Less than twelve month’s remain in the second and final term of Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover; that fact is the source of rejoicing for many and sadness for a few. In all fairness, the last twelve months of the other two-term Shreveport mayors – John Hussey and Keith Hightower – were less than spectacular in the sense of accomplishments. Unfortunately, Big G’s administration crashed on political rocks shortly after his second term commenced in 2010, and it has taken on water since that time.
The intrigue of having a black mayor wore off quickly after Glover’s initial election in 2006, and his re-election victory was a function of voter demographics and the lack of a quality opponent more than a re-affirmation of his leadership. Thankfully, the Shreveport City Council elected in 2010 exercised more leadership than any prior councils, and their efforts have kept Shreveport’s ship of State afloat. Glover’s “leadership” efforts have been basically non-existent since his re-election.
Mayor Glover can best serve his city by cleaning up many messes that he has brought upon himself – and not leave a mountain of unfinished business behind for his successor. There is always unfinished matters that a new administration inherits, but Big G certainly owes his successor, and for that matter Shreveport citizens as well, a diligent effort to clean up as many of his mayoral disasters as possible. Very few believe he is leaving the City in better shape than when he first assumed office.
The proposed Shreveport dog park has been in the news (and in litigation) for several months; finally a compromise agreement has been finalized between Big G and the Shreveport Dog Park Alliance. Of course signing off on an agreement and actually implementing it are two entirely different matters. Nonetheless, it’s good that the Mayor has finally resolved this controversy – although in the process he wasted taxpayer dollars in a big time way on legal fees. With a push by Glover the Dog Park will be operational before he leaves office.
The proposed extension of the 3132 loop to Highway One /the Port of Shreveport Bossier is another legal conundrum that has a life of its own. Massive dollars have been spent by all parties in this protracted litigation over the right, if any, of Bossier developer Tim Larkin to tie into Flournoy Lucas road and develop his ultra high dollar Esplanade subdivision. How much real progress can be made with DOTD in the upcoming year is questionable, – but Big G could certainly expedite some resolution of the saga by cooperating with southeast Shreveport citizens and WK Health Care System in facilitating the needed 3132 extension. After all, Glover played a pivotal role in derailing the extension.
Glover also needs to aggressively build up the City’s financial reserves. Getting a “hard” number on the reserve balance from the Glover administration has been a difficult if not impossible task; the best estimates are much less than the $6 million (plus) reserve account he started with a Mayor in 2006. The Council, lead by Mike Corbin, has taken measures to rebuild this fund from tits estimated $2 million (or less) to a $6 million sum. Glover could greatly implement this effort and rightly he should do so, and not claim credit after his administration expended almost $4 million (or more) of the reserve he started with 2006.
Big G should also develop for Council approval a long-term street repair program. Presently, the Council divides street maintenance funds equally among the seven council districts – with the Council members determining the priority of fund expenditures in each district. This system, while assisting in the kingdom building of the elected representatives, does not take into account major arteries that cut across council districts and/or traffic counts. These tax dollars should be utilized for the best overall good of the Shreveport citizens.
Glover’s answer has been to parcel out bond moneys for designated street improvements – a process that does not provide for functionality of a street system and does not adequately address population shifts and economic growth. Like many features of Glover’s perception of Shreveport as the “Next Great City of the South”, his street repair and maintenance program is reflective of rose tinted glasses, or maybe better put, total darkness blinders. No one can deny that the overall condition of Shreveport’s streets, taken as a whole, leaves much to be desired.
The “mayor please do list” could go on and on, but if history is a lesson little promises can be held out for Big G getting much done. One definite item for Glover should be the replacement of his financial bond advisor Calvin Grisby, whose firm currently owes the City some $50,000 plus for overcharges. How much real progress Big G makes this next year will be his ultimate legacy as Shreveport’s first black mayor. No one can deny that much improvement is both wanted, and needed, for his present image to substantially improve.