- Elliott Stonecipher
- Elliott Stonecipher
… Sunday, April 30, 2017 … 10:11 A.M.
No matter that some are already hard at work to do so, honest Caddoans should let nothing detract from yesterday’s historic vote.
What happened was unlike any other such election day in our modern history. The subject was profligate taxation by the Caddo Parish Commission … and very much also about its systemic public corruption.
We have never in our history held an election about our scourge of corruption.
As we enjoy yesterday’s truly impressive accomplishment, the time finally arrives for me to ask a personal favor.
I ask you to read this. Really read it. That’s all I ask. Set aside four or five minutes.
These points may read like little more than random thoughts, but they are not. I have been working on them overnight.
Yes, there is real and true joy surrounding the win yesterday and last night by we “just folks” in Caddo Parish and Shreveport.
Yes, the Caddo Parish Commission – and its handlers / sponsors – lost all five of their ballot propositions.
The work of Danny McCormick and his Caddo Alliance in the northern part of the parish made the difference. With 13-of-151 precincts still out, they turned loss into victory.
Such is how much stronger the anti-tax, anti-Commission, anti-corruption feelings are in areas outside of Shreveport.
Please read that last point again. It is a real Difference, not merely a distinction.
The Executive Committee of the Caddo Parish Republican Party made the difference, too, with their decision to recommend a NO vote on all five Commission propositions.
Caddo Libertarians announced likewise, building on the momentum the Republicans kicked-off.
Will Broyles and his RealShreveport.com website gave everyone who cared a place to see what was being written on this side of the fight.
Along with that website, social media, as everyone reading this knows, provided us the platform for communication we had to have.
This morning, nothing is more awfully striking than the article in our newspaper which bitterly dismisses the vote tallies from last night.
To paraphrase, their story spits, “Yeah, that’s what the machines say, but it will NOT end up that way!”
My point is this: now that we have “won,” we can prepare to watch as all manner of excrement is thrown at it by the powers that be.
There are no rules in such awfulness.
A lot of money was spent through the Political Action Committee (PAC) put together to pass these taxes.
The taxes were years ahead of their expirations, and the we-love-taxes campaign for them was as lie-packed as any I have witnessed.
Such is the Caddo Commission, as honest people who are not in on the deal know very well.
They carefully picked an election date which, with only the Commission yuk on the ballot, guaranteed very low turnout … which worked … only 8.2% voted.
That low voting meant our opponents here could leverage turnout among parish employees the Commission controls. As I wrote earlier, 14-of-14 of those departments / agencies got huge budget increases in the year running up to this election.
In fact, absentee / early voting was bizarre. Rather than the above-50% NO vote by those who cast machine ballots, the YES votes among early / absentee voters was a markedly higher 72-ish%.
The Commission PAC used phone-banking and who knows what else to turn out “their” vote. (We hope no cash was involved, but we know it was considered.)
Our side used our own, personal money, plus most of our personal time for months leading up to yesterday. And, no, our money did not approach the levels requiring a state registration.
In fact, we simply spent it when we had to. Our cause was just. The expected defeat – it was, the Commissioners screamed non-stop, “only a renewal!” – stopped none of our work.
The Commission threw away $150,000 of our money in costs of the election.
The Chamber of Commerce, Committee of 100, Community Foundation (staff and Board, we assume), and North Louisiana Economic Partnership sided with the Commission.
These are groups which support taxes here as they can afford to pay them, especially since they get a lot of the money back from the Commission, school board and Shreveport City Hall.
Few of us, however, can afford what they can afford, and we have no public money to spend.
Also unlike them, we raise hell about public officials who steal our money, get caught red-handed, and tell us to kiss their backsides when we want our money back.
As one of them reminded me, “Elliott, at least we smile when we tell you to go to hell.”
In summary, as the smoke clears, we must know and remember …
… Commissioners & Friends used their power and our money to hold an unfair election.
… Their cause was not just … just more lust for more of our money, no matter how much they have already taken from us … and how many of us no longer have it to give them.
… This fight – they do not understand – is for the soul of a place, not for walking around money for pols and such.
… Corruption among public officials matters, no matter how loudly and strongly our opponents disagree.
… If the Commission cares to go straight, it will NOT re-vote any of this for at least several years.
We know not to expect that, however.
That definitely does not come naturally to them.
© 2017 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED