“Audiences will believe the impossible but never the implausible.”
Government leadership today requires weaving a cloth of color, substance and strength, but, above all, it demands a mix of materials capable of withstanding storms of public dissent. Some leaders rally citizens to conquer the impossible, but the theater of Shreveport’s mayor Glover seems to be implausible.
Dog parks across America range from simple green spaces to broad running areas separated by fences with features that appeal to communities they serve. Costs range from a few thousand dollars upward. None seem to have sparked the litigation and friction Shreveport has generated after the 2007–2008 Master Planning sessions developed the Charles and Marie Hamel Dog Park on land donated by a family to honor their parents.And now, as the Shreveport Dog Park Alliance attempts to find common ground to cut through the gorgon harangue the mayor has manipulated, further roadblocks seem to be the Glover calling card.
Originally money was secured from outside authorities by a loyal group of citizens who saw the benefits of a public dog park. Not a soul intended anything that would divide the community; not a soul had more than public spirit as work commenced to raise money, awareness and spirit through this venture. The site was already being maintained by Shreveport Parks and Recreation, and the goal of a fenced areas with water was all the park was intended to include. Remember this is a dog park! It is for pet owners, potential pet owners, families trying to have quality time outdoors with their pets and general recreation.
The intent of the Shreveport Dog Park Alliance was to raise all money privately, but directives from the mayor required far more expensive fencing and other amenities never planned from the outset. The alliance formed for the park took all these obstacles in stride and found financing that would not take one penny from Shreveport general funds. Additionally the group raised additional funds intended to add to city recreational facilities, but none of this seemed to fit in the mayor’s plans.
The question now is what are the mayor’s ulterior motivations? Why should tax payers have to bear the cost of his litigation and meetings that extend far beyond the original scope of this project? Is there some group intent on using this land for other purposes and perhaps take more from the city and citizens? Has the mayor allowed his “Best to become the enemy of the Good?” Has the principle upon which he demands compliance become the single point that will sink his entire eight years with some of his supporters?
Perhaps in loving Shreveport so much Glover is intent on destroying the very thing that he says that he loves. His friction has become race baiting, and citizens, standing fast in their beliefs, have made it clear that the mayor’s position, as already interpreted by the courts, is illegal. Fractious politics has caused new tension in both legislative and judicial quarters that the mayor could calm should he bend his gigantic ego.
No community should be forced to endure the costs generated by stubborn denial of facts and law. No elected leader should be so blind as to not recognize repeated attempts to give a way out of an untenable position. However, Shreveport seems destined to contend with the implausible.