Patrick Williams, Crowley NON-Participants
by Marion Marks
The October 21st Young Professionals Initiative Forum may have shaken up some of the Mayoral candidates as Anna Marie Arpino challenged the record of Ollie Tyler as Superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools claiming waste, inefficiencies and that Tyler authorized the payment of over a million dollars the system acknowledged it didn’t actually owe.
The forum lasted over an hour and twenty minutes and candidate Patrick Williams stuck his head in at the end and backed out almost as quickly. Jim Crowley never made an appearance, still a phantom candidate of questionable motives. The give and take was often heated, as candidates addressed issues important to the future of Shreveport.
Tyler repeated her claims that as CEO of both the Caddo schools and later as interim head of the state system in Baton Rouge she was a successful leader. The record appears to not validate Tyler, as the system slipped from 13th to 35th in Caddo over her tenure. The State system still thanks other districts for being 50th, as Louisiana regularly remains near the bottom.
Melvin Slack continues to focus on “legalizing marijuana” as his platform for running. Victoria Provenza added a number of economic development issues that appear fresh and progressive, items appropriate for the YPI. The issue remains for Provenza how well her message is received by voters who are hungry for answers that may fix critical failing and neglected infrastructure of the Glover administration.
Tyler seems to have many of the Glover backers in her camp, so Tyler has kept quiet until late in the campaign. Williams and Provenza have provided the most concrete material voters could latch on for substance, but as previously repeated, most voters remain skeptical and undecided.
More video of the forum will be posted later today – Please check back.