- Elliott Stonecipher
- Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 … 9:00 A.M.
Nowadays in Shreveport, such pressure is unrelenting.
Just as we face next month’s property tax hike vote from Mayor Ollie Tyler, we face another new scheme to grab a wagonload of our money.
Sadly, Shreveporters have a better chance of shaking hands with Bigfoot on the corner of Line and Pierremont than learning the verifiable facts and truth of this new nutty notion.
Let’s go over what we do know … and can otherwise safely bet on.
Referred to already with the used-up shorthand name “Cross Bayou,” a local group has formed the “Gateway Downtown Consortium.”
Strong, unpleasant hints of the political parentage of the project seep from confusing and otherwise questionable traditional media coverage.
The available ballyhoo sketches out the kind of project which enriches a very few while loudly and incredibly promising it can staunch Shreveport’s bleeding.
From the jump, we are told of a “public-private” venture costing $1 Billion – yes, that is a “B” – over ten years … a fantasia which can by its mere existence reimagine and reclaim and rejuvenate and redesign and refinance an all-but-faded-away small piece of the city.
What the monster does NOT do is directly help any other part of the city, while ignoring our city’s perhaps existential need for a no-new-taxes, bond issue-funded overhaul of critical city services.
Only that second option can adequately tackle any overhaul of basic service delivery.
So, only six months later – and at 7½-times the cost! – this Cross Bayou hallucination follows the one from Mayor Tyler which our City Council mauled with a 0-6 vote against.
It is clear to me that some “special” locals know a lot that we lowly, honest taxpayers do not.
Perhaps even worse, links between the project and one or more candidates for mayor in this fall’s elections are also emerging.
Mayoral candidate(s) may, therefore, be pre-committed to passage of a massive bond issue for this project immediately upon the new mayor’s swearing-in, precisely as the Caddo Parish School Board tried after its 2014 elections.
As to features of the supposed project, they make Tyler’s sports complex throw-together look like a spiffed-up neighborhood park. This one includes …
… a municipal government complex for 1,000 to 2,000 “permanent employees,”
… a 3,500-seat sports arena for the New Orleans Pelicans’ billionaire owner,
… a charter school with 350 employees (as many as at Southern University-Shreveport),
… 5,000 units of single- and multi-family housing,
… retail on top of retail, and
… partridges without number in a forest of pear trees.
Also, two announced project point men are long- and well-known here to be untrustworthy.
That brings us back to Mayor Tyler’s property tax hike election on April 28th.
We should not be surprised if we soon hear Team Tyler’s assertion that those tax millages are sufficient to “take care of” our key basic service needs.
Again, the new mayor may then roll-out the Cross Bayou mirage immediately upon taking office in late December, with the earlier-mentioned, massive bond issue the first order of business.
This is an excellent reason to vote NO on Tyler’s April 28th property tax hike, at least for now.
First, let’s see who the next mayor is going to be, and see if he or she is also suffering from CBDS, “Cross Bayou Derangement Syndrome.”
© 2017 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED