- Elliott Stonecipher
Saturday, March 31, 2018 … 2:28 P.M.
Unbelievably so, sources inside Shreveport City Hall say the partners in the Cross Bayou Point development are already lining up City Council votes for a key approval of their $1 billion scheme.
(Other articles I have recently written on this topic are linked below.)
Specifically, these local political insiders are working to lock-in a City Council majority to quickly score a “MOU” – memorandum of understanding – for their supposed monstrosity.
Project pushers apparently want a City Council vote for their MOU just after the April 28th vote on Mayor Ollie Tyler’s property tax hikes.
Were it not for the stomach-churning fact that such is actually possible in today’s Shreveport City Hall, this notion would be purely laughable. The smidgen of details taxpayers have about this confection certainly does not recommend any such action for a long time, if ever.
Likewise wrapped in secrecy, there was like intent to move quickly last year for such an agreement between parties had Mayor Tyler’s version of a Cross Bayou sports complex been approved by the City Council … rather than unanimously terminated.
Legally, the MOU would be a first step toward an eventual full-fledged contract between Cross Bayou Point (a.k.a. Gateway Development Consortium) partners and Shreveport citizens.
A directly put use for such is that developers could thereby immediately score so-called “front money” for the project.
Given the long list of serious environmental and other defects in any such development just north of downtown Shreveport, any quick public money handover to “developers” would hammer any claim of project legitimacy.
Lurking just below the surface, as always, is the open question as to who – actually, really, truthfully – is in on this deal, and will thereby pocket any public money. The rumored list is a who’s who of such actors, some notably linked to at least one would-be mayoral candidate.
As detailed in my March 12th article and the related KTBS Television News report three days ago (linked below), already screaming at us are stunning conflicts-of-interest between the project and our increasingly suspect Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC).
Should the project actually be approved, the MPC would be key in untold numbers of its required regulatory approvals.
Two of the three project partners, former City Councilman Theron Jackson and attorney Curtis Joseph, Jr., are current MPC members. Jackson, to boot, is its Chairman, and leads a five-vote majority which has for months protected the endangered job of MPC staff boss Mark Sweeney.
The KTBS News story by Jon Du Pre is most directly about efforts now underway to dismantle the MPC and make it a City department. With that in mind, these comments by Theron Jackson are far, far more meaningful … and disturbing:
“MPC Board Chairman Theron Jackson — a former Shreveport city council member – vehemently disagrees with the idea of making the MPC a city department. Personally, I think it’s short-sighted,’ he says. ‘To pull it into the city, those who really know what’s going on now, it politicizes the process, and then, it becomes about who you know, not about a fair set of standards for every business, for everyone.’”
Since no responsible official is publicly talking, taxpayers must logically assume that the two MPC members AND Gateway Development Consortium partners, Jackson and Joseph, are also involved in efforts to score the MOU with the City Council.
© 2018 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
March 7, 2018:
March 12, 2018:
KTBS News, Jon Du Pre, March 28, 2018: