OUR TIME IS NOW: Positive changes are on the horizon

In Community, Lola Shreveport, Myron Griffing by Lola Magazine

written from the perspective of  Myron Griffing with space interiors

There is a new sheriff in town!

That’s a misnomer actually…it’s a considerably higher position.  Shreveport has overwhelmingly elected Adrian Perkins as our new mayor.  I am THRILLED with this result and encourage each of you reading this to actively support this incredibly bright young man (33 years old) in whatever capacity you can.  Before I go any further, I’ll let you know that I am a progressive Republican.  There is a vast difference between being a progressive vs. a liberal.

This is a definitive new chapter for Shreveport, in fact, it’s an entirely new book!  Mr. Perkins brings with him something Shreveporters haven’t felt in a looooong time…Hope!  Our city struggled with leadership, civic pride and regional perception since the 1980s. But, those days are (hopefully) in the past.   I cannot predict the future, but my gut tells me this will NOT be the same city in 4 to 8 years.

Shreveport has a long history of “missing the boat” and or “dropping the ball.”

Here are just a few examples of some of our larger flubs:

  • We owned country music from the 1930-60s with the Louisiana Hayride at Municipal Auditorium.  That genre migrated to Nashville, and by all appearances seems to have worked out quite well for them.
  • In the late 1960s, we passed on a small technology company called IBM.  They moved their southern headquarters to Austin, where they currently employ over 6,000 people.
  • We passed on an Anheuser-Busch bottling plant in the early 1970s; we lost Western Electric, we lost GM and as recently as 2017 flubbed an opportunity to land Range Rover because our “leadership” decided to align itself with the yet-to-be-manufactured Elio Motors.  Who? EXACTLY my point!
  • Our most recent example of ineptness came with a proposed $150+ million private investment, multi-use arena, living and retail along Cross Bayou. This opportunity has since chosen Birmingham, Ala., as its new home.  The facility was pushed as a sports arena for the Pelican basketball franchise of New Orleans, but its primary purpose would have been a much needed mid-sized, multi-use arena for events such as cheer competitions, state basketball tournaments, smaller concerts, etc. That’s a $150 million, predominantly private investment, that passed on us because it was poorly presented to the city council and citizens.

Is it any wonder Shreveport has been stagnant for 30+ years…geesh.

We now have an excellent opportunity with Mr. Perkins to finally change this self-destructive course we’ve been on for so many years.

Perkins’ plans include but are not limited to:

  • Hire 2-3 full time economic developers to target Manufacturing and Technology and Tourism.
  • Work with local business leaders to develop partnerships and programs.
  • Restructure the M.P.C. (Metropolitan Planning Commission) to be busy friendly
  • Put more officers on the streets to curtail the crime. He is not a magician however, this is going to involve more community efforts as well.
  • Make Shreveport a “smart city” by installing high speed internet, which most larger companies look for.  And the list goes on and on.

These examples alone are more progressive thinking than the last 3 mayors combined!

This is our opportunity as law-abiding, hard-working, tax-paying citizens to stand up to those who care nothing of our city, continuously bring us down, who rob us of our pride, our sense of safety and opportunity to live and have a better quality of life.  This is the time for us to support our new leader who only wants the best for ALL Shreveporters!  Mayor Perkins didn’t just pander to his party constituents, he was the ONLY candidate whom made assertive bipartisan efforts and reached out to black folks, white folks, rich folks, po folks and everyone in between.  He is intelligent enough to know that nepotism is inane and serves only a few, not the whole.  He is a natural leader and will do everything in his power to better Shreveport for all citizens!

I am excited about this and I hope you are as well.  But he cannot bear this burden alone. We have a responsibility to help him. Each person has a strength they can contribute to better our community. Start small but think BIG!  I could literally stand on this soapbox for another 4 paragraphs, but I will leave you with this.

It matters not what Shreveport once was; it matters not what Shreveport currently is…the only thing that truly matters is where we want Shreveport to be!  Mayor Adrian Perkins has a roadmap for us to get there, who’s up for the drive?