The following is a response to a letter by Robert Bareikis: (Glover right to raise questions about dog park) in the August 5, 2013 Shreveport Times (Here is Original Letter, followed by Robert’s Letter of Response and below Marks’ response that we chose to publish). The Time “Response” appears to be different from the version published here. That may by in “digital translation of a cut-paste.”) Note: the upper right-hand column of the Forward-Now.com blog has daily updates on dog parks everywhere!
RESPONSE: Robert, I applaud you for keeping the discussion in the forefront for the public. What you label as my “attack,” I defend as not only not an attack, but rather a series of conclusions based upon systematic analysis of the record of the following data:
- The dog park was designed by land management and city planning professionals over a period of years.
- Elected officials from city, parish and state authorities, not to mention the Red River Waterway Commission determined this park qualified for support financially and politically.
- Years of study, including parks and recreation officials, determined this was a valid park, to the extent that it was on the city of Shreveport website under mayor Glover up until recently.
- In 2011, council resolution 192 made Hamel’s the “approved off-leash dog park.”
- Mayor heavily involved in discussion of resolution 192, and he didn’t veto it and signed it into law.
- Parish officials and private citizens met with the mayor on many occasions in an attempt to find common sense ways to build the park with private-public partnership.
- On numerous occasions the mayor approved of the dog park at the Hamel site, and only when his projects were not funded by RRWC did he balk and make the issue what it has become today.
I may have said many things about the mayor’s handling of this issue, but never did I refer to him as a “coward.” Perhaps I could use the term “stubborn,” but never “coward.” Perhaps I could use the term “foolish,” or “petulant” or any other symbolic term for what I believe to be his reticence to see facts. He uses his microphone and pulpit to bully and ignore truths.
I believe that I represent hard-working, tax-paying citizens who are devoted to support a strong, vibrant city that we want to be proud to call home. And, yes, I think he has harmed our image, because he has lost focus with this petty squabble of his own making.
Shreveport was not my birth city, but I have adopted it as my city i call home, as I hope others have adopted me. When I moved here, I was told “Shreveport was a town of 500, and those of us who work for them.” That may be truer than we believe, and we may have little influence on the larger picture. But, if a bully attitude by any elected official is allowed to go unchecked, we give the “500” license to continue beating us down.
I don’t consider myself to have been unengaged in the discussion, and I support your rights as I hope you will support mine. But when checks and balances in the legislative and judicial branches tell the executive he has erred, I get the message.
I suggest more people should study facts and not continue in the knee-jerk manner defending poor management of our city. I believe the are powers at work to correct the mayor’s errors. And I can only hope at those who chose to call the errors are vindicated. If I am wrong, I still defend my right to cry foul. The hard work of any public official deserves support when they are in the right and guidance when they are in the wrong. That’s the way the system is supposed to work. Any elected official who uses the system to propagate base motives, and I don’t pretend to understand what the mayor’s may be, must be opposed.
Thanks again for allowing this issue to stay in the public eye. I hope more people will question, and I hope more will get involved in the process.