Public meetings about the Hwy. 3132 Extension were held yesterday, one at lunchtime in Southwest Shreveport, and one at dinnertime at LSU-S. An informal survey of those who attended confirms that confusion was yet again the order of the day.
Such is the lifeblood, we participants have certainly been taught, of the arcane, stealthy and anything-but-transparent world of highway “planning” in our neck of the woods.
(Go to this article’s footnote * for directions to additional facts and history.)
These gatherings were the work of our Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG), with an assist from and by the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (LA DOTD).
Building a Louisiana highway is one of the most awfully political, inscrutable and insanely expensive – in all ways – processes known to man, woman or child. Attending one of these “public meetings” is a taste of the mayhem. First escorted into a darkened-room for a video presentation Read more
Thanks to my campaign conscience, I recognize I have not asked sufficient hard questions of ALL the candidates. Transparency here, I do have a business to run, but I picked the low-hanging fruit, finding easy flaws of the Tyler & Williams campaigns, and I neglected asking tough questions of Ms Provenza, as I read what seemed easy issues, and I was less diligent.
Ms Provenza owes it to the voters to explain what in her background is so precious that she cannot be more transparent herself about her work and the Colorado part of her life that seems “off-limits” in the campaign. If Ms Tyler’s background falls in the realm of “it has nothing to do with being qualified to be mayor” and I and others demand transparency, Ms Provenza needs to use the remaining three weeks to disclose how we have not been able to learn a fuller story of her life.
We all know being mayor is a difficult job requiring 15+ hours days, nothing for the weak of heart or constitution. What we also know is that Shreveporters deserve a better understanding of every candidate who claims to be qualified to serve as mayor.
With appreciation to the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, I share with you this link from its website. Readers may there see and hear the result of the Chamber’s work in interviewing candidates for Shreveport Mayor and City Council on a range of issues including the Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
Click first on the Chamber’s Question #2 link, then on the picture of any candidate whose response you care to consider.
Please note that I have taken great care not to discuss with any candidate, in any way, our Coalition’s intention to write this evaluation of the responses given to the Chamber of Commerce. Likewise, the Coalition cannot and will not make commitments of any kind to any candidate for election office.
The following are points I, on behalf of the Coalition, believe are notable.
Mayoral Candidate and City Councilman Sam Jenkins
Seeing and hearing is believing. From his City Council seat, Mr. Jenkins has been exposed to, over the past 3 1/2 years, tens of hours of public presentation of information – in great detail – about this project. Nonetheless, he repeatedly boils his position down to the fact that the 3132 Extension is “not in the jurisdiction” of the city. He makes that remark even given that he voted on June 10th to greenlight further development in a potential Extension route, Read more
In my last report on and about the LA Hwy. 3132 Extension project I explained a bit about the Stage 1 Feasibility Study now underway. I then stressed that this phase is markedly different from the political op which was the Stage 0 study. Given that this one is federally funded, the regulations governing it place a premium on a more transparent process.
We must hope and trust such will become fact.
I note again, in context, that our Finish 3132 Coalition federal lawsuit option is alive and well should any such need occur. A few pertinent details in that regard were presented in my July 30, 2014, report to you. ‘Long story short, the “old” federal lawsuit was dismissed “without prejudice,” a legal distinction which specifically allows a new, more specifically directed federal court suit should one be necessary.
It is very important to remember that the Stage 1 Study was delayed for the better part of two years, by unconfirmed parties, for unknown reasons. Throughout that delay, local and Read more
For the next eighteen months or so, those who care about the LA Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier will want to focus on the conduct and completion of the project’s Stage 1 Feasibility Study. Its “kick-off,” or Project Initiation, meeting was held Monday, August 18, 2014.
Regardless that the meeting was closed to the public and news media, one of the participating agencies – the Port of Caddo-Bossier, a body critical to successful completion of the Extension – prepared a transcription of the action. In response to our Coalition’s Public Records Request, that document was made available to us, and may be read here. An additional “Meeting Report” from and by the consulting engineer for the project, BKI, Inc., was also produced.
After studying these documents and talking with Port Read more
By this time next week, those of us in pursuit of a better Shreveport will know who is running for mayor and city council. Official qualifying for those jobs is Wednesday through Friday, and judging by what many have told me, ours are not great expectations.
Especially for natives and other long-time Shreveporters, the seriousness of our city’s challenges is no longer credibly deniable. We are a city in which those informed and honest are soberly aware that Shreveport has run aground.
Yes, yes, I fully understand that our master insiders – the few who have called our tune more or less forever – are doing very, very well. The part of Shreveport these few so thoroughly and profitably control is humming along nicely. That is baked into our community cake, regardless that the taste is bitter.
For the vast majority of us, the fact that those few Read more
by Elliott Stonecipher
[This is the fourth article in this series. Previous articles were published July 28, 2014 which may be read here; July 30, 2014, here; and, August 6, 2014 here.]
The legal deadline for response is days past, and a new Public Records Request by the Finish 3132 Coalition has provided additional detail about the run-up to the Shreveport City Council subject vote on June 10th. Among other notable facts, this new Request confirms yet another meeting of front-line players just days before the Council met and the votes were cast.
The Council voted 5-2 to allow Bossier City Councilman and real estate developer Tim Larkin to build houses in the path of the proposed LA Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
The original Public Records Request by the Coalition in this matter was made of city government, broadly, while this most recent one was made Read more
[Part I of this article, on July 28, 2014, may be read here. Part II in the series, on July 30, 2014, may be read here.]
The Finish 3132 Coalition has issued a new Public Records Request in its ongoing study of the June 10, 2014, meeting of the Shreveport City Council. In that meeting, the City Council voted 5-2 to allow Bossier City Councilman and real estate developer Tim Larkin to build homes in the path of the proposed LA Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
Larkin’s appeal to the City Council followed a May 7th rejection of his application by the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC).
Documents thus far produced by Shreveport City Hall, effectively – and infamously – partnered with Larkin in development of his Esplanade subdivision, reveal that the requisite “deliberative process” surrounding Larkin’s appeal by the City Council occurred outside the view of the public and news media. Thus, the result was a political op masquerading as a City Council meeting which defeated protections of the public interest set out in the Louisiana Open Meetings law.
The use of the word “Dismissed” tends to evoke certain negative reactions in court cases, at least for one side in such battles. But, the Finish 3132 Coalition feels only positive and encouraged about this afternoon’s decision from the U. S. District Court in the matter of Shreveport’s Hwy. 3132 Extension.
In its federal suit filed last year, the Coalition sued the local transportation planning agency, Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG), and the state and federal highway departments. The suit was filed to remedy a list of defects in the process used by these agencies as it relates to the chance of someday completing the 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
Although Coalition attorneys have not had the time required to fully analyze today’s rulings, what is very clear and most important is contained in these few words in the Court’s “Conclusion” of the decisions, one each for NLCOG and the two highway departments:
“… DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE (emphasis from and by the Court). Plantiffs are free to reurge their complaint following a final federal action. Essentially, Plaintiffs claims are premature.”
From the inception of the lawsuit, Coalition attorneys have been very clear about a key question: can the federal court rule to protect the conduct and substance of the feasibility studies for the 3132 Read more
In attempting to explain his leadership of the City Council in giving developer Tim Larkin what he wanted at the June 10th Council meeting, Councilman Corbin said,
“I’m not willing to put the citizens of Shreveport on the line for a $10 million lawsuit that we’re going to have to pay if we don’t come up with an amended motion.”
That sounds to us like a cover story agreed to by the do-ers before the vote. Regardless, it smacks of an attitude which disqualifies a person for Council service. If the threat of a lawsuit is all that is needed for a council member to fork-over millions in taxpayer goodies, without so much as a lawsuit, the City becomes nothing more than a shakedown management outfit.
After all, Arceneaux / Larkin have been threatening Shreveport and its people with financial calamity, plagues and pestilence for two years, so why did Corbin cave now, taking four other members with him?