Just Talkin’ 2 …..May 24, 2018

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Tuesday evening, the contestant JT thought would come out fourth, won the “Voice” singing competition. And the one he thought would win came in third. Gee!

JT is getting to old to judge public opinion! If you are a television viewer, Monday night was frustrating. The channels would not change fast enough. At the start of the evening, the  pre-program to Shreveport’s Miss USA contest pre-empted Wheel of Fortune. Missing Vanna turn those letters is like missing the morning newspaper.

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All the pre-program did was tout how smart Shreveport was to hold the pageant during the same hour as two other national contest finals —The Voice and Dancing with the Stars. Absolutely brilliant! Since the three programs aired at the same time, JT could not switch fast enough to hear one sing, another dance and another strut down the runway. Frustrating!

On a serious note, whether the parish form of government is the current Parish Council or the Police Jury, road maintenance isn’t likely to improve. Both systems are administrative in nature and neither will generate the great sums of money to fix the roads.

The Parish Council concentrates the power in the parish president and the council members are only advisory. This is like the city’s strong mayor form of government. In the police jury system, jurors had a lot more control of what happened in their district, or at least their constituents perceived that they did.

This is where the problem lies. If the juror had more power, the residents felt he or she would be more responsive and could get things done, like building better roads. Many just do not realize that parish government is responsible for a lot more than building roads. And they don’t like to hear that. For instance, Head Start, the criminal court system and inmate care.

Funding for those programs, many of which are mandated, can’t be used for roads. Under either system there is not going to be more money because Natchitoches is a rural, sparsely populated parish that is the third largest, land-wise, in the state with a tremendous number of miles of bad roads. The tax base is not here. Oil and gas severance taxes come and go. The main generator of property taxes in the parish are the pipelines and utilities, not residents’ taxes. Our main natural resource is timber. We chose to live here in the wilderness, which JT thinks is great and is head and shoulders better that living in a metropolis. But it certainly has its drawbacks. One of them is that our tax base is not enough to repair the bad roads log trucks travel. And elections cost money. If it’s not during a general election will cost the parish about $50,000. That could fix a lot of potholes.