Garbage Tax Vote Poses Real Risks to Shreveport Council Members


November 20, 2016

 

[To readers new to the subjects discussed in this article, many related ones are posted on RealShreveport.com.]

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It is a fact in these days of citizen journalism that if a public official, in the performance of her or his official duty, resorts to malfeasance, the chances of hiding it are, at best, slim.

There are witnesses to every act of public corruption, many are willing to talk to some selected listeners.

Too, the day of corrupt public officials using the “news media” to cover their tracks is in America’s rear-view mirror … including, even, right here in Shreveport and Caddo Parish.

Also in that rear-view is any confidence that a local official’s Oath to serve us … hand on the Bible, no less … is heartfelt.  Many, if not most, candidates here seek public office only to pay themselves in various ways.

Still, those of us who fight them all for a hometown disinfected of corruption are well aware that Wikileaks is not headed here to help us.  We may fairly expect, however, a change of federal prosecutors, traditionally so in a presidential political party change.

Such can matter greatly in playgrounds of public corruption.  A few of us well know the New Orleans – post-Hurricane Katrina – example of a federal prosecutor cleaning up decades of systemic corruption there.

As we wait, we who do this work pro bono, an important distinction, are well able to expose facts and truths which are, issue-by-issue, determinative of right and wrong, and, sometimes, legal and illegal.

We know, for example, that the subject garbage collection tax op of Mayor Tyler has been bogus in critical ways from its jump.

Frankly, I am stunned that City Council members would even consider signing on to it.  After all, where is Mayor Tyler in selling this?  Invisible.

Cramming this down Shreveporters’ throats has thus fallen to a couple of new and impressionable City Council members, James Flurry and Willie Bradford.  They will learn better, but have not yet.

Regardless, 4-of-7 … not 2-of-7 … Council members must salute the mayor to reward whoever is on the other end of her “campaign promise.”  (By the way, a promise to whom?  ‘Lordamighty, who wants a garbage collection tax?!)

Yes, the trepidation among council members is noticeable.  Never have I seen such a body initiate an attempted cover-up even before the (lawbreaking?) vote is taken.  What public body is so afraid of their own proposal that they both …

…  call an illegal tax a “fee” so the taxed cannot research, debate and vote on it, and

…  act in a public meeting to stomp-out citizen review and debate by weeks, just as the review and debate cranked-up?
City Hall has yet to produce a scintilla of evidence that this scheme is not a tax the people must vote on themselves.  In fact, the tax became a “fee” when the doers knew a public vote would kill it.

Shoot, voters would more likely hand the $12.00 a month to Mayor Tyler personally than vote to approve it.

Also from the start, Council Chairman Willie Bradford’s claim that $8,000,000 of the $9,000,000 annual haul from the new tax was for employee pay raises was nothing better than a plain-vanilla whopper.  He knows his plan for this goofy gambit was $3,000,000 a year for raises, and $6,000,000 “available.”  Available for what?!

City Hall doers, including joiners, also face the risk inherent in any action tied to the water under-billing scheme.  Among innumerable red-flags in that fiasco, I here note only two:

1.  Why did City Attorney William Bradford sign a non-disclosure agreement with Sand Beach Properties, LLC / Manchac Consulting Group, Inc., in the first place?  Available evidence says employees in Water & Sewerage already knew the facts, including that the under-billing traced to known, identified individuals.

2.  Why would Mayor Tyler offer Manchac $100,000-ish for their “work” in “discovering” the already-known system defect, PLUS a contract for some unknown future services to the City?  She says she felt “extorted” by them, but rewards them for their work … then and in the future?

In the whole of this mess to date, malfeasance is a given.  Thus, if Mayor Tyler has, as she claims, turned related water under-billing evidence over to the Justice Department, such a hand-over has likely been, at most, selective.  Mere citizens and taxpayers cannot find out.

What we do know is that this series of articles is in the public record … available to feds and all others who care.

The immediate matter at hand is learning what other – two at least – Council members will join avowed backers Bradford and Flurry?

… continuing …

 

Elliott Stonecipher
 

©  2016   Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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