Category: Fiscal & Moral Deficit

Caddo Commission – Aim Fire!

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SWAG-Caddo_Oarish_prisoner-barsby Marion Marks

Sometimes I allow my impulsive nature to get the better of me, I can be my own worst enemy. But this morning, I counted to one hundred several times, called and touched base with two attorneys I feel have conservative-response tendencies before penned an email to the Shreveport Times, again, regarding an article I wrote last Friday.

As I read the transcript of the Michael Williams case, I recited the mantra of patience and inner peace so many times that I was forced at the end to go for a walk to keep from blowing a gasket. The acronym YCMTSU [You Can’t Make This “Stuff” Up] was boiling over in my conscience effort to remain calm. The steady and even demeanor of the Caddo Parish representatives in the courtroom through the interrogation during the sentencing phase must have been medically induced or simply those present were under strict muzzled orders.

Caddo Parish-hope-in-our-handsThere can be no valid excuse I would rationalize for a steward of the parish, particularly a highly-paid professional, to sit through this barrage of questions and jabs without showing some defense for citizens and particularly Read more

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Caddo Commission Administration – Again…

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Michael_Williams-SWAG-behind-jail-barsby Marion Marks

The recent federal court case of United States of America vs. Michael Dewayne Williams should have caused Caddo citizens far more pain than apparently I have observed, and it may be that we have accepted broken systems as the norm rather than the exception. I pray not!

I want to make it clear that I found Michael Williams’ use of public monies in the SWAG Nation case both offensive and degrading to a potentially good program and others in the field of juvenile justice, but I felt he was permitted to extend his violations and further harm others by the total failure of the administration of the Caddo Commission.

Woody Wilson, Caddo Administrator
Woody Wilson, Caddo Administrator

Judge Maurice Hicks, Jr. properly nailed the violations of the Caddo Commission administration in his opinion of July 21, 2016, but the repercussions of these violations seem to have treated like water off a duck’s back by the public and the media. This is news that must sink in and be properly digested, because it speaks of the ease with which the public is willing to accept abuse by government officials as well as elected representatives.

“… the Caddo Parish Commission’s lack of due diligence, oversight, and auditing of public funds is a disservice to every person in the parish of Caddo. And I realize full well that this Read more

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Need for Repetitive Encouragement

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Duke Edwards-campaignby Marion Marks

Habits become ingrained as the result of repetitive patterns reinforced by positive signals. Students succeed most easily when instructors, mentors or peers provide praise or rewards that psychologists compare to Pavlov’s dog experiments. The public reaction to political actions or “pandering” is often quite the same.

Louisiana’s “Election from Hell” as Charles M. Blow labels it was clearly a Pavlov occasion for Louisiana citizens, because “Voting for the Crook” became the only viable option for people with a conscience. The ease with which Republicans lined up behind an avowed Nazi shocked those who were students of political history in the state. And the divisive camps too closely resembled what later was described in the New York Times, “Duke remains a window into some of the murkier currents in the state’s politics”.

Racist David Duke
Racist David Duke

Repeating the word “Encouragement” is a simple way of training voters to understand the ease with which we often drift back Read more

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Pruning Dead Wood & Public Corruption

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Pecan Tree Shaker-01
Shaking for nuts!

by Marion Marks

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.

Lots of nuts to be had
Lots of nuts to be had

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

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Shreveport Commons Funding Demands Transparency

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Decision ahead
Decisions ahead

by Marion Marks

Shreveport’s claims of concerns about our perceived character, growth, assimilation and legacy as far as working with others should be as much a concern to citizens as our concern about how we use federal, state and parish funding in development contracts. Jane Jacobs in addressing change in American cities in her 1961 The Death and Life of Great American Cities, as well as in other works, understood that urban planning guidelines gave her and all other citizens affected by changing city transportation routes and economic development a mechanism to fight improper use of government funding. Abusive tactics that bullied citizens cause Jacobs and her followers to use all available tools to demand transparency and public input before funds were spent. Jacobs understood that what was at stake was the very character of historic neighborhoods in the cities that she loved. She also understood that powerful force sought to use the system to steal the very soul of those cities as well as the public purse.[Prior Jane Jacobs article]

