- Elliott Stonecipher
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 … 8:43 A.M.
Even among the few of us who are familiar with both organizations, almost no one would imagine a connection between the Red River Waterway Commission and the Shreveport Implementation and Redevelopment Authority.
Yet, there is one: each has been targeted for manipulation, if not takeover, by State Representative Cedric Glover.
We now know that Glover’s House Bill 667 was his attempt to control the Shreveport Implementation and Redevelopment Authority (SIRA).
Acting from his presumption that he will be elected Shreveport mayor next year, Glover’s naked power grab sought to stack the SIRA board with members he wholly controlled.
Thus, Glover could call elections to raise taxes without any involvement of the City Council, the legislative branch of city government.
We would thus be taxed by people we had no say in electing … reminding many of us that “taxation without representation is tyranny!”
Last week, many Shreveporters saw it precisely that way, and acted to extinguish H. B. 667.
In that fight, I learned of abuses of power in Rep. Glover’s House Bill 602.
Should this bill ever become law, Glover would (a) settle an old, personal score against the Red River Waterway Commission (RRWC), and (b) manipulate legal processes as necessary to seat a new RRWC board according to his racial preferences. (SEE legislation in link below.)
The RRWC governs the Red River Waterway District. Now, it is mainly involved in developing and maintaining recreational facilities on the Red. (SEE link below.)
The seven parishes through which the river flows are Caddo, Bossier, Red River, Natchitoches, Grant, Rapides, and Avoyelles, and property owners in those parishes pay a combined annual tax to the RRWC of nearly $8,000,000 a year.
Glover’s ill-will toward the RRWC is personal, tracing back to its decision to spend $280,000 of its – our – money toward costs of a Shreveport dog park.
Glover instead wanted Red River “comfort stations,” a project openly rumored at the time to include an unknown benefit to him. As KTBS-TV then reported …
“… (RRWC) assumed Mayor Cedric Glover was on board with the dog park project funding request of $280,000 that was approved this week. Not only was there a unanimous resolution from the Shreveport City Council in support of the dog park location at Charles and Marie Hamel Park, but local delegations that met with the waterway panel included members of Caddo Parish government, the City Council and the community.”
Additional detail is included in the June 2012 KTBS report. (SEE link below.)
Glover, then mayor of Shreveport, chose to intimidate the RRWC. Unexpectedly appearing before its officials, Glover made a show of slowly peering at members, after which he declared that the board was “too white.”
Thus, H. B. 602 seeks to remove Glover’s targets by use of racial quotas in board appointments. That process would begin with a study of 2010 Census data for the group’s seven parishes.
In fact, however, that data shows that none of those parish populations are majority black.
Only Caddo was close in that measurement, 49.0% “White alone,” and 47.2% “Black or African American alone.” Among the remaining six parishes, “White alone” percentages range from majorities of 54.3% to 81.4%.
Two days ago, by email, I asked Rep. Glover …
… “Did you at any time in the past appear at a RRWC meeting and comment about its racial composition? If so, when was that, and what was your comment?”
Glover refused to answer, instead writing …
“… I do look forward to discussing the matter with all interested parties between now and the next legislative session. That includes concerned citizens within all of the respective parishes that make up the RRWC.”
Is that a promise of more retribution against the RRWC?
Will what is now H. B. 602 be in Glover’s quiver of retributive arrows in future legislation, given that the current one ends tomorrow without action on the bill?
Does law actually permit such abuses of legislative process in personal reprisals?
© 2017 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
House Bill 602: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1031534
Red River Waterway Commission: http://www.redriverwaterway.com/oo-commission.asp
KTBS-TV June 2012 report: