Well, it has been a Baptism by Fire for the 3 new council members
Lavette Fuller, John Nicholson, and Grayson Boucher have had their plates full with controversial issues since being sworn into office on Dec. 29.
The clean city user fee and the change in city insurance agents have been major political fires consuming much time and energy. Thankfully, one of these has been put to bed.
But what about some other issues that should be addressed?
Already Fuller has struggled with a request by the Crawfest sponsors to provide support for their festival. The ordinance she amended set a precedent on SPAR assistance.
Fuller’s district includes Columbia Park and Betty Virginia Park. Both of these venues are used for several festivals and events every year.
At the same time the council has approved city assistance to a triathlon in Bossier City and a local church. Seemingly with all the concerns over cutting the budget, these sponsorships should raise some alarms.
Bossier City did not support the triathlon. And the U.S. Constitution has strong prohibitions against church and state partnerships.
Nickelson has sponsored several ordinances dealing with the city government and the powers of the mayor. Surely he is concerned about the sponsorships—he praised the Crawfest and he is a legal scholar.
None of the newbies have said boo about the NGO (non government organizations) funding in the 2019 budget. They will be faced this fall with more requests by private groups for city assistance. Now would be a good time to start formulating criteria for city funding,
Also mum is the word on city assistance with events. SPAR will receive many, many more requests that cost the city money this year. SPAR provides crowd control barriers, stages, cleanup, and other labor to support events.
The city spent $1.1 million in private attorney fees last year. Nickelson was one of these attorneys. He should have some insight on how to reduce fees . To date, the has only focused on fees for bond counsel.
Boucher has opposed an ordinance dealing with Shreveport Police Department staffing and funding. Although he continually talked of cost cutting, he has not suggested any amendments to the Shreveport Fire Department budget. But then he is a former fire chief.
All this is to say that the 3 newbies have put their toes in the water with issues that have come before the council—and in a big way. That’s their jobs. But its also their jobs to use there personal expertise/background to be pro active.
Dealing with who gets city money and city support is a hot potato. All three have sacred cows in their districts.
And the same with taking anything away from fireman, who enjoy a “hero” reputation with citizens. The Shreveport police are seemingly a whipping boy for all social ills.
To their credit all three have been active in council meeting and council committee meetings. Hopefully they will devote some energy to issues that will not go away and also need attention.