Understanding how “the system works” in terms of investigating, prosecuting and convicting public officials who abuse the public’s trust is often like tending a pecan orchard. With every good intention of electing citizens who will be true to their oath of service, we seasonally listen to candidates who chose to run for office, work in some campaigns and finally vote in hopes of electing the best qualified candidate to serve in making the community a little better at accomplishing the tasks required.
Too many citizens focus all their energy on electing a candidate, when in reality, although little can be accomplished by the unelected, the real work begins after the election. Just as planting a pecan tree does not guarantee you will have pecans, we all to often have found that elected officials all too often fail to accomplish most of the items they plan and also fail to live up to the oaths they swear.
Shreveport and Caddo Parish have too long been step children to south Louisiana, and the expectation that solutions will grow for the state from seed planted here is practically non-existent. South Louisiana easily forgets that Huey Long, for all his faults, began his political career in Shreveport. And many other pivotal Read more
Among the greatest advantages of being very young or very old is the ability to accept being called crazy or idealistic. The young are excused because of their innocence or naivety, whereas the old are addled or senile. Yet there is truth in the oft quoted saying, “out of the mouth of babes…”
Politics and life collect the bitterest of critics, quite often as a response to greed, envy and struggles for fear of a loss of control. Accepting choices that are not our own, seen as giving up control by many, or becoming a loyal follower, is difficult for people who expect to always be in control. And society or the media has attempted to educate citizens that they should always be able to control their destiny. Regretfully, appreciating the differences in what parts of ones life where this is possible as opposed to where it is not is a systemic failure. Read more
The debate over the last 3 weeks in regards to education and the CPSB millage renewal have exposed us to who we really are. We’re several communities: rich and poor, black and white, rural and urban, those that understand the value of education, those that feel that some of our children (especially African Americans) are so wayward that they’re not worthy of educating. Educating them is a waste of taxpayers dollars. Nothing can be further from the Truth!! Education is a right not a Privilege. – Everybody is Education Worthy. – Anybody can Learn.
So instead of being real about our true feeling, we’ve spend the last 3 weeks camouflaging them with gossip and rumors to justify Read more
Caddo Parish is too often several communities: rich and poor, black and white, rural and urban, one at peace with itself and one in turmoil.
But perhaps most of all, we are a parish dangerously split according to the condition of our children. The inertial forces seem plain; Children from intact households end to prosper, or at least have a fair shot at prosperity. The support components are here. But children born into single-parent or nontraditional households more often than not are born into poverty and tend to stay there; the support components are not always Read more
It’s a good thing that a recent internal audit of the Caddo School Board’s Capital Construction and Projects Department (CCPD) surfaced this August—versus last year this time when the School Board was pushing the renewal of a school tax bond. This report should cause some concern by the School Board, which after the last Board election has operated as a rubber stamp for Superintendent Goree. However many skeptics doubt that the 2014 Bond defeat has changed much of the tax and spend mentality on Midway. [[2015 Internal Audit from CPSB]]
At the time of the audit, the CCPD had 138 special projects for the 2014/2015 fiscal year; these projects are typically not approved by the Board. A review of 20 of these revealed serious problems: no documentation as to who requested or approved the project; no contracts, or proof of insurance or performance bonds in the Read more
‘Tis the season, I suppose. With its massive property tax – and more? – election coming next spring, our Caddo Parish School Board and sizable central office staff are now rolling out another “strategic plan.” The current draft of this latest one is a 37-pager (here).
With Kisatchie Forest-like density, the new plan is entitled “Re-Imagine Caddo: The Plan for Excellence.” We should take care not to mistake it for last year’s “Re-Invest in Caddo” plan, or its notorious tax-and-spend-on-steroids predecessor, “Vision 2020.“
Even our school board members are not likely to read this one, and Superintendent Lamar Goree’s appeals notwithstanding, neither is the public. Here is a sample paragraph, verbatim, from Page 9 to give readers a feel for that to which we are treated:
“1. Implement RtI (Response to Intervention) with fidelity including Read more
As if the Caddo Parish School Board (CPSB) did not have enough PR problems, the 6 black board members have further dug their popularity grave deeper with the voters of District 11 which encompasses most of Southern Hills. In what can only be classified as a major surprise, if not shock, the CPSB selected Shalanda Swift-Watkins to the District 11 seat until the fall elections. The back story on this board selection is just as interesting as the politic dynamics that resulted in the selection of a black lady to represent an overwhelmingly white district. (Voter registration is District 11 is 73% white, 24% black and 3% other.)
Kirschvinck, known to most as Kaycee Hargrove, unseated 2 term incumbent Ginger Armstrong in last fall’s primary election; Parker Ward was a distance third. Kaycee received substantial campaign funds from a then new formed education PAC that successfully supported 4 other challengers to incumbent board members. The motivation of the education PAC became quite obvious at the first meeting of the newly elected Board in Read more
Sadly, a recently elected school board member, Kacee Hargrave Kirschvink, who had good experience in handling difficult matters has resigned. However, the CPSB is using strings and poor judgement in an attempt to fill the seat in haste and without necessary time for many potential good candidates to consider running for the open seat. The deadline of seven (7) days to file for the open seatselection is unnecessarily short, even when the board has twenty (20) days to fill the temporary seat as suggested.
It appears the haste will force citizens to make a knee-jerk decision because the timeline is dictated by forces the CPSB can claim as exigent conditions. Sadly for District Eleven, the vacancy leaves a hole in the board’s ability to ram through Read more
I still believe that Superintendent Goree had raised the morale and the stakes for many of the failing schools he was saddled with, but the path he and the board must navigate are littered with bodies and remnants of mines from those whose agenda is marked by personal territories and profits for Read more
When the Caddo Parish School Board’s error-plagued tax plan failed at the polls yesterday, it was a much bigger deal than most will conclude. The outcome beat the conventional wisdom and broad expectation well established in our electoral behavior: “These things always pass.”
“These things” are the poison which has brought Caddo to its economic and population-stagnation knees.
“These things” is code for gatherings of powerful for-profit interests whenever they decide business is slow enough here to need a public bond issue … run through some local governmental body. “Hey, guys, let’s get those school board people to slap together a list of new schools and stuff in one of those bond deals and get Read more