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. Some weeks I was both – depending on who reads what I wrote.
But that’s all okay. I do not write bedtime stores. Nor do I pen fairy tales that always end “happily ever after”.
But there were always been two constants. The first being that “Settle” is not “subtle”. The other being that Settle does not “sell out”.
But times have suddenly changed. Turncoat, traitor and puppet are now being mentioned with my name.
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, my grandchild and all Sheveporters.
I was especially intrigued by his “Future of Shreveport “ (FOS) endeavor. Actually I published on this project and the fact it was modeled after New Orleans Mayor Cantrells “Forward Together New Orleans”.
The charge for the committees FOS is to develop white paper action plans. Perkins wants recommendations for actionable, measurable goals to be accomplished in his first term.
I was not selected for any of the eight FOS Committees. Out of interest I attended 6 of the first 8 committees as an observer. And I helped the facilitators in small ways like being a “go-fer”.
Thereafter I was asked to assist in the remaining 3 FOS committee meetings.
I have now attended all of the second and third set of committee meetings. I also have lined up speakers for the committees, obtained requested information and helped locate a meeting location.
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 is not an official arm of the Perkin’s administration. But he does have a duty of loyalty, at least in his mind, to the Future of Shreveport project until it is completed. And that means there is a conflict of interest in criticizing the mayor, his actions and his staff until the release of the report.
Despite the lack of any brickbats thrown by Settle at Perkins, other members of the media have not been on a sabbatical. The change by Perkins in insurance agents has been the subject of considerable press scrutiny, almost all of which was not favorable.
Other hot media topics include his proposed Clean City User Fee, Perkin’s removal of persons from appointed boards, and his assistance with the Caddo School Board and University of New Orleans agreement regarding admission of students. And the list goes on.
Even the most ardent Perkins critics should acknowledge some positives of his administration. At the first regular council meeting, he briefed council members on the finances of the city’s sanitation department and the city’s astonishing low reserves.
He named the city’s first Chief Technology Officer by filling an open position in the Information Technology office.
He attended and actively participated in, the U.S. Conference for Mayors.
He was one of twenty mayors selected to participate in the Civic/10 Mayor’s Summit at the heralded South by Southwest conference in Austin.
His administration has provided substantial information on the Environmental Protection Agency consent decree. Now the council knows why the initial $350 million compliance estimate is now $1.1 billion tab.
A new mayor is traditionally given a 100 day political honeymoon. Counting from his December 29 inauguration, that ends on April 9th.
More could be said.
Much like all other first time officials there is an expected learning curve. It is no different for Perkins or the three new council members.
That being said, Settle is still committed to “pooping out” the facts on local government issues. Bloodletting is not required for this endeavor.
Have no fear, Settle has not become a political “wuss”. Skeptics just need to follow next issues of 318 Forum.
(This article was published in The Forum on Monday, March 25, 2019)