Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bicycles and safe driving

Three people have been injured in Bossier, one of them fatally, in just over a month after being hit by motor vehicles.
Bart Patten was hit near Willow Chute at the end of April. He was in a coma for nearly three weeks, but is slowly recovering.
Last week, 18 year old Kevin Mouser was hit in the 4300 block of Barksdale Boulevard. He passed away two days later.
Today a bicyclist in the 3300 block of East Texas Street suffered what is being described as non life threatening injuries after being hit by a truck.
Without addressing the particulars of these three cases, suffice it to say that everyone should be very aware of the roadway when they are driving. A bicycle has as much right on the road as a motor vehicle.
If you would like to read the law applying to bicyclists in Louisiana, you can find it here. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, perhaps it will help to post these two paragraphs:

  • Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway of this state shall be granted all the rights and shall be subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.
  • The operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall exercise due care while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle and shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle. An operator of a motor vehicle may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so.

Our sympathies go out to the people who were hit and their families, and particularly to the family of Kevin Mouser.
Everyone please slow down and be aware of what is on the road in front of you. Lives will be saved if you do.

Monday, May 28, 2012


If you don't read anything else today, read this from Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Speak their names

On this Memorial Day remember Shreveport Natives Rob Reeves and Jonas Kelsall, both Navy Seals who were killed when their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan in August. Remember Staff Sgt. Michael Garcia of Bossier City, who was killed in Afghanistan last July. Remember Dakota Huse, Joshua Tomlinson and Wayne Culver.
A Facebook friend reposted something on Facebook written by the mother of a son who was killed just a few months ago. She posted a picture of her son's headstone and she wrote "As I prepare myself for Memorial Day, I can’t help but feel a mixture of emotions. I feel angry because so many people do not understand the true meaning of this day and sadness because I have come to fully understand and live the meaning of Memorial Day. My biggest fear is that Matthew will be forgotten so I ask all of you to please just say his name and think of him . ."
I wrote this a couple of years ago for Memorial Day:
Monday is Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day. It is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day.
Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country. I think a lot of well meaning people simply misunderstand the purpose that was intended for this day, and if they are educated as to the geniune meaning of it, that they will observe it properly.
Memorial day is not to be confused for Veterans Day, which is the day on which we thank and honor all of those who served honorably in the military.
This is a day that we should observe solemnly, not just as the last day in a three-day weekend.
Brave men fought and died on our behalf, and their sacrifice demands that we give them the honor they are due.
On Memorial Day, all U.S. flags should be displayed at half-staff during the morning hours. At noon, they should be raised back to full-staff.
Traditionally, a red poppy is worn on Memorial Day, inspired by the poem In Flanders Field which was written by a Canadian Lt. Colonel, John McCrae after he presided over the burial of a fellow officer.
When I was in school, and even when I was a young man, we always had poppies to wear. The VFW sponsors the ‘buddy poppy’, artificial silk poppies which are made by disabled veterans. Unfortunately, this tradition is being lost, except among veterans groups. Watch for pictures and videos locally of veterans observances and you will see them.
The poem, from WWI, describes the red poppies that covered the battleground and afterward, the rows of graves.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Inquisitor relentless in investigation

For the past five weeks Schuyler Marvin and the DA’s office have been getting a lot of attention from the Inquisitor.
It started when Danny Lawler, the publisher, realized that the DA’s office was storing seized vehicles on property owned by DA Investigator Buddy Mondello and then selling them at a private dealer’s auction, rather than at public auction. When Lawler spoke to Schuyler Marvin about it, he was told that the reason he was ‘upset’ was because the vehicles weren’t going through an auction that Lawler operates.
Not so, says Lawler. His commissions for the last eight years from the Bossier DA amount to $9,300 – about $1,162 per year. In addition, some of the cars have been resold at Lawler’s auction by the dealers, so any supposed financial loss is minimal.
After that, Lawler began to get tips about Mondello and his background, including an arrest and conviction in Caddo Parish, and his friendship with convicted robber Larry Thompson.
Other issues were checked out and reported, including a couple of DWI’s that were pled down to lesser charges, one by Mondello’s daughter and another by someone who at least purported to be an employee of the DA.
You can read that story in this week’s Inquisitor, and see the actual police recording of the stop in 2008 on The Inquisitor’s You Tube channel.
Anytime the Inquisitor is involved in a story, the first mode of defense is always to attack the messenger, and Lawler has a pretty thick skin, because he has been attacked on plenty of occasions.
I have, however, never known him to print anything that was untrue.
And I have known, personally, of cases where some of his most ardent attackers also attempt to plant stories in his paper (unsucessfully, in the case I am referring to).
I don’t know how much more will come out, but I do know that the investigation by Lawler is continuing.
The strange twist that I see to the story (and I may be the only one), has to do with the race for District Judge coming up in October.
This is the way I see it. The people are in a very anti-incumbent and very anti-system mood at the present time. Witness the fact of the School Board propositions. Two of them were turned down, and one barely squeaked through. This is not the norm for Bossier Parish. Schools have always received what they asked for.
Also witness the election for State Senator last year, where Jane Smith carried only 52% of the Bossier vote, giving Barrow Peacock a solid win with his strong majority in the Caddo Parish part of the district.
The closest thing to an incumbent in this race is ADA Michael Nerren, who is receiving strong support from the District Attorney and from a number of Bossier City Officials.
If the anti-incumbent mood prevails, the unwitting receipients of any blowback from the Inquisitor articles will be John Slattery and Whit Graves. 
In a hotly contested judge’s race in 2008, Mike Craig, with the help of Marvin and some of the same people who support Nerren, beat incumbent Dewey Burchett, who suffered from being the incumbent in that race.
This year presents a totally different scenario, in that the candidate being supported by Marvin is the ‘insider’ in the race. It will be interesting to watch the race develop, and to see if the establishment’s embrace of Nerren is quite as powerful as it once was.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Whit Graves website up

I posted on the 26th JDC Judge’s race and gave a link to John Slattery’s website. At the time I said I would update whenever there were any new developments.
Whit Graves now has a campaign website up, as well as a Facebook page.
Just click on the image to go to the website.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bonnie and Clyde, May 23, 1934

I made this video 3 years ago and posted it. It was on May 23, 1934 that Bonnie and Clyde were killed over in Bienville Parish.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bossier School Board sued for failure to honor public record request

Attorney John E. Settle, Jr. has filed suit against the Bossier Parish School Board in an attempt to get the board to produce documents which he requested under the public records law.
On April 27th, Settle requested the following from the Board:

  • Contact information for all bond attorneys who were consulted.
  • Copies of all correspondence to and from the bond attorneys.
  • All communications to Clarence Babineaux regarding the bond issue.
  • All communications between School Board employees regarding the bond proposal and tax propositions.

On May 1st, Settle received a letter from Charles F. Hardie VI of the Baton Rouge firm of Hammonds & Sills. Mr. Hardie stated that his firm serves as general counsel for the School Board. In the letter he further stated “please note that certain documents requested, specifically electronic communications, are not readily available.”
Missing Emails
The letter continues, “please also note that, while conducting the search of the School Board’s email servers for relevant communications responsive to your request, the School Board has discovered that its email archive failed on or about February 17, 2012. As a result of this failure, communications occuring on or after that date may have been deleted permanently from the School Board’s server if the original recipient removed that communication from his or her individual electronic mailbox.
(If the IT people only discovered after 2½ months that the email archive wasn't functioning, who knows how long it would have gone on if Settle had not requested these records?)
It is important to note that the law requires all public bodies to save these records for a minimum of three years.
Public record requests are to be honored within 72 hours.
If the public record is not immediately available, the custodian must promptly notify you in writing of the reason why the record is not immediately available and fix a day and hour within three days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) when the records will be made available.
There will be a hearing in District Court in Benton on Thursday. I’ll let you know the results of that.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Today marks the 1st anniversary of Danielle Cox's suicide. Danielle was a student at Parkway High School and was the victim of bullying. I have posted on three separate occasions about the incident. There are more developments, and I will post about them at a later date. 
Today is a day for remembrance.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

National Police Week

Today marks the beginning of National Police Week. Take a minute and tell a police officer 'thank you' for their dedication.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Self Promotion on the back of a family's grief

