While largely low key, the Triple Crown of Shreveport mayoral forums this week couldn’t provide much in the way of information for voters, but it did give the candidates a chance to test out and shoot down some of each other’s main talking points.
Over three straight nights, local television stations presented topical forums, covering policies dealing with crime, economic development, and infrastructure. The format of answers less than a minute gave little opportunity for the candidates selected to participate – Republican former City Councilor Tom Arceneaux, no party Caddo Parish Commissioner Mario Chavez, Democrat Councilor LeVette Fuller, Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins, and Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver who opted out of the final one on infrastructure – to speak in more than broad platitudes, but, even so, on occasion succeeded in drawing contrasts to each other.
The embattled incumbent Perkins expectedly aggrandized his record, alleging that under his watch crime was down and the city’s fiscal health improved, pointing to most recent statistics that indicated increased city revenues and lower crime rates. He also took credit for some individual successes, such as pay raises for city employees, the expected buildout of an Amazon fulfillment center, and a supposedly incoming new baseball field with team to go with it in place of the half-demolished Fairgrounds Field, currently still standing only because of a court order halting any further destruction over health concerns.