- Elliott Stonecipher
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 … 7:27 P.M.
At first glance, it seems like no big deal.
In its regular meeting yesterday, the Shreveport City Council rejected Mayor Adrian Perkins’ request that $40,000 in Riverfront Development money be spent on his transition committee.
In fact, the vote identifies something far more important: a working majority on the Council, in place and aware, functionally leading the city.
If there was ever a time in Shreveport’s history for such a governmental lifeline, it is now.
If there was any previous doubt about that fact, Perkins obliterated it with his mishandling of the city’s casualty insurance coverage and costs.
Here and now, our city has a mayor who is, putting it politely, unprepared to be mayor.
Adrian Perkins was 18 when he left our city, and the Shreveport he knew in 2004 was a very, very different (and better) place. Regardless, he had no publicly known intention to ever return.
Whatever Perkins was somehow enticed to come back here to do, it apparently has little to do with actually running, much less “saving” Shreveport.
Recalling Perkins is often suggested to me, but such would be, I am willing to bet, impossible. Here is the key tidbit of Louisiana law …
… “If one hundred thousand or more qualified electors reside within the voting area, the petition shall be signed by at least twenty percent of the electors.”
When I last checked, Shreveport had some 122,500 registered voters, that is, “qualified electors” of any mayor. So, 20% would be just under 25,000 signatures of Shreveport “electors,” submitted for verification (within six months, if memory serves).
Especially against the backdrop of that insurmountable would-be remedy, what is coming together with our City Council is all the more important, and impressive.
Four Council members – James Flurry, LeVette Fuller, Grayson Boucher and John Nickelson – have repeatedly proven that they are of like mind in responding to what is happening to us.
Sometimes, though certainly not dependably, Councilman Willie Bradford joins them … as in the 5-2 vote against handing Mayor Perkins the $40,000 for his political op.
Even when Bradford throws in with Councilmen Jerry Bowman, Jr., and James Green – two who now clearly belong to Perkins – the other four hold a working majority that honest and decent Shreveporters might depend on to prevent Perkins from veritably doing the city in.
That group seems the clear and present hope of those here who care.
These members see that greater oversight is needed, and are now working to legislate a direct limit on how much taxpayer money Perkins can “spend” without City Council approval.
(While the City Council yesterday signaled that it may have to settle for a $500,000 such limit, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council, sources tell me, finds a $10,000 limit necessary.)
What Perkins did with the city’s insurance was a wake-up call to many. It was no quirk, and the reasons for it happening are clear … and disturbing.
Short of a Perkins willingness to resign, these four (or five) City Council members are, at a minimum, our safety net.
Their task will be more than merely thankless.
I could not appreciate their dedication more.
© 2019 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED