Goodness, its suddenly a “damn if you do”. And a “damn if you don’t”. For many years my columns subjected me to a never-ending name-calling.
Some weeks I was a hero. Other weeks I was a goat and some weeks, both—depending on who reads what I wrote.
But that’s all okay. I do not write bedtime stories.
When Adrian Perkins was elected mayor I emailed him congratulations. Along with an offer to assist him for his first few months.
My reasons were simple.
I wanted then—as I do now— for Perkins to be “successful” as mayor. Not only for his future political career, but for me now. As well as my children and my grandchild.
I was especially intrigued by his Future of Shreveport (F0S) endeavor. Actually I published on this project and the fact it was modeled after New Orleans Mayor Cantrells Forward Together New Orleans.
I was not selected to be on one of the eight FOS committees. I attended 6 of the first 8 committee and actually helped with the sessions being a “go-fer.’
Thereafter I was asked to assist in the remaining 3 FOS committee meetings. I attended all of the second and third set of committee meetings.
Three committees have wrapped up their meetings. The remaining committees will have one last session next month. The report is scheduled for release in early May, maybe sooner. When the report is released my commitment to the FOS will end.
So…despite some accusations, Settle has not sold out. And he is not an official arm of the Perkins administration. But he does have a duty of loyalty to the Future of Shreveport project until it is completed.
That means there is a conflict of interest in criticizing the mayor, his actions and his staff. At least until the release of the report.
And its not like there has been a news vacuum in the last few months about controversial actions/inaction of the mayor. The change in insurance agents has been the subject of considerable press scrutiny, almost all of which was not favorable.
Other critics have zeroed in on how the mayor introduced his Clean City User Fee, his removal of persons from appointed boards, and his assistance with the Caddo School Board and University of New Orleans agreement regarding admission of students.
A new mayor is traditionally given a 100 day honeymoon. Counting from his inauguration on Dec. 29, Perkins will have been mayor for about 80 days. Much like all other first term mayors, there is a learning curve for Perkins which was expected.
For those that like to throw rocks, the city council should not be shielded.
The council has diddled on the proposed garbage fee for over 2 months.
The council has delayed approval of a much needed engineer to closely supervise the $100 million that will be spent on the EPA consent decree this year. An additional $500 million will be spent in the following years.
The council fumbled, very badly, in its handling of a request for city assistance with the Crawfest.
Brickbats have been thrown at its sponsors and at the head of Shreveport Parks and Recreation. But the council has gotten an unmerited free ride on this debacle.
At the Monday work session, all was well with the proposed cooperative endeavor agreement. At the regular Tuesday meeting all hell broke loose in a mad scramble by council member Levette Fuller to change the rules.
Although Fuller tried to play the role of a mediator, she really stumbled by first saying that repayment should be made if the festival netted $15 thousand, but then changed the amount to $20 thousand.
Obviously Fuller had not consulted with the city attorney’s office on the standard procedure on proposed cooperative endeavor agreements. These are proposed by city departments but always must have approval by the city council. And to top if all off, the agreement she had enacted was a precedent.
No one has questioned a cooperative endeavor agreement to assist a triathlon to be held in Bossier Parish. Or one to assist a local church, which pushes the boundaries of the church-state constitutional prohibition.
So... the local media has had plenty to write about at city hall. Both pro and con.
My columns have continued, with a goal of education and insight. Seemingly that is not appreciated as much as blood spilling and arrow throwing.
DISCLAIMER: John Settle is assisting with the Future of Shreveport initiative of Mayor Adrian Perkins.