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Satellites of Gov: Tulane to Track Obscure City Boards

Over at Tulane, they've been picking up some strange signals lately. But where you picture a bunch of guys sitting in a dark room wearing tin foil hats, they picture that hulking building on Perdido St. The mess of commissions, boards, public trusts, development districts and occassional railroad commission operating as personal bank account, actually has an academic name: satellite government. To track the orbits of these goverment crafts, the profs have set up a website called New Orleans Satellite Government. 


At the site, Aaron Schneider and David Marcello will collect data on all 140 of the entities that exist in the NOLA stratosphere. From there, the profs and the public will be able to analyze the data, and figure out what these entities actually do.


When you hear of a sub-government setup that controls the halls of power, but operates by its own rules, you may think of a more shadowy kind of organization. But Schneider and Marcello want you to know that they aren't looking to track those people.


"We distinguish between 'satellite government,' which consists of the entities described in this database, and what is sometimes called 'shadow government' and is often linked to corruption. Most of the entities described in this database have been established through some expression of public-sector authority and are legally governed by the sunshine requirements of Open Meetings and Public Records Acts. The same cannot be said of shadow government, which describes a realm of influence that operates off the public radar screen and is not legally constrained by sunshine requirements.," the pair wrote in an introductory message on the website.

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