Whole pack of Shreveport leadership yelps when struck by WalletHub rock!
“If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that holla is the one ya’ hit.”
So the saying goes about the person that takes great exception to an insult not particularly even directly aimed at them. That’s the scene of Shreveport’s so-called leadership as they rush to the Shreveport Times to attempt to drown out the bad news when WalletHub ranked Shreveport dead last in a ranking of places to find a job. The news was obviously not good, but to those who live in the real Shreveport, none of this was actually news. Anyone with access to a computer and internet can find out on a site like Wikipedia (or dozens of other sites) that official stats for our community state that “the per capita income for the parish was $17,839. About 17.10% of families and 21.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.80% of those under age 18 and 16.10% of those age 65 or over.” (source: Wikipedia)
Nevertheless, those who have found their way to the top of the Shreveport leadership pile want the rest of us to get it through our thick skulls that everything is great in spite of most of our experiential knowledge…
Just listen to Robert Mills, a member of the Committee of 100. As you can see from their website, the Committee of 100 are nameless leaders that don’t want to be very easily identified. Robert mainly takes exception that our local newspaper actually reported something negative about Shreveport. (link: here). For even the most casual observers, it’s actually more than remarkable that such sobering economic news actually made it in the local newspaper… that doesn’t happen very often. We must also note that it’s breathtaking that the Committee of 100 rarely ventures out to be critical of any of our local politicians (they donate to many of their campaigns) on any critical matter whatsoever.
But that’s just one man’s opinion. Also listen to Terry Petzold of Magee Resources Group. He can’t believe that the local media would publish a report from a “no-name” website, and that somehow this article that analyzed 182 cities in the US is useless because the writer’s report “serves only to disparage our community.”
Still not convinced?
Listen to Scott Martinez of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership and Tim Magner, the head of the Shreveport Chamber… Both of these men are experts because they are paid salaries to promote North Louisiana and Shreveport respectively. NLEP receives lots of money from its sponsors… almost every local government body in town (link: here). It’s probably hard enough getting these government bodies to keep funding their organization with our tax money we don’t have without the jerks at WalletHub exposing what most Shreveporters already instinctively know when they are in search of employment. Magner is also well versed in growing an economy via his vast experience in not being hired to become superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools., and becoming a consultant via his Ashland Partners company for a local school focused political action committee (PAC). Magner knows a good thing when he sees one, like the failed Ollie Tyler G-League Arena, and Shreveport’s job market is apparently one of those good things. The Chamber has an impeccable record of accomplishments including being a Chamber of Commerce in WalletHub’s worst city in America to find a job. Other Chamber accomplishments are endorsing about every property and sales tax initiative on any ballot so that our leading local industry, government, can continue to grow as Shreveport sinks further.
Then there was yet another “leader” mentioned in the Times as taking exception to the WalletHub article, but it’s truly not even worth the time. I’m sure more “leadership” opinions will pop up until we all beg the Times to stop publishing anymore of it.
So we now inventory several “yelps” from the collective of Shreveport leadership.
This is all eerily familiar. In 1977, First Baptist Church’s Rev. Bill Hull gave a famous sermon, “Shreveport at the Crossroads” that challenged the Shreveport leadership when they discovered bad news about our local economy from national media outlets. Take a minute to read this extremely insightful work from Hull (here) as his 41 year old words about our community read like a prophecy about how our community operates. Imagine the disappointment a wise counselor like Hull would feel knowing that 41 years later we have so obviously not even changed or grown in how we approach the tough work of improving our community and economy.
In 41 years, I’ll likely see the same history repeating itself if the people of Shreveport don’t get engaged and take this community back from our broader leadership that has us comfortably on the road to nowhere.