Everyone’s heard the old idiom that the “cream rises to the top” and seemingly the inverse is also true, -that dregs go to the bottom. In the case of politics and elected officials in the Martin Luther King (MLK) arena, just the opposite is true, –the dregs go to the top.
If one doubts the veracity of this conclusion, a review of the first page of last week’s Inquisitor which features MLK Commissioner Michael Williams, resplendently adorned in pajamas, bemoaning the repossession of his 2006 Mercedes Benz convertible sports car is suggested. Seeming Williams believed that he was exempt from making the first payment on his car, financed at 32.94 APR.
This week’s Shreveport Sun features Rose McCulloch on the front page reporting her decision to use the entire $3 million bond allocation for street repairs in District A for the street named after her deceased dad, –Henry Wilson. McCulloch explained to a MLK Neighborhood Association that her street selection criteria was simple –“the criteria is me.”
Mike Williams has become a standing joke on the Caddo Commission since his 2010 election. Williams is best known for his ridiculous push to ban the wearing of pajamas in public with a parish ordinance. His “zeal” for this clothing regulation carried over to the near loss of Commission funding (with state dollars) for a much needed water system to numerous poverty stricken residents in his district. Williams initially cast a “no” vote as an act of retaliation against fellow commissioner Doug Dominick for failure to play his pajama game; Williams ultimately reversed his vote after a counseling session by Parish Administrator Woody Wilson.
Rose McCulloch served on the Parish Commission (the seat now held by Williams) before her 2010 election to the Shreveport City Council. On the Commission, she had a well deserved reputation as being a “loose cannon”; an example of her political acumen was a proposal to expend parish funds to assist Haiti hurricane victims. The politics of the twelve person Parish Commission that generally reined in her ill-reasoned actions are not present on the seven member City Council, and her decisions on road paving for the MLK neighborhood reflect the damage a blind bull can do in a china shop.
Unfortunately, mediocre elected officials in the MLK neighborhood is the norm, and is reflective of this area which by all standards is the most economically, socially, and educationally distressed area in Shreveport. It’s a given that election of poorly qualified officials result in poor representation. If MLK residents ever seriously question why they are not getting more of the “good life,” perhaps a long look in the voting polls could be helpful.
Public service is no easy job, and especially if elected officials are more motivated by the paycheck, the “prestige” and social standing rather than effective representation of constituents. If examples are needed, one look no further than Councilwoman McCulloch and Commissioner Mike Williams, and the plight of MLK residents.