Maybe you can fight City Hall

In Allendale Strong, Doing by John Perkins

Originally Published October 15, 2021 in The Inquisitor

 

Wasn’t it Otto von Bismark who said, “laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made”?  I’ve learned that if you can’t fight City Hall, you can go down their and “argue to agreement” with them. But like making sausage, it takes time, and you need a strong stomach for it.  It isn’t always pretty, but you can argue to agreement as one longtime Government Plaza groupie says.

Broadmoor Neighborhood Association (BNA) is one group that has been holding some large meetings, attracting government officials, and BNA seems to be coming to a consensus on what to do with the Arthur Circle Elementary building and grounds.

Attending recent meetings, and reading my emails you all, has inspired me that another neighborhood organization is getting busy taking charge of their destiny instead of sitting on their couches and waiting to see what self-appointed business elites and their various councils of government are doing.  BNA is considering taking their strong concerns about the future of their neighborhood and the City of Shreveport to the Caddo Parish School Board.

I haven’t written a book yet on how to work within the halls and confines of Government Plaza to argue to agreement, but I bet I could.  I’ve helped groups argue to agreement with City Hall on big projects like the Benson Boondoggle, that proposed to get us to borrow money to build a stadium so that the billionaire could bring his D League Basketball team here and charge us to watch their games and drink stadium priced beers and snacks.  A likeminded group, Stop Cross Bayou Point, made an even bigger play with a Facebook page, tee shirts, and yard signs, and stopped the Cross Bayou Point boondoggle that also asked us to borrow money to finance a private development project, while we all waited to bask in the glorious success that was promised by the developers from out of town.  Sounds like a Broadway musical and movie, doesn’t it?

These citizens led movements, the grandmother of them all is Allendale Strong, all start the same way, with a group of regular citizens meeting together. The groups are made up of folks that like Howard Beale, the fictional new anchor played by Peter Finch in the 1976 film Network, are, “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”.

The next real steps veer away from the movies.  Citizens don’t scream into the night or gather up pitchforks and torches.  But they do march on city hall sometimes with signs and tee shirts, you can’t bring signs or pitchforks into government chambers.  But you can bring neighbors to take their turn at the podium and speak for three minutes to their elected officials.  If you thought your elected officials only listen to the developers and business elites who pay to get them elected, you would’ve been right until a few years ago.  Show up and speak, Broadmoor.  Reach me at PerkWrites@gmail.com