Commissioners’ Retirement Is Explicitly Unconstitutional

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

By 1996, Governor Mike Foster was done with part-time elected officials hitting Louisiana taxpayers for their retirement.  Among those officials were legislators, but Foster brought them aboard by grandfathering-in the ones then in office.  The resulting legislation bulls-eye targeted offenders and banned the giveaway not only for future legislators, but also school board, levee board, and “police jury or parish council” members.Bullseye=we see you

The legislation became Act. 99 of the 1st Special (Legislative) Session of 1996, and to make sure this goodie door was nailed shut, Foster and the legislature went the last mile.  On November 5, 1996, with a high presidential election turnout as an exclamation point, voters put the prohibition in the Louisiana Constitution.  The vote for Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. l was strong and then some:

statewide, 70.2% voted to nix these handouts to parish commissioners and the others, and

… in Caddo Parish, 68.9% did so.

Straight from the good government textbook, the ban was a screaming win (more…)

Add comment January 27, 2015 9:49 am

How Gannett Reveals Self-Serving Policies

Defense Mechanism

Being Defensive…

by Marion Marks

The defense mechanism of those of us who stick our head out to participate in public discussion of issues we feel are important is often our most powerful reflex. We hate to have to go on the defense when our opinions, based on fact or merely trying to protect our base, are under attack. The worst blow we feel when insiders, who we expect to be supporters, betray a trust or just seem to take the oxygen out of the room when we least expect it. So it is with some in the media, particularly the Gannett owned Shreveport Times today as they undertake a systematic campaign to quell local dissent regarding the upcoming Bond elections.



Patterns of abuse by the Gannett organization currently are documented in the search-engine repression of articles that do not fit within the accepted realm of the editorial philosophy. One current op-ed, published Saturday, January 24th, by Vernon Hastings can only be read by subscribers who (more…)

Add comment January 26, 2015 10:31 am

Brian(Brain) Crawford As CAO – Great White Hope

Opinion by John Settleor Glover Clone?

One of the worst kept secrets of the Tyler campaign (at least among her key downtown supporters) was her potential hire for Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Former Shreveport Fire Chief Brian Crawford’s name was tossed out as a carrot to attract supporters for Tyler by many who obviously expect to benefit from the Tyler administration, especially Linda Biernacki. Thus Tyler’s announcement of her selection of Crawford to be Shreveport’s next CAO was no surprise to informed political observers.

Brian-Crawford, CAO

Brian-Crawford, CAO

In October of 2012 Crawford was named the fire chief for Plano, Texas. He had worked for 28 years in Shreveport, where he started as a firefighter and worked his way up to fire chief; as chief, he was responsible for 22 fire stations and more than 600 personnel. He also had extensive emergency management experience with his involvement in hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Ike. Crawford was also commander of the USAR Louisiana Task Force 1 operation in Tuscaloosa, AL, following the F4 tornado in 2011.

Crawford has a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and a master’s degree in organizational psychology. He is a graduate of (more…)

Add comment January 23, 2015 12:00 pm

CPSB Meeting Last Night … A Misfire Times Ten

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

(This is the 1st in a series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board’s plan for or against which Caddo residents may vote on May 2nd.)

I am not a big peddler of quotations attributed to “famous” people, owing mainly to the fact of missing context.  There are exceptions of course, like this comment about history by Winston Churchill:

“Study history, study history.  In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.”

I grabbed onto that one when in state government early in my career. Study History-Churchill I was in a pitched battle with professional educators on an urgent matter of public policy reform, and had studied the most meaningful (more…)

Add comment January 21, 2015 12:02 pm



John Settle Opinion Slug

In case Caddo voters are planning ahead, they can now mark May 2nd on calendars to vote on a tax renewal. And if that is not exciting enough, they may have a Caddo Parish School Board bond package to also consider on that day. This May could be a banner month for Caddo residents who do not own real estate – – getting to burden their fellow citizens who are landowners with more taxes.

