by Willie Bradford
“While much attention has been given to the April 7, 2011 NLCOG/MPO meeting, the genie began to come out of the bottle much earlier.”– Mike Corbin
I find Mike Corbin’s column to be very disingenuous. In the above quote lies the fundamental problem with Corbin and the council overturning the decision of the MPC. While Corbin seems to acknowledge that there was some kind of conspiracy to interfere with the La. 3132 extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier, he and the other four council members knowing or unknowing became co-conspirators in this scheme.
If for no other reason then their votes accomplished what the profiteers’ started many, many years ago.
Since April 7, 2011, Tim Larkin has made three zoning applications to the Metropolitan Planning Commission, and three times he was denied. On May 7, 2014, and without any major changes with his application, Larkin shows up once again in front of the MPC. The MPC as they did on three previous occasions denied his application. It appeared that the rejection was expected by Larkin because he immediately appealed the MPC’s decision to the City Council. The place I believe where he wanted to be all along. No doubt Larkin and his attorneys understood that they needed to do some politicking if they were to get the necessary votes to override the MPC.
It has been said that “the future belongs to those that prepare for it today.” Apparently council members Michael Corbin, Rose Wilson-McCulloch, Jeff Everson, Oliver Jenkins and Sam Jenkins don’t know this. If they did, they would have done everything in their power to secure the only undeveloped and available land that could extend La. 3132 to the Port of Caddo-Bossier instead of voting for all practical purposes to kill it.
Normally city leaders just don’t vote to impede the growth of their city. And it’s not every day that you’re see City Councils voting to create a dangerous effect on the citizens of their city. But then Shreveport city leaders of the past understood the importance of this highway. They spend years of designing and planning in anticipation of this highway. And the citizens weighted in by voting to help in funding it.
Somewhere and somehow, and without the public’s knowledge, profiteers hijacked this project by buying up and developing the original and preferred route. The last real opportunity for the La. 3132 expansion to happen and the only undeveloped land left for the highway is owned by Larkin and his partners. Now that may be gone.
The vote to override the MPC by the five members of City Council was so shocking and disturbing because over the past three years the council has been presented with miles of emails and mountains of other evidence showing that something fishy was going from Shreveport to Baton Rouge.
Additionally, they knew that million-dollar feasibility studies are underway by DOTD. And they knew that litigation is pending in both state and federal courts. These issues will be resolved in a matter of months, not years. Yet, they felt an urgency to vote. Why did these council members feel compelled to vote on this on June 10? What was the harm in tabling this a few months on a matter that was of such great importance to this city?
I don’t know if any council members participated in any backroom deals or not. … But I’ll tell you one thing — something is rotten in the state of Denmark. And it smells to high heaven.