by Elliott Stonecipher
[Caddo Parish voters go to the polls on May 3rd to cast ballots - a second time - on a 1.75-mill property tax for the Caddo Commission. Voters defeated the identical tax proposition last October. This series of articles is written in that context. Early voting on the tax proposition continues through Saturday, April 26th.]
The idea for this article came from a meeting two months ago with Caddo Commission officials, both elected and staff. Soon after, this research began, focusing on a question of growing interest and importance:
how has the Caddo Commission, in a parish with almost no population growth since 1990, gathered in so much revenue – over 15-times population growth – and supercharged its spending – more than 13-times population growth?
This is an initial report on progress in finding answers.
The attached data table provides details. Fund categories therein are the Commission’s, taken directly from its website, “Summary of 2013 Budget,” Page C-1. Baseline data from 1990 has been provided by Commission staff in response to public information requests. Staff has also responded to follow-up requests over these weeks. Other sources of data include the U. S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Louisiana Tax Commission, and Caddo Parish Tax Assessor Charles Henington.
All 1990 data are shown before and after adjustment for inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that the cumulative rate of inflation since 1990 to be +80.8%.
Broadly, these findings are most notable:
… The Commission’s Haynesville Shale windfall is not even in the discussion. Flush with money, a tiny bit under $50,000,000 in discretionary (more…)
Add comment April 21, 2014 11:17 am
I am pro oil and gas, but Oil & Gas interests must be held accountable for the mess they have left on the coast of Louisiana. Even though Senator Adley is the author of SB553 and got the support of Buffington and Peacock, one senator representing us here Senator Tarver voted for the people and not for the industry. Not saying oil and gas should completely restore the entire surface of the marsh, but at least leave it so nature can to some degree overcome their trespassing. Each of these links below are full of pictures. Each one you click on has a slide show. [this compliments of Jimmie Couvillion]
From Jonathan Henderson, JD, MBA:
Why isn’t this being cleaned up? Why isn’t the state of Louisiana making those responsible clean this up.
Here are links to two sets of new oil, gas, pipeline canal aerial photos that Jonathan Henderson took on April 11th, 2014. There is one set from St. Bernard Parish and one set from Plaquemines Parish:. (more…)
Add comment April 18, 2014 5:52 pm
The latest scuttlebutt on Shreveport’s upcoming mayoral race is that Ollie Tyler may enter this fall’s election – at the urging of current Mayor Cedric Glover. The Glover team lead by Lynn Braggs had previously pushed Councilman Sam Jenkins to be the standard bearer until Jenkins unpaid taxes became common knowledge. How long Tyler will curry favor as a potential candidate will depend in large part on several factors.
The first will be not only how well her public education background will be remembered, but also how it perceived as meaningful to any mayoral aspirations. An educator for more than forty years, Tyler served as the Caddo School Superintendent, and then as an administrator with the Louisiana Department of Education, including a stint as the acting Superintendent. Public education in both Caddo Parish and Louisiana has never been a cause for celebration, and thus any claim to fame on that basis by Tyler will probably fall on deaf ears.
A second and equally important issue will be her age and health. Tyler is sixty nine, and she
Add comment April 17, 2014 3:00 pm
The concept “Lewd in the Library” is probably far too tame today to consider behavior that would get most banned from the library. However, “Lewd” might aptly refer to the angle some staff at Shreve Memorial Library branches have previously applied to patrons who didn’t follow personal directives. KTBS covered the 26-page list of Banned Patrons as young as 8-years old. Some seem to be banned for infractions that lack logic or certainly a defined policy.
Whatever the “unacceptable” behavior is that has neither Policy nor Procedure definition according to board guidelines, patrons as young as 8-years old have been “Banned for LIFE!” AT least it’s for life until they successfully appeal their expulsion from the library when they are old enough to understand the issues. If these issues are not clarified, we will have children who can’t even look at art (more…)
Add comment April 14, 2014 4:33 pm
by Elliott Stonecipher
It now seems Congressman Vance McAllister will not resign, and may well run for re-election. Revelations of notable details of his marital infidelity are likely behind us, but running late is confirmation of who, precisely, executed the political hit and how they did it. Meanwhile, Republican Party bossmen piously decry All Things McAllister as if none of the rest of us know they are, one way or the other, tied to that hit team’s most likely principal, Governor Bobby Jindal.
Democrats, of course, are atwitter. Their idea of pumped-up statewide turnout in the November 4th election gains credibility as they are handed the unexpected gift of a now-assumed wide-open, high interest 5th Congressional District race. While district demographics do not suggest they will actually win this seat, the re-election chances of U. S. Senator Mary Landrieu are boosted in the same way as by Edwin Edwards’ entry into the 6th District Congressional race, and possible like ops in the 4th Congressional and 5th Public Service Commission districts.
