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I don't get why everyone's reading comprehension went out the window when they read that article. No, she didn't take campaign contributions from Barre. Barre, a convicted felon who is trying to get his sentence reduced by giving the feds dirt on others, said he handed her husband an untraceable cash bribe. Pretty convenient, given the fact that it's impossible to prove a negative, as in, it's impossible to prove that one didn't take an untraceable cash bribe.

She took legal campaign contributions from Richard's and Metro and their principals, three months after the contracts were awarded. Which begs the question, why did they need to bribe her when our (admittedly flawed) campaign finance laws provide a perfectly legal mechanism for giving politicians money? The contract was for $525,000. I don't know what their profit margin on that was, but I'm betting it was small enough that after $5,000 in campaign contributions, it wouldn't have made economic sense to put even more funds towards bribing a public official.

I guess it could be true, but there's just something about all this that doesn't quite make sense. Also, I guess I find it a little weird that the TP decided to run an article that only says she's being investigated, and they print it right before the runoff. The TP didn't run any stories about Oliver Thomas until the guy pled guilty, and you can't tell me there weren't leaks to the paper about that before he actually showed up in court crying. And why did the TP sit on the Derrick Shepherd story until the Monday after the election?

Maybe the difference here is that Bill Hines and Ashton Phelps (TP publisher) are buddies down at the Boston Club, and Phelps is doing a favor for his pal's morbidly obese offspring, Walker.

Finally, I can't believe that no one has connected the dots in the whole Alex Heaton drug thing:
"Heaton said he didn't attend the Pontchartrain Center party or go to Mid-City Lanes."

"Somebody's trying to pull something on me," Heaton said. "This is not good. That is very strange."

"Heaton said he spent election night at a party given by lawyer Bill Hines in New Orleans and then at the Orleans Criminal District clerk of court's office, which supervises elections. Hines could not be reached for comment Friday, but Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell said he saw Heaton that night and estimated it was between 9 and 10:30 p.m."

The kicker is-- the Walker Hines election night party was held at Mid-City Lanes.


Since you are not endorsing her, I now know not to vote for her. Thank you so much for your wisdom and guidance.

Hope this ain't the "kiss of death".


Waldorf, you're absolutely right.

I have edited the post to reflect this.

Something does smell about the whole thing (as my link to the Zombie reinforces). Pampy is desperate enough to try anything, and that includes going after Una if she's absolutely clean.

Note that I haven't said that Hines is acceptable, either. At this point, I don't know what to do. I'm shocked that Hines made the runoff.

Percy Marchand, who finished third, is endorsing Una; but just read Michael Homan's post. She was absolutely unresponsive as a school board member, and that's just unforgiveable. It's not just my experience with her that makes me think she totally and completely ignores her constituents.

Based on her track record, she'll be absolutely unresponsive as a representative.


Waldorf, What are the dots to connect with Heaton. He walked the District on behalf of Hines.


I didn't vote for her in the primaries because of her former tenure on the school board and I won't vote for her now. I definitely am not voting for Hines which means I will be abstaining. It's pretty bad when I can't stomach even one of the candidates.


"Pampy is desperate enough to try anything, and that includes going after Una if she's absolutely clean."

So Pampy is so "desperate" that he has to "conveniently" make up "untraceable" and extremely hard to prove allegations that are false? That's what he desperately thinks will yield a lighter sentence?

At this time of maximum desperation, Pampy has NO ONE else he can provably send up the river, so he invents a story about Una?

I don't like Una, and I don't like Pampy's criminality... but sending the Feds on wild goose chases before sentencing is not a path to leniency. And the Feds are sharp enough not to waste too much of their time on stuff that isn't "low hanging fruit", yet they seem interested in pursuing this allegation about Una.


I've seen a lot of conclusory statements from various sources to the effect that Una was "unresponsive" as a school board member, but aside from not returning your phone call while you were in Prague, I haven't seen a whole lot of actual, detailed information that supports those statements.

As for Homan's charges that "Una, you played a key role in reducing the city's school board from a powerful government entity to a marginalized joke," well, wasn't the problem that the board had too much power and used it not to educate children, but to line their own pockets? And the pockets of their family and friends?

Or Homan's charge that "When [Una] started, the board oversaw more than 120 schools, and now you run 5"-- I'm sure that Katrina, or the fact that NOPS have been rotting from the inside out for decades, because of corruption, neglect and waste, had nothing to do with that. Nope, all Una Anderson.

You even claim that "Una Anderson, former school board member, is running for office with the platform that she will abolish the school board and make everything charter." Um, where has she said that? She advocates expanding charters and restructuring how NO schools are governed, but after her experience on the school board, I'd probably support those things too. Remember 2004, when she and Jimmy Fahrenholz had to get a restraining order preventing the rest of the school board from illegally meeting to fire Superintendant Amato? His contract required that he have a hearing before the board took such action, but they tried to circumvent the hearing requirment because they wanted to fire him before legislation that would shift more power to the superintendent was passed. I wasn't a fan of Amato, but the maneuvering by the board in that case was disgusting.

It seems to me that Una's biggest crime was, she spent years on the school board and didn't completely overhaul a massively broken bureaucracy in the face of overwhelming apathy and opposition from all those who benefitted from the system's dysfunction. Remind me never to look for a cure for cancer, because apparently, if I don't find a cure, all subsequent cancer will be my fault.

And why are are more charters a bad thing? Yes, I know, in an ideal world everyone would simply send their kids to their districted schools, and I sincerely hope we get to that point soon, but in the meantime, children need to go to good schools now. I think the fact that students and parents are apparently happy with the KIPP schools, the Priestly School, etc., is a good thing for New Orleans.

Karen, the dots are that Heaton lied to the TP about where he was on election night, when he is alleged to have given a 21-year-old woman drugs at Rock n' Bowl. He said he was not at Rock n' Bowl, he was at a party given by Bill Hines. Well, Walker Hines' election night party was at Rock n' Bowl. So Heaton was there. No one seems to have noticed this, and I think it's interesting.

Oyster, I guess that I'm just not persuaded by the logic of "if the FBI is investigating, there must be something to it." The FBI does lots of investigations that are premised on bad information, which don't go anywhere, and which are absolutely aimed at low-hanging fruit. Yes, federal law enforcement is much sharper and more competent than local law enforcement. That ain't saying much, and it doesn't mean they're perfect and don't screw up.

And no, "sending the Feds on wild goose chases before sentencing is not a path to leniency," but I haven't seen any evidence that Pampy Barre is either law-abiding, capable of making sound decisions, or disinclined to mislead authorities if he thinks there's the smallest chance of it working and benefitting him.

Apparently, no one thinks the timing of this article, especially relative to the timing of similar articles (Thomas, Sherpherd) is interesting, or that there's more to all this than meets the eye. Whatevs.


Thanks Waldorf, I missed the double negative or whatever you want to call it.

I did find Heatons choice of candidates "interesting"

As to Una non responsiveness,as the parent of a child in the Public School sytem during the evacuation Una never returned emails or requests for information to guide our family in decision making regarding the duration of school closures.

On the other hand, the Director of NOCCA where she also attends school was in constant contact with parents.

This kind of interface or lack of in her case leaves a bad taste in the mouth of voters.

I don't believe her lack of skills in communication mean she was or is a criminal, but it speaks to the ability to govern.


Well, I certainly can't argue with your experience with Una not getting in touch with you, and no, that doesn't say good things about her. I guess what it comes down to is, for me, the unreturned emails wouldn't necessarily trump the other candidate's complete lack of experience and talent. Yeah, that's voting for the lesser of two evils, which doesn't make me stand up and shout hooray.

Still, I think Walker's inexperience, his attitude that his daddy can buy him whatever he wants, including a seat in the legislature, and the fact that he intends to be a full-time law student at the same time he's a state rep is more of a concern than a school board member who didn't return some people's calls or emails (or, who knows, maybe she didn't get back to anyone) during the time that the city was evacuated. If someone else thinks the unreturned emails are a bigger concern, I disagree, but respectfully so.

On a somewhat related note, I'm glad to hear the NOCCA director is on the ball, as I'm hoping NOCCA will be an option for my son in a few years.


"The TP didn't run any stories about Oliver Thomas until the guy pled guilty, and you can't tell me there weren't leaks to the paper about that before he actually showed up in court crying. And why did the TP sit on the Derrick Shepherd story until the Monday after the election?"

That caught everyone by surprise. Do you really think the TP would miss the scoop the night before and let WWL take it? That doesn't give anyone the advantage, and I know for a fact the federal DA is holding his cards very close right now. You misunderstand how the feds go about an indictment. The Orleans DA (or even a more effective office like the Jefferson DA) sees a crime committed, investigates, indicts, THEN they build their case. The feds investigate people to SEE if a crime has been committed, build their case to a flawless trap, then indict. If the Federal DA allows the target of the investigation to know they are being investigated, it ruins their investigation or at least cuts it short, neither of which they usually allow. You only know you're being investigated by the feds after your picture and indictment show up in the paper.


Uh, Waldorf, why don't you tell the students with no books, with no showers for the football team, with no working toilets how well those charter schools are working out for everybody, OK?

Obviously, schools with the most parental involvement are working out the best. However, this isn't the situation for every family. Charters work out for the well heeled. What about reforming and having a local school that's acceptable? Or is that such an arcane concept that Una isn't even considering it.

Sure, the school board was corrupt before Una, and Una's not the reason for the corruption. I don't see anybody saying that. However, she has a proven track record of ignoring her non-Harvard educated constituents.

I've talked to 4 people in Una's district who tried to contact her both before and after Katrina, and she never responded to any of them. One or two reports, possibly that's coincidence, but 4 people with multiple incidents is a behavioural indicator.

By the way, she returned neither the phone call (which, courtesy of Skype, was a local number, not long distance) nor email.


Ashley, which charter schools are those? I'm not saying those schools don't exist, I'm just interested in which ones have those problems. Or, are you referring to the RSD schools? Yes, there are kids in the RSD schools and those schools are still in terrible shape. I never said the charter schools are working out for everyone. I also didn't realize that "working well for everyone" is the requisite, or even a reasonable, standard for public policy.

I'll settle, at this point, for some progress over no progress, since we're still years away from attaining the ideal. I consider the fact that today, there are more NO children in functional schools than there were a few years ago, to be an improvement. Also, NO had the functional equivalent of charters within the public school system long before Katrina. We called them "CWAS schools," or magnets.

You say, "Obviously, schools with the most parental involvement are working out the best. However, this isn't the situation for every family."

I'm sure it's not, because not all parents involve themselves in their children's education, but I don't see how it's the responsibility of Una, or the school board, or any governmental entity, or anyone other than the parents themselves, to make those parents more involved. Not because those parents are inherently bad or lazy or whatever, but because the factors which lead to uninvolved or absent parents-- lack of good jobs, low wages, poor quality housing, crime, substance abuse, lack of access to health care and mental health care-- have to be solved holistically. Public education is just one part of that. And unfortunately, it ain't going to happen overnight.

You also say, "Charters work out for the well heeled."

Parents don't have to be well-heeled to be involved and besides, the well-heeled have their kids in private schools. The bohemian bourgeoisie constitute the upper crust of places like Lusher, but they're not New Orleans' "well-heeled." I switched my kid from a private school to Lusher. Totally different kinds of people. For what it's worth, I prefer Lusher.

You asked, "What about reforming and having a local school that's acceptable? Or is that such an arcane concept that Una isn't even considering it."

Yeah, that is the ideal. And what makes you think she never considered it?

Hell, I think that's the best solution, but after years and years of the NO school system being an immutable monolith of patronage and incompetence, despite the best efforts of reformers, civic groups, parents, students, etc., I'm a little skeptical of whether it can be accomplished without dismantling or overhauling the system, or using charters to see what works well. I don't think charter schools are the be-all and end-all of public education everywhere, but I think they're what is going to work best right now in New Orleans, for more children, with the long-term intent of creating good local schools. I also don't think that Una ran for the school board years ago with the intent of dismantling the public school system in favor of charters.

And Aaron, if it's true that "You only know you're being investigated by the feds after your picture and indictment show up in the paper," and it's clearly not, why did the FBI break purported protocol in this case and let the paper know they were merely probing Barre's allegations about Una? Likewise, if Letten is playing his cards close, why is he apparently allowing leaks?


Addendum: I feel like my tone has been overly sarcastic, and I apologize.

Ashley, I probably wasn't clear about this point, but it sounds like you think that charter schools are responsible in some way for the poor condition of the RSD schools, and maybe I misconstrued what you meant, but I don't see the connection. Charters don't funnel money to catholic or private schools like a voucher system, and I don't see how they're taking any resources away from the non-charters. If they are siphoning resources, well, I'm sincerely interested in hearing more about that.

And, I'm interested in finding out how Hines' position on education-- or any issue, really-- is superior to Una's.


Waldorf, unfortunately for me, I'm not a huge Walker Hines fan. I think he abandoned NOLA, and only came back to run for office. I think he might have enough life experience to manage a Dairy Queen, but he's not an ideal candidate for Representative.

Yes, I'm speaking of RSD schools, the schools abandoned everyone in the push for charter schools. Who is there to speak for the children in these schools? Who? Definitely not Una.

The whole push toward charters has been a way to exclude children on the fringes. Screw that. In a civilized society, we take care of all members of that society. Those pushing for charters for all seem to think that the parents at every school will take responsibility for ensuring their children's school is fit.

That idea is fine if we're dealing with the Beverly Hills school district. We aren't. Here, many children have been living here without their parents even in the STATE, as the kids returned so that they could graduate from their high school.

We can go around and around on this incessantly, but it boils down to your political philosophy: and on public schools I am an unabashed socialist as I want all kids to get a fair shake.

"You asked, "What about reforming and having a local school that's acceptable? Or is that such an arcane concept that Una isn't even considering it." Yeah, that is the ideal. And what makes you think she never considered it?" -- she probably did consider it. Now, evidently, she's abandoned it.

Una and others that see charters as a panacea for all of the woes of today's education seem to have a very myopic vision.

All of that being said, I'll probably wind up abstaining in this race, unless either candidate shows me something. Probably not unless Una shows me something big, because I really don't see myself as a Hines voter.


"However, she has a proven track record of ignoring her non-Harvard educated constituents."

As a parent of two sons who spent the decade before Katrina in the Orleans Parish Public School system, I can authoritively say that a lot of Anderson's (and the other board members') "non-Harvard educated constituents" have a proven track record of ignoring their own children's educations. Funny how the public schools that worked seemed to always have large numbers of engaged parents and active parent-teacher organizations, while those schools that were failures almost always seemed to have predominantly apathetic parents. Stories of parent-teacher conference nights at such schools being attended by a number of parents you could count on one hand were not isolated occurances. But it was always somehow verboten to mention this as one of, if not the primary, reason that those schools were never going to meet any type of standards of achievement; blame the school, the teacher...but don't blame the parent, because they're "poor". The "poor" have been blamed for just about every ill throughout history--making it somehow we the enlightened's "duty" to see that they are never blamed for anything again. Sort of the left's (and I consider myself a member of that group) own version of the "black and white" scenario usually painted by the right--the right has always used the underclass as the scapegoat for everything, therefore it's up to us lefties to paint the poor as guilty of nothing.

Well, guess what? These particular "absentee" parents ARE generally poor...but that has little to do with the fact that their utter disinterest in their offsprings' education is (in my mind) THE main reason for their children's lack of success. Now with my sons attending a private high school, I see that there are "well off" parents who ignore their kids' education as well, and the students face greater challenges than they should have to face because of it. There are fewer of these parents at private schools, of course...something about out-of-pocket investment in education sort of inoculates against parental apathy.

So what does this railing against unmotivated parents have to do with the question at hand of pre-RSD-format local district schools versus post-Katrina charter school experimentation? Only this...we have had years and years of evidence to show that while the local district schools as instituted under the OPSB worked when the majority of the parents of the student body were heavily interested and involved in their children's education, they were abysmal failures in most incarnations where too high of a percentage of the parents weren't committed enough to make themselves a big part of their children's education for one reason or another. The template we were using didn't work without the parental involvement. We needed to try something different, rather than continue doing things the way we'd always done, only "trying harder". You don't need me to point out that when all schools have to follow the same policies and course as set by resistant-to-change administrations and Board members, and teachers are given no incentive to step outside of these methods when they see they're not working and because their membership in the union means no disincentive if they stick to the approved methods even if their charges are the worse for it, then there is very little hope of ever changing the way we "serve" children with uninterested parents.

Are charter schools a sort of "wonder drug" for this "disease" of absentee parents? Of course not. But the chartering of many of the schools does allow for the adoption by individual schools of methods that have been successful in similar circumstances elsewhere to that of each of the schools, with the incentive of the loss of the charter for repeated failure of those who stick too long with ineffective methods. No more dictates from the administration, Board, and union that "these are the rules you will follow" no matter whether the "rules" are suited to your particular school's student body and demographics or not. And as the individual school must adhere to administration and Board policy, the accountability realtionship is not between the school and the parents and students, but between the administration and Board and the parents and students. Try getting a response to your concerns (pre-Katrina) from your OPPS administration and Board when they're also dealing with the simultaneous concerns of several thousand other parents...and may be trying to weigh those concerns against their own agendas. In fact, the actual accountability "devolves" downward with the adoption of open-admission charter schools; if the individual school does not meet a particular student's needs (as determined by the parent, not the administration), then the parent can shop for a charter using a different method that may. And yes, I know I'm talking about the very parental involvement that I said didn't exist here, but there's also another salient feature--if the charter school's methods prove to fail too many of the students for too long, then it runs the risk of losing the charter to another charter group, chosen specifically in an attempt to fit it's student body (including those whose parents might not have been involved enough to be worried about their children's education) better than did the group previously in place.

These options never would have existed under the old system; we had decades to show that it didn't matter how poorly most of the school's served the students--they weren't going to change. Groups of committed parents, if large enough, could exert enough control to allow their children's schools to work under the old system. Isolated committed parents were reduced to the possibility of a CWAS alternative where they might find other like-minded parents, or pulling their children out of the system.

In essence, the old system is the one under which it could be said the schools "worked for the well-heeled", if "well-heeled" is defined as "actively engaged parents", while the charter movement actually sets up to be responsive to failure whether the parents are involved or not.


Lord it's amazing what the scent of a little blood in the water can do. I mean really, people, I'm no Una booster, I think she's spent entirely too much of her time on the Board fighting for political reform and not enough on educational reform, and her noble naiif stance doesn't really befit anyone who cut heir teeth with Ollie Thomas and BOLD, but jeez, you guys are as irascible as my namesake and then some.

Yes, Una hasn't been perfect but for God's sake trying to fix the School board is like trying to perform surgery with a rock, and not a sharp rock at that. Una is hardly alone among officials anywhere in the country on over reliance on magnet and charter schools to band-aid intractable problems, and as for being non responsive, come on, that's not her job. The School Board is a part time job, it doesn't come with a staff to handle massive constituent services. Their job is to manage and oversee the district, not mollify concerned parents.

The fact is perfect or not, Una came back after the storm. We know what she did, and perfect or not, it was in the service of the city. We know what her opponent didn't do at the same time. If she took the money, which seems more than a little suspect, I still don't care. Sitting back and blaming Una for problems that started in 1960 and castigating charter schools that your kids are at (I'm worse, I send my kid to a *gasp* private school) seems more than slightly unreasonable. It's also a bit reminiscent of posts here a few years ago when Ashley was insisting that despite her clear record, and the near unanimous opinion of the preservation community that Stacy Head was in the pocket of developers and was going to plow the city under for thirty pieces of silver.


