SHREVEPORT CITY HALL POLITICS … A RUN-DOWN OF SORTS
The Shreveport City Council met Tuesday as scheduled, but fear of the coronavirus once again meant that it was conducted “virtually” by way of video conferencing. (For those who do not know, watching these meetings is a blend of jury duty in a civil trial and watching paint dry.)
Having recovered these couple of days later, here are some City Hall issues worth knowing about.
COUNCILMAN JAMES GREEN COOLS OFF, SORT OF
The expectation was that a proposed ordinance from Green which mandated digital camera systems in all Shreveport retail businesses would be initially debated. In fact, the much-discussed new law met an early death.
Councilman Green owes some others near the process more than just a “thank you” for, uh, explaining a few of the long list of reasons the gonna-be law stunk.
All those points aside, Green’s proposal bubbled-up from his recent wig-out at a local eye care business. (My thanks to Gerry May at KTBS News for this report:
To Green, such a video recording of his episode at the eye care store would have exonerated him and hammered the eye store personnel. His response was this new law … and its cost to all local businesses which sell any goods.
Green’s case has been referred to District Attorney James Stewart by SPD. Green’s decision to deep-six this proposal should just about wrap it all up.
NEW ENVIRONMENTAL COURT JUDGE: PERKINS WANTS CLOSE FRIEND
Mayor Adrian Perkins has asked the City Council to approve a political pal / close friend as the city’s first Environmental Court judge.
Shante Wells, one-half of the now well-known Washington and Wells Shreveport law firm, would be paid $50,000 a year (set by Perkins) for this “work.” City Hall sources say the, uh, “job” will require very, very little of Wells’ time.
No one seems to have expected these “hearing officers” to be paid anywhere near that much. Tied to the city’s Property Standards department, the new court will work to clean-up vacant properties and other such eyesores.
Time will tell if four City Council members will approve Wells. Here is a Real Shreveport article from 2018 detailing some of the city bond work Wells’ law firm has handled:
SHREVEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT BODY CAMERAS
Mayor Perkins and SPD may be ready to require body cameras for every officer.
Those who are interested enough need only do a general search on the devices to better understand the surrounding controversy.
Here in Shreveport, there is another question looming: is the fix already in on which “body cam” company / provider will get Shreveport’s business?
Sources in City Hall believe that may very well be the case, and may mean the city will – at a minimum – overpay for the devices and related services. One provider otherwise well-known locally at apparently the lowest cost to taxpayers, has had no luck pitching Perkins and/or his top staffers.
I expect to know much more, soon. If current fears of such rigging prove-up, I will write more about it.
LARRY ENGLISH … AGAIN AND STILL
Perhaps finally moving on from his Cross Bayou Point obsession, English is now poking around in key places with a long-awaited Shreveport / Caddo Parish debate … consolidated city / parish law enforcement.
Given that the sheriff of each Louisiana parish is, constitutionally, its “chief law enforcement officer,” and given that Shreveport / Caddo’s shrinking population means government cost-cutting is the name of our game, the notion makes good sense.
But, that is not, apparently, Mr. English’s motivation. He sees Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator as serving his last four-year term … “six (terms) and done.”
He is focused on a change from a white to a black sheriff.
Many with whom I have spoken instinctively like the idea of SPD being run by Prator – his 47-year career began as a SPD officer, and he has served both as Shreveport police chief and Caddo sheriff – but signing-on to such a purely race-based effort is a whole-nuther thing.
… More later …
© 2020 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED