Posts filed under ‘Caddo Parish Commission’
by Elliott Stonecipher
The formula for good government is simple and direct: the governed commit to battle as necessary for transparency in all elected officials do in the public interest. Holding officials accountable for their actions is otherwise impossible. The assumption, therefore, is that a participating public actually knows what elected officials are doing.
In Caddo and Bossier Parishes, the dramatic de-emphasis of hard news reporting about local government has become wind in the sails of self-serving elected officials. As that condition persists over extended periods of time – as it has here – accountability disappears.
More directly put, official malfeasance becomes systemic when there is no downside risk in it. Then, officials so inclined deliberately, (more…)
January 7, 2015 3:14 pm
by Elliott Stonecipher
The last time Caddo Parish Commissioners took a specific, publicly recorded vote to give themselves a pay raise, Bill Clinton had been President for less than a year … December 8, 1993.
If that strikes you as a bit – or a lot – counter-intuitive, it should. Too many Caddo Commissioners are now recognizable for their commitment to self-service rather than public service. The matter of precisely how Commission members pay themselves with our money is just the latest example.
The fact of the matter is that the careful (more…)
December 31, 2014 3:00 pm
Last spring, I learned and wrote about the Caddo Parish Commission’s new “education & training” policy, and what a perk, to say it politely, it might prove to be for Commissioners. As I promised then, this is the initial report on that policy.
What you are about to read is more than merely upsetting, even here and now. Described is an abuse of official discretion, if not worse, which is well beyond the norm. I urge readers to remember that the broader issue here is a public body of (more…)
December 22, 2014 11:38 am
The 2014 elections have placed many new faces in key leadership positions for the City of Shreveport and Caddo Parish – – a new mayor, four new councilmen and six new school board members. In the process one incumbent council representative was defeated and four incumbent school board members were sent home. And for the first time a local PAC (Political Action Committee) was organized to contribute to election efforts.
The school board and council elections reflect significant citizen dissatisfaction with the current operation of these government entities. Newbies on the Council represent a majority of the present body and the newcomers on the school board represent half its members – enough (more…)
December 12, 2014 4:00 pm
This is a summary of my research on Swag Nation USA, as it is named here. With interest in non-government organizations receiving funds from the RiverFront Fund, which is parish collected funds from the gambling boats here on the riverfront, I discovered that Swag Nation which has as its spokes person here before the Parish Commission, Commissioner Michael Williams. The commission, as stated in the contract, wanted an etiquette program for juveniles that wore swagging paints. [KTAL Story] [KTBS Story]
The NGO’s are funded from the RiverFront Fund except for Swag. Swag has become a budget item like all other operational expenses paid for by the taxpayers of Caddo and not the gamblers at the River Boats.
Swag Nation has a contract with the Parish to provide such a service. Each juvenile with a recommendation from the Juvenile Court Swag gets $350 from the taxpayers for a six weeks course in how to keep up their paints. The parish pays for material and supplies and transportation for this six weeks of training.
Swag Nation in the contract agrees to (more…)
October 1, 2014 12:05 pm
By Marion Marks
In the last few days the pressure on Director of the Caddo Parish Animal Services, Everett Harris has reached a fevered pitch. Demands for Harris’s resignation and a full investigation into the conditions at the animal shelter, staff issues and policies that Harris has consumed much of the Commission and staff energies. The public should see more of the boil before things erupt…
To: “Harris, Everett” <email@example.com>
Cc: “Dominick, Doug” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Johnson, Lyndon” <email@example.com>, “Bowman, Jerald” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Linn, Matthew” <email@example.com>, “Epperson, Ken” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Thibodeaux, Michael” <email@example.com>, “Cox, David” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Escude, John” <email@example.com>, “Baker, Lindora” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Lynch, Stephanie” <email@example.com>, “Smith, Jim” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Williams, Micheal” <email@example.com>, “Wilson, Woody” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Bell, Karen” <email@example.com>
Subject: Letter of Resignation
Date: Thu, Aug 14, 2014 3:03 PM
As a lifelong resident of Caddo Parish I am calling on you to resign immediately as you have obviously lost the confidence of the people that you serve.
I know Reed Ebarb well and have worked with him on animal rescue. Knowing that you have so little regard for the volunteers that help make you and your organization look better I can only imagine how little you care about the animals under your care. I can only ascertain (more…)
August 14, 2014 4:06 pm
The Caddo Parish Animal Shelter is again the center of controversy as Director Everett Harris seems the focus of animal service group ire. This stream of emails and yesterday’s Parish Commission meeting drew major attention, and Thursday, August 14 will bring a march in downtown Shreveport demanding the resignation of Harris by dissatisfied citizens.
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 3:25 PM
Subject: Threatening Incident at CPASMC
I ask that you please read my written statement on the events that occurred today and I beg that you take action.
On August 13, 2014, at 10:30, I had a meeting with the Shelter Manager and Adoptions Coordinator at Caddo Parish Animal Services shelter. As I sat down with both of them, Mr. Harris, Director, walked into the room, grabbed a piece of paper off the table that I had tried to pass to the shelter manager, and asked what I was trying to do. I responded that I was simply trying to meet with and make some small suggestions to help get more animals (more…)
August 14, 2014 9:13 am
By Murray Lloyd
“Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” – David Hanna
So, what happens when all of our institutions are designed to do nothing?
Rarely do we get to witness the absolute ineffectiveness of all levels of government to address the most basic needs of our community – water.
In the three years since this emergency situation has been declared, not one government, economic, civic, or academic institution in this community has held a single meeting to address solving this crisis.
No elected official has even proposed a “next step” to be taken to avoid the same damage and hurt happening once again when, not if, we cycle into the next drought.
The most glaring example is the Caddo Parish Commission Regional Water/Utility Master Plan study.
Three years ago, in the middle of the last drought, with water wells in south Caddo Parish going dry, causing (more…)
July 28, 2014 12:11 pm
by Elliott Stonecipher
It is certainly no secret to any who have spent a lot of years learning how our city and parish tick: most of our “leaders,” elected or (self ?) anointed, have historically resisted anything but cheerleading. We are more than a tad bit resistant to bad news … even if it’s just the truth, and even if it begs over time to be acknowledged and remedied.
Such is, of course, precisely the way a place finds itself in a hole, busily digging away, for decades. It is, too, how the City Council could do to the community what it did last Tuesday in our Hwy. 3132 Extension debacle. According to the Mayor and those five council members, Tuesday’s vote endangers nothing, and simply helps a “valued business” improve Shreveport. That houses will be built in the only remaining undeveloped land for the highway did not matter. Rah, rah, rah!! … pom-poms flying.
As those who can handle and attack the truth stow the pep rally gear, this morning’s (Shreveport) Times has an article of interest in this context, for which I thank them, about our recent population loss.
Earlier Report of This Data
For the record, these are earlier-reported data. As the Census Bureau released the data, I reported on the (more…)
June 15, 2014 4:38 pm
Yes, it’s hard to believe, but Shreveport may have, for the first time ever, a well qualified professional planner to head up the Shreveport/Caddo Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC).
Earlier this year, Charlie Kirkland retired as MPC executive director; many wonder how he was ever hired for that position to begin with, much less held the post for 30 years. Kirkland has been under pressure for the last few years by many who believed that the MPC staff had failed to achieve modern planning standards, including revision of the zoning ordinances.
As the Commission debated the selection process for the new executive director, members of the Shreveport City Council and the Caddo Commission attempted to flex their political muscle, i.e. the funding of the MPC, in this process. Both the Council and the Commission initially wanted to have three votes each on the new hire. After a push back by the Commissioners as well as public criticism by good government advocates, both bodies asked for a seat at the table in an “advisory capacity”. Lead by first year chairperson Lea Desmarteau, the Commissioners stood their ground and refused to allow any participation by either the Council or the Commission.
The Commission established the minimum qualification for the position to be a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, public administration or a related field, at least five years of progressive planning experience and a minimum of four years of supervisory work. The 47 applicants for the position included three in-house applicants; not surprisingly, none of these were in the ten finalists selected. (more…)
June 5, 2014 3:00 pm