On the Issues: Jobs, Development & Growth: There is no one in Shreveport who thinks we are the same city we were eight years ago. We look different, we think differently, we act differently and the state around us has changed. Our population now makes us Louisiana's second largest city and we need someone in the Mayor's Office who is going to make that point in Baton Rouge and Washington. We have needs, opportunities and wants that must be addressed. I-49 north cannot be put on the back burner. Our port must be allowed to continue to thrive and grow, our hospitals should be encouraged to continue to invest in Shreveport as a regional medical center. We must be able to change and adapt to the needs of the film industry and other new and different businesses that as yet, may not even be on our horizon. We must continue to encourage Baton Rouge to treat our gaming boats as the huge economic generator and job producer that they are, not as a golden egg to crack and discard, but at the same time we must prepare ourselves with viable alternatives if Texas allows casino gambling. We must continue to foster an arts and culture initiative that will not only provide jobs, but will give people reason to stay here. Going forward is not AN option, it is the ONLY option. We need leadership with the vision for the future and a charismatic and convincing salesperson to encourage others to share our vision.
Investing in our Neighborhoods: Shreveport's division of Code Enforcement has the same burden as the police department. No one ever calls them when they are happy, or to give a compliment. They call when they are mad at someone in their neighborhood for letting things go to seed and then are irritated when the city doesn't react more swiftly. Believe me when I say that I understand. My neighborhood of Highland has a number of absentee landlords who do nothing but collect the rent, there are houses that need to be torn down, lots that are overgrown and on trash day (or several days before) the curbs are lined with old furniture, appliances and heaven-knows-what. When you care about your neighborhood and put money into your property, the last thing you want is a neighbor who does not. There are some gentle reminders and some not-so-gentle tactics that the city can use to make these owners want to do the right thing. Let's face it, some of these folks have gotten pretty wealthy out of finding creative ways of skirting their moral and legal obligations to their tenants, their neighborhoods and their city. I would enjoy costing them both money and sleepless nights, while at the same time encouraging them to see the light and do the right thing.
Water, Sewerage & Roads: Water, sewerage and roads spell infrastructure, which is a large word for the stuff that makes the city work right. Though we have put significant amounts into infrastructure improvements over the last eight years, we need millions more, though not necessarily all at one time. Pipes and asphalt and concrete may not be especially sexy, but when you're standing in the shower of your new home and your water slows to a trickle because someone flushed the toilet, it's a major concern. Ditto for the person in the rental unit who loses everything because the pressure at the hydrant isn't quite enough to put out the fire, or the homeowner who wakes up to raw sewerage under the house because the city line was cracked, allowing rain water to flow in and back up everything else. We'll be taking a look at our infrastructure needs first thing and making citizen-informed and led decisions on what to tackle now and what to put on a pay as we go plan.