by Elliott Stonecipher
I just got back to my computer from tonight’s NLCOG (Northwest Louisiana Council of Government) hornswoggle at LSU-S. For those of us who in good conscience showed up there to support the Hwy. 3132 Extension effort, there is no hiding the awful fact of tonight’s matter: we the people were cheated again.
Please excuse me while I make no attempt to hide my reaction.
It was bad enough, we thought, that NLCOG waited to put some 3132 route alternatives up on their website less than a week before tonight’s supposed “hearing.” It was worse, though, that they waited until just two days ago to put up their final documents. Then, brazenly hiding the facts from the public all along, NLCOG and friends lured a lot of good and decent people to a gathering tonight that was purely insulting.
Regardless of how badly the people have already been shellacked in the history of this would-be roadway, NLCOG rigged tonight’s deal so no one could ask them open questions about anything in the study. No presentations were made to explain the 600+ pages released to the public. No facts were given about how this phase of the study proceeds, or ends. No one was given a chance to offer other ideas. As the project’s offending profiteers used the event to smooze and lobby the unsuspecting, attendees were forced to walk around looking at maps and charts on easels, then directed to fill out “comment sheets” if they had anything to say. We suspect the boxes these “comment sheets” went into double as trash cans, something the rigging of all things 3132 guarantees no one but NLCOG will ever know.
We should face the fact now: this $1,000,000 study is off to an ominous start. Not only is the deal seemingly irreparably rigged, but the riggers aren’t even trying to hide the rigging anymore.
The point is simple. Unless NLCOG has something to hide, why would they be so afraid to answer questions about a “study” they and their hirelings have kept in total darkness for over six months?
If it isn’t bad enough that all of this is happening to remedy the original, illegal termination of our 3132 Extension, now we are forced by many of the same bad actors to participate in this latest chapter in the seemingly endless cover-up. As if to underscore that point, holding court tonight were several of the officials who colluded to kill the extension in April of last year, most notable among them Cedric Glover. When he couldn’t corner someone on whom to spew his infamous stuff, he was trying to intimidate opponents with his favorite weapon: his cellphone video recorder. That the official who brought all of this hell on our city in the first place would so openly ply his trade at tonight’s gathering is something a self-respecting city must think about … seriously think about.
Why Are They Hiding Route Alternatives?
The most substantive – and potentially damaging – development we confirmed tonight is that some route alternatives far less harmful to existing homeowners have yet to be publicly released. We of the Finish 3132 Coalition maintain an admittedly very shaky hope that an honest person (or two?, maybe, ‘Good Lord willing) in the NLCOG / LA DOTD group of employees will step forward with those alternatives before this “Stage 0” manipulation goes any further. Regardless of when or how the rest of these facts are made public, those who care should know that the alternatives released thus far are carefully crafted to benefit a very few – none of them new at that game – at the expense of many existing homeowners, especially some in the Twelve Oaks subdivision (myself, a Twelve Oaks resident, not included).
For those good people who came tonight in exercise of their civic duty – and I invited many of them – only to be thus abused, I offer my very real apology. I would never have invited you had I suspected, much less known, what awaited.
I would like to say these wayward officials just don’t know any better, or don’t mean anything by the damage they so openly and unapologetically continue to do, but the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.
FINISH 3132 COALITION