McAllister, now a full-fledged member of America’s political club no pol seeks to join, has (more…)
Add comment April 13, 2014 3:04 pm
Thanks to Alexandria Burris, Michele Marcotte, John Prime and the Shreveport Times for follow up on one issue addressed at March 31 Shreve Memorial Library board meeting. I addressed this after the board meeting in “An Institution Gone Amuck” and feel the public must demand details of the churning work that never really fixes the inherent problem.
Louisiana citizenship requirement #1: understand we live in a very HUMID environment; mold and mildew are inherent issues, more so DANGERS to specific assets. Groups accepting a building to house books should KNOW if the building has a vapor barrier and is capable of housing paper-based products. Quotes, even thoughts that appear quite difficult to comprehend from a library board member:
“He said it is suspected the building may not have a vapor barrier in the walls to prevent moisture from seeping through.“
“There are underlying issues in the building itself,” he said. “Until we hire a professional to come and take a good assessment of it, we won’t really know.”
$10,000 expense to taxpayers to be told details of this problem seems more than a day late and $10,000 too much. Mold and construction experts KNEW this (more…)
Add comment April 13, 2014 10:07 am
by Murray Lloyd
The “A Point In Every Direction” Master Plan Marshals On
See, this is what happens when you try to hold elected officials accountable in the City of Shreveport – they just start making stuff up.
Never mind the Master Plan says not to, they think it is good “strategery” to continue to sprawl with no plan.
The argument is that, since we have made so many mistakes in the past, the way to fix this is to keep making them until we have filled in the gaps of all the mistakes we haven’t made yet.
And, if you noticed, neither the Mayor nor the Councilman mentioned the Master Plan.
Why? Because the Master Plan we really work from is “I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it wherever I want to.”
In religion, this is called “sin”; in biology this is called “cancer”; in economic (more…)
Add comment April 11, 2014 4:33 pm
When one thinks of the many challenges Shreveport’s next mayor should address, appointments to the multitude of local boards and commissions is probably not even on the radar screen. However, the wheels of a democratic government do turn, in part, on the actions/reactions of these groups which in theory provide meaningful input on how the city’s tax dollars are spent.
Some of these appointive bodies are high profile and well known to most citizens, – like the Shreveport Airport Authority, the Caddo-Bossier Port Commission, the Shreveport Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Shreveport Metropolitan Zoning Board of Appeals, the Shreveport Parks & Recreation Council, and the Downtown Development Authority. Other boards/commissions that have a public profile include the Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport, the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, the Property Standards Board, the Shreve Memorial Library Board, and the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Commission, among others.
Many boards/commissions rarely make the news and thus are known at best by only those directly affected by their actions, – like the Building Board of Appeals, the Employment Retirement System Board of Trustees, the Shreveport Health Trust (more…)
Add comment April 10, 2014 3:00 pm
A small group has begun wading through documents of the library as part of a Public Records Review. One of the first glaring documents screamed to me, and anyone looking at “Board of Control” responsibilities, would find in a Board Packet Correspondence document section on Governance Practices Training for the board reason to scream. This document shows critical flaws in the system.*
The document covers the planned board workshop outcomes, expectations, and path by which the consultant hopes to accomplish stated goals of governance. This program of the Sandbar Group is similar to many other “in-service” programs run for non-profit boards. The problem seems to be that the Shreve Memorial Library Board of Control failed , as a whole, to internalize the substance of the program. This is so critical, I want to quote and give some analysis. Additionally, I believe you should send the basics of this email as a public letter to apply to almost EVERY Public entity and citizen who participates in governance. The one page I pulled is this (The single page is attached to this email):
IMPLEMENTING EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE PRACTICES
The Shreve Memorial Library
(January 13, 2010)
The Shreve Memorial Library provides library services to Caddo Parish. Governed by a Board of Control (more…)
Add comment April 10, 2014 1:06 pm
by Murray Lloyd
Yesterday the Shreveport City Council Infrastructure Committee met to discuss two items – a draft “Cost of Service and Rate Design Study” (“Study”) for water and sewer services and a proposed Beneficial Environmental Project (“BEP”). Both of these are related to the Consent Decree on the City’s Sanitary Sewer Overflow debacle.
The Study shows what the total expenses are for the water utility and the sewer utility and which customer class pays for what part of the “cost of services.”
It also contained an alternative to replace the single residential water rate with a tiered structure designed to encourage water conservation.
The BEP is a program run by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) that allows fines that would go to the state to instead be used in the local community to do projects that (more…)
Add comment April 9, 2014 4:16 pm