Times Bossier Parkway Story DIDN’T Say re 3132…

by Elliott Stonecipher
3132 loop-de-loop
3132: The “REAL” Loop!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, some of us continue to work as diligently as humanly possible on the salvage of our Hwy. 3132 Loop Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.  For now, that means working with the three lawsuits we are pursuing, one each in Caddo Parish District Court, the state 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal, and the U. S. District Court.  More on those subjects later.

For now, we would be negligent did we not let you know at least a few things missing from yesterday’s spread in the Shreveport Times about the highway-building superiority of Bossier City officials, re: their Teague Parkway.

The Parkways...
The Parkways… (Click for detail)

The article opened by saying this:

“Opening the southern extension of Arthur Ray Teague Parkway is the latest piece of the puzzle that is a growing Bossier.”

What the article did NOT say is that “growing Bossier” includes using the Teague Parkway as the roadway to a Red River Port to compete with the “Port of Caddo-Bossier.”  I put the group’s title in quotes because that is the official name of “our” Red River port, although the “Bossier” component apparently intends to use “our” platform for its own such endeavor.  In evidence, take a look at this article summary from The Shreveport Times on May 16, 2011.  (If you want to read the entire article, you will need to purchase it from the Times archive.)

Readers may note that the May 2011 article in the Times was at about the same time our Finish 3132 Coalition was beginning its work.  Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover had used the always-available-to-certain-people Northwest Louisiana Council of Government (NLCOG) federally designated transportation “planner” to kill our 3132 Extension to “our” Port just a month earlier, on April 7, 2011.  We later noted this key May 2011 Times article in our writing on the subject, but few were focused enough on the issue at that point to notice.

Now, with more than a year-and-a-half of research at our finger-tips, consider these facts which were not mentioned in Sunday’s Times article:

You have to understand the deck...
You have to understand the deck…

(1)  Bossier City has been able to build Teague Parkway as they have by cutting federal involvement – and federal funds – almost totally out of the deal, to the point that a supposed “generational” – i.e., taking a generation to build, a term used by highway planners – project can be done this far south on their side of the Red River in less than a decade.  To do that, the city and parish “work” together in all ways necessary.

(2)  In all ways that matter, Bossier cut the offending NLCOG out of their deal, even though two of their top officials – Bossier Mayor Lo Walker and Parish Administrator Bill Altimus – hold 2 of 5 NLCOG Executive Committee seats.

(3)  Insiders are quick to note that the quiet (and virtually hidden) political power in the Port of Caddo-Bossier for years has been Bossier City Attorney Jimmy Hall.  He is now a Commissioner, as is Bossier City Marshall Lynn Austin.  To boot, another Commissioner is Sam Gregorio, a Bossier City resident, but appointed by Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover. 

House of Cards
House of Cards

(4)  As everyone knows, the key entity in blocking the Hwy. 3132 Extension to “our” Port of Caddo-Bossier is elected Bossier City Councilman Tim Larkin, via his Esplanade development in South Shreveport.  As our research has documented, at the time Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover used NLCOG and, thus, the (federal) highway planning process, to kill the 3132 Extension, the aforementioned attorney and Commissioner at the Port of Caddo-Bossier, Sam Gregorio, was one of Tim Larkin’s attorneys.  Gregorio, as detailed in his emails which we have produced, worked with Shreveport City Engineer Ron Norwood to write the NLCOG motion which killed the 3132 Extension at the April 7, 2011 meeting.

(5)  As Shreveport politicos often note, a key actor in Bossier City’s alleged political prowess is our own Mayor Cedric Glover.  Mayor Lo Walker in Bossier does not return the favor, of course.

(6a)  You may have noticed in the May 2011 Times article that the engineering firm therein speaking for the Port of Caddo-Bossier is Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc. (known as “BKI”), and we have been told BKI is the Port’s engineering consulting firm on a continuing basis.  The company is a key campaign contributor to Mayor Glover, as detailed in the Shreveport Times after Glover’s 2010 re-election ( SEE articles here and here ). 

(6b)  BKI has also been selected to conduct the Stage 1 Feasibility Study for the Hwy. 3132 Extension project.  In fact, the final phase of the 3132 feasibility study (by BKI) could ultimately recommend a “no build” designation for the project, or a route through Willis-Knighton Health System’s (WKHS) The Oaks development on Flournoy- Lucas Road, tantamount to a “no build” conclusion given resulting property expropriation costs.

Shreveport Vision?
Shreveport Vision?

(6c)  Notably, as we have argued and documented in our lawsuits and elsewhere, Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus argued conspiratorily for just such treatment of the 3132 Extension (and WKHS) in a 2011 email to Mayor Cedric Glover.

(6d)  BKI was selected last year to complete the 3132 feasibility study in a meeting of NLCOG’s Executive Committee, a meeting chaired by Glover.  Again, two other members of that 5-member group are Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker and Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus.  This is one of many such examples of the way NLCOG functions as a classic, bad-old-days platform for political ops, rather than a transportation planning agency.

I could go on and on and on with such examples of the role of Bossier City officials in matters which are determinative – politically and otherwise – for the 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier. 

The short version is this:  the glowing praise of Bossier City officials in this and many other such contexts somehow always fails to mention how critical to “their” success Shreveport is.  More to the point, in a day and age when most other cities in America have locked onto the absolute need for regionalism in all things, our two cities are headed for the opposite, i.e., a much more open political battle.

For now, I take my hat off to Bossier in one thing:  they certainly know how to use their political alliances and public money to co-opt certain Shreveport public officials to their benefit.  How will it be, though, when their go-to guy in so many ways – Shreveport’s mayor – is out-of-office, and the Bossier political op is out in the open?  Is that really where we want our communities to head?

Oh, by the way:  just why in the hell do we need another port across from “our” present one on Red River?  Was the May 2011 Times article wrong, or isn’t that the admitted plan of Bossier pols?    Hmmmm … it must be time to pour into that question.  The “Port of Caddo-Bossier” can help a lot in that process, including explaining when “our” Port becomes the “Port of Caddo,” and limits the residency of Commissioners to west of the River.

Elliott Stonecipher

Finish 3132 Coalition

Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest.  No compensation of any kind has been solicited or accepted for this work.  This work is protected, and no other use of it is permitted without the written consent of Mr. Stonecipher.