CORRUPTION DENIAL REALITY CHECK, & MAYOR’S RACE WARNING
Sunday, May 6, 2018 … 9:40 A.M.
Our Shreveport daily newspaper recently found what many others have long known: minimizing, much less denying, the pervasiveness of public corruption here is risky business.
As Shreveport’s recent tax election was only days away, the paper published an editorial which attacked we who are anti-tax and/or anti-public corruption.
The piece was, of course, straight out of the playbook of our city’s devout corruption deniers.
Rather than merely acknowledge in some way that public corruption here is a blight, the paper opined that what most of us consider corruption is actually just City Hall incompetence …
“ … Yes, government screws up, occasionally displaying incompetence.”
Breaking its arm to pat itself on the back, the paper then cut loose with this stunner …
“That we know about it at all is down to our open form of government, vigorous watch-dogging from news media and other non-governmental organizations, and the self-correcting nature of an open and democratic government.”
I will assume the editorialist, having lived here only two years, just has no clue, somehow.
Regardless, as if to make sure the newspaper was awake, up jumped a typical example of our very own corruption devil, just days later …
… Caddo Parish Commissioner Lynn Cawthorne and his sister were indicted for stealing 536,000 taxpayer dollars … money intended to feed local children.
About which he has written on RealShreveport.com and social media, my colleague Will Broyles and I did the original investigation and reporting of the scam, for which “leaders” attacked us.
In the run-up to the subject tax election, our newspaper also provided considerable space to a roster of other “writers” who are both corruption deniers and devout tax-and-spenders.
City Councilman Willie Bradford and suspended-from-practice attorney John Settle took point.
Bradford threw onto the community house fire the charge that opposing taxes is “racist,” an altar at which Bradford himself infamously worships.
Mr. Settle attacked those who oppose taxes and public corruption at least as wildly as Bradford, but disclosed neither that he is an aspiring political consultant, nor for whom he works.
In public documents obtained directly from the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Attorney Disciplinary Board, Mr. Settle writes …
… “2018 is an election year in Shreveport, with mayor and council races. Settle Consulting hopefully will be hired to provide political consulting.”
(February 2, 2018, Docket #17-DB-070, “Answer to Formal Charges,” Page 7, Lines 7-8.)
To my knowledge, Mr. Settle has made no such disclosures in any publication.
Few people in Shreveport have fought public corruption throughout our adult lives. To us, denial of this local scourge by “leaders” is very, very hard to stomach.
I was 28 when, two years after the killing of Jim Leslie (go to RealShreveport.com, “News” then “Justice for Jim” tabs), a local then-City Councilman demanded “$40,000 in twenty-dollar bills” for “40%” of the then-minority vote in a Caddo Parish election.
Quickly, I called my FBI-agent brother-in-law in another state, then set a meeting with our U. S. Attorney and FBI. The agents honestly, apologetically explained why nothing would be done.
We who said “No!” and acted against the corruption lost that race, and the one who paid the $40,000 won.
Many more such trips to federal authorities have punctuated my life in Shreveport … involving more types and instances of public corruption than I care to remember.
Now, that vote-seller (and worse) is in the middle of our Shreveport mayor’s race.
© 2018 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED