Officials advance, table effort to move Confederate statue - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Officials advance, table effort to move Confederate statue

(Source: KSLA News 12) (Source: KSLA News 12)

Caddo commissioners moved forward Monday with a proposal to disband a citizens advisory committee charged with recommending the fate of the Confederate monument on the parish courthouse grounds.

The vote to advance the measure to Thursday's regular meeting passed 6 to 5.

Commissioners also agreed 9 to 2 to the introduction of an ordinance by Commissioner Lyndon Johnson that seeks to move the monument to a museum.

Then commissioners turned around and voted 7 to 4 to table Johnson's proposal until after the committee makes its recommendation Aug. 10.

A citizens advisory committee twice has tried to vote on a recommendation to the commission.

Both votes were delayed because members were absent. 

Johnson thinks the committee has reached a stalemate and the end of its life cycle.

"I really appreciate what they did to try to go out and get the public hearings done and hear all the different input from the public," the commissioner said before Monday's work session.

"But, at the same time, we need to move on. We need to actually have a vote. And we need to know what we are going to do."

Johnson wants commissioners to hash out what they need to hash out and vote on the monument one way or another.  

"To me, it's past due. We need to move on it. It's been lingering for over a year now. The citizens deserve something better from their elected officials. And we need to vote on it."

The vote to disband the committee will be on Thursday's regular session agenda. It will need to pass by a two-thirds majority. 

The ordinance to remove the monument will have to be reintroduced after Aug. 10. That's when the commission hopes to get the committee's recommendation. 

Several advisory committee members, including Chairman R.J. Johnson, were at the commission's work session Monday.

They urged commissioners to let them finish their work. The committee's members have given up their personal time to serve. 

Also on Monday's work session agenda was another proposal by Johnson.

This one calls for a fence to be erected around the Caddo Courthouse.

A similar ordinance failed in 2016.

Johnson said a sheriff's deputy asked that the ordinance be reintroduced.

The fence would help cut down on vandalism and homelessness on the courthouse grounds, the commissioner said. 

"It will help the Sheriff's Department and the Police Department secure the courthouse when the courthouse is not open a lot better than when it be just open ground like it is now."

Commissioners decided 8 to 3 to send Johnson's fence proposal back to the long-range planning committee for further study.

After Monday's work session, members of the parish's Animal Services Committee were to discuss whether to study the feasibility of a third party managing Caddo Parish Animal Services and Mosquito Control. 

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