Monday, November 30, 2009

Grand Jury: no indictment in police shooting

Officer Kary Szyska has been cleared by a grand jury of any criminal culpability in the shooting of Scott Gray in October.
Gray family lawyer Elton Richey said the family is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
"We are not going to speculate about or criticize the grand jury's decision or any prosecutorial decisions of the Bossier Parish district attorney," Richey said. "This grand jury was simply called upon to decide whether or not these officers should be criminally prosecuted for murder, not to decide whether they are civilly liable for his death."
This was a very unfortunate incident, as Chief Mike Halphen pointed out when he announced that Szyska had not violated department policies in the shooting.
The incident in Washington where four police officers were killed has something in common with this; the individual in both cases proclaimed he was Jesus Christ and both were mentally unstable. In the Bossier City case, however, the result was quite different.
We wish the best to Mr. Gray’s family and to the officers involved and their families.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bossier Deputy recovering from gunshot

A Bossier Parish Deputy was shot in the arm this afternoon near Benton.
The Times reports that The deputy, who has not been identified, was helping two other deputies try to arrest an attempted rape suspect in north Bossier Parish, said Ed Baswell, Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman.
The shooting comes four days after a Shreveport police officer was shot while trying to stop a bank robbery suspect.
The deputies talked to the suspect, Robert Sellers, before trying to rush and stun him with a Taserhim, Baswell said.
The Taser apparently didn't work, because Sellers allegedly was able to grab a .22-caliber bolt action rifle and squeeze off a shot.
The bullet went through the deputie's arm and into the ceiling of the suspect's home. The three deputy helped overpower Sellers before going to WK Bossier for treatment of the injury.
Sellers, 27, was charged with three counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of attempted forcible rape.

Hung jury in Pilkinton murder trial results in mistrial

Just a week after jury selection began, the trial of Charles Pilkinton ended in a mistrial last Tuesday.
Pilkinton was charged in the murder on November 15, 2008 of 66 year old Raymond Tobin. Tobin was found slumped over the steering wheel of his car on Inda Drive shot twice in the back of the head. According to reports, when police arrived at the scene Pilkinton admitted to killing Tobin.
Pilkinton was represented by Shreveport criminal defense attorney Daryl Gold.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict as to Pilkinton’s guilt.
Pilkinton was originally charged with 1st degree murder under a provision in Louisiana law that allows that charge when the victim is under the age of 12 years or over the age of 65 years. The district attorney later reduced the charge to 2nd degree murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Bossier District Attorney Schuyler Marvin recused himself from the case and it was tried by Assistant Attorney General Clifford Strider III. Marvin removed himself from the case because Pilkinton’s son-in-law contributed to his campaign for DA and because of a personal friendship with the son-in-law's brother.
Tobin was an Air Force retiree who had moved back to the area after spending a few years in Ohio. He was a Eucharistic minister at his church.
DA Marvin said that his office will re-file the charges.
Tobin’s two children have filed a civil suit for wrongful death against Pilkinton.
If you want to keep up with this case, I suggest that you buy the Inquisitor and read this blog. There have been absolutely no reports from Channels 3, 6, 12 or The Times about the mistrial, or even the trial for that matter.
They are really on the ball when it comes to keeping you informed of ‘holiday safety tips’, recalled cribs or Chinese drywall, but don’t expect them to report on a mundane matter such as this.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

To the readers of My Bossier, one and all, Happy Thanksgiving.

