Ex Post Facto – The Retro Legal Signs

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by Marion Marks

Non-perrmitted signs
Previously non-perrmitted signs

They’re Legal!

Or so the permits indicate to all within reading range the signs on this building are now “Officially Recognized as within code.” And that means, that only because the issue was raised and a large enough volume of public outcry was heard by the committee to elect Patrick Williams, that this morning an application was completed with the city to allow the signs to remain up. But, what does it mean? [Original Issue]

Can we get away with it?
Can we get away with it?

The concept of “Planning” is a necessary component in “serving the public” as well as “running for public office.” Planning is the art of appreciating the requirements of the office, gathering the resources, formulating a strategy and finally executing the plan with timing to optimize results. At least this is my simple description of what a candidate should do to prepare to fill the office deemed appropriate for their skill set.

What we have in the example of the signs is too similar to the attempt to design a race horse by a committee and you end up with something more closely akin to a camel. True, it has four legs. True, it is able to amble in the forward direction. True, it is able to carry a rider. However, winning the race may be far from what this camel is able to accomplish. As Lou Gehrig Burnett wrote in this week’s Fax-Net:

…When the Fax-Net started receiving complaints about the signs, we went to the appropriate authority for an answer – Alan Clarke, the Zoning Administrator for the Metropolitan Planning Commission.
    Clarke said the signs are large enough that did require a permit before being erected.  He added that he had not been contacted by the Williams campaign about the signs, but that he was receiving calls from other people about them…

The issue remains that the campaign has lost a primary focus that “the form of the campaign” is a reflection on the form of the candidate and the expectations if elected. And, at this stage it is no more than a brief fumble.

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

I can only hope that Williams, for whom I have had praise for his service to his district in Baton Rouge, learns from this and catches his stride. Shreveport’s next mayor will have infinite opportunities to improve the community, but having a focus on who has the biggest signs or who can slip one by the code enforcement is nothing to brag about.

Leadership requires setting the impeccable standard in the letter of the code. It’s not about the “Gotchas” but the slips are indicative and Williams needs to be more careful. He must set the record straight from now until election day if he expects the community to respect his judgement and leadership skills.

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