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J.E. "Pat" Patterson

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Jacob E. "Pat" Patterson
Mayor Pat Patterson of Minden, LA.jpg
Mayor of Minden
Webster Parish, Louisiana, USA
In office
January 1, 1975 – December 31, 1978
Preceded by Tom Colten
Succeeded by Jack Batton
Personal details
Born (1924-04-28)April 28, 1924
Webster Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died November 30, 2010(2010-11-30) (aged 86)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Sadie Grace Chanler Patterson
Children

Connie Patterson Paul (1948-2007)
Ricky G. Patterson (1951–1978)
Tanua P. Riley

Six grandchildren
Alma mater Dubberly High School in Dubberly, Louisiana
Occupation Businessman
Religion Pentecostal Church
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Battles/wars World War II

(1) A successful businessman, Patterson was elected mayor of Minden in his first bid for office, having handily unseated the Republican incumbent, Tom Colten.

(2) Rather than seek a second term as mayor, Patterson sought to fill an opening in the Louisiana House of Representatives in a special election held on November 7, 1978.

(3) The night before the special House election, Patterson's only son, Ricky Gayle Patterson, was shot to death by an acquaintance, Richard Dowling, under questionable circumstances. At the time of his death at the age of 27, Ricky Patterson was married to the former Janice Acklen, and they had two children, Jeremy Shane Patterson (born October 2, 1974) and Tiffani Shea Patterson (born August 2, 1976).

Jacob E. Patterson, known as J. E. "Pat" Patterson (April 28, 1924 – November 30, 2010),[1] was a businessman who served for a single term from 1974 to 1978 as the Democratic mayor of the small city of Minden, the seat of government of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.[2]

Background

Patterson's principal business interest was Tide Craft, Inc., a boat company previously known as Bayou Boats, which he purchased in the early 1960s. The company sustained three major fires, one in the spring of 1970. In 1973, Tide Craft sales topped $3 million, with boats sold in twenty-two states.[3] In its heyday, Tide Craft consisted of a large office complex with Minden's first computer system, a showroom, and metal buildings for the production of large boats. The boats were shipped by 18 wheelers all over the United States and presented in show rooms nationwide. In 1974, Patterson sold Tide Craft and announced his bid for mayor.[2]

For a time prior to 1976, Patterson was also in business with his brother-in-law, W. D. "Bill" Chanler (1924-1988)[4] in the C&P Construction Company in Minden, but the two had a business and family dispute. Chanler's two sons and Patterson's nephews by marriage, Bert David Chanler (born September 1948) and Billy Gene "Bill" Chanler (born November 1950), physically attacked their uncle on Dorcheat Bayou a mile north of Minden. Patterson's older daughter, then Connie Yocom, was charged with pulling a pistol on her cousins, Bert and Bill Chanler.[5]

A grand jury declined to indict the Chanler brothers, and Bossier-Webster Parish District Attorney (DA) Henry Newton Brown, Jr., dropped the case. Brown was a candidate for DA at the time, and Patterson endorsed Brown's opponent, attorney Glenn Armstrong of Bossier City. Patterson also asked state Attorney General William J. Guste to re-open the case.[6] Brown defeated Armstrong to secure a full term as DA,[7] and the Patterson-Chanler dispute faded into history.

Election of 1974

It had first appeared that the incumbent Republican, Tom Colten, would not seek a third term as mayor. At the time, the office was under the city commission format, but by the fall of 1978, as Patterson would vacate the office in favor of Jack Batton, the city was compelled by court order to establish the mayor-council system. Judge Benjamin C. Dawkins, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ordered the change in city government, with a five-member council chosen by districts, based on a civil suit filed by the NAACP. Under the change, at least two of the districts would have black majorities.[8]

In 1973, Colten had proposed converting the full-time mayoral position to part-time status so that he could accept a paid position with the Minden Medical Center. The council hence moved Colten to part-time status, and his pay was cut from $12,000 annually to $200 per month, the same as a part-time city council member.[9] Having first said that he would not run again, Colten changed his mind. For the first time ever, a full Republican slate filed for all municipal positions in the historically Democratic city. The mayor's pay was increased to $16,000.[9]

To win the Democratic nomination Patterson defeated parish probation officer Willard McClung, the son of former Minden police chief Harvey McClung, 2,524 (57 percent) to 1,967 (43 percent).[10] Well known in the area, McClung graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, at which he was the football trainer and was featured with Horned Frogs team members in Sports Illustrated based on the team's experiences at the Cotton Bowl Classic played on January 1, 1957.[11]

In September 1974, events began to work clearly in Patterson's favor in the upcoming general election contest with Colten. Some five hundred persons marched on City Hall to protest high utility bills. The dissidents were responding to the hastily formed Committee for Lower Utilities, headed by Steve Fomby, later a member of the Webster Parish School Board. Some complained that meter readers were staying in their trucks and estimating the readings. A convenience store owner said that if her excessive billing were repeated, she would have to close her doors. Electricity in Minden is sold by the municipality, which uses profits to finance a portion of city government costs.[12] Colten and the city council did not attend the rally against the utility bills. Colten was on city business in Baton Rouge at the time but said that he would have cancelled the trip had he known about the rally in advance.[13] The utilities issue as well as the vacillation over full- and part-time status of the mayor are widely believed to have brought about Colten's defeate. Several other city council members that year were also defeated, including Sanitation Commissioner Lonnie Lester "Red" Cupples (1914-1980) and Utilities Commissioner Fred T. "Tony" Elzen, Sr. (1922-2012).[14]

Patterson easily unseated Colten, 3,186 (62.5 percent) to 1,914 (37.5 percent). Nearly seven hundred more voters came to the polls in the general election than in the Democratic primary.[15] Two years later, Colten relocated to Baton Rouge, where he subsequently accepted in 1978 a position with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Along with Patterson's election in 1974, a Republican, Felix Garrett (1922-1987), a professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, won election as the city's last public utilities commissioner, having unseated the incumbent Fred Elzen by a 7-3 margin.[15] By 1978, the city council seats were allocated along single-member district lines, and Garrett became the first Republican on the revamped city council, on which he served for another term before his own defeat in 1982.[16]

Tenure as mayor

On January 1, 1975, Louisiana Circuit Court of Appeal Judge James E. Bolin administered Patterson's oath of office.[17] Not long after he became mayor, Patterson and his predecessor, Tom Colten, who had returned temporarily to his previous position as executive director of the Minden Chamber of Commerce, traveled to Baton Rouge for a seminar sponsored by the newly established Louisiana Association of Business and Industry to discuss issues about industrial parks.[18] Early in 1975, he also attended a municipal conference in Lafayette, Louisiana, to consider new approaches to the challenges of urban growth, shrinking revenues, and potential sources of new financing.[19] Patterson was thereafter appointed to the transportation committee of the National League of Cities.[20] In 1977, he was named Division A vice president of the Louisiana Municipal Association.[21]

The Minden City Council adopted a 1975 budget of a then record $3.11 million, excluding federal revenue sharing proceeds.[22] On August 26, 1975, voters approved a $500,000 bond issue for Carver Industries.[23] Patterson was among one hundred mayors in the spring of 1976 who traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the re-enactment of revenue sharing. U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., and U.S. Senator Hubert Humphrey addressed the municipal leaders.[24] The 1976 budget grew to $4.3 million, with $350,000 diverted from municipal electric sales to the city general fund because of rising energy costs and the unpredictability of the weather.[25]

Under Mayor Patterson, the City of Minden decided to retain the bricks on Main Street but to remove them from Broadway. Some 100,000 bricks were placed in storage for future repairs to Main Street.

Under Mayor Patterson, the city retained its historic bricks overlaying Main Street but removed them from Broadway Street so that the spare bricks could be used for future repairs or replacement parts as needed. Some of the 100,000 bricks on hand were diverted to the construction of a bandstand in downtown Jacqueline Park as part of the United States Bicentennial.[26][27] In connection with the bicentennial, Patterson reaffirmed strict enforcement of the municipal littering law.[28] Later in 1976, the city council unanimously endorsed the right-to-work bill that was spending the state legislature and passed despite fervent opposition from organized labor.[29]

In 1975, the city purchased five thousand kilowatt hours of electricity from Louisiana Power and Light Company to supplement energy needs at the municipally owned power plant.[30] In June 1977, Patterson vetoed an ordinance passed a week earlier by the city council which would have allocated $100,000 for cost adjustments in city utility bills.[31] Patterson said that his objection to the ordinance was not because he opposed lowering utility bills. Instead, he claimed that the law would have mainly aided high KWH users, was fiscally unsound, and would not likely have encouraged the conservation of energy.[32]

In 1976, Richard Charles Baker (born December 1934), a Republican[33] dentist-turned-developer who had been chairman of the Minden Regional Planning Commission, sued the city over the refusal of the planning commission to re-zone property that Baker owned on Bymo Drive for residential to commercial use. Patterson spoke out against Baker's suit: "If I never get elected again, I have to stand up for what I believe his right."[34]

In the fall of 1977, with energy costs still rising, the City of Minden considered selling to LP&L the municipally owned power plant, which was operating at a deficit. The council appointed a 15-member citizens committee, including banker and school board member John Davidson Brown (1909-1982) and furniture store owner Howard Spillers (born 1928), to render an advisory opinion after LP&L offered $1.6 million for the power plant. Councilman John J. McCowen, Jr. (1927-1985), a businessman, opposed the formation of the committee: "I just want to hold on to what we have," he said.[35] Earlier, the nearby city of Homer in Claiborne Parish sold its power plant to LP&L.[36]

