by Elliott Stonecipher
[This guest editorial for The Shreveport Times was posted for its online readers on Friday, May 9, 2014, and will be published in its print edition soon following.
In publishing the column, the policies of The Times’ parent, Gannett Co., Inc., required that one word spoken by Calvin Grigsby, a primary subject of my editorial, be partially edited. It will be noticed by the reader in the second Grigsby quotation, italicized below, and was used in the column as I wrote and submitted to The Times. Grigsby’s quotation, as spoken, was originally published by the Shreveport Sun, which I have, in turn, quoted.]
Those in attendance heard and knew last Tuesday. I did not until reading the next-day edition of this newspaper. Calvin Grigsby, Mayor Cedric Glover’s friend who is also Shreveport’s ex-financial advisor, delivered a nasty 90-minute spew to a local civic group. Glover attended to root him on.
To punctuate their purpose and attract maximum attention, Grigsby, an African-American, labeled (white) Shreveport City Council members “latter-day Klansmen.”
As Shreveport was thus administered the spiritual, cultural and political equivalent of a random drug test, Grigsby’s unexpected and personally bitter attack on some Council members faded as spoken. Shreveport was clean, Grigsby was not, and Glover continued digging in the bottom of the deep hole in which he has long thus labored.
Notice lasted about as long as our mayor ever considers what is good for our city instead what he thinks is good for him: a brief and anything-but-shining moment. The top elected official of a majority black city, Glover again feigned aggrievement at the hands of its minority.
To be certain we understand the attempt by Grigsby, and Glover, consider these of Grigsby’s remarks as reported in the Shreveport Sun:
“I have gotten to know (Glover) over the years that we have had this struggle with the Latter-Day Klansmen on the council …”
“Everybody is pissed because we have done a good job. (Describing whites talking:) ‘So what can we do? We’ll go after his integrity, we’ll go until we find something … because everybody believes that Niggas steal, right?'”
In point of fact, the October 2012 external audit report by Lafayette attorney Frank Neuner, Jr., and accounting firm Postlethwaite & Netterville, leaves no doubt that the City Council’s concerns were and are dead-on. Any question that this can have anything to do with racial prejudice is obliterated in a casual reading of the report. Included there, too, is a gentle treatment of Grigsby’s many run-ins with government authorities. These include serious problems with his professional record, as policed by various federal agencies.
Yes, led by Councilman Michael Corbin, the City Council had to act on Grigsby as Glover shirked his duty, protecting what seems to be something far beyond just the first contract he shoved through the Council when elected. Instead of resolving the Council’s substantiated concern, he has pitched a two-year, non-stop fit, one of many such. Since 2011, capital projects funded by bond sales were thus stopped.
What the fight netted council members was unmitigated grief, and, now, Glover’s – excuse me, Grigsby’s – mendacious claim that council members are the worst of racists.
I bear witness to a key fact. I have worked with, and sometimes against, these Council members. We are eight human beings, black and white, battling in the public arena for our visions of a better city. There is certainly constructive disagreement, but one thing there is not: a racist among us.
Glover’s defense of Grigsby’s case and words charges and convicts him right along with the attacker. We should pray our mayor finally looks inward rather than out. It seems he would have by now met himself coming, not liked the man he met, and set about to change him.
Many of us agree that America’s worn-thin race card is almost always now dealt from the bottom of the deck. Still, who knew Shreveporters would be so unimpressed when it hit our community table, thrown there so dramatically by a mayoral proxy?
All of this confirms good news: self-serving charges of racism are just one more symptom of ill political players. We long to once again have a mayor who knows that, and likes Shreveport at least enough to go to work each day on its – on all of our – behalf.
Yes, Shreveport has its problems, including its ever-smaller population of racists of all races. ‘Next subject.
Oh, and can we pick a real one this time?
Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, please – of his work is requested and appreciated.