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Monday, May 20, 2019

Do Not Believe Everything You Hear

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Are Shreveporters really ready to handle the truth?

Americans average about 11 lies per week. There are major ones, and minor ones, of course. Maybe it’s an excuse on why you were late or didn’t complete a task. Maybe it’s when a friend asks your opinion on a matter, and you wanted to be polite more than you wanted to tell the truth.

Well, it turns out this may be impacting your health. Linda Stroh, a professor emeritus of organizational behavior at Loyola University in Chicago, explains that “when you find that you don’t lie, you have less stress, and being very conflicted adds an inordinate amount of stress to your life.”

In fact, a recent study indicated that as individuals tell more lies, their physical and mental health declines. Conversely, as the number of lies decrease, our health improves.

So, might this same principle also be true about our city’s health as well? Are we lying to one another about race relations and the race baiters in our city who keep us rooted in the past? Are we lying to one another about the longterm, crippling cost of higher and higher taxes? Or the generational “backroom deals” and cronyism within City Hall that drive investment out of the city, along with good-paying jobs? Are we speaking truthfully about why our schools are failing and why so many of our public officials often act in their own best interest, rather than in ours?

Most times, we don’t. Instead, we tell ourselves a “story.” Maybe because it’s more convenient, or do some prefer illusion to the truth?

For example, what honest person believes it was coincidental that Roddrelle Sykes, the first cousin of Mayor Perkins’ campaign manager, just happened to be chosen as the city’s insurance agent of record and given a $250,000 bonus check to boot? What are the odds of that?

Who really believes the Perkins administration’s claim that we’re now paying double the insurance cost for one-half of the insurance coverage just because of changes in “market rates”?

Who thought it made any sense when Adrian Perkins said he kept “Shreveport close to his heart,” even though he had already bought a house in Georgia before making the “sacrifice” (as Councilman Willie Bradford wrote in an op-ed last year) to come back to Shreveport (and supposedly save us all)?

Who really believes that it’s coincidental that nearly the exact dollar amount that Mayor Adrian Perkins owed the Shreveport Convention Center on April 23 (for his inauguration gala last December) also happens to be the same amount ($40,000) that he has asked the City Council to give his non-profit organization?

And why did Mayor Perkins say that former Mayor Tyler spent $60,000 and former Mayor Glover spent $500,000 of public funds on transition team expenses, when Tyler says she spent NO money on transition team expenses, and Glover says his transition team expenses were never paid with any public dollars? Even Art Thompson, the clerk of the City Council, researched the matter and has said that there have been no funds allocated by the City Council for transition teams in either of the past two mayoral administrations.

Who really thinks that Assistant City Attorney Karen Strand’s resignation wasn’t because she was “pushed out” of the City Attorney’s Office? Even Councilwoman LeVette Fuller says Strand’s departure means the City Council has been “knee-capped” by the mayor.

And how many of you feel bamboozled for believing this mayor’s election was going to be different? After all, when Adrian Perkins was campaigning for mayor last year, he presented himself as an “open-book” politician and told us that transparency enables good government. We were told the back-room deals with the businesses and influence peddlers who scurry around City Hall were over. We were reminded of his West Point Honor Code that he “will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.” We were assured, in his inauguration speech, that “(e) veryone must have a seat at the table.”

But who, in their right mind, believes this has happened?

The bottom line is that honesty still means something in this world, and not telling me something or hiding something on purpose is just the same as lying. In the end, it’s not that the people of Shreveport cannot handle the truth – it’s that we can’t prosper in the absence of it.

And that’s no lie.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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