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Peralta vetoes ordinance barring raises for parish workers

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta leaves the parish jail after posting bond Thursday, April 24, 2014.

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta on Friday made good on his promise to veto a measure passed by the Parish Council this week that would have imposed a six-month freeze on salary raises for parish employees, thereby limiting the authority of the embattled first-term parish leader. Early indications were that the veto might stand.… Continue reading →

Trainor campaign, sheriff’s law firm share address, and other New Orleans-area political news

The Vampire Diaries -- Pictured: Ian Somerhalder as Damon -- Photo: Nino Munoz/The CW -- � 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Brian Trainor, one of four candidates hoping to replace Walter Reed as district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District, minimized his role in a personal-injury lawsuit that landed attorney Charles Hughes in hot water this month when racial slurs Hughes used in a recorded conversation with an unhappy client became public. Trainor’s only involvement in the case… Continue reading →

City of New Orleans clears homeless from camps near Pontchartrain Expressway

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Pigeons and pigeon dropping are seen on tents underneath the Pontchartrain Expressway at Calliope and Camp Street in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. Homeless people moved further away from the Superdome after the New Orleans Health Department handed out fliers Monday asking people to leave that overpass from Claiborne to St. Charles Ave within 72 hours and moving them out on Thursday morning.

The city continued its efforts to break up homeless encampments in the Central Business District on Thursday, evicting the homeless from a number of small camps near the Pontchartrain Expressway. On Sunday night, camp inhabitants were given 72 hours to disperse, according to City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who said she supported the sweep because of worsening… Continue reading →

St. Tammany district attorney candidate Roy Burns admits to having 2 homestead exemptions that likely saved him thousands

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Roy Burns is running for St. Tammany's District Attorney in Covington, La. on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Roy Burns, one of four candidates running for St. Tammany Parish district attorney, likely saved thousands of dollars in property taxes by having homestead exemptions on two properties at once for more than a decade, an arrangement that Burns said was a mistake he eventually noticed himself and corrected several years ago. Under a homestead exemption,… Continue reading →

Fired Kenner inspector can have job back, board rules

The Kenner Civil Service Board has reinstated a city employee fired in May, finding that his dismissal — officially blamed on reckless driving — was in fact “arbitrary and … without reasonable cause.” Joey Metzler, an electrical inspector with Kenner’s Code Enforcement Department who was fired on March 25, will be reinstated with back pay after… Continue reading →

Firm drops plan to add oil storage tanks at Marrero plant

A petroleum distribution company has dropped plans to add more storage tanks as part of an overhaul of its Marrero facility. Magellan Midstream will go forward with other aspects of the project but not the addition of 13 tanks to the 53 that are already on the property, company spokesman Tom Byers told the Jefferson Parish… Continue reading →

Good news for NOPD: Chief Michael Harrison says recruiting starting to hit its stride

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Interim NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison is shown in this Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The newest faces of the New Orleans Police Department are a diverse bunch. Among them are a former UNO baseball pitcher whose recent jobs included termite inspector and country club pool guy, a state probation and parole officer whose sister is former City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, a Cuban-born Floridian with an MBA, the ex-manager of… Continue reading →

Surprise move: St. Bernard Parish president David Peralta threatens to veto measure limiting his authority

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta

With little fanfare beyond a quick reading of the proposed language, the St. Bernard Parish Council on Tuesday took steps to limit the authority of Parish President David Peralta, drawing a strong rebuke from the embattled parish leader, who in a surprise threatened to veto one of the two measures. The council, by a 4-1 vote,… Continue reading →

St. John water employees suspended after being charged with faking tests

DO NOT RUN DO NOT RUN DO NOT RUN  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, May 31, 2013 holds a press conference at the Port of New Orleans headquarters for the first day of hurricane season to talk about the protection system. Also included were the parish presidents whose parishes are included within that greater New Orleans system. Natalie Robottom President of St. John The Baptist Parish. MAGS  OUT / INTERNET  OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/  MANDATORY CREDIT THE ADVOCATE/ELIOT KAMENITZ

Two St. John the Baptist Parish employees accused of faking chlorine-level tests, which would have found the presence of a potentially dangerous amoeba in the parish water supply, have been suspended without pay following their indictment Monday on charges of malfeasance in office and maintaining false public records. Meanwhile, parish officials, with the help… Continue reading →

Early voting begins Tuesday for senator, host of other offices

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Early voting starts Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

Early voting begins Tuesday for the Nov. 4 primary election in which voters will cast ballots for U.S. senator and House members, plus a host of local offices. They also will decide on 14 amendments to the state constitution and many local ballot propositions. Early voting will continue from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through… Continue reading →

Same candidates face off again for St. Charles Parish judgeship

judge Michee Morel

A pair of familiar faces are squaring off again in a Nov. 4 election for a state judgeship in St. Charles Parish, two years after they met in a tightly contested race for the same Division E seat on the 29th Judicial District Court in Hahnville. Judge Michele Morel, of Luling, won that race, a 2012… Continue reading →

St. Bernard Council to vote on limiting raises, new hires

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta leaves the parish jail after posting bond in April.

The St. Bernard Parish Council is slated to vote Tuesday on imposing a six-month freeze on new hires and salary raises for current employees — moves that would limit the authority of the parish’s embattled first-term president, David Peralta, who faces mounting criminal charges. Both ordinances were introduced earlier this month after a lengthy closed-door session… Continue reading →

Two St. John Parish employees indicted over fake water tests

Two St. John the Baptist Parish employees responsible for testing chlorine levels in the parish water supply — an important safety measure against a potentially dangerous amoeba — were indicted on Monday, accused of faking the results of tests they never actually carried out. Kevin Branch, 54, of LaPlace, and Danielle Roussel, 43, of Paulina, each… Continue reading →

TV star Ian Somerhalder shills for DA candidate, but message may be ‘Lost’

Instagram image

The St. Tammany Parish district attorney’s race may be the highest-profile local election on the local ballot, but it hardly seems like the kind of contest that would draw the eye of Hollywood. But Ian Somerhalder, smoldering star of the “The Vampire Diaries” and “Lost,” is a Covington native, and he’s weighing in on social media with… Continue reading →

Four candidates for north shore DA running against legacy of Walter Reed

Brian Trainor

While four candidates are on the ballot for district attorney of the 22nd Judicial District in the Nov. 4 election, in many ways all four are running against a fifth man: Walter Reed, who has had an iron grip on the DA’s Office for a generation. As the heat of a federal grand jury probe into… Continue reading →

Two challengers trying to oust incumbent St. John Parish DA

Pictured from left Thomas F. Daley, Bridget Dinvaut and Geri Broussard Baloney

After a six-year run that has included two capital murder cases and a featured spot on the television show “America’s Most Wanted,” St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Tom Daley is asking voters for another term in the Nov. 4 election. But Daley, 61, who was a judge before winning his current post in 2008,… Continue reading →

City Council backs assessor on higher values for local hotels

Council President StacyHead; Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Assessor Erroll Williams

City Hall has decided to get more aggressive about collecting taxes from some of the city’s hotels and properties that benefit from certain tax credits — a decision that could mean several million more dollars to spend on city services next year and into the future. New Orleans City Council President Stacy Head, who has been trying… Continue reading →

Plans for new Levee District building in Kenner to be restudied

Officials will re-evaluate plans for a new East Jefferson Levee District headquarters in Kenner after hearing opposition from residents worried that the project would create problems for neighbors and for mourners at nearby historic cemeteries. The new building is planned for an area of south Kenner next to two traditionally African-American burial… Continue reading →

Five candidates competing for Plaquemines Parish president

Pictured from left, Amos Cormier Jr., Jerry Hodnett, Byron Williams Jr. and Lane Greco

Infrastructure, recreation and economic development are important to the future of Plaquemines Parish, but the five men vying to replace Billy Nungesser as parish president say coastal restoration and flood protection top the list of priorities. “Before we can bring big industry in here, we have to secure our coastline and barrier islands,” said Lane… Continue reading →

Mayor Landrieu proposes raises for cops; millions for firefighter pensions and city jail also in 2015 budget

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--  New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses the media in city hall before presenting his 2015 budget to city council in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. EMS director Dr. Jeffrey M. Elder stands to the left of the mayor and the city's Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin stands to the right.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Wednesday proposed an operating budget for 2015 that includes the first police raises in eight years, reflecting both the persistence of violent crime as a top concern in New Orleans and a relatively healthy increase in tax revenue. Under Landrieu’s budget, which now goes to the City Council for debate, members of… Continue reading →

2 vie to unseat Skrmetta in contentious PSC race

Eric Skrmetta, left, Allen âAlâ Leone, center, Forest Bradley Wright

With a longtime U.S. senator and an embattled Juvenile Court judge among the candidates fighting to keep their seats in the Nov. 4 election, it’s nearly impossible for the Public Service Commission’s 1st District race to attract much public attention, but with the candidates for that seat lobbing increasingly pointed attacks at one another, the race has become… Continue reading →

Mayor’s budget for New Orleans, due Wednesday, will be subject to change

The 2015 operating budget that Mayor Mitch Landrieu presents to the City Council on Wednesday will in some ways be no more than a first draft. That’s because the mayor won’t know until early next year whether voters will approve a property tax hike for additional police and fire coverage. Also, Landrieu’s administration is still in… Continue reading →

Work-release operator with ties to corrections officials building an empire

Photo provided by WWL  --  Ground breaking of Livingston Parish Work Release.

A privately owned work-release program in Covington run by close allies of St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain has been closed since March, when an inmate escaped and allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend. In the wake of that episode, state Department of Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc said he would no longer allow local sheriffs to outsource… Continue reading →