SHREVEPORT, La. – You may think it’s easy work to sit beside a dying fern plant at city hall listening to citizens whine over a broken microphone, but that’s only part of the story says one former councilman. “Man, let me tell you, it’s rough stuff out here, champ,” says ex-councilman and part-time dentist Larry Steele. “They called me Larry Three-Times because I was on the council 3 times – I’ve got an infectious smile, like if Hepatitis C had a lot of money, you know what I’m saying? You have to always be positioning yourself for the next election, that’s what matters – the folks donating money want a winner. If something serious was on the table, I was out of there – no-siree-bob, I know better than to take a hard stand. No one could use my record against me, because I just didn’t have one.”
One issue that many on the council face is carving out enough time out of their day to show up consistently. “I can’t tell you how many times I’d be out cutting a ribbon or shaking somebody’s hand and just be plum exhausted. You think I’m going to sit in a chair for hours after that? Hell no, I represent my constituents at city hall on my time,” says Steele.
With members regularly missing meetings on important topics, many citizens wonder why there is not more media pressure on the local government, but Steele says the answer is simple. “Just tell the media guys we won’t talk to them if they ask something hard. You’ll see me on the news talking while I’m campaigning, but when it’s ‘go’ time, it’s all press releases and canned email baby, I got stuff to do. We have someone to screen out the prying questions from any no-good journalist with the nerve to attempt to do their jobs and their employers have our backs, while they get shit-canned,” says Steele.
Steele was quick to move the interview back to conflicting schedules.
“Let me put it to you this way: say you made an appointment at Fantastic Sams to get a trim and some jackleg calls a council meeting. You just going to cancel the appointment? Keep in mind Sally Sixfingers only works once a month, so of course you aren’t going to miss that. Now, imagine all the council members have to get their hair done sometime, so there are conflicts, obviously. To my knowledge there isn’t something out there that allows us to plan days in advance, so we just do the best we can,” Steele says as an example for schedule conflicts.
The Crayfish asked the ex-councilman if he ever used a calendar and he terminated the interview before speeding off in his Miata with missing plates.
For now it seems impossible to get all city council members in the same room at the same time for major issues.