What do Rose McColloch, Stephanie Lynch and Lloyd Thompson have in common?
Many things, in fact.
The most obvious is race; they are African-Americans.
Secondly, they each hold elected positions of responsibility. McColloch is a City Councilwoman for District A. Lynch is Caddo Commissioner for District 7. Thompson is the President of the Shreveport Chapter of the NAACP.
Lastly, all three have published statements in The Shreveport Sun, supporting Mayor Glover’s controversial financial advisor Calvin Grigsby. These endorsements were made after the most racist, hate-filled speech Shreveport has experienced in a public forum in the last twenty years.
During a rant at Thompson’s Tuesday Morning Breakfast Group, Grigsby used he “N” word and profanity repeatedly – lashing out at the Shreveport City Council, his detractors, and at black women. Grigsby called white council members Klansmen and blamed his fee dispute (and subsequent lawsuit) over his fees on one factor, and one factor only – – his race.
Big G was in attendance at this meeting to support his financial/political lap dog (or is he Grigsby’s lap dog?). Grigsby continued his assault on Shreveport black/white race relations at a community meeting of the Stoner Hill Association, repeating his allegations and personally Councilman Jeff Everson who represents the Stoner Hill neighborhood. Grigsby was Glover’s guest at this gathering.
Councilwoman McColloch was the sole dissenting vote on the Council’s 6-1 decision to file suit against Grigsby over alleged overpayment of fees. McColloch disputes the fact finding conducted by the Council and states that Grigsby agreed to binding arbitration and deposited the sum in dispute in an escrow account. (The existence of an escrow account can not be confirmed – neither the Clerk of Council nor the Mayor has such an account with the disputed funds.) McColloch asserts that Grigsby’s firm “did nothing wrong, illegal or unethical. They have been accountable in all of the work they have performed….”
McColloch has always been a Glover spokesperson on the Council, and her position on Grigsby is not surprising. She has been under fire from many in her Martin Luther king district since designating the majority of city street funds for her district to the street named after her dad, Hersey Wilson. Like her predecessors on the Council from District A, McColloch has been largely ineffective, and her reputation as a Glover puppet has been well earned, and it speaks for itself.
Lynch has become an outspoken political maverick; she opposed the Caddo Commission’s purchase of the GM plant as well as the recently defeated Commission bond re-newal. She is an active candidate to replace Joe Shyne on the Shreveport City Council and her Sun editorial is not surprising. Lynch’s editorial stated that “Grigsby made what some considered racially charged comments about the Shreveport City Council.” Evidently use of the”N” word and Klansmen allegations are part of Lynch’s normal parlance and thus acceptable to her.
In referring to the City’s bond issue, Lynch alleged that “once the heaving lifting was done by Grigsby, the good ol’ boys showed up wanting to share in the spoils. That’s when a majority of the members on the Council began a series of actions aimed at replacing Grigsby….” Presumably Lynch is seeking the support of Heavy G in her Council race; hopefully she will not make the Grigsby dispute part of her campaign platform. Lynch is known for her salty language and one can expect more controversial statements from her along the campaign trail.
Thompson has been roundly criticized, and rightly so, for allowing Grigsby to use profanity and race baiting language at the meeting he chairs. His Tuesday gatherings had been a respected forum regularly providing speakers with a forum. Candidates for upcoming political races will likely be invited to these meetings, although there is some talk of boycott due to the actions/inaction of Thompson.
Thompson’s political bias is confirmed by his published statement that “it is clear that this is a matter of skin color that he is not being allowed to go further….” Thompson seemingly justified his position by stating that Grigsby “has put money up to say if I have done anything wrong here it is back so you cannot accuse him of stealing.” (Unfortunately no one can find any funds that Thompson says have been escrowed by Grigsby.)
Surely McColloch, Lynch and Thompson deplore racist statements and profanity by public servants as well as individuals hired by public agencies. They should acknowledge that Grigsby’s tactics, as evidenced by his two speeches, are not acceptable and are a discredit to his claims, and to the cause he espouses. Both McColloch and Lynch will answer to voters this fall; hopeful they will not beat the “race drum” during their campaigns.
Thompson is on shaky ground as NAACP president and for that matter, as a “voice of reason” from the black community. Shreveport deserves better from these three, and for that matter from all it’s citizens, elected representatives, organizational leaders and paid contractors.