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Bossier spending way up; public doesn't know why

Bossier Parish contemplates spending for fiscal year 2023 that will leap by a fifth. If only citizens knew why without going to a lot of inconvenience related to the opaque way the Police Jury does business.

Next week, the Jury will consider final adoption of the budget, going from $103 million in FY 2022 to $128 million this year. Major areas of increased spending include judicial functions, up $2.5 million to $6.2 million; public works, up $12.5 million to nearly $55 million; and culture and recreation, up over $6 million to nearly $17 million. Revenues hardly have kept pace, actually falling over $2 million from last year to almost $91 million. And that’s with state and other funds (from the federal government in special one-time payments such as in the name of the pandemic and Democrat-imposed spending bills) down about that much year-over-year. The parish has to dip into reserves as a result, leaving $61 million left.

This accounting isn’t precise. The Jury posts on its website the budget after its adoption, in broad categories for the general fund and for each special fund. But it doesn’t list figures from the previous year, either budgeted or actually spent. So, the actually spent figures may differ, and substantially, but if you want to know for sure, you’ll either have to trawl through every meeting’s minutes to see if the Jury made adjustments or make a public records request and hope a document with a running tally exists.


North LA racially polarized voting perhaps waning

A couple of interesting theories about the nature of politics emerged from Shreveport’s recently-concluded mayor’s race, especially in context of other north Louisiana major cities. These deserve further scrutiny.

Banging around the rumor mill is that Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver lost, despite his many decades in elected offices and longstanding alliances in a majority-black electorate against white Republican Tom Arceneaux, because he didn’t try hard enough, His real goal, so goes the argument, was to deny Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins reelection, and once he had done so with Perkins failing to make the runoff, he checked out, explaining his lackluster performance.

It's an intuitively simple explanation as to why Arceneaux won in fairly convincing fashion a contest by the numbers he had no business winning. It also has a lot of problems, beginning with Tarver treating the contest from start to finish very seriously.


Edwards one loser after Shreveport elections

Shreveport city elections provided a bumper crop of winners and losers, besides the obvious mayoral victor Republican Tom Arceneaux and other vanquished non-Republicans in the contest, specifically Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver.

WINNER: Local black elected Democrats other than Tarver allies. In politics in Shreveport’s black community, Tarver is the last of the pioneers and over the years increasingly has polarized this arena. While leftist at its foundation and built upon the idea of black empowerment, Tarver has embraced the system rather than trying to reshape it – he’s not woke by any stretch of the imagination – utilizing his power and skills to make gains for the black community as he sees it.

Over time, a majority of black elected city and parish officials in the have swung away from alliances with him, because they take a more militantly ideologically stance and/or because they prefer not to hitch their fortunes to his constellation. A Tarver win would have put them on the outside of city governance with little influence in it, but with his defeat they can cooperate selectively with the Arceneaux administration while shunting Tarver and his allies to the background.


Race less relevant in north LA mayor elections

It began in Monroe in 2020 and by the end of 2022 all four of north Louisiana’s major cities will have white mayors, mostly new and not Democrats among cities mostly with black Democrat-majority electorates, challenging existing notions about what candidates can win where.

This remarkable development north of Interstates 10/12 started with the election of independent Friday Ellis in Monroe, knocking off longtime black incumbent Democrat Mayor Jamie Mayo. Then, Monroe’s electorate contained 63 percent Democrats and 55 percent black Democrats.

In 2021, in Bossier City Republican Tommy Chandler beat GOP Mayor Lo Walker, who had been in office or served as city chief administrative officer for 32 years, Then, the electorate was about 80 percent white and over half Republican.


Arceneaux cracked black solidarity to triumph

In understanding the Shreveport mayor’s election, the 2006 contest wasn’t the proper benchmark to explain Republican Tom Arceneaux’s upset victory over Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver, it was Monroe’s 2020 race, thereby providing a model for potential future GOP wins.

Despite a black majority electorate and a majority of Democrats in it, Arceneaux not only defeated Tarver, he won going away with 56 percent of the vote. It marks the first time since 2006 the city had a white mayor and only its third Republican ever, the first since 1998.

That 2006 election provided a cautionary lesson why this triumph seemed so unlikely. Back then, in the general election Republican Jerry Jones plus two other Republicans gained 45 percent of the vote, leaving black Democrat Cedric Glover at 32 percent, and white Democrat Liz Swaine got 13 percent. That math should have given Jones a close victory in an electorate then barely majority white.