Besides tracking the movements of Team Ward in Louisiana the wing of the family under former Jefferson Parish Councilman Butch Ward has been active in Mississippi via a track of wetland they own south of I-10 between the Canal Road and Highway 49 exits. The interchange at US 49 is on 16th section land and it is fully developed so it is logical the frontage on I-10 going west to Canal Road would be the natural path for more commercial development. MDOT took the entire piece of land from Ward for the new port connector road that is under construction and both Team Ward and the City cried foul taking the USACOE to federal court to oppose taking the entire parcel. Our prior posts on this topic in chronological order from oldest to newest can be found here, here, here, here, here and here.
I mention all this because Anita Lee is reporting for the Sun Herald that the Gulfport City Council did not take the Highway 49 commercial corridor away from the historically black city council district to include in District 7 as originally proposed in a deal that would have benefitted Butch Ward as district 7 council person Cara Puchu is pro development. The current city council person for the area is Ella Holmes Hines who has constituents in the Turkey Creek area that have flooding problems that would certainly be worsened by Team Ward style “fill and build” development.
I could be wrong folks but I think this is the cyber equivalent of the ol’ ball squeeze on Butch Ward. Paul Purpura at the Times Picayune updates the Bolar trial as the corrupt former Gretna City Councilman turned convict has gone down on all 13 counts, guilty as charged. Paul also adds a good bit more color to the land deals between Pappa Butch and Bolar which ultimately resulted in an elderly couple being scammed out of almost $4,000 by Bolar. Here is a snippet:
Two other witnesses accused Bolar of twice trying to sell a parcel in Gretna in August 2008, which he had sold to former Jefferson Parish Councilman Thomas “Butch” Ward a year before. Those witnesses, a church elder and an elderly woman, said Bolar never told them he did not own the parcel, at 400 Franklin St., when they gave him down payments toward the purchase – money they still have not recouped.
Prosecutors said Bolar cashed those checks the day after getting them, when the purchase agreements called for them to be held in escrow.
I’ve had one of those famous Slabbed moments of serendipity where events have connected thus I feel compelled to write a post on the topic especially when news stories which I’ve been holding close marry well with seemingly unrelated events and involve the Slabbed Nation’s Jefferson Parish Branch.
The environmental agreement MDOT reached with federal agencies would forever end proposals for commercial development just south of I-10 between U.S. 49 and Canal Road. The agreement also would allow MDOT to go forward with construction of a state port connector road from I-10 to U.S. 90, a route crucial to the port’s plans for expansion.The road would destroy 162 acres of wetlands. In exchange, MDOT plans to buy and place 1,638 acres in perpetual conservation easements. The state Department of Marine Resources would own the land, but about 447 acres on both sides of Turkey Creek would be managed by a nonprofit, the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.
Enter Mayor Schloegel who is concerned over the impact to the city’s tax rolls:
Schloegel said the Ward family, who owns about 1,000 acres of the land, had plans to open Creosote Road south of I-10 from Prime Outlets west to Canal Road.
“It’s my understanding that a good bit of this area is in a wetlands zone, but also that there is approximately 400 acres that is high and dry,” the mayor said….
As our Jefferson Parish friends well know the Ward family is used to getting what it wants. In Louisiana they own (or at least rent) every NOLA area pol down to Mr Mayor Elect himself so it would naturally follow they would aggressively try to protect their investment and vision for the wetlands in Turkey Creek area but I’ll admit to being a bit surprised when less than a week later Anita followed up with another story, this one originating from the Sun Herald building itself as Mayor Schloegel brought a new Ward into the picture, Jerard “Baby Butch” Ward to plead his daddy’s case and it is there we stop next:
Anita Lee at the Sun Herald sets the table as all the finest are assembled, from the elected crooks that run MDOT to Jefferson Parish garbage guy Butch Ward as well as former Hancock Bank CEO turned Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel. The issue is the undeveloped lands south of I-10 between the Canal Road and US Highway 49 exits, a large parcel of which is owned by Ward. The local citizenry, most of whom are minorities, should be grateful the plan wasn’t to open a landfill there. Rather it was to be additional retail space to compliment the Outlet Mall but that conflicted with the path of MDOT’s new North-South expressway to Wiggins and points beyond being coordinated with the improvements at the State Port. Here is a snippet:
The environmental agreement MDOT reached with federal agencies would forever end proposals for commercial development just south of I-10 between U.S. 49 and Canal Road. The agreement also would allow MDOT to go forward with construction of a state port connector road from I-10 to U.S. 90, a route crucial to the port’s plans for expansion.
The road would destroy 162 acres of wetlands. In exchange, MDOT plans to buy and place 1,638 acres in perpetual conservation easements. The state Department of Marine Resources would own the land, but about 447 acres on both sides of Turkey Creek would be managed by a nonprofit, the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.
Enter Mayor Schloegel who is concerned over the impact to the city’s tax rolls:
Yesterday as we went around the GO Zone in 60 seconds, one of the included news reports we highlighted was on the Gulfport City Council turning down Hancock Bank Chairman/CEO George Schloegel for a spot on the new Gulfport Developement Commission.
Our readers may remember Council members Carriere, Resh and Holmes-Hinds, who along with an assist from Barbara Nalley, as the same group of rocket scientists that initially torpedoed a $500,000 state grant to rebuild historic Grass Lawn. Evidently they did not learn from the scorching they took for playing politics with the City’s recovery back in April as once again they inject politics into a new board who’s purpose is to remove politics from the redevelopment of parts of the beachfront. Make no mistake this is not about conflicts of interest as Barbara Nalley told WLOX, rather it is all about politics as she admitted later in the interview:
I’m severely pressed for time this morning so I’ll lump everything that caught my attention in one post so I can head out to my three county coastal tour today.
First off is an oldie but a goodie. Commissioner Chaney must be thinking I missed one but I didn’t. I had to put off the wind pool commission cut news as I was prepping to hit the State Farm agent’s place for pre-memorial day festivities:
Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said he expects to approve an operating plan today for the state wind pool that will lower the commission agents collect for writing policies and expand credits for building to stronger standards.
Chaney fought to lower the agent commission from 15 to 10 percent for renewals and to 12 percent for new business. “It’s not a lot of money, but it will enable the wind pool to build some reserves,” Chaney said. By accepting lower commissions, Chaney said, agents are contributing to lower costs for policyholders.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
This Margaret Mead quote graces my Yahoo profile. The quote and sentiment has accompanied my new found political activism on insurance issues, specifically Gene Taylor’s multi peril bill HR 3121 that has clung to life seemingly against all odds. The resulting cyber journey has literally taken Nowdy and I across this state and country.
Trying to make a difference on an issue as large as Cat insurance has proven a tough nut to crack and is a long term project as insurance issue lifers like Brian Martin of Representative Taylor’s staff can attest. However I’m gratified that my work on insurance helped inspire one of my employees to take a stand on a local issue she feels strongly about, the Gulfport library and its relocation. I briefly mentioned Deb in an earlier shout out on another topic. Continue reading “We the People…..”