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Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Make No Mistake About It

Perkins must take responsibility for his choices

We too often judge others without mercy and yet pardon ourselves too often. We all make mistakes, of course, and how we respond to those mistakes is what makes us human.

But what about making the same mistakes over and over (and over) again? Psychologists explain that when we keep repeating the same mistakes, it is because we are not intentional about learning from those mistakes. For example, do you want to change or put in the hard work? Are you desperate enough to stop making the same mistakes (and excuses) over and over? Some are. Many are not.

In Proverbs 26:11-12, for example, the Bible says, “A fool does the same foolish things again and again. People who think they are wise when they are not are worse than fools.” Perhaps this is because most of what we call “mistakes” are choices we have made that we don’t want to own or take responsibility for. But when we don’t “own” our mistakes, we often cannot avoid repeating them again and again.

I mention all of that to tell you this: Don’t feel sorry for Adrian Perkins.

He has been disregarding laws, policies and procedures, and the details of his elected office since before he was elected into that office – and blaming anyone and everyone for the consequences of his mistakes (his choices) all along the way.

From the switching of the city’s insurance policy (which the city’s internal auditor concluded was unlawful), to disregarding the city council’s vote on delaying a $250,000 payment to the first cousin of Perkins’ campaign manager, to double-dipping on his mayoral car allowance (which the city’s internal auditor concluded needed to be paid back to the city), to awarding over $7 million in “no-bid” contracts under “public emergency” declarations and then asking the city council to “backdate” the declarations (in order to make them “legal”), to then (effectively) amending the City Charter by creating an entirely new CFO position in city government (when a “special election” is required by the City Charter to amend the City Charter) – this mayor has behaved as if the rules do not apply to him – and neither do the consequences. He seems to never be in the “same room” as the problem he creates.

Remember he said 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? When President Trump visited, it was Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator and Congressman Mike Johnson who had confirmed it was no rumor. Remember how he blamed City Councilman John Nickelson for having a “vendetta” against him when (now) CAO Henry Whitehorn Sr. was not confirmed by the council? Perkins even blamed the poor for the city’s rising crime, saying being poor “breeds a hopelessness ripe for criminal activity to spring from.” How insulting.

And now, his disqualification from the upcoming 2022 elections isn’t his fault either, according to Perkins. The judge, however, found it differently. The judge explained that Perkins was disqualified because Perkins listed “a voting address inconsistent with his homestead exemption.” Put another way, he provided “information under oath that was mistaken or inaccurate.”

Still, Perkins maintains it is not his fault – the “news cameras” distracted him from reading what he was signing.

And while this is the narrative that is told through the headlines, the truth of the matter is that Perkins could have walked into the Clerk of Court’s office all alone that day (without any news cameras, reporters, etc. to distract him from reading what he was signing). The basis of his disqualification would have remained the same.

This is because the moment his voter registration district was not the same as the district in which he claimed his homestead exemption, he had already (effectively) disqualified himself from running for office – attestation or not on the qualifying documents he filed with the Clerk of Court’s office that day (when he says he was so distracted).

To hear Perkins tell the story, he says, “My opponents are trying to use a clerical error to disqualify the sitting mayor of Shreveport who won election overwhelmingly and grew up in Shreveport.” Perkins says this is “voter suppression.”

But this is not simply a clerical error here. The bottom line is that he did not meet the requirements for qualifying as a candidate, and yet he certified, under oath, that he did. The court says details provided on a “Notice of Candidacy” form matter because of the “high standard of integrity the public requires of our elected officials.”

Any which way you look at it, though, Perkins’ disqualification is emblematic of his administration at City Hall, where transparency took a backseat to personal and petty politics; where the details were sacrificed for expediency; where half-lies were masqueraded as truth; and where accountability for failures was never found with those responsible for it.

This didn’t have to end this way for Perkins. But then again, maybe he wasn’t ready to stop repeating the same mistakes over and over (and over) again.

And for this year’s fall elections, the question is, are we?

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 318 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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