The Shreveport Commons plan seems too full of comparisons to the New York plan Jacobs fought that demand greater study and transparency. Just like the New York plan Jacobs opposed, “city planners” came to the table with plans and a cobbled together timetable to use public funding to create change that would seemingly fit the federal guidelines and mollify Read more

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On Losing Our Cities – A Parallel

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Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs, author, activist would be 100 today

by Marion Marks

Shreveport’s focus on the interstate 49 corridor to join the long-delayed north-south highway is tearing apart our city as we claim we are concerned with the character, growth, assimilation, legacy and potential for a historic section of our city. Author and activist Jane Jacobs who would have been 100 years old today expressed thoughts on the soul of American cities in her 1961 The Death and Life of Great American Cities that is a rebuttal of much urban planning that remains too prevalent even now. In today’s quest for optimizing city transportation routes that promote economic development over saving the cultural character and neighborhoods in the city, we have lost our soul.

City planners too often come to the table with suitcases of study that are no more than expert witnesses who travel to pedal an economic posture to support one developer over another, greedily seeking to mine federal funds and local wallets. The soul of Shreveport, just as Moses-Highway-BLDZRthe soul of Garden City in Jacobs text, is a set of historically established neighborhoods that are defined by Read more

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Wear the Crazy Mantle -Vote Yes

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by Marion MarksVote Thumbs Up

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

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Right Sizing Government  –  Act III, Scene One [Bossier]

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Welcome!
Welcome!

by Barry Butler

What do governments do when they have TOO MUCH money?  Hard to believe, but some parts of governments have excess funds.  It would be nice to know that our elected folks would move the excess funds to areas that need funds or even better reduce tax rates, but, no that’s not the case.  When government has too much money, they spend it on themselves.

You see, the Bossier Parish Library system has too much money so they are planning to build, for themselves, a new $20 Million Administration Complex.  (Bossier Parish Police Jury Minutes, February 3, 2016, Read more

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Why does the Port need more land?

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PORT2046 Directional Map P7By Concerned Residents of the Village of Robson, La.

The collective residents of the Harts Island Road area in the village of Robson, La., whose family homes are now surrounded by the Caddo- Bossier Parishes Port Commission, herein after referred to as “The Port,” would like to present a collective voice regarding the forthcoming tax renewal for the said Caddo Bossier Port. Not acting lightly or capriciously, the residents feel actions of the “Port” are neither wise nor fair to private property owners in both Caddo and Bossier parishes! This collective opinion is borne out by the following:

Homes along Harts Island Road
along Harts Island Road

(1) The residents, whose homes that have been located on their respective tracts of property for years, — in one case, the late 1800s — moved to this area to be in the rural country area of Caddo Parish. “God’s country,” an oft-used metaphor to describe wide open areas of wilderness, woods and streams, untouched by
human encroachment and industrialization, was the attraction that drew residents to this area

For years this area has been just that — in fact, so much so that bald eagles Read more

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Right Sizing Government–Part Deux

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RightsizingWorksby Barry Butler

We are all aware of the budget problems that our legislature are confronting in Baton Rouge. When you get a chance to talk with these legislators, they will tell you that they have very limited options to build a balanced budget or even better a rebalanced budget. Many program funds are protected and cannot be reduced. Funds cannot be moved to programs that need more funding, health and education, because of the limitations placed on them.

crossing the divide with moneySo, there is the problem. Politicians want you to focus on each individual fund, project, or program and not look at the budget as a whole complete plan. Your household budget is looked at as a whole budget, not as individual expenses.

Bossier and Caddo residents have a chance to Right Size Government. In the previous post, I pointed out that the Port at Caddo-Bossier was operating at a profit and has $17 Million in excess profits in savings and is asking you to renew it’s tax subsidy so it can continue to operate at a profit for another 25 years when there are serious needs in other areas where your current tax dollars are needed. Doesn’t Shreveport need more money to fund upgrades and repairs to the water and sewer systems? Let’s say no to the port and move those funds to the City. Bossier Parish sends 2.5 mils of tax subsidy every year to the port but only uses 2.01 mils of tax revenue for highway and road maintenance. Let’s cut the port funding and move the milage to highway and road maintenance and keep your taxes the same.

Yrightsizing-in-a-tubeou have an opportunity to send a message to your elected representative.
Let’s say NO to the Port renewal and yes to rebalancing the budget, moving your tax dollars to other areas and Right Sizing Government

Vote NO on the Port Renewal!

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