Justifying Outrage at City’s Elected Officials

by Willie Bradford
by Willie Bradford

I attended Shreveport City Council Meeting on Tuesday to voice my outrage and disappointment at the public hearing that was being held on the Calvin Grigsby dispute. Others also came to express their outraged and disappointment.  The anger and outrage were because 3 years after the voters approved a 170 million dollars Bond Proposal for capital improvements, most have not been completed. And some not even started. The reason; according to Mayor Glover is because there’s not a financial adviser in place to sell the remaining 94 million dollars in Bonds.

Of the 12 citizens that who spoke, 10 spoke (African Americans) in favor of the Council reinstating Grigsby as the city’s  financial advisor so that the work on the other major projects could resume. They dismissed the ongoing dispute as to whether Grigsby overbilled the city for previous services as being unmerited.

"... vetted..."
Grigsby unelected power?

I don’t ever remember a public hearing being held on who will be the financial adviser for this City. And I’ve never knew that a financial advisor could stop voter approved capital improvements.

I am absolutely perplexed. Perplexed because in 2010 the voters of Shreveport hired 8 people, the Mayor and 7 council members to do a job for us. And to make our quality of living better in this city. In 2011 the voters pass a Bond Issue to give them the resources to help make our city better… Yet, 3 ½ years later the work has not been done because financial advisor Calvin Grigsby is not in place. I do not know Calvin Grigsby, never met the man. Yet I’m wondering how can Grigsby, (an unelected person) impede the progress of this City. Where did Calvin Grigsby get that power from? I don’t remember anything on the Bond Proposal saying, oh by the way, these capital improvements will not go forward unless Calvin Grigsby is the financial advisor. We hired 8 people to do a job, yet the job is not being done because of one man.  How did one man get that much power?

Well, I assume that the Mayor vetted Grigsby as to his qualifications, credibility, and reputability. And recommended Grigsby to the Council to be hired as financial advisor. The Council confirmed him. It’s my understanding that for several years Grigsby did very well as financial adviser. Then in 2012, for reasons initiated by Grigsby, the City Council by a 6-1 vote made a business decision and suspended the services of Grigsby. The Mayor and Grigsby contested the suspension. And now the dispute is awaiting some type of litigation.

No Work...
No Work…

After months of nonproduction, 2 ½ years ago the City Council suggested that the city contact other financial advisers as to get the projects moving again. They even recommended one or two African Americans. Yet, and according to Councilwoman Rose Wilson-McCulloch statement, “raw  sewage” flows down city streets on rainy days, the Mayor stays firm and would not consider bringing on another financial adviser. If he had, most if not all of the capital improvement projects would be completed by Now..

About a month ago the Mayor, Grigsby and others start a “Bring Grigsby Back” public relations campaign within the Black community. Their objective; an attempt to influence Black citizens into believing that the projects that are yet undone are all in predominantly African American neighborhoods. And even worst, introducing race as a factor as to why Grigsby was fired and why projects have not been done. This is shameful because at no time in this dispute has race come up, or did council members’ votes were along racial lines.

I have a very good financial planner. He calls often with new ideals. His ideals have made me money. Nevertheless, if I ever see the inking of evident that he violated my trust by doing something inappropriate, I would discontinue using him at that moment.

The voters of Shreveport hired 7 council members to act on behalf of the citizens. I have not seen the documents provided you by the external auditor regarding Grigsby. The council members have seen them and acted on that information. On behalf of the citizens of this city the City Council must sustain their decision not to retain Grigsby regardless of the pressure being forced on them until this matter is resolved.