Thursday, May 7, 2020 … 4:04 P.M.

The buzz and media reporting this week about Shreveport’s alleged $25,000,000 budget / spending shortfall has certainly been intense … and in at least one key aspect, stupefying.

Yes, you likely know by now that the department taking the biggest hit in Mayor Adrian Perkins’ coronavirus-induced plan to whack city spending is the Police Department … $4.5 million dollars in cuts.

In talking with insiders, it is perhaps most notable that not one of them saw that coming.

A deeper dive into Perkins’ possible motives, including his toxic relationship with “Republicans” and his get-even-no-matter-anything-else mentality, are fully spotlighted now.

Connecting all these dots and ugly facts properly begins now, after yesterday’s (virtual) meeting of the City Council’s Audit & Finance Committee. The Committee reports to the full Council, and a Council majority – usually 4 of 7 – must approve the final list of Perkins’ cuts.

First, the alleged $25,000,000 in “necessary” city government spending cuts has now shrunk to $19,300,000. In her first-of-this-month letter to Council members, Sherricka Jones, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, reported …

… “All departments have evaluated operations and proposed cost reductions that included a mix of very creative cuts to those things that can be easily influenced. From the departments’ proposals a number of reductions totaling $19.3 million are enclosed.”

Among the cuts Perkins has ordered-up are the $4.46 million in the police department, just over $2.4 million in the Department of Water & Sewer, $1.8 million in parks and recreation, and $1.8 million in public works.

Easily, the Police Department chop has attracted almost all the public attention. In talking with involved sources, there is relative quiet concerning the other cuts so far.

Comments in those chats include, in almost every instance, a very real suspicion about Perkins’ motives. NO one dares say, even if they believe it, that the proper response to Shreveport’s infamous violent crime problem is to cut police department funding!

Worse yet, as members learned from Police Chief Ben Raymond in his Audit & Finance Committee presentation yesterday, the bulk of SPD cuts are in the size of our force … the number of police officers.

As Perkins / Raymond explain, SPD cannot find / hire new officers. In fact, the department is now operating with thirty (30) fewer officers than in the current budget. To boot, sixteen (16) officers quit SPD this year … and will not be replaced.

Who knew?

When Chief Raymond was done yesterday, what remained were questions such as how many officers are truly needed on Shreveport streets, and by what actual measure?

And, when were Shreveport taxpayers going to be told fifty-six (56) “Base Officer Positions” – as shown in the CFO’s report – were not real?

Meanwhile, back at the events of last fall, how do we figure our mayor’s lasting resentment (I am being polite) that when he “allowed” the City Council to a pick a new (white) Police Chief – Raymond – it was because he had been advised doing so would secure passage of the $186,000,000 bond issue.

Lo and behold, all three propositions failed anyway.

Just how angry is Perkins? How else is his resentment of white Shreveporters being, uh, expressed?

For now, we wait to see how the City Council will respond to the news that Shreveport’s crime problem is no biggie … that we don’t need the force we thought we had … that there is nothing to worry about in Shreveport’s ability to keep criminals off the streets.

© 2020 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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