During tonight’s Shreveport City Council meeting, held on July 23rd, Shreveport citizens were given an opportunity to make public comments and voice their opinions about the $220 Million dollar general obligations bond issue proposal, including what they hope will be priorities on the list of possible uses for the money.
One woman, who identified herself as Sandra M., used a portion of her three minutes of public comment time to ask the council: Why didn’t the bond study committee publicly announce their meetings by press releases and by social media so that more people would’ve known about them beforehand and been able to attend?
Councilman Bradford’s answer? “Those who wanted to know about it know about it.”
Though the Citizens Bond Study Committee Meetings were open to the public and mentioned by Mayor Perkins during his comments in public meetings, some citizens like Sandra M. were not aware of them at all because of the lack of discussion surrounding them. It is not apparent that the Perkins administration or the City Council notified the media about this Bond Study Committee. It wasn’t until Elliott Stonecipher publicly broke the news that the public at large was even notified about the bond proposal at all.
This incident occurred only one night after the July 22nd Administrative Conference, during which Councilman Bradford made the following remarks about public comments:
“Commentary on items on the agenda is a requirement. The other commentary we just allow. And I’m saying that even the last two months where we were really bombarded with a lot of commentary, the position of the council is not usually influenced by public commentary. We usually would caucus amongst ourselves and we would almost know how we were going to vote prior to (public comment).”
Councilwoman Fuller answered him, “I think if we rewind the tape on exactly what you said just now, you’ll see what the issue is.”
These instances are just one more example of Councilman Bradford attempting to keep city business out of view of the people. Linked below are articles from KTBS 3 and Elliott Stonecipher. In one, he expresses his disdain for electing women to city council. In the other, he comments that public records requests are “nothing more than a witch hunt.”