[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.
Or so the permits indicate to all within reading range the signs on this building are now “Officially Recognized as within code.” And that means, that only because the issue was raised and a large enough volume of public outcry was heard by the committee to elect Patrick Williams, that this morning an application was completed with the city to allow the signs to remain up. But, what does it mean? [Original Issue]
The concept of “Planning” is a necessary component in “serving the public” as well as “running for public office.” Planning is the art of appreciating the requirements of the office, gathering the resources, formulating a strategy and finally executing the plan with timing to optimize results. At least this is my simple description of what a candidate should do to prepare to fill the office deemed appropriate for their skill set.
What we have in the example of the signs is too similar to the attempt to design a race horse by a committee Read more
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?
Public documents obtained by the Finish 3132 Coalition confirm what those in attendance witnessed for themselves at the subject June 10th Shreveport City Council meeting: the fix was in for real estate developer Tim Larkin and his bid to build houses in the area of any corridor for the Hwy. 3132 Extension. Later that evening, I wrote about the sickening display.
In the meeting, five City Council members – Michael Corbin, Sam Jenkins, Jeff Everson, Rose McCulloch and Oliver Jenkins – voted to overrule the May 7th Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) rejection of Larkin’s application. Councilman Ron Webb and Council Chairman Joe Shyne voted “no.”
In truth, the outcome of the meeting was set much earlier.
The Anatomy of a Fix
The Larkin appeal of the MPC decision to the Council Read more
“Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” – David Hanna
So, what happens when all of our institutions are designed to do nothing?
Rarely do we get to witness the absolute ineffectiveness of all levels of government to address the most basic needs of our community – water.
In the three years since this emergency situation has been declared, not one government, economic, civic, or academic institution in this community has held a single meeting to address solving this crisis.
No elected official has even proposed a “next step” to be taken to avoid the same damage and hurt happening once again when, not if, we cycle into the next drought.
The most glaring example is the Caddo Parish Commission Regional Water/Utility Master Plan study.
Three years ago, in the middle of the last drought, with water wells in south Caddo Parish going dry, causing Read more
The subject, Councilman, is an unnecessary and preventable death, with yet other lives shattered, the nature of that death so horrific that no one I know would choose to describe it. Those of us who saw the scene well understand that fact.
Over the past three years, I have stood before you and our mayor and the rest of our City Council, just as I have the Metropolitan Planning Commission, Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments, the state highway department, the news media and many civic groups. I did so to present many facts concerning the extension of our Hwy. 3132 to the Port of Caddo-Bossier. Many of those times, I have specifically warned that people would die because of the myriad official errors and malfeasance at issue.
Just before lunch on Friday, fewer than five hours before this accident, I wrote and published an internet column with this paragraph:
There is always something to be said for honesty, especially from a city and region’s only daily newspaper. Thus, we may choose to give the Shreveport Times a bit of credit for their front-page spread today. In that shocker of a piece to many, the newspaper opens the door for a “No Build” decision from the Stage 1 Feasibility Study for the Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
On its Sunday print edition front-page, the Shreveport Times’ bolded sub-heads for their article are “Extend the loop?” on the left, and “Or Not?” on the right. Now, then, it’s official: The Times sees a dead 3132 Extension as a debatable alternative.
Now that we have that out in the open, we might want to remember a few meaningful facts, in context. A lot of friends of The Times have always wanted to kill the 3132 Extension …
….. “No Build” has long been mentioned / threatened by Kent Rogers at Read more
Now that Broadmoor Baptist Church has decided to withdraw their request before the Shreveport City Council to obtain a zoning variance that would have enabled paved parking lots next to neighbor homes, some people say the neighbors have won the fight. I suggest the solution is still in the balance for allowing a church to grow to meet the demands of their members.
BBC, the church, has leaders and members who deem it necessary to offer parking options closer to their new constructions. And this is not an unobtainable goal. The problem is that the solution process has been less than perfect for all concerned.
Any new development that requires a zoning variance or approval should require a constructive discussion process between all parties affected by the new construction. Some of my associates with whom I share this blog feel we owe it to the parties in this case to help facilitate a solution as Read more
On June 10th, five Shreveport City Council members – Michael Corbin, Sam Jenkins, Jeff Everson, Rose McCulloch and Oliver Jenkins – overruled our Metropolitan Planning Commission so real estate developer and Bossier City Councilman Tim Larkin could get busy with lot-selling and home-building in a prime corridor of the Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
These local pols have worked overtime since their votes trying to sell constituents the story that their votes were not meant to kill the Extension. Few, if any, are buying the hooey. Most notable among the reasons is that three houses were suddenly underway after the meeting.
When Larkin was asked by the Council chairman that day, and I’m quoting, “If I were going to go out there this afternoon and start counting houses, how many would I count?” Larkin’s response was, “In Esplanade? To date?” Let’s see. We have eleven permits and $44,000,000 worth of houses under construction.” The simple, truthful answer was “2” – the number of houses then in any stage of construction. Permits aren’t starts, of course, and the two houses underway are worth a mere fraction of $44,000,000.
Of course, Larkin also says he supports building the Extension … right through his development.
‘Believe the Developer?
Hooey is the suspect, too, when many people interested in this matter ask an obvious question: why would anyone Read more