Shreveport police shootout - officer down, suspect hit

A Shreveport robbery detective was shot today in a foiled bank robbery. The robbery occured at Capital One at Greenwood Road and I-20. Police caught up with the Harley riding suspect at Mansfield Road and Midway where the shooting occurred.
The detective is in stable condition and the suspect is in critical condition.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lucien Trammell sentenced to 58 years

Lucien Trammell, who was convicted earlier this year of shooting Shreveport Police Officer John Madjerick in the face, was sentenced today to 58 years by Judge Leon Emmanuel. Trammell was sentenced under the habitual offender bill which provides for enhance penalties of 33½ to 100 years.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Crossing the bridge: Remembering Judge Burchett

I remember very distinctly the first day I set foot in the Benton Courthouse.
My hands were shaking.
My stomach was upset.
No matter how much "practice" I had, nothing was like the realization that I would be in court, fighting for a real cause and putting my name on the line.
My judge? The Honorable Judge Dewey E. Burchett, Jr.
And instead of giving me a hard time, he actually gave me advice from the bench.
A young lawyer who was scared out of her mind that her client might see that she was
....terrified and new at all this.
Years later, I helped all I could with his campaign. I made phone calls, I wrote blogs, I sent emails, and I did everything I could to help someone I believed in. Somewhere in the middle of all this, a KSLA news anchor contacted me to find out "what the hype was with this 26th JDC election?" I contacted him back in November 2008, after a long talk with Ms. Pat, Judge Burchett's lovely wife. He responded with "keep in touch with me about any news in Bossier" or something like that, and I did when my mom ran for office, and well, the rest is history.
You see, Judge Burchett brought me and the love of my life together.
And he taught me to be patient.
And he taught me to care.
And he told me, without speaking the words, that you can be a good person and be a lawyer.
He gave me hope.
Today, he passed away and honestly, my heart aches.
I will very much miss my friend and my mentor, Judge Burchett.

M. Samantha McAllister graduated summa cum laude from LSU-Shreveport, earned a Masters in history from Louisiana Tech and received her Juris Doctorate and Bachelor of Civil Law degree from LSU, Paul M. Hebert School of Law. She practices family law in Bossier City.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Annie's Girls Going the Distance

A group of women will band together to finish the race Saturday for a friend they lost to ovarian cancer.
Friends of Anne Denney from Fitness Lady, 1700 Old Minden Rd. Suite 180, Bossier City, have put together a team to walk a half marathon hosted by the YMCA. Annie's Girls Going the Distance are completing the 13.1-mile route in her honor and to raise awareness of the disease.
"The name is because she had gone the distance in so many different ways and so many different conditions that we would finish the race for her. We would take on the mission of finishing the race and taking on the legacy of awareness," said Kedgy Larson, owner of Fitness Lady.
Anne, who had been training with Kedgy since 1992, was diagnosed with cancer in late 2001. It was during her eight-year battle that Kedgy came up with idea to have Anne train for a marathon in order to maintain her physical fitness, avoid focusing on cancer and keep her spirits high.
The team consists of Anne Coleman, Cindy Warren, Marvis Grisham, Sara Miller, Sharon Denney and Yulon Jackson with coaches Kedgy Larson, Janet Martin and Elizabeth Willis.
Read the entire article at the Bossier Press-Tribune website. Video compliments of KTBS.

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Judge Dewey E. Burchett, Jr.

I was very saddened to learn that Judge Dewey E. Burchett, Jr. passed away earlier today. Judge Burchett had been ill for some time and undergoing treatment.
He received a degree in government from LSU, went to the Air Force as a fighter pilot and trainer from 1962 thru 1967. He returned to LSU for his law degree.
Judge Burchett served the people of Bossier & Webster honorably and well as a district judge for 20 years.
He was loved and honored by his wife Pat, sons Dewey III & Edward, and a granddaughter.
May God give them comfort at this time.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here's a first: a blog post for a commenter

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to address a commenter’s remarks in a blog post.

Here is the comment:

  • Funny Jim - I have not seen you focus on anything positive in Bossier since the blog started - you have determined the entire leadership of the school board, the city of bossier city, and the district attorney's office need to go - what is left - the library system. I dont see how you wake up in this community each day without being in a horrible state of depression. It must really suck to see the world from such a half empty perspective. We have good leaders in this community that try to do the right thing - but crap happens and people with very little information attack peoples character with no basis - it is a wonder that anyone would do those jobs - you know its kind of like anytime one cop does something wrong - the entire department is suddenly a bunch of crooks, civil rights violators or thugs - i am sure you can relate to that

Let’s break it down.

  • “you have determined the entire leadership of the school board, the city of bossier city, and the district attorney's office need to go - what is left - the library system.”

There was obviously a lack of supervision in the school board when employees stole almost $1,000,000. I questioned appointing the person who was in charge of administration to be the next superintendent. He is not the ‘entire leadership’ of the school board, and I never once suggested that he ‘needed to go’.

  • “the city of bossier city”.

Again, I questioned the continued hiring and spending when the mayor and council knew that had a budget problem. I opposed the layoffs. I never once said that any official in Bossier City ‘needed to go’.

  • “The DA’s office.”

Herein lies the commenter’s problem. I have questioned what appears to be an excessive number of ‘nol-prossed’ charges, even when the First Assistant DA stated that an individual would be prosecuted ‘to the fullest extent of the law’. That entailed taking a plea on one charge and dropping 5 others.

Still, I had no major problem with the DA until someone in his Bossier office gave information to Eric Johnson, a Minden attorney, who twisted the facts to feed to The Inquisitor in an effort to discredit my son, a police officer. Why would they want to do that? Because he had arrested one of their own. Thankfully, Danny Lawler has more integrity and character than the individual in the DA’s office who did this, and did not put this in print without giving an opportunity to refute.

Louisiana has a ‘must arrest’ policy for domestic violence cases, which means that if it even appears to the officer that domestic violence has occurred, he ‘must arrest’. The DA apparently has a ‘must not’ arrest policy if the arrestee is one of his friends or employees.

What is so troubling about this is that they believe that it is perfectly all right to act in this manner.

It is not.

I think the problem with lawyers is that as a result of their profession, they become so caught up in what is ‘legal’, that they forget sometimes what is right and what is wrong. The individual who did this, with or without the support of the District Attorney himself, should be ashamed.

  • “I dont see how you wake up in this community each day without being in a horrible state of depression. It must really suck to see the world from such a half empty perspective.”

I wake up every morning looking forward to the day. I have a wonderful family, great friends, and I do not have a ‘half empty’ perspective. I got a new lease on life about 7 years ago and have relished every day since.

  • “We have good leaders in this community that try to do the right thing - but crap happens and people with very little information attack peoples character with no basis - it is a wonder that anyone would do those jobs”

We do have a lot of good elected officials. You look at them as leaders, I prefer to look at them as public servants, the role they claim when they are running for office. Crap doesn’t happen, it is caused to happen. I have not attacked anyone’s character, unless you consider relating the facts an attack.

As to whether it is a wonder anyone would do the jobs, that is their choice. They know, or should know, when they seek office, that they are accountable to the people. As Harry Truman said, ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

  • “you know its kind of like anytime one cop does something wrong - the entire department is suddenly a bunch of crooks, civil rights violators or thugs - i am sure you can relate to that”

No, actually I can’t. I’ve never worked in law enforcement, but if you want me to apologize for supporting the people who do, you’ll have a long wait.

Blogging is a great thing. On my blog I get to express my opinions about what is going on around us. Although some bloggers choose to comment on national politics and such, I find that I like to comment on what is happening in our area. I have from the beginning had an open comments section and welcome comments, like the one above, from people of all persuasions.

I started My Bossier about two years ago and it has had a good response. Last month was the biggest we have had yet, with 19,247 hits and 433 comments. That’s not bad for a local blog. This month, we’re closer to normal with an average of between 300 and 350 hits a day. (A ‘hit’ is anyone coming to the blog either through a link or directly to the site.)

Keep on reading, and keep on commenting!

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Bossier City Council steps up

The Bossier City Council met yesterday and presented their version of the 2010 budget. The council has heard a lot from constituents about the proposed layoffs, and not very much of it was favorable. They have stepped up and worked out a compromise plan which basically is what we outlined in an earlier blog post: “ . . . the plan spares 20 policemen and 20 firemen from the Mayor’s ax. Of the remaining 37 cuts across different city departments, 16 will be spared and 21 will be laid off.”
The council has never been so involved in changing a budget, and the public has not been so interested. Hopefully this process has awakened the people of Bossier and they will take more interest in the process from now on.
The budget needs 4 votes to be approved, and in the event that the mayor sees fit to veto it, 5 votes to override.
You can view the council's version of the budget here.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Here's something you'll never see in Bossier

Sheriff forms public corruption unit

Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator has scheduled a news conference to announce the formation of a public integrity unit that will investigate complaints of wrongdoing by elected officials and local government employees.
The two sheriff's detectives who will be assigned to that unit are the lead investigators in the Community Development case. The public corruption unit will work in conjunction with the Caddo district attorney's office, which would prosecute any cases.
"We're sick and tired of hearing complaints about favoritism and nepotism and, 'It's not what you know; it's who you know,'" Prator said. "I want to create a vehicle that citizens can know that what they say is at least investigated."

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bossier DA: the fullest extent of the law?

In November of 2006, A Bossier Deputy sheriff who was directing traffic at an accident scene had a close call when a car sped past him at 87 mph. A deputy stopped the car, which was driven by Richard Hahn. On observing Hahn’s slurred speech, five empty beer cans and two empty vodka bottles in the car, the deputy asked him how much he had to drink. “Not enough”, was the reply.
Hahn was charged by the Sheriff’s Department with DWI 3rd offense (a felony), a charge which could carry from one to five years in prison. He was also charged with speeding 87 in a 55, no drivers license, open container, careless operation and flight from an officer.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Baswell said "we'll arrest and keep on arresting. Someone else takes care of prosecution."

That person, of course, is the Bossier DA. Bossier Parish First Assistant District Attorney Lane Pittard said at the time, "we'll prosecute this guy to the fullest extent of the law." Pittard said Louisiana law pushes multiple offenders into rehab and counseling, but he believes the risk is just too high. Pittard says, because of that, the law does need to go back with the mandatory prison sentences."

Hahn appeared before Judge Jeff Cox on March 7, 2007. In a plea arrangement worked out by the DA’s office, he was allowed to plead guilty to DWI 1st offense (a misdemeanor). He was sentenced to 60 days in jail (suspended), one year’s probation and a $500 fine.

As to the other charges:

  • Flight from an officer: Nol-prossed
  • Careless Operation: Nol-prossed
  • Open Container: Nol-prossed
  • No Driver’s license: Nol-prossed
  • Speeding 87/55: Nol-prossed

Is allowing him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor which had been reduced from a felony and dismissing the other five charges really the full extent of the law?

You’ll have to be the judge of that.

Same song, second verse

Hahn was back just a year later, in May of 2008, with a ticket from Louisiana State Police charging him with DWI 3rd offense, again a felony. He was charged by the DA with DWI 2nd offense, a misdemeanor. He was also charged with driving under suspension and improper lane change.

He appeared in court in January of this year and was allowed, in another plea bargain arranged by the DA’s office, to plead guilty once again to a DWI 1st offense.

This time, he was sentenced, also by Judge Cox, to 90 days in jail (suspended), a $750 fine and another one year’s probation. The other two charges were nol-prossed.

The fullest extent of the law?

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Bossier City Mayor refuses to work with council on budget

"I support my budget, this is my budget and I'm sticking with it".
That is the message that Mayor Lo Walker has given to the city council in refusing to work with them in re-working the 2010 budget.
The budget the council is working on will tenatively not take any policemen off the street. People who are eligible will retire, and the five people who are now in the academy will be let go, but not until they complete their training.
As for the fire department, which was due to face 38 cuts, 8 active firemen will be laid off along with the 10 in the academy.
Basically, the plan spares 20 policemen and 20 firemen from the Mayor’s ax.
Of the remaining 37 cuts across different city departments, 16 will be spared and 21 will be laid off.
Every department, including police and fire, will have to make an across the board (except for salaries) 15% cut.
There will be no raises in the Mayor’s office and the travel budget will be cut.
Heather Carter, who started the Facebook group Save our Bossier City Police and Firefighters, has has been working with the council and has provided us with this information.
Heather’s husband is a Bossier City Police Officer who would have been laid off under the mayor’s plan. Heather has worked tirelessly in organizing the group, which now has 3,600 members, and has led the internet effort to save the jobs.
That’s Heather in the picture below with her two favorite people.

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Unanswered questions about Cyber Innovation Center

This is what we were told to justify the $107,000,000 investment by the City, the Parish and the State:
We’re definitely on the fast track here,” said David Rockett, executive director of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation.
"What that means is 10,000 potential new employees with families that will need to find housing, enroll children in the school system, drive on city streets and shop in local stores.”
"In my opinion, it's a done deal," Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker, a retired Air Force colonel, said of Cyber Command coming to Barksdale.
CIC Director Craig Spohn was quoted as saying "Cyberspace is where the next big threat to industry, individuals and national security is."
"Artillery and nuclear missiles will not be the weapons of the future.”
After it was announced that there would be no separate Cyber Command, and that what was left of it was to be in San Antonio, Mr. Spohn changed his tune.
"We were never intending to be a one trick-pony with respect to the Air Force. The Air Force provided us a good catalyst and still does because of the things at Barksdale Air Force Base and it's not scheduled to go away.
"There are new businesses coming to town," Spohn insisted. "There are actually millions of dollars worth of research in the cyber field today that weren't here a year ago."
Perhaps Mr. Spohn could share the names of the businesses that have been lured here by the CIC, and give us examples of these millions of dollars of research that CIC has helped create. We could feel much more comfortable about the $107,000,000 if we had some specifics.
Meanwhile, some people have a different take on CIC.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bossier City Council wants to hear from citizens

Bossier City Council President Don Williams has put the word out that the council wants to hear from the public on the 2010 budget. While the mayor’s budget called for 40 layoffs in each the fire and police departments, and 37 cuts elsewhere in the city, several council members have been meeting in an effort to stave off any layoffs of officers and firemen on the street.
They are working to get people who have reached eligibility to go ahead and retire and to find money to plug the gaps that are left.
Positions will still be eliminated, but not through layoffs, if they can get the plan consolidated and approved.
If the council can achieve that, freeze hiring, and if they follow it very closely every month as David Jones has suggested, the city could suffer as few casualties of the financial crisis as possible.
The next city council meeting will be next Tuesday at 3PM. Please attend and share your thoughts with the council.
Video of yesterday’s meeting is courtesy of KTBS.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some things are worth paying for

When Bossier City police officer Trey Hutchison was murdered while answering a domestic violence hang up 911 call on August 11, 2004, the entire city and area was in shock and mourning. On the day of his funeral people lined the route from First Baptist Bossier to Hillcrest cemetery to show their love and support for his family and for his memory. My sister, brother-in-law and I found a spot in the corner of the mall right by the church.
We all have memories that will live with us until we die. One memory that is engraved in my soul is the image of Chief Halphen driving Officer Hutchison’s car at the head of the procession as it left the church, followed by the entire Bossier City Police force and by officers representing police departments and sheriffs all around the region and state.
Now, each year the Caddo/Bossier Domestic Violence Task Force honors one Caddo and one Bossier law enforcement officers with the Trey Hutchison award for outstanding performance in the field of domestic violence prevention.
In a bitter twist of irony, the award ceremony this year was held on October 17th. This is the day that Mayor Walker chose to announce his plan to eliminate 40 positions from the police departments, 40 from the fire department, and 37 other positions spread around different city departments.
Some things go beyond the budget and beyond politics. When these officers were hired and trained they were repeatedly asked if they were willing to give a total commitment to the City of Bossier City and to the people of Bossier. In every case, they unhesitatingly made that commitment.
Now the question has been reversed: what commitment has the city made to these men and women who promised to serve, even at risk of their own lives?
That question has yet to be answered.

Then came the storms
As if a sign, a couple of weeks after the announcement Bossier City and the area were wracked by tornadoes, storms and floods. Guess who was on the frontlines, working for days with 3 or 4 hours sleep, giving everything they had to keep the people of Bossier City safe?
One of the officers told the story of ‘a woman and her two kids that got their car stuck in all of the water at the entrance to Old Greenacres. He and another officer got her and two kids out of the car in water up past their knees and then pushed her car out of the water. She just cried and told them thank you and that she did not know what she would have done if they had not been there.’
Hopefully she can find time to attend the city council meeting Tuesday at 3pm and make her feelings known.
This officer made the statement that “I will continue to put on my badge and do my job until I'm told that I'm not needed anymore.”
Another of the officers who is due to be laid off noted that there “Must be a lot of out-of-towners in Bossier, cause no way a bossier city citizen would cuss me like I've been cussed tonite while directing traffic in the rain.”
On a lighter note, he also said “If a police officer is directing traffic in a manner that you consider incorrect, honk at him. He will realize your superior knowledge and allow you through!”
This says a lot about the character of the people who have been chosen to serve. Now we are waiting to see if the character of the people who are being served can match that.
There will be a city council meeting Tuesday at 3pm at City Hall. If you feel strongly that politics should be put aside and that the City should make a commitment to keep these officers and firemen, try to attend the meeting and let your feelings be known, if only by your presence.
If you have not yet contacted the council, email us at this link and we will be glad to pass on your email to them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bossier City Councilman David Jones: 'there is an alternative'

The Bossier City Council will meet Tuesday at 3pm and it should get interesting. For the first time since the proposed budget cuts, people will be allowed to speak.
Ordinarily, the council allows 3 people from each side of an issue to speak. Hopefully, the council will relax the rules Tuesday and allow more people to express their opinions. People are angry and feel that they have been ignored by several of the members, while several have responded promptly to calls and emails.
One member who has been communicative with the people is David Jones, who represents District 4 on the council.
I spoke to Councilman Jones today at length and he was very adamant on his view of the proposed layoffs. "I will not vote for any budget that includes public safety layoffs'.
The gentleman does not mince his words. "There is an alternative, and that is to make cuts in the budget in other areas to make up half of the deficit, and to use surplus money to buy us time to assess the situation and make adjustments where they are needed."
Part of Jones' plan would be to freeze hiring and to let attrition begin to lower personnel. He also would like for the council to look at the finances monthly in detail to see where the city is headed and what additional steps would be needed.
"I believe we can achieve our goals without the heartache and personal hardships to so many families", he told me. "We have had unexpected expenses this year and that threw things out of kilter. We (the council) are working very hard for a solution."
A large crowd is expected to attend the Tuesday meeting.

Alexandria City Council a hungry bunch!

Meanwhile, Central La. Politics and Alex Cenla's Rants & Ravings are reporting that the Alexandria City Council has some problems of its own.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

2010 Budget: Plenty of blame to go around

Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Marty Carlson has a new column in the November Forum entitled Deficit Not New. In the column she answers the question everyone is asking – ‘how did this deficit just pop up and we knew nothing about it?’.
“That would be because we were not paying attention”, Marty answers. She points out the history of the deficit, the continued rolling back of tax rates even as the city was getting into trouble, the appropriation of surplus funds for the last couple of years and warnings from some people of the impending problems.
Rather than blame the mayor and members of the council, people should first point the finger at themselves. That is absolutely true, but it is a damning truth that cuts both ways.
The simple truth is that the people trusted the mayor and council to take care of their business and they also trusted them to keep them informed. I think Marty, while correct in her assessment of the inattention of the people, is being a little too kind to the mayor and council.
The simple lesson learned is that the people shouldn’t trust their public officials to do what is right, they should monitor them and make sure that they do so.
As I pointed out in another blog post, the December 2007 minutes of the meeting of the council in which they discussed the budget for 2008 states that "Public Hearing for the 2008 City of Bossier City Budgets. Joe Buffington, City Finance Director, explained some of the major budget items. Hearing nothing from the public, the Public Hearing was closed." .

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Councilman Larkin apologizes to Mayor for Councilman Darby's remarks

Councilman at-large Tim Larkin spoke out at today’s council meeting, chastising Councilman Jeff Darby for remarks he made two weeks ago saying that the Mayor had misled the council.
The official minutes of the meeting reflect that “Mr. Darby read a personal statement concerning the City’s budget.”
That is an understatement. What Councilman Darby said was “I have been deceived”. According to Larkin, Darby accused the mayor of criminal behavior and said that he should be punished as a criminal. None of that was reported in the media, that I’m aware of.
Darby also said that he would vote against the cuts to the police and fire departments.
Larkin also said, speaking of the rules of order of the council, that “we should discipline ourselves rigidly”.
The council members did seem to exercise that rigid discipline in the election earlier this year, when none of them spoke out to warn the people of the disastrous direction in which the city’s finances were headed.
They still don’t get it. People are not only upset at the idea of so many city employees are in danger of being laid of, they are highly upset that this was sprung on them at the last minute. The mayor and council have known for some time that revenues were not keeping up with expenditures, and did nothing at all to address the problem. The council has been aware for the last two years, as they (with the exception of Don Williams) voted surplus funds to continue city operations.
Why did they not impose hiring freezes two years ago? A year ago?
Whey did they not implement money saving measures in other ways?
Make no mistake, people are angry. The recurring theme during the aftermath of the terrible storms last weekend was “Thank God they are still here”. When disasters happen, people don’t look to the mayor or the council for help – they look to the first responders, the firemen and policemen. These people worked around the clock dealing with the problems, and appreciate the support of the people they serve.
Next week the council will have to listen to some citizens regarding the cuts. They will allow equal time for people in favor of the cuts and for people opposed.
Wonder how many takers they will get in favor of the cuts?
Video compliments of Bossier City attorney Samantha McAllister.

Representative Fleming thanks Air Force for help during floods

Monday, November 2, 2009

The people of Bossier City are talking, is anyone listening?

Just a few of the remarks from the Facebook group
Save our Bossier City Police and Firefighters:

• My home backs up 30 yards to Red Chute Bayou just south of Dogwood trail. This morning, my home and street are dry and I still don't understand how this is possible! Thanks to the focused organization of the US Air Force of Barksdale, Army, and National Guard, and help from the BCPD . . .
• Thanks to all the Bossier City Police working Greenacres Place during the storm! You guys have really been awesome - we appreciate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
• Save our men and women in Blue and firefighters...they deserve the BEST!
• Bossier city has the lowest crime rate in the state according to many statistics.... why would anyone want that to change? Laying off such a high amount of patrol officers and firefighters just isn't a smart decision. Cut budgets elsewhere!
• Last weekend my car broke down on ART and McDade! It was 1:45 A.M. My friend and I had been shopping in Shreveport. We were so scared and who do you call at 1:45 A.M.??? A wonderful BCPD Officer showed up, went WAY out of his way to help and then took us to safety!!! This is no where in his job description. . . I pray the budget cuts are made somewhere else.
• Our Bossier Police and Firemen are very important to us. We need them.
• Thanks guys for a job well done!
• This is God's way of saying this is not were we need to do BUDGET CUTS PLEASE LISTEN!!!!
• Dear Mayor Walker...I sure am glad that we had an extra 60+ police officers and fire fighters on hand last night during the tornados. God speaks to us in LOTS of ways. Perhaps...this was his way of saying...WE REALLY NEED THOSE GUYS AND GALS! PLEASE take note...and pray about your decision. When God speaks...LISTEN!
• Thank you BCPD and BCFD for your hard work and showed all of us Thursday night you are there for us.....We are here for you as well.
• God is watching over them!!!!
• Thank god the city of bossier has such great firemen and police officers to help protect the city and assist citizens during the weather situation today and this evening. Why on earth does it make any since to lay any of them off, imagine how bad things would be if we were missing 80 personnel tonight
• Cut the police and firefighters and give raises to the mayor's office?? Let's get the priorities straight....Thank you for your service!
• Let's make cuts starting with those who missmanaged the money in the first place.
• The mayor and his staff should be ashamed.
• With Bossier being in debt and cutting needed police and firemen how can the city afford pay raises for the Mayor's staff which should have seen the same cuts as the other departments if the mayor sees cutting our work force as his only means of controling the debt?? I support keeping our firemen and policemen ,we need them!
• All those who have protected and served this what they deserve? I think not....
• As much flak as our police get in the local media, they are an outstanding agency. Our low crime rate in the city is a direct result of people not wanting to mess with the BCPD and the professionalism and skill they posses. When will people learn that progress is made by growth and expansion, not shooting yourself in the foot?
• Lets save these jobs so they can continue to protect our wonderful city. Let some of the big wigs take pay cuts or cut back somewhere else but not with our police or firefighters.
• I can think of a lot of ways to cut spending without cutting fire and police. To the city council and the mayor, you need to get your heads out of the sand and think this through. You people have spent alot of taxpayers money on things like Cyber Command, etc and now you want to put our safety in jeopardy to fix your mess?
• Police and Firefighters protect the citizens.....of course we should keep every one of them. Who could possibly think otherwise???
• We love our Bossier City police and firefighters!
• Mayor Walker should stop and realize that people are moving to Bossier due to our great police and fire departments. Cutting our safety elements will cost Bossier in the long run when our current reputation for safety vanishes. Bad financial decisions should not cost the working men of Bossier their jobs! We ask the City Council to please vote against this and find other ways to restore the budget.
• Bossier police and firefighters are a cornerstone to this city. They are key members to any community.
• I do not ynderstand the concept of rolling back property taxes because of rapid growth in the city. Rapid growth means more people,homes,and businesses. This requires more city services, not less. I can see not raising taxes but not cutting them.
• Thank you to all who put their lives on the line for us every day!!!!! God Bless all of you!
• We need our police and firefighters!!! Praying for wisdom!!!
• Public safety should NEVER be the FIRST place they look when it comes to budget cuts. I am positive that there are other areas that could trim down. What is Lo thinking??
• It doesn't make sense to use the very people who are there to protect, serve and save citizens used to salvage a shortage that certainly wasn't their doing. I can't think of anyone besides a physician that is more important to a community. Isn't there an auditor that could have foreseen this problem long before the problem became critical?
• Before you can offer a salution to this shortage problem, you must first see what caused the shortage. I hope in the next few weeks this shortage is published and a fix found. Then a impartial manpower study done with private funds so the citizens will know. No longer do we trust out Government to do the best thing for us. Good luck.
• We all understand that these are tuff economic times...but somehow our priorities are sooooo skewed! Cut-backs on things that can wait, are extraneous, even unnecessary...But NO! NO! NO!, not on those who are most vital to our well-being as a community...our firefighters and policemen . . .
• we moved here 4 1/2 years ago and until now this is the most I have seen out of our so called Mayor. I totally agree with so many of you about him taking a pay cut but we all know that the big dogs don't do that. Where are all of our tax dollars going? We have had property tax increases and the city is part of it.
• We're praying for each of our fire and police officers. The city council needs to see how important these men and women are to their city, more important than spending the money on updating a water park.
• Our prayers are with all Firemen and Policemen. Their jobs are to important to let this happen.