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BC offers wasting money to thwart popular will

Perhaps coming as no surprise, Bossier City doesn’t appear ready to want to make history and desires to waste more taxpayer dollars in the process.

Earlier this month, organizers of a charter change that would place term limits on city elected officials, three for all past and present mayors and councilors, successfully completed the petition drive. The city charter says a third of the amount of votes cast from the previous mayoral election, of valid registered city voters at the time of petition submission to the parish registrar of voters, may ask for this, which was verified by her – a first in the city’s history.

The city charter in Chapter 5 outlines the process. After successful submission, the Council must pass an ordinance in favor of each of the propositions within 30 days of reception – practically speaking, during this week’s or the Aug. 1 meeting. If not, it must call an election for the public to weigh in within 90 days. That would force the election on Nov. 18 (the Oct. 14 ballot having closed out earlier this week), along with other parish and state runoff elections.


BC won't stop frittering away taxpayer bucks

A lot can happen in 22 minutes with the Bossier City Council – at its most recent meeting, too much of it not good for taxpayers in America’s biggest small town.

The Council faced a short agenda last week, having just met the week before with a holiday thrown in. Nonetheless, it managed to revisit two contentious items from the past and managed to botch both.

One readdressed the convoluted scheme to pay extra for crossing guards at city roads around two schools. Each institution lies just outside of city limits, but city roads access these. Until last year, the Bossier Parish School Board – with a budget substantially larger than the city’s – had school resource officers, who are sheriff’s deputies contracted to schools, direct traffic prior to and just after the school day but decided to have SROs stay in schools during these times. Instead of absorbing the costs, the Board cheekily billed both the city and parish for these, both of whom knuckled under – even though in the city’s case it didn’t pay up until three months after the school year started with the Board eating several thousand dollars of cost until the city forked over.


Succeeding Prator to act as political barometer

The Caddo Parish sheriff’s contest looms as the highest-profile this election cycle among the chief law enforcement officers and tax collectors of Louisiana, while also serving as a barometer of political change.

All but Orleans Parish will vote on these offices this fall, although the new terms won’t begin until the middle of 2024. The most populous, East Baton Rouge, finds Democrat long-tine Sheriff Sid Gautreaux at this point without competition, as occurred last time. But the next highest-populated, Caddo will welcome a newcomer with the deferral of Republican even longer-time Sheriff Steve Prator to attempt a seventh term.

At the beginning of June, Prator was all ready to go for that, but by the end of the month opted out after he evaluated his health as more tenuous than he had realized and decided to retire. Not long after he had announced he would run for reelection, Democrat Henry Whitehorn said he would entering the race, although claiming it wasn’t as a mission to oppose Prator. Republican Eric Hatfield, a perennial candidate with an extremely checkered past of legal problems and controversy over a stint as a constable that led to his defeat also has said he will run.


Bossier Jury must answer for unlawful behavior

The Bossier Parish Police Jury, and particularly Parish Administrator Joe E. “Butch” Ford, are back in hot water because an elected parish official, normally an establishment ally of theirs, carried out his sworn duties.

Ford has been mired in controversy ever since, without a formal search, he was named administrator at the start of 2022. State law mandates that such officials register to vote in the parish that they helm, but since the mid-1980s Ford had maintained a residence in Caddo Parish, had a homestead exemption attached to it, and had registered to vote there.

In fact, Ford didn’t change his registration to a Bossier Parish address until ten months into his contract, violating the law throughout. And when he did, he ran into another problem: his registration didn’t match his exemption, which state law said had to happen if a registrant declared a homestead. That took another three months to occur.


Inevitable veto session seeks double history

Perhaps the Louisiana Legislature will blaze yet another new trail this month, in two ways dealing with gubernatorial vetoes.

This branch of state government, with each chamber now controlled by Republican supermajorities, began making history in 2021 when for the first time it cued up a veto session in response to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoing high-profile popular bills passed by large majorities. With the House GOP then a bit below supermajority status required to meet override vote goals, it failed to repair the damage.

But it succeeded in 2022 when it had another veto session, although attached to a special session that led to the former occurring during the period allotted to the regular session. There, it went one-for-one in restoring congressional maps Edwards had vetoed.


Bossier establishment seeks to take down Mills

Even a less-demonstrative legislator can’t return to office without putting up a fight if he isn’t part of the good-old-boy network in the Bossier Parish.

Last month, Republican state Sen. Robert Mills received a challenge from GOP School Board Member Adam Bass for his Senate District 36 spot. Mills joins Republican state Rep. Dodie Horton in drawing opposition, in her case from GOP businessman Chris Turner, while Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh is looking to make the jump to the state Senate seat shared by Caddo and Bossier Parishes, conceptually the same as that held by term-limited GOP state Sen. Barrow Peacock, and who faces opposition from retired basketball coach Mike McConathy from the GOP.

Horton drew the ire of the parish’s political establishment when she spearheaded efforts to bring accountability to the Cypress Black Bayou Water Conservation and Recreation District, while Seabaugh’s sin was to back insurgent candidates in Bossier City elections. Yet Mills, by contrast, has kept a low profile in parish politics, whose majority-Bossier district after reapportionment will shift more decisively into the parish for the next eight years.