Well, it could have been worse.
Thankfully the vote was not to sponsor a hog calling contest limited to white bubba males.
But the sponsorship of a film festival is just as bad on the basis of public policy.
And it probably is illegal.
By a 4-2 vote on Tuesday, the Shreveport City Council voted to reimbursement up to $10,000 of expenses incurred by a black lady for a film festival.
The festival is limited to African American movie directors and African American screenwriters.
Of the 17 short films selected, only 2 were filmed locally. (Compare that to the requirement of the Gregory Kallenberg’s festivals that require all films be shot in this area.)
The event sponsor advised the Council that she had all of the festival’s expenses covered but just hoped the city would reimburse her costs.
And yes, this young lady obviously still believes in Santa Clause!
The vote is more questionable for several reasons.
Initially, the event is sponsored by an individual, not a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC).
Secondly, there is no tax exempt status for this event.
Thirdly, the virtually last-minute application for city money does not follow the established procedure to apply for event funding.
Voting to approve this very questionable funding were council members Stephanie Lynch, Willie Bradford, James Flurry and Jeff Everson. Oliver Jenkins and Mike Corbin voted “no.” Jerry Bowman abstained from the vote.
The Council vote does require that the standard Cooperative Endeavor Agreement be executed with the City. Also, the requirement of a third party fiscal agent to disburse the funds on the basis of bona fide receipts was added.
Needless to say, this vote violates all standards of good government.
It also sets a terrible precedent that will most likely lead to further fiscal abuse if in fact any funds are paid.
Litigation can be expected to stop the funding until a court decides if the same meets the requirements of the Louisiana Constitution.
In the meantime, maybe a white bubba hog calling contest should be scheduled and funding from the Council requested.