By now Ben Arnold should have learned that once a person qualifies for an elected office that his past life becomes an open book for voters to review. Maybe he did not discover this in his race last fall for the Shreveport Council; he finished a dismal last. Perhaps he learned this lesson when he finished last in his prior race for the Commission in 2004—but forgot it.
Presumably Arnold should know that in addition to “slick” campaign push cards and campaign websites, voters are entitled to “the rest of the story”. So let’s start; for beginners, Arnold has never been a homeowner in Caddo Parish.
In what can be best described as a slam dunk, three Caddo candidates beat back efforts by the Louisiana Board of Ethics to have them disqualified for the October primary this week.
Caddo Commissioner Jerald Bowman will be able to continue his campaign for reelection to the Commission—much to the dismay of career politician Roy Burrell who has been in elected office and on the public payroll since 1994. Ben Arnold, who had previously run unsuccessfully for the Shreveport City Council, can continue his campaign against Mario Chavez to fill the seat of David Cox on the Caddo Commission. And upstart John McGrew gets to stay on the ballot for Caddo Sheriff against incumbent Steve Prator and Constable Eric Hatfield. Judge Craig Marcotte ruled for Bowman and Judge Ramon Lafitte ruled for Arnold and McGrew.
The basis for all 3 challenges was the same—that each candidate had filed a false Notice of Candidacy which contains a certification that the candidate did not have any outstanding Board of Ethics fines. All 3 candidates did in fact have outstanding fines- $5000 for Bowman and $2500 for Arnold and McGrew; all 3 paid their fines after qualifying. The Ethics Board relied on statutesRead more
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, Paris, 1910 [whole speech]
What we find today is that too many political candidates are characterized by their over-powering ego, power seekers and greed-driven supporters who fail the test of a moral compass. No person who actively engages in the dailyRead more
Thankfully, the Caddo Commission should see several new faces after the fall elections this year. For sure there will be 3 – Mike Thibodeaux read the handwriting on the wall and decided to not seek a third term; Lindora Baker did not want to pay her outstanding ethics fine and bolted for a full time job; and David Cox was term limited. Of the remaining 9 seats at this table, 7 of the incumbents face opposition and it is likely that many of these will be defeated. Sooo… there is hope that substantial reform can take place on the Caddo Commission starting next year.
For those voters who really want to check out the candidates, the following list of questions (if asked and answered) should provide real insight into who should be seated at the Commission table. Actually there are 2 lists—one to be asked of all the candidates, and a second list to be asked of the incumbents. These are not totally exhaustive and they are not intended to limit inquiries by voters—but they should serve as a good start to separate the pretty faces from the candidates with merit.
So, starting with all the candidates, the following are suggested:
1. How long have you lived in the district?
2. Have you been convicted of any crimes and if so, what crime, what court and what year?
3. What is your employment history for the last 10 years?
4. Do you own real estate in the district and if so, what are the addresses and how long haveRead more
If there was ever an open season on incumbent elected officials, the upcoming Caddo Commission elections are better than a baited field on the first day of dove season. In times past, incumbents on the Commission were rarely challenged, much less defeated. The October primary could result in as many as eleven—yes 11—new faces on this 12 person governmental body.
In years past the Commission was the back seat passenger in the press driven media van—with most of the public scrutiny focused on the Shreveport City Council and/or the Caddo School Board for several reasons. One is the fact that most of the Commission constituents live in the city limits of Shreveport; thus high profile public issues like streets, garbage, crime etc. are the responsibility of the City Council. In fact, those Commissioners with city districts really only had 2 direct responsibilities to their districts—animal control (which is big in the news now) and the Caddo Juvenile Justice Center.
Another factor in the low public profile of the Commission was that the Parish had substantial financial resources, primarily from the Haynesville Shale windfall. Thus the Commission had sufficient funds to handle most of its priorities without having bond issues and gut-wrenching priority determinations. However the relative Read more
Shreveport City Engineering disclaimer: “Copyright 2015. The City of Shreveport assumes no responsibility or legalliabililty* for the accuracy, completeness, reliability, timeliness, or usefulness of any information available on this map. For more up-to-date parcel information visit Caddo Assessor‘s Office.” (color, bold & italic actual spelling as noted is my addition!)
Perhaps this careless addition of a single letter, misspelling of “liability” in a Shreveport City Engineering disclaimer is a strangely appropriate omen. This particular map provided through Shreveport City Engineering, specifically requested in coordination with the Caddo Commission and a single commissioner, was an effort to disclose information that Shreveport Engineering doesn’t want the public to see, much less appreciate. These are facts carefully kept from public eyes that reveal both dangers to the public and government efforts that have assisted some private Read more
The Caddo Parish Commission has been splashed in every media from print to TV stations, blogs, FaceBook page and email alleging serious illegal activities of elected officials, administrators and those hired to handle legal issues and guidance for citizens of Caddo Parish. However, glaring legal failures like potholes in the CPERS retirement system appear to have sidetracked far too much of the discussion about criminal activities, and factual errors in reporting seem to discredit many well-meaning people. I suggest those who should have known of the illegal participation are the most guilty – the paid legal team.
I’ve watched as the topic has degenerated into bitter feuds among well-meaning good people. Friends have stopped talking and bitterly hammered each other because bad decisions that may turn out to be criminal conduct, in the opinion of good legal minds, and the court decision, have dragged us into this Read more