|Detail: Caddo Parish Confederate monument|
Caddo Commissioner Ken Epperson is apparently not content to abide by the decision of the Long Range Planning Committee of June 9 which decided to form a subcommittee to address his protest against the Confederate Monument standing outside the Caddo Parish Courthouse.
Last week Mr. Epperson slipped an item on the agenda for the Work Session held yesterday which said "Item relative to the removal of Confederate States Monument from the Caddo Parish courthouse property."
|CPC Agenda July 5, 2016, page 4|
No other explanation was given which left little room for public comment should anyone have wanted to address it in the comments portion of the meeting. Most of us thought the matter had been settled when Mr. Epperson agreed to the citizens subcommittee on June 9.
After the June 9 meeting, on June 22, Mr. Epperson published a column in The Shreveport Times which consisted primarily of the text of a 2002 title search of the courthouse property which found no title ever conveyed. In the words of historian Gary Joiner: "They're squatters."
KTBS reporter Gerry May investigated the title issue and reported on June 27:
Epperson cites a title search that was done in 2002 to determine ownership of the courthouse land.
While the title company wrote, "our records do not disclose a deed," it went on to say "acquisitive prescription would have long since prevailed over any flaw in the dedication of the subject tract."
And what is "acquisitive prescription?"
"It's a method of obtaining title to property by use and possession over a certain period of time," explains Caddo Parish Attorney Donna Frazier.So, we can conclude that the parish does have rights to the land on which the courthouse sits, but here is where Mr. Epperson finds fault: in 1903 the Caddo Parish Police Jury, predecessor of the Caddo Commission, donated a part of that land to the United Daughters of the Confederacy as well as $1,000 to construct a monument to the Confederate dead. The grant gave them use of the land in perpetuity and it has not been contested in over 100 years.
Here is a copy of the original minutes making that donation. These minutes can be found on microfilm in the Shreve Memorial Library:
|Caddo Parish Police Jury Minutes, 1903|
According to esteemed local attorney Arthur Carmody, the land upon which the monument sits belongs to the Daughters of the Confederacy. Mr. Carmody had a guest column in The Shreveport Times this week in which he says:
There is a pertinent legal doctrine called estoppel which squarely fits this case. It means that when one party acts, and the second party accepts that act and relies upon the representations of the first party, that the first party cannot later repudiate those acts to the detriment of the second party.
Clearly, what Mr. Epperson is attempting to do is contradict and repudiate the actions of his predecessor by which he and the Commission are bound.
There are further arguments which support the continued honored place of the monument on Texas Street. That relates to the good faith possession of this site by the UDC for some 115 years without any adverse claim of possession or ownership by any other person or party.
In the meeting yesterday, July 5, it turns out Mr. Epperson introduced a resolution to demand the United Daughters of the Confederacy remove the monument within the year:
"I hereby move that the Legal Department of the Parish of Caddo notify the owners of the Confederate monument located on the Texas Street side of the Caddo Parish Courthouse via certified correspondence, giving them a period of (1) one year to remove said structure from the Caddo Parish Courthouse grounds. The Period of time designated for removal shall be effective September 1, 2016, and ending on August 31, 2017.
This action is based upon the opinion rendered by United Title of Louisiana, Inc., dated March 27, 2002, addressed to Mr. Dannye W. Malone, Esq. the Parish of Caddo attorney.
This proposal is dated June 23; Epperson's proposal was sent to committee.
Victoria Shirley of KSLA news reported on the meeting yesterday in which she says, "Epperson claims the way land was donated wasn't legal because it wasn't done in the way land donations would be handled in present day".
That kind of logic boggles the mind. Think of all the deals that aren't legal under that premise, to include even the Louisiana Purchase which was in essence done on a handshake and outside of Congress. It wouldn't pass Constitutional muster today.
Mr. Epperson is getting desperate.
Not to mix apples and oranges, but with shootings in our streets on a daily basis, it would seem he could pick a more worthy cause. At the June 9 meeting, when one citizen suggested he worry instead about repairing roads, Mr. Epperson boasted that they have $21 million dollars in the roads fund. So why do we still have roads that rattle your undercarriage like cattle trails and with pothole large enough to plant trees in?
In the end, the citizens that spoke at the June 9 meeting, and from what I can tell, the meeting on July 5, are opposed to any action removing the monument. Most of us realize that the monument has no racial overtones as Mr. Epperson contends, and creates no real division anywhere; in fact, most people don't even pay attention to it. The only division it incites is that of the race-baiters like Mr. Epperson and his crony Ardis Cash.
Yet, Mr. Epperson wants to continue to waste our taxpayer dollars beating this dead horse. The United Daughters of the Confederacy own the land, own the monument, and have said they are not going to move it.
That should be the end of the story, but I have a feeling it won't be.
If you'd like to write a letter to Mr. Epperson in support of the monument or perhaps suggesting other avenues in which he should direct his focus, his address is:
Caddo Parish Commission
P. O. Box 29436
Shreveport, LA 71149
Meanwhile, lets keep an eye on the upcoming agenda items should he decide to sneak in another maneuver.
Caddo Parish Monument Under Attack (May 19)
Report From the Caddo Parish Commission Meeting in Which Commissioner Epperson Blasts "Jake-Leg Bloggers" (June 9)
Epperson's Continued Attack on the Caddo Parish Confederate Monument (June 22)
The Caddo Parish Courthouse Remains a Thing of Beauty (July 2)
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