THOSE DAMNABLE FACTS AND TRUTHS!by Elliott Stonecipher
Adam Duvernay’s report in this morning’s Times details a bit of the Hwy. 3132 Extension action at the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) meeting yesterday (article here). The unanimous vote in support by the MPC is very much appreciated by the many who have worked to bring the Extension back to life after last year’s official attempt to kill it.
More refinement of the MPC determination will be provided when the official Minutes of yesterday’s action are published. Included in that refinement may be a request by MPC member Larry Ferdinand that sanctions be attached to any action taken by developer Tim Larkin in contradiction to the Commission’s ruling.
There’s Always a Place and Time for Reason … and Honesty!
Those in attendance yesterday listened quietly to two lengthy presentations by Esplanade developer Tim Larkin, and one by the Coalition. Other speakers in opposition to Larkin’s effort to build a new road in the possible route of the Extension were heard as noted in Mr. Duvernay’s report, and in the report of the meeting on Finish3132.com (article here).
What prevailed was apolitical common sense. There is a two-year, $1,000,000 study underway to determine if there is a feasible Extension route, and since Larkin already has a temporary road with a curb-cut into Flournoy-Lucas long in use on his property, he should not be allowed to build – within a possible Extension route – a second access road and curb-cut.
As was the opening point of the Coalition’s presentation, one must wonder how Larkin’s proposal even made it to the MPC. The “permit” Larkin tried to sell to the MPC as his justification was from last July, and the second page of the subject letter included a paragraph with unambiguous language barring the very action for which Larkin was requesting approval! (Truly, you can’t make this stuff up, folks.)
The MPC action was, ultimately, what the Coalition requested, but that’s only a coincidental fact. Leading up to the offering of his Motion and the unanimous vote in support by all seven (7) members, long-time member Desi Sprawls expressed his surprise and frustration that MPC members had taken 3132 Extension actions in previous years without benefit of all available information. Literally, Mr. Sprawls noted, he saw in the Coalition’s presentation key information which he had never before seen or considered.
Mr. Sprawls’ candor was refreshing, and very important. In a controversy mainly marked by obfuscation and worse by those in positions of responsibility, Mr. Sprawls’ honesty made it very clear that the withholding of public information – now a real and true art among many Shreveport and Caddo public officials – is in no small part responsible for the loss (to date) of the 3132 Extension.
The View Opposite Mr. Sprawls’, From … (d r u m r o l l please) … Tim Larkin
One of the most mind-bending comments from Mr. Larkin yesterday was, basically, the opposite of the one expressed by Desi Sprawls. Larkin made a remark or two designed to blame me for all his problems, then proceeded to explain that the use of Public Record Requests by the Coalition were the root of all such evil. As nearly as I can quote him, he put it this way:
“People use this freedom of information thing and get documents they don’t understand and then confuse everybody.”
Larkin’s is a great, but unoriginal, protestation from those used to being able to do anything they damn well please with public money and the public process. This is, in fact, the classic attack on anything and everything which opposes the rotten and stinky status quo, here and in every other city, state and nation with a free citizenry.
Larkin might as well have complained that facts and information are his enemy … which, of course, they are.
For our part, the Coalition is – as this is written – continuing to fight for the thousands of public documents still being withheld by NLCOG, the City Engineering office, Cedric Glover, city council members and others.
The Push-Back to the Coalition is Oozing Into Public View
Over the past few weeks, there are definite signs that the thus-far quiet (i.e., hidden) push-back from defenders of All Things Shreveport Status Quo is revealing itself. It never does, of course, unless its real interests are finally threatened enough to force the matter.
We are told that this group’s push-back, i.e., attempt to give Glover and Larkin all they want, will be acted out in an appeal of yesterday’s MPC action before the City Council. In other words, this group and their hand-picked city hall boss, Glover, will “make Larkin whole” with a City Council override of the MPC. Any such success on behalf of Glover, Larkin and their unidentified backers will depend on the votes of at least two among council members Michael Corbin, Oliver Jenkins and Jeff Everson.
For now, we will only observe that, yes, money is power, and we all know this establishment group has tons of it. To counterbalance it, honest people with a community (not self) interest have information, the internet and a story – this Hwy. 3132 Extension story – which is no longer a “local” one.
This goes far outside Shreveport and Louisiana. This is about a specific incident in which traditional and non-traditional media combine to get a story out. The fact that the Coalition’s work arises from public documents and is its strength, and the internet provides its power.
THAT’S what Tim Larkin was complaining about yesterday …
… damnable facts and truths, and systems of public records law and communication which allow them into the light.
for the Finish 3132 Coalition