SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The new mayor of Shreveport just recently observed his 100th day in office, earlier this month.
Those first days are often used as a symbolic measure of a newly-elected official and what we may be able to expect in the future.
So, we sat down with Mayor Adrian Perkins to address his successes and challenges in the first 3-and-a- half months of holding office, since being sworn in on December 29, 2018.
During our time with him, Perkins focused squarely on 3 primary issues: Economic development, public safety, and technology to make Shreveport a so-called 'smart city.'
Starting with economic development, Perkins pointed to several big wins already. “The Super A-T-V brought 75 jobs to Shreveport,” stated Perkins.
“Also, C-M-I-T, the Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy. We have that $14 million expansion that they’re going through. The governor and I broke ground on that a couple of weeks ago.”
With public safety, Perkins described the low points as coming during high profile violent events, which Perkins fears can skew public perception about crime in Shreveport.
As for the high point so far, Perkins said less crime. "We've had a 9 percent reduction in violent crimes, year-to-date."
As for technology - the vision is to make Shreveport a so-called 'smart city.' He cited one example as the use of something called "Smart Grid."
“For instance we have water. The city delivers water to its citizens. So a smart grid system would have sensors on the actual pipes to let you know if there was ever a, you know, a burst pipe, if the water pressure was low, if there was a leak, you name it."
Mayor Perkins' tenure has not been without controversy. Case in point, when the city council voted down his plan to set trash pickup fees at 18 dollars.
Privately, several sources told us that so far Perkins' inability to build alliances and common ground on this and other contentious issues behind the scenes 'before' it goes public has led to confrontations which could have and should have been avoided.
Mayor Perkins acknowledged the growing curve in becoming the mayor of a city saying, "Yeah. No, I'm doing it. I'm building those relationships, as well."
After all, Perkins reminded us, he has only been on the job a little more than 100 days.
Perkins also credits SPD's success with community-oriented policing for likely playing a part in keeping crime down.
On Tuesday, in part two of our conversation with the mayor, Perkins gives us some self-imposed grades on his performance, to date.