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Shreveport City Council discusses tougher curfews, liquor license concerns

(Ellis Wiltsey)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 3:46 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 9:25 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Shreveport City Council meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 28 included discussion on tougher curfews due to ongoing violence, concerns over too many liquor stores and the Guaranteed Income Program.

The council voted to pass an ordinance in support of the City of Shreveport’s Guaranteed Income Program. Councilmembers Grayson Boucher, James Flurry and John Nickelson voted against it.

The program will be initially funded by $500,000 from the MGI and matching funds of $450,000 from other non-city sources for a total of $950,000. It will pay a random selection of up to 110 Shreveport citizens $600 per month for a year. Participants must be single parents with incomes not to exceed 120% of the federal poverty level. Half of the participants will be selected from the poorest zip codes which include 71101, 71103, 71107, 71108 and 71109. Mayor Adrian Perkins will announce the launch of the program on Oct. 18, along with the availability of program applications.

Issuing liquor licenses was a big topic of discussion at the last council meeting, with several N. Market residents saying they want more than fast food places and liquor stores near their homes.

Councilmembers Tabatha Taylor and Nickelson put forth an ordinance that would encourage the Metropolitan Planning Commission to place a 12-month moratorium on liquor licenses.

The ordinance goes on to say the moratorium would allow time for the city to have a comprehensive review of it’s zoning and land use classifications and regulations in regard to liquor licenses and stores that sell alcohol in the city.

Councilmembers Taylor and Nickelson say it’s better to serve citizens who live in area most affected by the stores.

”What I am not going to continue to look at is the plethora of liquor stores that want to plague black and brown communities.,” said Taylor. “I’m not going to continue to look at that as the only viable option for economic development.”

Other councilmembers disagreed with a blanket moratorium, as well as the length of time, suggesting a six-month moratorium as opposed to a 12-month.

“I just hate to see us go into a blanket moratorium because I do think, to a certain extent, it sends a message like Councilman Bowman said: that we may not be open for business,” said Boucher.

Several city council members agreed this was a bigger issue and that they wanted to look into it more. Today, the council initially voted in support of a moratorium. However, several minutes later they went back to the issue and ended up voting to postpone a decision on the ordinance. The vote came out 4-3, with Councilmembers Green, Taylor and Nickelson voting against the postponement.

”I think 12 months is a little long,” said Councilwoman LeVette Fuller. “I completely understand the issue and I agree that we have created a hostile and toxic environment in our poor neighborhoods that don’t have political leverage. But I also think there are other ways we should be looking at this.”

“I thought the one year moratorium Councilwoman Taylor and I proposed would be an excellent way to facilitate a reasoned study of the problem and come up with the solutions to what has been historically, a very pervasive problem,” said Nickelson.

The council also voted to introduce an ordinance amending the city’s juvenile curfew. If passed, the ordinance would amend the definition of a juvenile to “a person who has not attained 18 years of age.” The curfew currently defines a juvenile as “a person who has not attained 17 years of age.”

It would also allow parents to be fined on the second instead of third offense if their juvenile breaks the curfew.

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