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Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

Mayor Perkins Fumbles Badly

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Partisan and petty not a good look, locally or nationally

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins says the “rumor mill” was responsible for generating the allegations that he ordered the City’s police and fire departments not to help Bossier City, or the Secret Service, with the visit last week by President Donald Trump. Yet the sources of such claims came from many places – none of which, however, was the “rumor mill.”

First, it was Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator who confirmed that the Louisiana State Police had contacted him – just two days before Trump’s visit – and told him that the city of Shreveport was pulling their support. Then, Prator called Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond, who then told him also that, yes, the city’s police and fire departments would not be helping Bossier City or the Secret Service.

As if that wasn’t enough, Congressman Mike Johnson had also wanted to find out directly, so he called Mayor Perkins. Perkins told him, yes, he had pulled the city’s support, even though, according to the Secret Service, this is the first time ever that a city’s mayor refused to provide police and fire protection for any president’s visit.

Now, Perkins cites the Louisiana Constitution and state law to explain his refusal to lend assistance, saying public resources should not be used for political activity. However, the same Constitution and state law applies to police officers and firefighters throughout Louisiana. That includes Bossier Parish sheriff’s deputies, Bossier City police officers and firefighters, and Caddo Parish sheriff’s deputies, all of whom provided protection and support for those who attended the Trump rally last week. By Perkins’ reasoning, all of these first responders – especially Sheriffs Whittington and Prator – knowingly violated the Constitution and state law to do so.

But did they? By Perkins’ legal analysis, there should not have been any first responders at the CenturyLink Center. That’s ridiculous, though. However, maybe it is less about the law and more to do with the “petty politics” of it all, as Congressman Johnson suggested.

After all, for Perkins, it’s a no-lose scenario – as it is for so many other mayors across our country. Like other mayors, Perkins can insult Trump, and thereby pander to a Democrat voter base, in a city that is almost 60% African- American, where 25% of the population here is below the poverty level. The conventional wisdom among Democrats is that Trump is not only responsible for any economic inequality (even though African-American unemployment rates are historically low and wages are historically high), but that Trump’s a racist – and so are his supporters.

This is not unique to Shreveport, you see. In fact, city mayors have emerged as some of the Democrat Party’s most popular voices. Take, for example, the former mayor of Newark, N.J., who is now a U.S. Senator (Cory Booker). Or the current mayor of South Bend, Ind., who is now a presidential candidate (Pete Buttigieg). Or the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, who is also a presidential candidate (Julian Castro). Booker said once he may “feel like punching” Trump, Buttigieg called Trump a racist, and Castro blamed Trump for the shootings in El Paso earlier this year. Pretty bold stuff.

Of course, then there was the mayor of Cincinnati, who thought he would stick it to Trump by declaring Cincinnati a “sanctuary city” for illegal aliens, only days after Trump’s inauguration. Or how about the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee who blamed Trump for an acid attack in Milwaukee on an American immigrant from Peru?

But stoking outrage over Trump, even if it is contrived or otherwise entirely false, helps the poll numbers of these Democrats and raises their national profile within their party.

And they need all the help they can get. As Democrat-led cities remain among the poorest and most violent, with the most struggling education systems, the highest rates of chronic homelessness, and are the highest taxing municipalities in our country, disrespecting Trump becomes a distraction worth making for Democrats.

So if Perkins is going to follow in the footsteps of the countless Democratic mayors who have made it into the national spotlight by disrespecting Trump, he’ll need to be more convincing next time with his disrespect and “own it.”

Especially when even the “rumor mill” knows the truth.

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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