Some people have no shame.
Scott Tubbs, who I’ve written about before (see Rollin' with the Big Dawgs), has some videos up on You Tube about the suicide of a Bossier City employee.
I won’t name that employee out of respect for his family, nor will I link to the YouTube videos. What happened isn’t a secret, and a lot of you probably already know the details.
This person had worked for the City for a number of years and was well thought of. To set the background, he shot himself in a parking lot at an apartment complex.
Scott Tubbs, who owns a used appliance store, heard about it and went to the scene and made a video of the police coming and going, and of the vehicle itself. Thankfully, the windows were covered and he couldn’t see inside.
A Bossier City police officer came over to Tubbs while he was filming and suggested – out of respect – that he not do it.
Tubbs explained that he has an internet news site and was doing it so he could report on it. I haven’t been able to find any internet news site operated by Tubbs, but he does have a YouTube account.
Tubbs put the video on YouTube, along with three others basically stating the same thing in each.
In the description on the video of the scene he states:

  • Local Police department Violates Rights to freedom of press
  • LISTEN as the police Officer TELLS us not to film

When you watch that video and listen to the conversation, the officer clearly ASKS him not to make the video. Mark Natale, the Spokesman for the City, who Tubbs refers to as “Mark - the bald headed white guy”, clearly tells him “It’s not against the law, out of respect he’s asking you not to do that.”
Tubbs agreed and the video ended.  Clearly the police officer did not tell him not to film, he asked him to stop. He was not told that he had to stop, and he was clearly told that it was not against the law. It was a request, and Tubbs honored that request. So far as the police department violating the rights to freedom of the press, as far as I can tell, the press wasn’t on the scene. They don’t usually report on suicides.
In the ensuing videos, Tubbs explains why he is ‘pissed off’, that the people have a right to know this stuff. 
I blog about a lot that goes on in Bossier, and I heard about this incident right after it happened. I didn’t blog about it. It had nothing to do with governance or with the operation of the city or of this person’s particular department. 
Just because you can do something, and because you have the right to do it, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it.
The tipoff came in a statement that Tubbs made on one of the videos.
“I may seek the mayor’s office of the City of Bossier City.”
Besides his ill-fated run for President of the United States, he threatened years ago to run for Shreveport mayor against Keith Hightower. 
He can do that, despite a felony conviction for arson. He received a ‘first-offender’ pardon for that act.
Mr. Tubbs, if you want to run for mayor, then do so. I'm sure that Lo Walker is as concerned about that as Keith Hightower was.
But please – take the videos down. They are really offensive.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

Tomorrow is May 5th, or as some of us prefer, Cinco de Mayo. There will be the annual celebration at Festival Plaza and a lot of people will have a great time and eat some great food.
But how many of us know what Cinco de Mayo is really about?
One local tourist site says that it ‘celebrates popular Mexican holiday’.
Well, not exactly. You see, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a lot more significance in the US than it ever has in Mexico, where it is not a national holiday.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexicans defeated the French. Napoleon III had sent an expeditionary force to protect French interests and collect some debts owed by the previous Mexican government.
Despite the victory in 1862, at the 2nd battle of Puebla in 1863 the Mexicans were defeated and the French marched on to Mexico City. When they got there, they installed Hapsburg Archduke Maximilian as the Emperor of Mexico.
So what was the significance to the United States? Well, at this time the Civil War was raging, and the federal government feared that the European powers would intervene on behalf of the confederacy. The last thing they wanted was a French foothold in Mexico and a government on the southern border that would aid the rebels in their cause.
The battle at Puebla in 1862 set the French back enough to remove that fear, and so the temporary victory benefited the US government.
Besides, we all love a good party, so get out and celebrate tomorrow!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

In Remembrance

Funeral services will be held Friday for former City Council member Chubby Knight.
After retiring from Delta Airlines, he moved back to Bossier City and ran successfully for City Council.

Services for Robert Jones will be held Saturday. He was a captain with the Bossier City Marshal’s office and was well regarded in law enforcement circles.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

BCPD promotes 7

Chief Shane McWilliams promoted seven officers in a ceremony at city hall.
To Captain: Larry Stockton, Chuck Shaw and John Bacot.
To Lieutenant: Richard Broom-McGee
To Sergeant: Thomas Mack, Kevin Freeman and Sage Allen.
Congratulations to all seven, they will serve well.