MAYOR TYLER’S POWER GRAB TARGETS INDEPENDENT M.P.C.
Sunday, July 30, 2017 … 11:40 A.M.
(I sincerely thank the members of our Metropolitan Planning Commission – “MPC” – and Shreveport City Council who have assisted me.)
Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler is said to be well along in her plan to take over our MPC.
To do so would be yet another dramatic community error. In its 63 years, the MPC has never been targeted by any such political op.
Established by the state legislature in 1954, the MPC is authorized and funded as a joint governmental body of the City of Shreveport and the Caddo Parish Commission.
The MPC website (SEE link below) details its key purpose:
“The principal functions of the MPC includes (sic) the processing of zoning, platting, site plan, variance and other development related applications, along with zoning enforcement, long range planning, and the issuing of certificates of occupancy and sign permits.”
Just as some 80% of Caddo Parish residents live in Shreveport, so is some 80% of the $1.1 million yearly cost for the MPC paid Shreveport taxpayers / government.
This City Hall would-be hit features a glaring defect with incalculable risks: the MPC – purposely designed to be independent – will instead report directly to Shreveport mayors.
In the wrong hands, the heavy stream of MPC approvals for zoning and development will easily become a steady source of payoffs to any officials within reach and thus inclined.
Importantly, such City Hall power grabs are the core of ex-mayor Cedric Glover’s playbook.
This op mimics his 2010-2011 destruction of the purposely independent Shreveport Regional Sports Authority, replaced by his thus corruption-bred Sports Commission.
Another example is Glover’s recent attempt – defeated by a popular uprising – to hand Shreveport mayors control of, and taxing authority for, the Shreveport Implementation and Redevelopment Authority. (SEE June 2nd article below.)
One more red flag is last year’s appointment to the MPC Board of Theron Jackson, already serving – quickly and surprisingly – as the MPC Chairman.
Jackson was a go-to member of Glover’s team in those years, and was nominated for the
MPC spot by Caddo Commissioner Lyndon Johnson, a loud proponent of various sorts of illegal self-pay for Commissioners.
Jackson’s background is of very real concern, in context. (SEE link below.)
Providing necessary political cover for this op is the lengthy MPC Board face-off over the continued employment of Director Mark Sweeney. Four Board members want him gone, and five do not.
In fact, the MPC Board’s seeming inability to settle that fight is perfect political cover for this wrong-headed City Hall op.
We must sincerely hope that fact is accidental.
Based on recent and deep personal experience with the MPC, I know it has at times in its history nurtured local corruption. I can attest, however, that a majority of the current nine board members are honest and diligent community volunteers.
The City Hall point-man for Mayor Tyler in this muddle is Republican City Councilman James Flurry. Flurry, a local-politics neophyte known for his closeness to Tyler, is therefore being handled by City Attorney William Bradford.
Bradford is notable both for his limited legal experience and highly suspicious role in Team Tyler’s water and sewer under-billing scandal.
Directly put, any place prone to public corruption should never act to provide its public officials with easier access to ill-gotten gains.
Not only is this op a classic solution in search of a problem, it subjects law-abiding Shreveport and Caddo Parish residents to unaffordable risks.
Our community now depends on honest MPC Board members to quickly resolve their Sweeney problem … and preserve the body’s independence.
© 2017 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
My article, Shreveport Implementation and Redevelopment Authority:
Theron Jackson, Settle article: