Friday, March 30, 2012

Bossier City Councilman Tim Larkin's gift from Mayor Glover

by Elliott Stonecipher
Let me say something from the jump: the reader must suspend disbelief to read and understand this piece. It is very difficult to believe. In fact, if this one doesn’t anger you pretty seriously, then you know something about how government is supposed to work in America that I don’t, and I hope you’ll share it with me.
Armed, now, with documents obtained in a Public Records Request to the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (LA DOTD), we revisit and reconsider a key 3132 Extension issue from last summer:
How was Tim Larkin able to design and engineer the road from his bridge into Flournoy-Lucas Rd. on city-owned land? (MAP)
[For readers who may not remember these incredible facts, read my June 7, 2011 original article on this subject: “The 16 acres Shreveporters own right where the 3132 extension must begin … and the surprise ‘Benefactor’ who cleared it for us.”]
This 16-acre tract of land was bought by Shreveport taxpayers in 1999 after we approved and set aside $3,500,000 for such 3132 Extension purposes in a 1996 bond issue.
As incredible as it seems, Tim Larkin was able to somehow “secure” his private use of the tract for the building of his Esplanade road into Flournoy-Lucas at its intersection with 3132.
When I, in a public meeting last summer, asked Mayor Cedric Glover if he / the City of Shreveport gave Larkin a permit to clear a portion of that tract, he said — into the public record — that the clearing was so the City could install “water lines.”
Now, from the Coalition’s latest PRR, we have a brand new document — the second item — which is a diagram from Larkin, submitted to LA DOTD in January of last year, clearly showing the northern end of his Esplanade road passing through the city taxpayer-owned land. In the circled area, at the top-right of map/diagram, that portion of Larkin’s road is passing through the city-owned 16-acres, inside its bolded, western boundary.
Let’s remember, this was submitted to LA DOTD on January 18, 2011, months before the April 7, 2011 NLCOG meeting in which the 3132 Extension was killed by Mayor Cedric Glover, Larkin and various accomplices, most notably NLCOG:
Larkin had not purchased / did not own the land, Larkin had not leased the land,the City Council, NLCOG, MPC, DOTD, etc., etc., etc., did not so much object, even privately, to such use of the land, yet when he was stopped by a storm of public awareness and reaction, Larkin was days away from building a road through the land owned at the time by Shreveport taxpayers, dead into the 3132 terminus with Flournoy-Lucas.
Let’s also remember:
what you’ve viewed is a public document, in the LA DOTD record, but never produced by anyone in city government for public review and consideration, even after the entire, sordid affair broke into the public’s awareness, and the Coalition has been researching and working on the matter for nearly a year.
Let’s finally remember:
all of Larkin’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, the diagram shows the streets and cul-de-sacs to be used in his building-out with houses on the 36.99-acre tract largely surrounding the 16-acre tract. This is the 36.99 acres we the people were promised would be “preserved for the 3132 route” when Tony Janca succeeded in its rezoning in 2005, then turned around and sold it — with no official objection of any kind — to Larkin in 2007.
Ladies and gentlemen, what’s going on around here will have real difficulty getting any more bizarre, incredible, ludicrous and outside the law than it is. Anyone care to guess how many supposed laws and other regulations are violated in such a good ’ol boy, insider’s dream deal?! Anyone care to guess how many public officials had to be in on this deal?
Perhaps the worst of this news is
… no one in officialdom — Shreveport officials, Caddo Parish officials, state or federal officials, etc. — has lifted even one single finger to do anything about any of this.
For those who didn’t attend the LSU-S public hearing about this outrage last May, it is more and more notable that it began with those of us in attendance being warned by Councilmen Jenkins and Corbin not to bring up anything about the issue from the past. Thank Goodness — wayward taxpaying children we are clearly viewed to be — we have refused to drink their fact-, truth- and accountability-killing poison.
Does anyone doubt — now — why our loud pleas for a full investigation by the City into this foul enterprise elicited no response?
Forward Now
Elliott Stonecipher
Elliott Stonecipher’s reports, essays and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest. No compensation of any kind has been solicited, offered or accepted for this work.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vote yes for school pay raises

April 21st is decision time for Bossier Parish voters. Bossier teachers and support personnel, who are paid less than their counterparts in Webster, Red River, Caddo & DeSoto Parishes, haven't had a raise in seven years. The Bossier Parish School Board has a proposal to remedy that in a millage proposition coming up for a vote on that date, along with another millage proposal and a bond proposal to deal with facilities to match the growth of the parish.
School leaders have been holding meetings to explain the proposals and to answer questions. There are three more meetings scheduled:
April 2 - (Monday) - Bossier High School Auditorium
April 3 - (Tuesday) - Haughton High School Auditorium
April 10 - (Tuesday) Airline High School Auditorium
The first proposition on the ballot is for authorization $210,000,000 in twenty year bonds.
Bond Proposition

  • Summary: To authorize not exceeding $210,000,000 of not exceeding 20 year General Obligation Bonds of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana, for the purpose of acquiring and/or improving lands for building sites and playgrounds, including construction of necessary sidewalks and streets adjacent thereto; purchasing, erecting and/or improving school buildings and other school related facilities within and for the District and acquiring the necessary equipment and furnishings therefor, and refunding and extending outstanding certificates of indebtedness.

The first millage proposition is for a tax of 9.25 mills for pay and benefits for school employees. What was discussed was a 5% increase. (Of course, 5% to someone in the upper echelons is a lot more money than it is to, for example, a cafeteria worker.)
Millage Proposition No. 1

  • Summary: 10 year 9.25 mills property tax for Parishwide School District of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana, for the purpose of giving additional support to public schools by funding salaries and benefits for employees of the Parish School Board of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana. 

The second millage proposition is for 3.6 mills to furnish secondary & elementary schools with equipment and software.
Millage Proposition No. 2

  • Summary: 10 year 3.6 mills property tax for Parishwide School District of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana, for the purpose of giving additional support to public elementary and secondary schools by providing technology equipment, software and enhancements.

If you want to read the entire proposals, you can find a PDF file here.
School officials are saying that this will be no increase from what is currently being taxed. Well, not quite so; on the books it will be an 18% increase, but they are promising to roll that percentage back to keep your taxes the same. Marty Carlson addressed that in Counting the Costs.
My feeling is that all three proposals will pass. Vote as your own conscience dictates.
But please – give a thought to the teachers, cafeteria workers, mainentance workers and others as you make your decision.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Primaries tomorrow

First of all, the special election for Mayor of Benton will be held tomorrow.
Interim Mayor Wayne Cathcart is running for the office along with challengers Patrick Harrington and Ken Shiflett. My prediction is Cathcart.
Rick Santorum is expected to win the Republican presidential primary. If the polls are accurate, Santorum should walk away with 9 more delegates, Romney and Gingrich 9 between them and Ron Paul working for 2.
At this point I think it is a foregone conclusion that Romney will have the nomination. He is halfway there already, and if you look at the remaining primaries he should walk away with the bulk of the delegates.
Whether that will be enough to cinch the nomination remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, for the most part, I'll leave the national stuff to Pat, she's into it!
I'll concentrate on the judge's race that is coming up and on the congressional race if it appears that Dr. Fleming will have an opponent.
In the meantime, we may peek around the corner into next year and look at the Bossier City elections. That one will be interesting.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Presidential Prospects campaign in Shreveport/Bossier

Candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are hitting the campaign trail in Bossier and Shreveport.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich will be in town Monday evening for a fundraiser at attorney Norman R. Gordon’s home. Admission to the event is $250 per person.
On Tuesday morning at 8:30 Gingrich will hold a town hall style meeting at Strawns Eat Shop Too on East 70th Street.
Rick Santorum made appearances Sunday morning at First Baptist Church in Bossier and at Calvary Baptist Church. He flew on to Baton Rouge to campaign at the LSU-Mississippi State baseball game.
Mitt Romney will be in town Friday for a fundraiser at the Petroleum Club. The event is being sponsored by Rep. Rodney Alexander and Paul Dickson.
The Louisiana primary is on Saturday, March 24th.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pilot Pride Sunday, March 18th

LSUS Students will be conducting a rally on Sunday to show their support for LSUS in response to the proposal to merge LSUS and Louisiana Tech. The rally will be held at LSUS University Center Mall at 2PM.
Among the speakers will be Ceceilia Vergo, candidate for SGA President, Matt Kay, Candidate for Vice-President and LSUS student Marion Fabre.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Race for District Judge already generating interest

It’s still months away, but the race for District Judge is shaping up. Mike Nerren, Whit Graves and John Slattery are vying for the position.
Mike Nerren has a Facebook page up, but it is lacking in biographical information. Nerren is an assistant DA and has a successful law practice. I’m sure more information will be available online as the race develops.
Nerren should have the advantage in fundraising. In addition to having the support of the DA’s crowd he also is supported by Mayor Lo Walker, City Marshal Lynn Austin and a couple of councilmen, as well as some heavy hitting political contributors.
Whit Graves is a Bossier City attorney who has experience in law enforcement (as a state trooper), as an ADA and as a defense attorney. Graves will have a website and more public exposure soon.
Judge John Slattery already has a website up as well as a Facebook page. Judge Slattery says “I understand that my decisions affect people’s lives, and I take that responsibility very seriously. As a juvenile drug court judge, I take pride in the young people that we were able to assist who are now happy, productive citizens rather than an unhappy burden on society.”
His professional qualifications are listed on the website.
  • Appointed as Judge Pro Tem: 26th Judicial District Court
  • Appointed as Judge Pro Tem: Bossier City Court
  • 12 Years Springhill City Court Judge
  • 10 Years Juvenile Drug Court Judge
  • 2012 Member of Board of Governors — LA Judicial College
  • Louisiana City Judges Association — President- 2009-2010
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • Louisiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • 15 years Assistant District Attorney—26th Judicial District Court Bossier and Webster Parishes
  • 29 Years of Civil Practice at McConnell & Slattery
  • Louisiana City Attorneys Association — President: 1989-1990
  • Former President of Webster Parish Bar Association
  • Member of Bossier and Webster Bar Association
  • Serves on the Bar Association Client Assistance Fund Committee
  • Member of House of Delegates for Louisiana Bar Association 1987-2010
  • Legal Counsel for North Webster Parish Industrial District
  • Former Law Clerk for the 1st Judicial District Court
  • Former Member of Board of Directors of Northwest Louisiana Legal Services

We’ll keep you posted from time to time.
As I said, it is a long time until the election this fall and these candidates all have plenty of time to get their message out to the people. This could be a very interesting election, particularly if Judge Slattery can carry Webster Parish by a large margin.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Haughton Cat Lady arrested for dope

When Bossier deputies went to arrest a woman on dope charges this afternoon they got a little more than they bargained for.
When they got to the trailer of Carol McKnight, 47, of (you guessed it) Haughton, the deputies found more than 50 cats in the singlewide mobile home.
The cat lady was charged with distributing xanax, darvocet and meth.
Bossier City spokesman Mark Natale said that if the cats are not removed from the home by tomorrow that animal control will get them.
That’s just nasty.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Caddo DA packing heavy heat

I’ve been trying to ignore this all day, but there is no way I can leave it alone.
Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator is upset that the State Division of Administration has sent six M-16 rifles to the office of DA Charles Rex Scott.

Prator maintains that the sheriff has to give written pernission permission for any seller to deliver such a weapon to an authorized person in the parish.
Further, Prator maintains that the sheriff is sworn to maintain the peace, not the DA.
He has further asked the DA not to use them and to either return them or donate them to a law enforcement agency. Prator said that the DA has been told that his investigators, who are commissioned officers, are only to carry pistols.
The weapons were acquired through the Louisiana Federal Property Assistance Agency, which is a program supervised by the Division of Administration to give out all sorts of federal goodies to local governments.
In a side note, the DA investigator who notified the sheriff of the weapons was fired by Scott.
But not for telling the sheriff about the weapons.
Thankfully, Schuyler Marvin said his office has no such weapons, and that when he took office he collected a bunch of guns from employees.
DA investigators are commissioned and do carry sidearms.
I just think the whole episode is curious, and it will be interesting to watch and see what develops.
Sidenote to the Times: M-16’s are not machine guns.
Here is the Times article about this.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Put up or Shut up

I have blogged about the Obama birth certificate controversy previously.
I have been willing, as have a majority of Americans, to accept the State of Hawaii's good faith in issuing that birth certificate.
Our blog buddy Rex sees some problems with it, and he's a pretty smart geek.
Now Sheriff Joe Arapiao of Maricopa County, Airzona has launched an investigation and says that he believes it might be a forgery.
Now how a county sheriff in Arizona is going to investigate the government of another state is problematical to say the least. Sheriff Joe did indicate that he might seek the help of congress.
Now our own Congressman John Fleming is posting articles on Facebook linking to World Net Daily about the investigation. (Here and here).
A number of other congressmen have expressed doubts about the authenticity of the birth certificate.
As I said, I accept that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. I accept the word of the State of Hawaii.
That being said, I certainly have no objection to a total airing out of this in an attempt to arrive at a definitive conclusion, once and for all.
If Congressman Fleming and his colleagues believe that the birth certificate is a forgery, then it is incumbent upon them to do some things.
  • Immediately call for an investigation of the State of Hawaii officials who produced this document and then certified that it is a copy of an original.
  • Immediately file Articles of Impeachment against the President of the United States for fraud and conspiracy, because if you believe that the birth certificate is a fraud then certainly the president was a perpetrator of that fraud.
In other words, it is time to put up or shut up. It would be unconscionable to do otherwise.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blood Money and more

I haven't been very inspired on the blogging front this week. I don't feel compelled to blog every day unless there is something of pressing interest that I feel people want to talk about.
Just a few comments today.

The New Orleans Saints
If you have read the blog for any length of time, you know I am was a big Saints fan, and have been for a long time. Heck, I even blogged on the first game that the Saints ever won, an exhibition game in Shreveport way back in 1967 which I attended.
Now we find out that the Defense had a bounty system for injuries to opposing players which was sanctioned by DC Gregg Williams, who even participated. Tom Benson and Sean Payton knew of it and didn't stop it.
I didn't like this when Buddy Ryan did it at Philadelphia in the 90's and I don't like it now. It is just wrong and it corrupts the sport.
No more.
I'll limit my football watching to college ball (it's better anyway) and continue my life-long support of the great LSU Tigers.
No more pro ball for me.
The School Board
The board is solidifying its expansion plans, contingent on the passage of the $210,000,000 bond issue. Without going into detail, looks like a new elementary school for Benton somewhere on the Kingston corridor, and in Phase 2 a new high school. I'll do a blog post with details soon.
The City Council
The Bossier City Council will be conducting their investigation of the firemen's pay mess. I'll try to get some updates and blog it this week.
Fall Elections
Plenty of time in the summer to cover these. The local one of interest will be the judges' race to replace Judge Bolin. Whit Graves and Mike Nerren have both stated their intention to run. Nerren has a Facebook page up.
Both are qualified to do the job so it will come down to personal preference. I just hope it will be a clean race.
I'll work on these and in the meantime will wait to see which local politican will give us fodder for the blog. I love these guys, they are the gift that keeps on giving.
Meanwhile, enjoy your March into spring and stay tuned.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Breitbart's Last Tweet

By now I’m sure that most of you have heard that conservative icon Andrew Breitbart passed away early this morning.
I was following a conversation on Twitter last night just before going to bed between Breitbart and Lamar White, Jr., who blogs as CenLamar.
Lamar, who was an aide to Alexandria mayor Jacques Roy, is currently at SMU in Dallas studying law. I have linked to CenLamar for years, and he kindly has linked to My Bossier. We have commented on each other’s blogs at times.
The Twitter discussion was about an article in the Atlantic. It wasn’t a particularly contentious exchange, particularly in Breitbart terms.
The last thing that Breitbart put on Twitter was addressed to Lamar:
I called you a putz cause I thought you were being intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize. @CenLamar
Go figure.