Preaching from the Front-BioMedIn what must be the earliest vote on a tax renewal, the Biomedical Research Foundation of North Louisiana (“Biomed”) successfully convinced the Caddo Commission to schedule a vote for 1.74 tax renewal for a period of 15 years – – beginning in 2018; yes 3 years from (more…)

Add comment January 16, 2015 12:00 pm

How The Caddo Schools Tax Plan Will Hurt Us

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

When I last wrote about our Caddo Parish School Board’s new proposal for a would-be spring election, I shared my sense that, at its core, the plan is about CPSB keeping a property tax millage on their books for building new schools (?!). 

The pay-down of our capital outlay chunk of property taxes over time has seemingly reached the point with CPSB top folks that this plan was hatched … far too fast, with far too little input, and thus with an already cracked foundation. Hatch a Plan My take is buttressed by others I respect who are reading it the same way.  (I thank each for their counsel.)

Why else, after all, would the CPSB possibly be considering building new schools when there are so many more we must close, before circumstances out of our control close them for us?  That the CPSB response to the wave of reform called “school choice” is to build more buildings is stunning, even here … even now. 

(I break here to acknowledge that there are a few officials are their associates who are publicly questioning my education / CPSB bona fides.  For those few, and (more…)

Add comment January 14, 2015 11:47 am

Innovation Versus Stealing Your Identity (& Soul!)

change-vs-stabilityby Marion Marks

Many of the technological advances I read about always make me think about the historical advances Henry Ford brought to modern industry. Ford believed that a good business makes “excellent products and earns a healthy return.” But Ford proved a Great business does all that while creating a better world! Innovation, Ford style, drives businesses to bring to market products that provide solutions to customer needs as well as solutions in the way those who view the product see changing the environment. This was true for users of Ford’s innovations and the way that his innovations were viewed by non-users.

ford-Nothing NewHenry Ford aspired to be more than just a car company, he forcefully injected his philosophy into the lives of all employees and customers, often with an “in your face” gusto! Clearly, selling cars became secondary to Ford after he became financially independent. That’s corporate reinvention for most entrepreneurs who are forced to focus on making payroll and keeping the doors open. 

Although many companies advertise “benevolence above profit,” Ford’s current mission (more…)

January 12, 2015 12:03 pm

Je Suis Charlie!

Je Suis Charlie-FNby Marion Marks

The Charlie Hedbo attack in Paris was an assault on all western values of free speech. Any refusal to defend the right to make absurd political satire, even beyond the limits of Charlie Hedbo,  is an acceptance that our values are only as good as our internal defenses. Terrorists of of the nature of the alleged Yemeni branch come in every form and from every sector of society, because at any moment a person’s acceptance of criticism might fail and they may feel justified in becoming “radicalized.”

erasing-freedom-of-speech“Becoming radicalized” is no more than a rationalization that the limits placed on citizens are no longer accepted, and a person feels justified in a form of vigilante law. Some might rationalize that the Boston Tea Party was a form of “becoming radicalized,” as a group actively revolted and destroyed property as a (more…)

January 10, 2015 12:50 pm



Ollie Tyler

Ollie Tyler

by John Settle

Newly elected Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler turned 70 on January 7th, and by all accounts her administration is acting her age…as in old and slow. Despite her self-serving pronouncements about how much she accomplished on her first full day in the office (Monday December 29), City Hall observers are surprised as to how little Tyler has really accomplished since her December 6 cakewalk election. In reality, Tyler had an easy walk in the park during the entire election, and especially after the November primary; in the runoff she refused to participate in any forums, had very little public appearances and basically was a political hermit.

Tight Lipped

Tight Lipped

Tyler and her camp were very very tight-lipped throughout the campaign and even more so after her election. A time line of her activities, at least what is publicly known, is not encouraging for those who bought into her campaign boastings of expertise in management of large (more…)

January 9, 2015 10:00 am

Caddo School Tax Proposition? Stop It … Now!

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

Many, I do mean many, of you have contacted me about the Caddo Parish School Board administration’s red-hot (not in a good way) tax proposal.  It is rare – and joyous! – to get so many questions, and hear so many comments, about any tax proposition in Caddo Parish and Shreveport. 



I wrote about this latest tax whopper from CPSB back in December, and intended to wait until after the school board’s vote on it January 20th before writing again, but the sheer amount of heat being generated by this one altered that plan.

This will be short on numbers, since (more…)

January 8, 2015 11:23 am

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