Goodness, a simple resolution of the Shreveport City Council requesting that the Shreveport City Attorney conduct an internal study on the feasibility of a city internal planning office has suddenly resulted in unfounded protestations of “politics”. Seemingly the detractors, including at least one MPC Board member, do not recognize the difference between an study, at no cost to the City, and the implementation of a city planning office.
Cries that the much heralded United Development Code (UDC) will be the baby thrown out in the bath water are totally unfounded; the UDC could easily be re-enacted with substitutions for the MPC staff, MPC Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. No doubt the City Attorney report will encompass these issues. And an internal study will not include consideration of whether MPC Executive Director Mark Sweeney will get a pink slip which has been implied by Sweeney supporters.
As anyone who has read the UDC knows, “politics” in the sense of final decisions to be made by elected officials is continued in the UDC, much as in the prior zoning ordinances. The Caddo Commission will soon adopt its version of the UDC, with slight variations from the City’s version, and yes, “politics” in the form of debate by Commissioners is a part of Commission’s legislative process.
What is disappointing, in a very big way, is that MPC vice president Nancy Cooper has jumped into the fray. Cooper sent an email to the Shreveport City Council members and the Caddo Parish Commissioners (along with MPC President Theron Jackson and her MPC best buddy Lea Desmarteau) calling out Council Chairman James Flurry who introduced the internal study resolution; she did not copy the other 7 Board members. Cooper accused Flurry of making misstatements while making other unfounded comments on planning.
Citizens of Shreveport and Caddo Parish are entitled to their opinions on the merits of an internal planning office for the city of Shreveport. However, waiting for the City Attorney’s report as well as a $30,000 MPC study dealing with MPC funding, fees, staffing and salaries (which is due at the approximate same time as the City Attorney study} is suggested before crying “fire” and making conclusions. What is appalling, by any measure of appropriateness, is the fact that a City appointed member of the MPC Board has theaudacity to publicly criticize in writing an elected City official while stating that everyone should “take the time to be careful and measured when commenting and making decisions”; obviously she does not follow her own advice.