitoches area in 1978.

Acadiana Legal Services Corporation
Acadiana Legal Services Corporation

ALSC was formed in 1978 to serve the low income residents in 6 Acadian parishes; it has now expanded to 21 parishes. ALSC has offices Read more

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Moving Beyond the Bitterness

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dove_peaceby Marion Marks

Hatred, rancor, bitter scarred feelings and sadness of the past year of political discourse are all many of us see or feel. The battle for control of America, many believe, was decided regardless of what we said or did. We were powerless and played by the powerful.

But I believe America is still the winner of an election where most of the actions were the result of the decisions where all could have turned out differently. The process was never glamorous, but it was the will of the voters. And, with all the flaws and claims, America will work through the morass of rancorous partisan squabbles.

The grueling 2016 campaign doesn’t even come to an end in Louisiana until after the December runoffs. And, even then, we will have more noise as the “lame duck” session of congress determines what to do prior to the newly elected officials being sworn in and taking their seats in January.

However, it really is time to come together and move past the bitterness and squalid bickering that has marked the last year. So, here are five suggested strategies for cleansing the bitterness from our lives and our palettes.

1. Measure people by deeds and actions rather than political opinions

People in your circles are more than the sum of their political statements and opinions. If these people were in your life because they brought values to the discussion previously, they Read more

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Examining the Ugly Side of GOP

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by Marion Marks

Charlton Lyons, 1921
Charlton Lyons, 1921

Growing up in the South is both a blessing and a curse, particularly for those who peel back the layers of the past and examine the evolution of the politics and the modern Republican Party. For those who have been here since the 1950’s 2015-2016 has been a stressful and often painful year.

In 1952, Charlton Lyons headed the “Democrats for Eisenhower,” but, I wasn’t old enough to appreciate that election. However, I did get to later have a better understanding of the evolution of the Republican party during that time. Prior to Lyons, it was stated that the Louisiana GOP could hold a convention in a phone booth, serve fried chicken, and there would be plenty of room to dance. Things have changed drastically since then.

Joe D. Waggonner, US Representative
Joe D. Waggonner, US Representative

In 1961 Republican Lyons, a Shreveport oilman, won 45 percent of the votes in the special election against the Joe D. Waggonner, a Democrat in Louisiana’s 4th congressional district race for the US House of Representatives. This was the closest a Republican had come in a federal race since Reconstruction and marked a high-water post for many years. The contest received Read more

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Caddo Anticipates Diverse Transportation Plan

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Bicycle-Pedestrian Friendly Sidewalks
Bicycle-Pedestrian Friendly Sidewalks

by Marion Marks

The use of local funding to initiate a codified “Transportation Vision” for Caddo Parish seems to now be nearing approval. This vision required joint action by “Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG), the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), the City of Shreveport, the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (LA DOTD), Caddo Parish Commission and other government entities.”

I became aware of this work when I filmed the Bicycle Forum last October [Draft plan] along with following actions of the various agencies mentioned above that was related to the ongoing plans. As I recently followed public emails that indicated this program may actually become a reality, I am finding that some of the money spent to educate public officials and staff was money well-spent!

From one email: “The reason the Caddo Parish/Shreveport Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was submitted to the federal government is because we recognized that what U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx outlined in his Transportation Vision was becoming and Read more

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Zika Virus Dangers in Shreveport

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This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. On Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, U.S. health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and causes only a mild illness in most people. But there’s been mounting evidence linking the virus to a surge of a rare birth defect in Brazil. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

by William B. Wiener, Jr.

For all inhabitants of Shreveport, the City Council, and Mayor Tyler, the issues of the Zika virus will reach critical mass if we fail to understand the potential dangers and begin to address them properly. We must remember that in 1873 Shreveport was devastated by the Yellow Fever epidemic which killed one-fourth of Shreveport’s population.

Yellow fever is initially spread by mosquitoes, then human to human, and Yellow Fever is active today and potentially spreading Read more

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Public Corruption Issues Will be Addressed at BNA Meeting

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BNA Past meeting
BNA meetings have excellent attendance!

Local and federal government officials charged with enforcing anti-corruption laws will answer questions about their work at a Broadmoor Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday, May 10. Speakers will describe their jurisdictions in the area of government corruption and how they work in tandem with other law-enforcement agencies. Audience questions will be taken and answered by panelists. Citizen confusion exists as far as understanding how the various governmental agencies address reports regarding specific illegal acts alleged to have been committed.

Specific confusion among citizens concerns a belief that a one-stop shop opportunity should exist for citizens to Read more

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Louisiana Justice – Pay to Play!

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by Marion Marks

If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.
Based on popular TV and movies, too many people believe this is how the system works. Scales_of_JusticelHowever, in the twilight zone of Louisiana, when the state can’t afford to pay a lawyer either, many citizens charged with crimes will be discovering that the jail will be a crueler place to be. The critical issue the public and taxpayers will be forced to face was discussed Thursday, April 21 at LSUS with statewide participants, and the only consensus seemed to be regarding the existence of the fact that the problem exists and will soon be more severe.

LSUS ForumThose in attendance numbered less that a hundred, but a complete recording of the evening may be viewed HERE. Members of the panel were qualified to define aspects of the problem included:
Pamela Smart, Caddo Parish Public Defender
James T. Dixon Jr., Louisiana State Public Defender
Honorable Brady O’Callaghan, District Judge, First Judicial Read more

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Inquisitive Journalism is Not Blasphemy, Donald Trump

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Underwood-Typewriter
writing is still hard work!

by Marion Marks

Taking the mantle of a somewhat serious journalist is to recognize that you will be labeled an “odd person.” Your primary journalistic task is to question the actions and being of people who make decisions that change our world by interrogating their pivotal acts and stating publicly that a generally accepted policy or action of a leading citizen deserves greater public scrutiny. To the end that you are willing to even raise questions, you must be secure enough in your person and your interrogative style that you will often stand against popular platforms and elected officials. You must appear to be a grump or even a foul public entity in the eyes of various community segments. It comes with the territory.Journalism

Being inquisitive or demanding answers can be seen as blasphemous because you demand that others should also be extroverts in your discontent with the status quo. In questioning the system you must be open-minded and often incredulous to facts that cause you to demand that revelations will support your inquisitiveness.

There’s reason that our work is animated with sarcasm and sharp graphics that may bring chuckles and sometime joy for readers. Our belief is that there are almost Read more

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Prosecutions Halted by Judge, Defendants Released!

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Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Arthur HunterBy Marion Marks

The defendants’ constitutional rights are not contingent upon budget demands, waiting lists and the failure of the legislature to adequately fund indigent defense,” Orleans Parish District Judge Arthur Hunter said in his 11-page ruling. “In this country, a person who cannot afford an attorney and who has not been convicted, should not remain in jail without a date certain when proceedings will begin and when funding will be made available by the legislature to exercise his constitutional rights to an attorney and effective assistance of counsel.” [NOLA ARTICLE]

Judge Hunter ordered a halt to prosecutions and an end to pretrial incarceration for seven felony defendants for whom the state has been unable to find funding for lawyers and defense preparations. It was that simple and that complex for citizens who were victim Read more

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