Shreveport mayor’s comments about race draw backlash

Shreveport city council ends abruptly

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Shreveport Mayor Perkins has responded to our question — do you believe there is a racial divide on the city council?

“Of course. The City Council is a reflection of our community and Shreveport is divided. Most of our churches are racially divided and, as a city, we suffer incredible economic disparity. I want to bring everyone together and work to move our whole city forward but to do that, we need to have uncomfortable conversations.” —Mayor Adrian Perkins

A special meeting called by Mayor Perkins ended just minutes after it started Tuesday, March 3.

The meeting, scheduled only 24 hours in advance, was set to discuss the Chief Financial Officer position for the city of Shreveport. However, public comment was left off the agenda, leaving the council no choice but to adjourn minutes after calling order.

“What would have to happen is that there would have to be a unanimous vote to add the issue, or excuse me, to add public comment to the notice or to the agenda so that could take place before the council acts on any items,” said City Attorney, Mekisha Creal. “Without that, the meeting would be improper and in violation of open meetings law.”

Last week’s meeting took a turn for the worse after several city council members walked out of the meeting.

Mayor Perkins called out those councilmen for voting down his choice for the chief administrative officer position. Over the weekend he had even stronger words about the role he says race is playing in Shreveport politics.

“There is an effort to undermine my administration, but it is much bigger than that. Efforts by some of the local Republican Party obstruct progress and rewrite city charter to strip power away from black elected officials," said Perkins.

However, Councilman Grayson Boucher messaged KSLA’s Doug Warner with a statement about Perkins’s comments.

“I find the recent comments of Mayor Perkins during his state of Black Shreveport speech this weekend disturbing at best," said Boucher. “It is sad and disheartening that a Mayor, elected by several different races and political affiliations, would say such divisive comments.”

The next Shreveport City Council meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 9 where the CFO appointment is expected to be brought up again.

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