Posts filed under ‘Caddo Parish Commission’
by Marion Marks
Caddo Parish Animal Services (CPAS) is a misunderstood and under-appreciated entity whose goals should be to improve the quality of life of citizens, while cutting tax-payer expenses and improving educational appreciation for the services they provide to animals and families with animals. No modern community can exist without the services they provide because there will always be problems with stray or lost animals, injured animals on public land and regulation of animals who coexist in our space.
In 2008, Matthew Pepper, then Director of the Department of Animal Services and Mosquito Control, wrote a letter of support to multiple granting agencies supporting Robinson’s Rescue to enlist a greater cooperative effort to reduce the number of stray, unwanted and abused animals in Caddo. Robinson’s (more…)
Add comment March 11, 2014 3:57 pm
Shreveport/Caddo Parish is known by outsiders for cut-throat, often vicious dealings with anyone who fails to follow the rules of the “Power Brokers.” The Jim Leslie murder in Baton Rouge still resonates with many. Quite often it’s related as “You only get warned once.” Edgar G. Robinson obviously taught some good lessons.
Today’s Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) struggle to find new leadership has taken lessons from gangster profiles, and Caddo Commissioner John Escude must be trying to impress others that he really means business if you don’t “toe the line” he expects.
Email attributed to John Escude:
From: John Escude <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: bowmanservesus <email@example.com>; dcox <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Douglawyer <Douglawyer@aol.com>; (more…)
Add comment March 6, 2014 3:25 pm
Most people in northwest Louisiana are aware that Caddo Parish has a feather in its cap with regards to its partner in animal welfare—namely the low cost/high volume spay/neuter clinic on Line Avenue called Robinson’s Rescue. For the past five plus years, Robinson’s Rescue has performed more than 26,000 spay and neuter surgeries for area pets. Most of these surgeries are targeted towards our low-income neighbors who, without the assistance of Robinson’s Rescue, cannot afford the cost of preventing their pets from reproducing.
The mission statement of Robinson’s Rescue is: To eliminate the euthanasia of adoptable dogs and cats in our region, prevent unwanted litters, and end the dog and cat over-population in Northwest Louisiana.
Add comment March 6, 2014 2:43 pm
by Elliott Stonecipher
When I introduced this subject with an article the day before yesterday, I stressed the importance of the search for a new Executive Director of the Caddo Parish / Shreveport Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC). I did so because that selection is an absolute key to a longstanding and critically necessary reform of the public body. I stressed, too, the open and disturbing desire and intention of some Caddo Parish Commission members to hijack the MPC board’s specific legal authority to conduct that search – and make that important personnel decision – independently.
The next chapter in this important story was written today in an MPC meeting led by businesswoman and Chair, Lea Desmarteau. After over two weeks of taking serious opposition fire from some few Caddo Commissioners, Ms. Desmarteau led the MPC board today in doing precisely what many here believe is critical to this community: acting in open and solid defense of the rule of law.
Without unnecessarily repeating ground covered in my Monday piece, all readers are urged to take a moment to consider the following Louisiana state law. As you do so, please note that the statute at issue is specific to the Caddo / Shreveport MPC, as detailed in the preceding statute, Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 33:140.6, Metropolitan planning commission; creation and appointment. Just following is the statute most directly at (more…)
Add comment March 6, 2014 10:18 am
Ken Epperson’s recent Soapbox rant accusing the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) of being a “train wreck” is a sad commentary by a very highly paid part time public official unfairly criticizing a volunteer board working with poorly qualified, publicly paid staff. Epperson is always known to have a secondary agenda, and a close reading of his column clears reveals his motive–to have an unqualified person who happens to be a minority like Epperson appointed as the MPC Executive Director.
The MPC Board has 9 members–4 appointed by the Caddo Commission, 4 by the Shreveport City Council and 1 mutually agreed upon by the 2 bodies. Both the City and the Parish fund the MPC and its Zoning Board of Appeals; the MPC has planning jurisdiction over the City of Shreveport and a 5 mile district outside of the city limits. Its members serve voluntarily and without pay, often dealing (more…)
Add comment March 4, 2014 9:55 am
by Elliott Stonecipher
Some say it is axiomatic, and some say it is cynical: good deeds don’t go unpunished. Interpretations aside, it is a fact that volunteering our time to serve on local government boards is not a bath of warmth and bubbles. For evidence, look no further than the Caddo Commission work session on February 18, 2014. Presented there was a crash-course in what has gone wrong in volunteer “public service,” here, a place where the rule of law is too often of little meaningful consequence.
The direct subject is the Metropolitan Planning Commission’s (MPC) replacement of its former, now-retired, Executive Director, Charles Kirkland. The broader – and real – subject is the desire of some Caddo Commissioners and others, reportedly including Mayor Glover, to manipulate the MPC and its selection process for self-serving reasons. To do so, involved officials must intimidate the mostly-new MPC board into surrendering their legal authority to do the job.
Given that the subject events were not covered or reported by the news media, we rely on two sources of direct information about this subject – an op-ed by Commissioner Ken Epperson in the Shreveport Times on February 28, 2014, and a recording, now posted on YouTube, of the subject Commission work session on February 18, 2014. I have spent extensive time, as well, in (more…)
Add comment March 3, 2014 3:13 pm
No, this is not a trick question, – - but it’s a primary real reason Caddo Commissioners are considering a personnel policy change concerning residency. And the answer to the question is “no”.
At a work session this past week, an ordinance was introduced to require Caddo Commission employees to live in the parish. The ordinance applies to all new employees hired after December 31st of this year. Beginning January 1 2015, parish residency is a requirement for promotions to management, supervisory or director positions. The new ordinance grandfathers current parish employees, who would not be required to move to the parish.
The residency issue has been a topic of discussion for several years by Commissioners, and there is little doubt that Administrator Woody Wilson’s continued residence outside the parish is the primary engine pushing this debate. Dr. Wilson is the highest paid Commission employee ($175,000 plus benefits); he is (more…)
Add comment November 28, 2013 4:00 pm
Two days ago, in Part I of this article, I passed along to readers the 2008 summary budget documents for the Caddo Parish Commission, and the full budget document for the 2013 current budget year. (In the 2013 document, scroll to report Page C-1, or document page 109 for the two pages which are directly comparable to the 2008 summary.) I thank readers for their unusual interest in the subject. This report will provide some astonishing additional data and information to put this subject in a more meaningful perspective.
Readers may remember that the Commission property tax millage which failed in the recent October 19th election would have generated $23,390,000 over its twenty-year term. It should be noted that $4 million of the original bond issue approved by voters in 2007 remains in the Commission’s coffers, and will be used for associated projects in 2014, regardless of its rejection by voters. The Commission placed the renewal on the ballot a year early. Given its near-$90,000,000 cash cushion, it might have allowed this 1.74-mill property tax to expire.
The subject tax is a very small portion of the Commission’s revenue. In the current budget year, Commission revenue from (more…)
Add comment October 29, 2013 1:38 pm
by Elliott Stonecipher
A week and a day ago, Caddo Parish taxpayers defeated both ballot propositions from and by our Caddo Parish Commission. No official response from the Commission has yet been communicated, likely due to its shock: no one seems able to remember the last time voters here rejected such a property tax renewal, or any other tax. Many of the informal reactions, however, as reported to me from various officials and others, have been all too typical for and from today’s officialdom. Some obscene and some not, included among those are threats to the people of Caddo Parish to prepare for service reductions, elimination of Commission funds to local charities, large tax increases on the ballot for a different voter demography next year, and so forth.
These are not reactions of “stewards of the public trust.” Neither are they appropriate, proportional, wise … or justified.
First, a bit of context to go with the rancor.
The first ballot proposition defeated by fewer than 7% of Caddo Parish registered voters would have extended “term limits” for Commissioners to 5 terms of 4 years each, from 3 terms of 4 years each. The proposition went down by a 2:1 margin, owing to its absurdity, if nothing else. Yes, two-thirds of Caddo voters refused to have it (more…)
Add comment October 28, 2013 9:15 am
The Caddo Commission has not fared well with its constituents in the past few days. On Monday October 14, pet owners and animal advocates blasted the Commissions Animal Services and its director Everett Harris. And on Saturday October 19, Caddo voters defeated both Commission proposals on the ballot.
The Caddo Animal Shelter and animal control program has gone from being one of the most progressive in the nation to one that is failing on practicing all points. The reason for the hasty decline in performance is simple, –change in personnel. Current director Everet Harris has been a bust since succeeding Matthew Pepper as the director of the Animal Shelter.
Both Pepper and Harris were hired by Parish Administrator (more…)
Add comment October 24, 2013 6:00 pm