Whose Responsibility Is Correcting SWAG Issues

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Caddo Commission Funding & Guilt

by Marion Marks

Orphan Michael Williams“Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”
So goes a rough translation of an ancient adage. The SWAG Nation involvement is services for the juvenile justice program, on the surface, would appear to be a worthy mentoring effort if viewed by a trusting and naïve citizen. However, the harsh reality of managing government funded programs should cause alarm for all. Gerry May and KTBS zeroed in on the apparent abuse, but the system now must address citizen and legal concerns internal to the Caddo Commission.

ALARM!!!

ALARM!!!

The very entity “SWAG Nation” caused alarm bells to go off the first time I did a search through the Secretary of State records of corporate entities working in Louisiana. Initially the Caddo Commission was led to believe that this entity was a “Non-Profit” service organization started to mentor young men (more…)

Add comment April 17, 2015 10:54 am

Selling Yourself and Baring Your Soul in Auditions for the Musical “Chicago”

Chicgo Marquisby John Settle

How would you like to see 10 minutes of a dance routine—for the first time—and then perform the steps while being graded on precision (accuracy), technique (style), dynamics (expression), and overall performance? Or sing 16 to 32 bars of a rehearsed song and be graded on projection (volume), tone (clarity), technique (pitch), and overall performance? Its all part of the process for those that wanted to make the first cut in auditions for the Shreveport’s Little Theatre summer musical “Chicago”.Opinion by John Settle

The auditions were conducted in groups—so participants could see first hand the performance of others seeking the same roles. Despite the unspoken but real competition (and tension) among each group, there was a refreshing spirit of friendship displayed by all to others. There were no rookies in the crowd and certainly all had experienced the “high” of selection and (more…)

Add comment April 17, 2015 7:30 am

Forgotston: “Rep. Schroder misleads”

CB Forgotston

CB Forgotston

by CB Forgotston

Louisiana is in desperate need of leadership.  The only thing worse than a vacuum in leadership is when one intentionally misleads our citizens.

Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington [addressing college students protesting budget cuts to Higher Ed], said the Legislature has little control because of constitutional dedications that protect other areas of the budget but leave higher education vulnerable. The Advocate, April 16, 2015

Rep. Schroder misleads

Rep. Schroder misleads

Further, Schroder says: “Our hands are tied.“” Ibid.

The leges tell us that whenever there is a decline in state revenues and a corresponding need to reduce state spending the only places that can be cut are Healthcare and Higher Education. They say it is because (more…)

Add comment April 16, 2015 9:15 am

Bobby Jindal cannot talk for stepping on his tongue

Rips Clinton over email flap while refusing to release his own…

by Tom Aswell

GatorMouth5My granddad had an admonition for someone (more than once, that someone was me) who he thought was running his mouth off a little too much: “Don’t let your alligator mouth overload your jaybird ass.”

Loosely translated, that means don’t go shooting off your mouth with claims you can’t back up—physically or factually.

And from our perspective, it would seem that Bobby Jindal’s fusillade of fulminations, besides causing a “there he goes again” rolling of the eyes, has placed quite a burden on his scrawny backside.

It’s bad enough that he has waded off into the murky waters of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA, a bill being copied in other states, including Louisiana) by voicing his support of the bill during, of all things, a speech at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention.indiana-backlash

(Bobby, Bibles and Bullets: what a presidential campaign slogan.)

But then, Team Jindal, in its weekly email blast, went to great lengths to point out that Iowa radio talk show host and Washington Times columnist “Steve Deace Proclaimed Governor (more…)

Add comment April 13, 2015 7:45 am

No CPSB Response to Its Graduation Rate Fail

diplomaMillby Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

News of our annual and awful Caddo school system graduation rate broke last week.  We graduated only 67.7% of our system’s Class of 2014. Elliott_Stonecipher

More honestly said, one-in-three Caddo Parish students stepped into official adulthood last year without a high school education.  We well know they were woefully unprepared for what awaited them.

As we yet again suffer digestion of this failing, we have heard no (more…)

Add comment April 12, 2015 11:18 am

CPSB Pays Big Bucks To Goree and Abrams– Chump Change for Teachers and Staff

Opinion by John Settle

 Caddo Parish School Superintendent Lamar Goree likes to brag about how great the 5800 plus employees of the Caddo School Board are at the community forums “explaining” the upcoming $108 million bond issue vote on May 2. What he fails to say is how poorly they are paid– much less how much the board pays him as well as school board attorney Reginald Abrams. And not surprisingly he does not mention how many hours he and his staff have spent in efforts to indoctrinate teachers and staff in mandatory meetings held before and after school hours.

