- Elliott Stonecipher
- Elliott Stonecipher
September 11, 2016
Anytime a politician / public official says, “It’s time for a conversation,” I instinctively roll my eyes. I mean, really … when did a pol ever want to “converse” with you, especially when their side is an opinion piece in the local paper, meaning your side was nixed from the jump?
Besides, these are always, in my experience, really about trying to, uh, grab more of my money.
Shreveport City Councilman Michael Corbin wrote such a piece a few days ago. It appeared in the local paper, but never in its online edition. I read it carefully, but remain uncertain of Corbin’s real purpose.
Before I go any further, full disclosure requires me to say I am not a fan of this city council member. I worked for over three years, pro bono, in trying to save the final Shreveport and Caddo Parish leg of the Hwy. 3132 Extension from Flournoy-Lucas Road to the Port of Caddo-Bossier. The residential development of Bossier City Councilman Tim Larkin is in the Extension route, and is set to kill it.
Larkin’s only publicly declared elected official supporters were ex-mayor Cedric Glover and this council member.
The Extension was six decades in the planning and building. The roster of local men and women who diligently worked those 60 years to complete it is as long as it is impressive. Regardless, in today’s Shreveport, it took only a few profiteers to nix all that work and potential for good.
For any who care to see it, here is the website and link to the ninety-one – yep, 91 – articles I researched and wrote on that subject between May 8, 2011, and February 25, 2016.
My Response to Mr. Corbin
The council member’s piece rambled in, through and around a host of factoids, posits, and opinions related to the city budget. I cannot shake the feeling that a move is afoot to raise our taxes.
Sticking with what, as best I can tell, is appropriate, here is a short list of things I believe are necessary to prevent a more precipitous decline for Shreveport.
As Corbin notes, “… Shreveport needs to both grow its population and control spending.”
1. To control spending, here are the two things I am absolutely certain – with long and deep experience – are key:
(a) Local government must finally stop handing-out public money for any “initiatives” designed and sponsored by our already wealthy, self-anointed “leaders.” We should not care their “pedigree,” their influence, or how many local pols, attorneys and others they veritably own, public coffers are not their personal piggy banks.
(b) An immediate move to city/parish government is an absolute must. (More below.)
2. Shreveport now has almost 10,000 fewer residents than in 1980 – 206,989 then and 197,204 as of the last Census update (July 2015). Population will continue to drop, mainly because Shreveporters will continue to move away rather than pay two-to-three times higher property taxes than elsewhere in our region. (Combined city/parish property taxes for Shreveporters are as high as areas within the DFW Metroplex.)
The gargantuan property tax for our ever-worsening public schools is the cause, and the school system “leadership” is dead-set on changing nothing.
3. Nearly 80% of Caddo Parish residents live in Shreveport. The solution is obvious: as East Baton Rouge and Lafayette parishes saw and proved, we cut governmental costs by changing to city/parish government. The 20%-ish cut in duplicative governmental costs – THEN the like cut in property taxes – gives us hope that someone with money might once again, someday, move here and pay taxes.
The Caddo Commission exists to illegally pay a majority of its members as much as they can get away with … period. It could disappear tomorrow, and the delivery of governmental services would never skip a beat.
© 2016 ELLIOTT STONECIPHER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED