The mouse that roared

In the movie world, MGM was represented by Leo the Lion’s intimidating roar to introduce many of Rocker’s favorite movies. Now we see there’s another MGM out there. This one’s an alleged development group claiming it wants to build a gated senior citizen community in our fair city.

Sounds like a good deal, right? Maybe not, Kemosabe. MGM’s Mr. G. couldn’t convince Minden’s Planning Commission, nor the residents who live near the proposed Germantown Rd. location, that a zoning change to allow such a facility was in the best interest of everybody. 

After getting a thumbs down from the MPC, MGM asked for an appeal to our user-friendly, totally cooperative city council. No luck there, either. In fact, the appeal failed when no counciler would make a motion to hear arguments. Rocker heard from a reliable source that while there was no motion from the council, there was a movement by Mr. G.

Rocker also heard reports that in the leadup to Monday’s council session, MGM’s Mr. G was a telephoning busy beaver, lobbying members to overturn the MPC decision. Depending on the various sources, it’s said his tactics were aggressive and often menacing. 

Perhaps the most worrisome information on MGM came during council comments when councilpersons Roy and Bloxom said Mr. G phoned and asked them to skip Monday’s meeting. Seems an odd request from someone promoting a project that would be so beneficial. But we must remember that to overturn a decision on rezoning, a two-thirds vote is required. 

If, in the apparent wisdom of MGM, one or two were missing the deal could be done. But as Gomer says, Surprise, Surprise. No absentees. No support from what was thought to be a supportive majority. Seems something about the development didn’t appeal to the appellate council. 

Undeterred, MGM reps pulled out the big guns in the form of a (gasp!) letter from their attorney. It’s an interesting piece. Along with the usual lawyerisms about inconsistencies in the MPC zoning decision and declarations of disservice to prospective senior citizens who would inhabit the complex and Minden’s missed economic opportunity, the author tossed the “R” bomb at one council member.

Ms. Bloxom, whose patio home development would be a next-door neighbor to MGM’s complex, was accused of making “racist” comments on (un)social media. Exactly what those comments were is not mentioned, but that dreaded word is apparently designed to strike terror into the heart of the accused and create indignation in those who hear.

Naturally, the letter points out a couple of tidbits that Rocker is told didn’t come up in the MPC meeting when the development was discussed. We read that the project is worth ten million dollars and will create a five million dollar economic impact for Minden. Some financial types were contacted, and they had no information on what formula formulated those figures. 

A skeptical friend said those numbers might be sorta like a balloon. They float around until someone pulls them out of the air. Impressive though they may be, they’re still subject to formulaic evaluation. Rocker thinks the old Cold War  “trust, but verify” theory should apply.

We have to wonder why legal threats and aggressive lobbying are necessary if this project is good for everyone. Rocker’s no lawyer, but we did once ride in an ambulance that was chased 30 miles by one, and we think MGM might have a problem if alleged racial and age discrimination is a “best public interest” argument.  

Conflict of interest allegations, also against Bloxom, appear weak since the letter makes reference to her senior citizen development where some residents aren’t senior. Taken in total, the letter seems more bluster than blister for the council. 

It’s our humble opinion this MGM group has options. They can find another location. We’re sure property purchased recently by a local church could be negotiated. They can forget Minden and continue sitting on three alleged projects in West Monroe, Bastrop and Alexandria. They can proceed with litigation (as the letter threatens), to which we say: bring it.

It might be more interesting if MGM litigated this deal. One must remember that leading up to court, lawyers get together for this little thing called discovery. Perhaps one could become a fly on the wall during depositions and come up with a whole bunch of stuff on which to light.


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