by Elliott Stonecipher
For those who may have found and read the piece, please afford me a few minutes of your time to respond to a “Letter to the Editor” in the Shreveport newspaper today. The letter is signed by a woman named Earleen Bergeron, further identified only as a Shreveport resident. I have never met her. I did not know she lived here. As to the lady and her friends and family, I have no awareness … at all.
In pertinent part, her is what Ms. Bergeron offers us:
“Ollie Tyler and Victoria Provenza are my heroes. Women who go through horrendous abuse from a spouse, whether physically, by beatings or verbally and mentally in the courtroom by a vindictive spouse and come out of it stronger people are simply heroes and deserve respect and admiration.These women are strong, courageous people who have not only overcome situations that most of us would break under, but they have become better for it. They have made something special of their lives with their wisdom and energy and success.
Those who would like to tear them down — the John Settles, the Elliott Stoneciphers, the Ken Antees — by spreading rumors and half truths, I would ask, what’s in it for them? Is it a perverse satisfaction and feeling of power in being able to humiliate and knock down someone?”
Many readers will be more than slightly shocked to see me thus grouped with two key members of the defeated Patrick Williams campaign. In fact, I did not support and was not involved in that campaign, in major part owing to my work against public officials who are “double dippers” in reimbursements for their official expenses (see related article here). As you know, too, I have studiously, explicitly and repeatedly stated my neutrality in the mayor’s race.
Here is how I responded to Ms. Bergeron on our newspaper’s website, which is thereby posted on Facebook:
“Ms. Bergeron, with all due respect, not only do I not know you, I do not know what you have done on behalf of Shreveport, its citizenry, or a better future for us here. What I DO know is that you did not bother to situate yourself within so much as the neighborhood of a fact before you included me in this rank slander.
You attack the character of one who is guilty only of inexplicably setting you off. Here is a fact: I have spent the better part of my life working, pro bono, for a better Shreveport and Louisiana. Here’s another fact: I don’t care who the candidate is, all free people have the absolute right to know anything and everything in a candidate’s life which bears on that candidate’s ability – or inability – to honorably govern.
I support no candidate in this race, yet you charge me with trying to humiliate two of them, as if I found myself bored one day and decided to busy myself dealing with things such as this … a stranger’s published malice toward me. It is a fact, Ms. Bergeron, that my Shreveport hometown cannot afford any more governmental disasters, including mayors with no clue how to govern a city. We’ve been there, done that, and it has now left us in dire straits. Here’s another fact: I will put my record of community service up for objective comparison to that of you or any other person. Here is a final fact: though it is you who totally falsely accuses me of trying to tear two people down, what about you, Ms. Bergeron? Why do you seek to tear me down … and for whom?
In answer to that ending question, I today found in Louisiana Ethics Administration Campaign Finance Report for Provenza that Earleen Bergeron, Dr. James Bergeron (at the same address) and James Bergeron, Jr. (at a different address) contributed $4,808.94, directly and in-kind, to the campaign of Victoria Provenza. At the end of the first reporting period, that was 17% of all money raised by Ms. Provenza.
Provenza and her supporters are, by all accounts, livid that KTBS Television ran an extended report on serious questions pertaining to the candidate’s dishonest portrayal to the public of her supposed qualifications for the job. Addition emphasis was placed on matters of her physical and mental health.
To those who look for and accept the truth, I had zero – z e r o – knowledge of, much less involvement in, what KTBS so correctly did on behalf of the public concerning Ms. Provenza. (That the station did not do likewise in the instance of Ollie Tyler is a separate subject which I have previously addressed.)
Those who care for irrefutable proof, contact KTBS, and speak to anyone who worked on their subject story.
What I DO know, and want to say about Ms. Provenza’s candidacy, I will say after the election.
Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, please – of his work is appreciated.