CROSS BAYOU “PLAN” LOOKS MORE QUESTIONABLE THAN EVER
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 … 8:39 A.M.
A week from today, the Shreveport City Council is expected to vote, in some way or another, on the matter of a “non-binding” Memorandum of Understanding – a “MOU” – for a $1 billion dollar, public-private development of the Cross Bayou area.
Questions surrounding what, exactly, may be voted on trace to the fact that it is not the Council’s legal responsibility to consider the matter … it is Mayor Ollie Tyler’s … and she refused.
In my previous articles on this subject (SEE links below), I have detailed ways the would-be deal between the City and Gateway Development Consortium (GDC), a small group of local pols and marketing folks, has set off “good government” alarms.
Now that we are down to the nitty-gritty of a commitment of and by City Hall – and taxpayers – to this specific deal and group, those alarms are louder than ever.
Take, for example, the notable fact that the “developers” will not say how much taxpayer money will be required unless and until this MOU is signed, sealed and delivered.
Another example is that two-of-three top GDC folks just happen to also be members of our Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), critical official positions for “developers” to control when permitting and such roll around.
Another one is how very little of the plan has been shown to anyone. Such is being held until the day before the Council vote when the “developer” big dogs from New York – traceable to former Shreveport lawyer and GDC top guy Larry English – will finally show up to ‘splain it to us.
Another example is that local pushers keep saying they have spent untold thousands of their own dollars on this thing, but refuse to tell the City Council how – to whom – such money was paid.
Another is that the Downtown Development Authority – which certainly should know – will not sign onto this plan, or whatever it really turns out to be.
Such examples, and there are many more, underscore how this is a political confection of some kind, not a real and true billion-dollar development of Cross Bayou. It is long on who can score financially, up-front … not on what is best for all of Shreveport.
In fact, as to the substance of such a supposed Cross Bayou development, a simple question is all but screamed …
… who among us, with $1 billion to spend, would put Cross Bayou development (especially this notion) at the top of her or his list of needs Shreveport must meet?
What of public safety needs, whether the downright scary here and now of rampant crime, or the longer-term fire and police pension fund arrearages?
What of such citywide basic needs as deteriorating streets, drainage, and water / sewer infrastructure?
What of such quality of life needs and desires as parks and recreation?
Any such consideration begs the question: how can a stupefying “plan” like this command such a debate … not to mention such an actual agreement?!
Out in the real world, it could not … it would not … such would be out of the question.
Long experience teaches me that our City Council would be well advised to follow Mayor Tyler’s lead and pass on this.
Why she cannot, and did not, simply tell these people “No” should bother us all … a lot.
© 2018 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
March 7, 2018, Elliott Stonecipher …
March 12, 2018, Elliott Stonecipher …
March 31, 2018, Elliott Stonecipher