by Elliott Stonecipher
Michael Corbin, Member
City Council District “D”
Dear Councilman Corbin:
With profound respect for those now suffering, I have carefully delayed this letter to you. By the time you receive this, it will have been three days since the traffic accident in front of our Twelve Oaks subdivision on Flournoy-Lucas Road.
The subject, Councilman, is an unnecessary and preventable death, with yet other lives shattered, the nature of that death so horrific that no one I know would choose to describe it. Those of us who saw the scene well understand that fact.
Over the past three years, I have stood before you and our mayor and the rest of our City Council, just as I have the Metropolitan Planning Commission, Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments, the state highway department, the news media and many civic groups. I did so to present many facts concerning the extension of our Hwy. 3132 to the Port of Caddo-Bossier. Many of those times, I have specifically warned that people would die because of the myriad official errors and malfeasance at issue.
Just before lunch on Friday, fewer than five hours before this accident, I wrote and published an internet column with this paragraph:
The reader may note the language, “… alleviate congestion, and reduce travel delay along the other facilities (highways) … .” Our mayor and his buds say Flournoy-Lucas, from its intersection with the 3132 Extension to LA Hwy. 1, is just fine to serve as this key segment of the 3132 Extension. The more sane people involved in this Huey Long-like hootenanny disagree. We add, for the record, that those whose lives are daily endangered along this strip also disagree with Glover, Inc. (Emphasis added.)
Councilman, you and others have effectively added to the danger many of us face each day. I can make that statement as well to Mayor Glover, the city attorney, city engineer, four of your fellow council members – Sam Jenkins, Oliver Jenkins, Rose McCulloch and Jeff Everson – our MPC staff and some Board members, some at our Caddo Commission, NLCOG and the state highway department.
You, Mr. Corbin, are our Council member. You took an Oath related directly to us. You have served others, however.
1. Each of us on this part of Flournoy-Lucas, particularly those of us who live at Twelve Oaks or work or worship at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, know that but for the grace of God, we could have been in Friday’s wreck. We live with the unusual nature of the live-endangering mix in this area of extreme vehicle speed, the absence of a traffic light, and the designed-in insanity of five-lanes of traffic throwing off unpredictable stops and turns. Make no mistake, Mr. Corbin, excellent and focused drivers are at risk here!
2. Every danger is known to you, others in city government, the developers in the area, and the state highway department. No one has lifted a finger to mitigate this unique mix of dangers. Instead, last month you – using deliberate secrecy in matters of public interest – led a Council vote to further impede the chance of a someday completed 3132 Extension. That work favored a real estate developer.
3. Identifying causation in maiming and death from such “accidents” begins with the fact that Flournoy-Lucas in this area was never intended to serve its present purpose, a purpose you and others intend to make permanent.
4. Twelve Oaks was never intended to exist here. Going back to 1956, there has been full awareness and planning to prevent such development. The route chosen for the Extension in 1992 is precisely where Twelve Oaks was built a few year later. Real estate developers and their political benefactors took over in 2000. A four-lane highway to the Port was meant to be here, not us, though none of us were informed of the facts and dangers when we bought here.
5. Twelve Oaks was permitted to build its many hundreds of homes with a single entrance and exit.
6. Once systemic malfeasance made Twelve Oaks possible – benefiting profiteers at the expense of public safety – there was one remaining route for it to the Port of Caddo-Bossier. Now – while we watch, and a few of us fight to stop it – that one strip remaining gives way to the same systemic malfeasance – again benefiting profiteers at the expense of public safety. Since your election in 2010, you have remarkably acted only in favor of profit for the few at the expense of public safety.
7. The highway department now opines that the short distance between the 3132 Extension terminus at Flournoy-Lucas and the Twelve Oaks / St. Elizabeth Ann Seton entrances / exits excludes a traffic light in front of the subdivision. They go so far as to tell us a light will “cause wrecks.” They, too, set the speed limit far too high, and have refused to lower it. For your part, you opine that traffic counts are too low for any mitigation.
In our Finish 3132 Coalition work, we found emails between you and the top person at the highway department in which you address her by first name. Perhaps you will call your friend, Secretary LeBas, and update her on the effect of all this bureaucratic wizardry.
Councilman Corbin, what happened Friday was no accident. What happened was the result of a traffic “accident,” yes, but an accident born of official misfeasance and gross incompetence. Such accidents are designed-in. Your support for the Esplanade development greatly reduces the chance for facilities which would alleviate the danger we face. Such would benefit our community as a whole in a separate and long list of other ways.
This man-made disaster, Mr. Corbin, is slowly – and already tragically – growing. As has been the case since the band of malfeasors acted to outright kill the Extension in April 2011, everything about this gets worse from here.
Resident, Twelve Oaks
Spokesman, Finish 3132 Coalition