WE CHOOSE BOTH I-49 & THE 3132 EXTENSION!

Friends,

As reported in today’s Shreveport Times article Mayor Cedric Glover believes Shreveporters must choose between either the completion of I-49 through the city or the extension of Hwy. 3132 directly to the Port.

In fact, of course, such is a purely manufactured and blatantly bogus choice that Shreveporters need never make.

That Cedric Glover has already chosen to work diligently for the termination of the Hwy. 3132 extension is a matter of public record – though he never intended to be so glaringly spotlighted while doing it.  His is a self-serving choice, and he is, thus, highly compromised on the issue.

For Shreveport, the issue now is the City Council, not Cedric Glover.  Shreveport’s relatively new Council has 5 of 7 members new to the body, and hope was high at the beginning of their service late in 2010 that we would see an independent (from Glover and his team) Council, ready to set things straight in a city faced with staggering challenges.  What we have gotten, instead, is a Council with a strong majority simply doing the mayor’s bidding.

As to the mayor’s stated and bogus choice for Shreveport relating to I-49 and Hwy. 3132, here are some points to consider:

(1)  Glover has been completely exposed in his effort on behalf of developer Tim Larkin and others yet unidentified to kill the southerly extension of Hwy. 3132 to the Port.  Details of the exposure of Glover’s key role in that attempt are available in my previous posts at www.finish3132.com.  As recently as July 27th, Glover was exposed, again, as he worked in yet another closed-to-the-public meeting to serve the interests of the few at the expense of Shreveport and Caddo’s many.  When, on the following day, Glover attended a public meeting of the North Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG), two voice votes were taken in which Glover might have at least expressed his support of additional route options for the 3132 extension to the Port.  While Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker voted “aye” in each vote, Glover notably abstained.

(2)  The funding and other work for the two projects cited in Glover’s phony “choice” for Shreveport have nothing to do with each other.  (While the 3132 Coalition works overtime with officials of every description to investigate how to fund the 3132 Extension, no one in Glover’s office has offered any help at all:  not Glover, not CAO Brian Crawford, not the Engineering Department, not anyone.)  Since Shreveport and Caddo’s property taxes are the highest among Louisiana cities, by far, and since the Caddo Commission keeps over $50,000,000 in surplus cash, there are local funding options, whether ultimately used or not.  Regardless, however, there is simply nothing that says Shreveport cannot have both projects … except expressions of its own mayor.

(3)  Glover is a lame duck mayor, term-limited, serving while surrounded by a good number of mayoral-hope-to-be public “servants.”  (At last count, the political buzz machine has the mayor promising to “get elected” at least three different people.)  This political reality makes his comments yesterday sound even weaker:  what difference can his public comments against his own city possibly accomplish?  He will be nowhere near the action as these two projects take many more years to be completed, if completed at all.

(4)  Glover needs political cover.  He says privately that he will soon (?) “go to Congress” after defeating Congressman John Fleming, but has been proven to be using the power of the mayor’s office to serve the profit motives of two or three private interests (as has Bossier City State Representative Jane Smith).  Now he needs to recast his opposition to the Hwy. 3132 Extension with some supposedly substantive argument.  He will need to try much harder than yesterday’s confection.

The Race Card

Worst of all, Glover’s comments yesterday represent the delivery of a dreaded and worn – but also highly revealing – toss of the race card onto this table.

For weeks, the rumble in political circles has been growing that the Hwy. 3132 Extension is, according to our own mayor, a “white” and “rich” thing.  The whine from those who have no right to cry is that “rich” (that would be “white”) Shreveporters are behind that effort, but don’t care about the “poor” (that would be “black”) Shreveporters in the inner city, who are by some tortured illogic synonymous with the I-49 project’s completion.  No mention in that all too typical piffle that the “Port Loop” as it was originally known 30 or so years ago was designed to go all the way through Shreveport, which, when combined with I-220, it would IF it was completed!  No mention, either, of how many jobs – regardless of the workers’ race – the 3132 Extension would create, just as is the case for the completion of I-49.

Notably, Councilman Joe Shyne jumped on Glover’s remarks to “vote” for the Hwy. 3132 Extension as Shreveport’s top priority if the mayor’s false choice was somehow forced upon the Council.

From here, given that the mayor had no problem starting this oh-my-Lord-do-we-have-to-go-there-again??!! junk, we should expect more of it.

One thing’s for sure:  Shreveport needs real, true, uncompromised leadership from City Hall.  The Council needs to step-up.

I thank you for your interest, and ask that you forward this piece without editing.

Elliott Stonecipher

P. S.  The City of Shreveport has stunningly high property tax rates as compared to any other Louisiana city, an 8.6% sales tax, and $175,000,000 in a new “bond issue” pot of gold.  The City Council might start its leadership by noting that in the REAL world, the economy is in tatters, and getting worse.  There is no sensible reason, especially now, to raise taxes on Shreveport utility bills.  By the way, where is the mayor on this issue?

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