Mayor Tyler is in her third year of office as Shreveport Mayor, and by early next year she will need to fish or cut bait on a decision to seek a second term. Throughout her Administrations she has been quick to blame the Glover administration for virtually any and all problems that she has incurred, while failing to give credit for the bond issues passed during Glover’s second term that are funding street paving and water and sewer upgrades that Tyler constantly takes credit for in her Council briefings.
As with any mayor, she is trying to build her legacy and there is no doubt that the Shreveport Aquarium is high on her list. Evidently she now wants to have minor leagues basketball facility to be constructed with public dollars. A resolution to express the City’s support to respond to a request for proposal issued by the New Orleans Pelican for the purpose of becoming the flagship community for the Pelicans G league team beginning in the 2018-2019 season is on the Council’s agenda for Tuesday (May 23).
A resolution is just that; it does not bind the city to spend any money. But one does wonder is the Tyler administration should not be focusing on more pressing issues that affect all Shreveport citizens. Crime is on an uptick and the Shreveport Police Department (SPD) is 66 officers short of the budgeted force. Police pay is at approximately $10,000 less for the SPD than cities of comparable size. More officers on the street does not guarantee less crime, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction.
The city’s water billing fiasco continues, and seemingly corrections in customer water bills will not be soon accomplished. The City is and will continue to have additional legal expenses defending the Wainwright Pernici litigation which virtually has a life of its on. These fees are a drain on the City’s budget, consuming funds that could otherwise be spent to improve the quality of life for citizens.
And then there is the issue of a long overdue pay raise for City employees. Tyler pulled a plan to increase the garbage collection fee to fund a raise, and she has not provided any alternative funding options. And the issue of continued recycling, and in what shape and form, is another matter that must be soon addressed since the current contract has not been renewed.
Without going into specifics, it’s a generally accepted fact that Shreveport does not support professional sports with the exception of the Shreveport Mudbugs hockey team that was resurrected this past season after the team owners expended over $3 million dollars of their private dollars to refurbish Hirsch Coliseum. The last basketball team in Shreveport won championships but played before paltry crowds at Hirsch. Even with a brand new facility there are no logical reasons to believe that the area will regularly attend these games in substantial numbers or that there will be meaningful benefit to the City.
Its time for Tyler to stop the hype and constant crowing about her administration and to not waste time on proposals such as the basketball team facility. John Q. Public is more concerned about meat and potatoes issues, not than another entertainment option; its time that the Mayor focus on quality of life not sports.