Steven Jackson has just finished up serving as the Caddo Commission president for 2017. He is now considering a run for Shreveport mayor this year.
Seemingly Jackson has been reading to much of his own press statements and not dealing with reality.
Jackson’s tenure as Commission president was spotty, to say the least.
He started his service on the Commission in 2016 as a progressive representative. Having been elected in a contested election as Commission vice president, he voted with his supporters (the six white commissioners) on stopping the retirement plan for Commissioners as well as subsidized health insurance. He also voted to limit travel expenses of Commissioners.
During his term last year as “the prez”, Jackson became more and more autocratic with each month. He developed an annoying and distracting habit of always having the last (very extended) word on each serious Commission discussion.
Having worked in former Mayor Cedric Glover’s office, Jackson took on an air of being a government expert. Much of his input on many ideas was reflective of city programs, not Commission/parish issues. Such is the case of his effort to establish a housing trust fund for the Parish.
Jackson literally took over the committee meetings that determined grants by the Parish of over $1 million dollars from the riverboat fund to various non profit agencies and groups. The committee chairman Jerald Bowman was constantly over ridden by Jackson during the meetings.
Jackson also pushed their awards to groups that had failed to properly file grant applications. Most of these were to African American groups.
During these meetings Jackson was also intolerant of questions by Commissioners Louis Johnson and Mike Middleton. Flexing his “president muscles”, he arbitrarily kicked these two Commissioners off of the Committee before the final funding votes. This action was unprecedented.
Jackson also attempted to railroad the recommendation of the subcommittee studying the fate of the Confederate memorial. He later voted to have the memorial removed.
After one committee meeting in early December he attempted to recruit another Commissioner to take over a Louis Johnson chaired committee so he could fire Johnson.
Jackson also became very critical of the media, and on many occasions criticized reporting (about him) during Commission meetings. Seemingly if anything was published not to his liking, the report was inaccurate and/or bias.
Jackson openly acknowledges that he is a protégé of Glover, and has praised him as his mentor. Jackson’s public comments to the media became more and more “Gloveresque” during the year.
And once the United Daughters of the Confederacy filed suit over the Commission removal vote, Jackson became, in his own mind, a de facto legal expert on the litigation issues. Many believe that his information source was from another one of his mentors, former councilman Calvin Lester.
During the last half of 2017, Jackson took advantage of every opportunity for make photo ops and public appearances that were more mayoral in character than parish business. And it was during that interval that he became less tolerant of Commission disagreement with his agenda.
During 2017 Jackson also had legal challenges concerning switched plates on vehicles that he purchased for re-sale. His explanations were pathetic, blaming a witch hunt by Shreveport Police and his failure due to pressing Commission business.
Jackson’s political immaturity is a definite liability for him if he qualifies for mayor. Additionally his lock step association with Glover and Lester will create many challenges for him. And those that study his politically motivated antics as president of the Commission will also have plenty of questions for Jackson.
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