Victoria Provenza has entered the mayor’s race playing the role of the politically naive, poverty stricken candidate that will make it all better to live in Shreveport. Despite her assertion that she was a big time super-fund site manager and a very successful business woman out West, she has returned virtually penniless (as she claims) to save her home town. Pollyanna Provenza does not have a job (she is on leave of absence from her part time substitute teaching job) nor does she own a home, – – and reportedly her cell phone still has a Colorado area code.
Pollyanna is a campaigning as an independent; in Colorado she was a big time Republican – – being elected as a state delegate. Now she claims that “political parties and partisanship is an impediment to progress”. Her website says she is running for mayor to lend her “unique skill set and experience to the community through public service.” Evidently Pollyanna wants to start on top; to date she has not involved herself in any Shreveport community services or programs – – but she is the reigning Krewe of Highland Mardi Gras Queen.
Despite never having run for an elected political office nor served in a public position, Pollyanna says that its not a big step for her to be mayor; she compares her experience in corporate America to serving as the chief executive officer of the third largest city in Louisiana. Seemingly, Pollyanna does not recognize the need of a successful Mayor to work successfully with the City Council (as well as other local and state elected leaders), the difficult reality of providing efficient and effective municipal services to a population of 200,000, or even the necessity to deal with state and federal mandates costing big compliance bucks.
Pollyanna prides herself on her low cost (virtually no cost) campaign; she is relying on social media to get her message out. The mayoral forums will undoubtedly give her campaign more exposure than she can generate by her own efforts. Provenza has the highest profile of the 3 white candidates in the race (which is not saying much), and thus she will get a certain amount of voters simply because her race and sex. The real question is what percentage of voters, and from whom is she taking votes – – Ollie Tyler or Patrick Williams.
Provenza’s campaign is tightly managed by Caddo Commissioner Matthew Linn – – and many believe she is as much as a puppet as Ollie Tyler. Pollyanna is attempting to maintain a high profile by attending virtually any public meeting on any calendar; it is readily apparent that at each meeting she is being programmed much like a robot. Linn is reportedly not only soliciting campaign contributions for his puppet, but also attempting to broker support for her campaign.
To her credit Provenza answers questions glibly and enthusiastically – – usually touting (if not grossly exaggerating) her corporate experience and knowledge of government theories. Without reflection her comments go down easy; indigestion quickly sets in when the comments are reviewed on basis of merit. A good example is her “economic gardening” program that is a “knock off” outdated Colorado program – – it is far exceeded in scope by economic development proposals of Patrick Williams.
Pollyanna ’s campaign just might be a good vehicle for a job at city hall – under someone else as mayor. In effect, Pollyanna is living the dream of a social science project on democracy while playing the role of a political puppet much like Ollie Tyler. Unfortunately, the mayor’s race is just too important for Provenza’s folly, whatever her real intentions may be. Hopefully Shreveport voters will realize that… and not join her experiment in democracy and not elect a puppet.