Last Man Standing

Goree was selected by default in November of 2013. The School Board had a split 6-6 vote along racial lines—and Goree was selected by unanimous vote after Tim Magner (a white candidate) withdrew his name in an effort to promote school unity.He signed a 3 year contract that commenced December 1 of that year with a minimum base salary at $200,000 per year; the contract provided for incentive bonuses (more…)

Add comment April 10, 2015 9:05 am

Louisiana Legislature, Building Good Will??

CB Forgotston

CB Forgotston

For 40 years, attorney & devoted Louisiana citizen CB Forgotston has worked inside, along side or in opposition to the interests of the LA Legislative agenda. Forgotston’s perspective of the Leges allows citizens a well-educated insight of the motivations, lobby pressures and governor’s influence that drives bills along the path toward becoming either law or political fodder for future agendas. The current session is overshadowed by the dire financial position the governor should recognize his personal responsibility the state and citizens must accept. Yet the sewer we find Louisiana citizens currently residing seems of little importance to some leges, as postured bills work their way along committee agendas toward becoming fractious instruments for fall elections all state officials will face.

Forgotston’s current missive warrants particular attention for citizens in judging the agenda of their elected representatives and future candidates for fall primaries. He writes: [by CB Forgotston]

Bill of Rights

Doesn’t apply to La. House

As I have noted before, the Louisiana Lege has one of the best websites in the country for getting information about what our leges are doing, especially during lege sessions. 

Recently, while searching for some information I saw the “News Link” page of the House Communications Office. In addition to recent news stories from around the state, it links many of the state’s print and electronic media.  At that time it

(more…)

Add comment April 8, 2015 8:27 am

CPSB Debt Would Top a Quarter-Billion Dollars …

Business Sharksby Elliott Stonecipher

(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

New research confirms that Caddo Parish School Board debt will rise to more than $250,000,000 if voters approve the tax plan set for a vote next month.  The debt total is far higher than school board members and top staff acknowledge in their current campaign in favor of the tax and debt plan.   

The tax plan includes nothing for instructional programs or teacher and other employee pay, and instead is designed around the construction of new schools in Southeast Shreveport, Blanchard and Central Shreveport, at a combined cost of $56,820,000. A long list of additional brick and mortar projects runs the plan’s total taxpayer tab up to $108,000,000 in new debt.Elliott_Stonecipher   

The school board and staff are not saying why the list of building projects have not and will not be funded by existing, related categories of property taxes, including Maintenance & Operation, Special Renovations, and (more…)

Add comment April 6, 2015 8:26 am

Caddo Constable Hatfield Set To Mount Serious Challenge Against Caddo Sheriff Prator

Note from John Settle, April 6, 2015:
This column  was NOT written as an endorsement of Constable Hatfield.
I have learned that Don Ashley was NOT hired by Sheriff Prator. The information regarding Roy Fletcher was provided by Hatfield. Sheriff Prator has advised me that his deputies have NOT been precluded from working as part-time constables. Sheriff Prator also stated that he never asked Hatfield to not run against him.

Opinion by John Settle

In what many consider to be a David versus Goliath battle, Eric Hatfield has thrown down the gauntlet at Steve Prator’s feet declaring his candidacy for the October Caddo Sheriff election. In what was a surprise to most political observers, Hatfield announced this week on the Shreveport riverfront in front of about 30 supporters, many of which were fellow constables. Hatfield had previously met with Prator

advising him of his decision and declining Prator’s insistent requests to not oppose him.

Hatfield announcement

Hatfield announcement

Hatfield has almost 12 years experience as a constable. Prator has served as Sheriff since 2000; previously he was the Shreveport Police chief. Prator was challenged in 2011 by Shreveport attorney Craig Smith, who now is a Prator supporter. In that election, Smith did very little campaigning—as in almost nil other than a few billboards; he surprisingly drew more than 20% of the vote.

Many consider Prator to be virtually invincible — citing his large campaign war chest ($200,000), his Republican political connections and the large number of Sheriff deputies and auxiliary (more…)

April 3, 2015 8:00 am

University Elementary Sacrificed in CPSB Tax Plan

Elliott_Stonecipher(This is one in a continuing series of articles concerning the Caddo Parish School Board property tax millage proposition set for a May 2, 2015 election.  If approved by voters, CPSB nets another $108,000,000 for new schools and other buildings.)

by Elliott Stonecipher

Readers may be aware that the Caddo Parish School Board and staff have decided they will not answer questions from the public when they – public employees – present their tax plan in public meetings held in public buildings.  If they were willing to answer questions, I would ask this one:

May 2 Bond Election_the-clock“The core of your tax plan is the building of a $24,500,000 school in Southeast Shreveport, regardless that no school there is needed, and that building it seriously damages University Elementary School.  How do you explain this to parents and staff who support University and any other damaged schools?”

Here We Go Again

In spite of its solid educational record over decades, this is the second time University Elementary has thus been set-up for a fall by the CPSB and staff.  Should voters pass this plan, the attendance zones of (more…)

March 29, 2015 11:31 am

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