Statler, as you may not recall, I also stated that Stacy Head was by far the best choice (in the runoff), and I endorsed her. If you read my posts from that time carefully, you will see that I stated I had reservations about her. The facts are that she received large financial support from developers, both local and out-of-town.

Also, still, Ms Head is NOT in favor of the LA legislature overruling Keto v New London, which puts her firmly on the side of developers.

That being said, she has been the 2nd best councilperson since the election, and somebody really, really good would have to run against her for me not to endorse her for re-election.

The fact is, despite her stance on charter schools, Una has been utterly aloof and unresponsive to her constituents as a school board member.


You said she was not a preservationist, despite a long and clear history with the PRC and the respect of a community which, unlike you, had been here for years.

I raise the issue because, like here, entirely too much of this grist is conclusory and inductive. Keto is as a irrelevant as Stacy's position on abortion. The council has no power of eminent domain. Moreover, some nebulous tacit support of the proposition that ED can be a useful economic tool is not tantamount to supporting developers or development. Finally, bad development is bad, good development is not only good, but necessary, especially here.

You are taking unspoken assumptions and positions and a tiny bit of data off to the races. "Aloof" is an overly broad, and in the post storm environment, meaningless accusation based on purely anecdotal information.


"unlike me, had been here for years"? I see your real motivation.

We do agree that bad development is bad and good development is good. Especially here, especially now.

"Aloof" was probably not necessary, but does indicate how I felt when trying to deal with her. As far as her failure to contact me, Karen, an unnamed friend, and Michael Homan, I assume you're still calling that "anecdotal". At what point does it become "empirical"?


Waldorf, chill. If Ashley doesn't support a candidate, they win. I am beginning to see a trend here. I think we are being "had".


Oh, and Statler, I was living in New Orleans before you were born, before you went to law school, and before you became an ass. I "had been here for years", you pompous snot.


It was not my intention to strike a nerve, although I apparently did. That said, your response was gratuitous and not terribly mature.

The fact is, you moved back after the storm. A short time later, you presumed that your opinion was superior to that of people with decades of relevant experience for no particularly good reason. Your opinion has also been categorically refuted by her record in the council.

This is germane, regardless of where you were born, as is the fact that you've not spent most of the last 25 years here.

I'm not from here; this is not a nativist pissing contest. This is about you taking dogmatic and strident positions based on exceedingly little evidence, and often in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary.


Statler, I don't need you of all people to lecture me on maturity.

Second, I intended to move back before the flood, and the paperwork was set for me to close on my house on September 6, 2005. All of my belongings were in storage, we had nowhere to live, and I had to evacuate like everyone else, except I had a 7 month pregnant wife and 2 children.

Third, unlike you, I do not assume my opinion to be superior to anyone's. It is simply my opinion, take it or leave it.

Fourth, if you add it all up, I've lived in New Orleans about 15 years of my 44 total.

You're obviously looking to discredit me, you're obviously trying to show us all that your position is superior, but you are wrong. The positions I espouse are grounded in fact, and you can pull all the spin you want, but it's not going to work.


I notice a strawman theme.

"Una is aloof and unresponsive" is met with "yeah, but".

No. It's not "yeah, but". It is simply "she is ALOOF and UNRESPONSIVE." An elected representive needs to be neither of those things. Una hasn't DONE ANYTHING in her years on the school board. Her sole accomplishment was to vote against firing a guy who got fired anyway? You combine the lack of accomplishments with aloof and unresponsive, you get a bad candidate.

Don't raise the straw man of "yeah, but" address the criticism or accept that you CANNOT address the criticism.


None of the above waste of 25 billion pixels says one word as to why Walker Hines would make a good representative or why I should vote for him.

23 years old. Has not lived in Louisiana for any of his adult life. Republican in values, if not in name. Rich powerful daddy who hobnobs with people like Pampy Barre.

Quit bitching about how Una did not single-handedly fix the most fucked-up school system in the country. Tell me why I should vote *for* Walker Hines.

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