Mr. Neil H. Johnson, II, President
Shreve Memorial Library Board of Control
424 Texas Street
Shreveport, LA 71101
Please consider this (electronic) letter my formal request that you correct a notable error you made in the public record in the Shreve Memorial Library (SML) Board of Control meeting on March 31, 2014. Following that correction, please inform me, and the public, as to actions you and the SML Board of Control take to bring the Board’s composition into line with most recent U. S. Census data.
In summary, you said in the meeting that you and the Board of Control cancelled the public meeting at issue, i.e., the “Sunshine Week” observance scheduled for March 19, 2014, because the panel did not reflect the racial composition of the population served by SML. To make your point, you then quoted that racial breakdown to be “41.2% white and 54.7% black,” noting the 2010 Census as your source.
As I feel certain you are well aware, you used City of Shreveport statistics from the U. S. Census Bureau – and not the Read more
The best laid plans of the Shreve Memorial Library went astray for reasons we believe we understand in spite of the protestations of elected officials. The Wednesday forum was canceled at the last minute by the library amid a flurry of background communication about the lack of diversity in the panel makeup.
A scramble ensued as people caring about the event and the potential for civic engagement on this issue were flummoxed when little explanation was given. Two rails began, finding a way to hold the event anyway and finding out what could have possibly stopped the potentially mild-mannered event.
The initial forum panel was specifically designed to “discuss transparency in government, experiences in dealing with public records and the reality of open government in Louisiana.”The program was designed to allow audience questions and answers.
Similar Sunshine programs analyze open records laws, citizens’ rights, accountability and many other issues that are designed to engage citizens in discussions and create a more informed electorate. Elected officials, public employees, public action committees (PACs), political parties and journalists should find these activities to their advantage, unless they fail to understand or intend to violate the spirit of the democratic process.
For local citizens, the library program seemed to be an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas concerning aspects of Public Records Requests (PRR) that seem to be more abused by the recipients of the requests rather than accepted as a legal obligation.
Regardless of how pressure forced the library to Read more