In February 1978, Patterson announced that he would seek a second term as mayor but that the power plant should not be a campaign issue.[37] The citizens committee chairman, J. Davidson Brown, proposed that the city dis-engage from the power plant business and transfer the facility without any payment to LP&L. Council member Jack Batton, Patterson's successor as mayor, said that the citizens group "didn't have all the facts" in reaching its recommendation. Batton said the city plant was worth an estimated $28 million.[38] The city faced the possibility that its plant could provide only 20 percent of the electrical requirements for the remainder of 1978.[39] LP&L then offered the city $7.5 million for the plant though the company would gain more than $20 million in equipment. Batton expressed pessimism over the situation: "No matter who sells us the energy, the costs are going to go up. We are going to have high utility bills."[40] Patterson called for a voter referendum on the power plant issue to gauge public sentiment.[41] The mayor also said the $7.8 million offer from LP&L was the best the city could expect. He claimed LP&L management of utilities could mean a reduction of 25 percent in power bills.[42] The city could not raise property taxes beyond the maximum already reached of seven mils to garner additional funds which might be needed should the power plant be turned over to LP&L.[43]

In the referendum held on May 13, 1978,[44] voters handily supported continued municipal ownership of the power plant, 2,005 (61.7 percent) to 1,245 (38.3 percent). All twelve precincts supported the status quo.[45] Mayor Patterson warned of the end to the city economic boom because of the unstable electric power situation.[46]

In December 1978, LP&K sued the City of Minden for a 34 percent increase for the electricity sold to the municipal power plant. The suit did not impact the city contract, which expired on June 1, 1980. City clerk W. Blanchard Youngblood said that an increase was justified because of rising energy costs.[47]

As Patterson left office, a new Webster Parish Senior Citizens Center opened at 316 McIntyre Street near Minden High School.[48] By 2014 because of periodic flooding at the McIntyre Street site, a new larger facility opened at the intersection of Patrick and Sheppard streets near the office of the Webster Parish School Board.[49]

Other political races

Patterson reversed himself and did not seek re-election as mayor in 1978. Instead, he ran in a special election held on November 7, 1978, for the District 10 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives vacated by R. Harmon Drew, Sr., who was elected to his former position as Minden city judge. Patterson ran third in the contest; his 2,687 votes were 102 short of procuring a runoff berth. The position went to Minden attorney Bruce M. Bolin, the 28-year-old son of Judge James E. Bolin, who defeated Achillea G. "Ike" Kirkikis (1926-2004), a police juror who was in the propane business in Minden until his retirement in 1981.[50] At 11:30 p.m. on November 6, the night before the state House election, Patterson's son, Ricky G. Patterson (1951–1978), was shot to death under questionable circumstances. The case has never been resolved and was believed to have been the result of foul play.[51]

In 1982, Patterson tried to regain the mayor's office, when Batton stepped down, but he ran third in the nonpartisan blanket primary. His 1,207 votes were 239 short of the number needed to procure a general election berth against the eventual winner, fellow Democrat Noel Byars, an educator.[52]

Family

Patterson was married for more than sixty years to the former Sadie Grace Chanler (February 17, 1929 – June 10, 2010), who graduated in 1946 from Minden High School[53] and assisted him in his campaigns for office. His graduation from Dubberly High School in Dubberly in south Webster Parish, as confirmed by his surviving daughter, was delayed by service as a mailman in the United States Navy during World War II. His obituary, however, indicates that he graduated in 1946 from Minden High School.[2] The couple had two daughters. Connie Patterson, thereafter Carmen Valerie Patterson Yocom Paul (1948–2007), a businesswoman, died after a triple bypass heart surgery required a 33-day hospital stay. A 1966 Minden High School graduate, she was married and divorced from Robert Thomas "Tommy" Yocom, II (1947–1983). Thereafter, she wed Stephen Ralph Paul (born July 22, 1949) of Bossier City. A second daughter and the only surviving Patterson child is Tanua Shurlaine Patterson Riley (born February 7, 1962). She is married to Samuel Keith Riley. They are both natives and residents of Minden and had lived in Diboll, south of Lufkin, Texas. They are active in the Pentecostal Church.[2][53]

Patterson died in Shreveport at the age of eighty-six. Services were held on December 3, 2010, at the First Pentecostal Church in Minden, with the Reverend Jeff Ramsey officiating. Patterson is interred beside his son and his wife, who preceded him in death by five months, at Lane Memorial Cemetery in Sibley in south Webster Parish.[2][53] Behind the Patterson graves is that of their kinsman, W. D. "Bill" Chanler.[4]

References

  1. ^ "Jacob E. "Pat" Patterson". findagrave.com. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Obituary of J.E. "Pat" Patterson". The Shreveport Times, December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Tide Craft Tells Success Story in Sales", Minden Press-Herald, August 28, 1973, p. 1
  4. ^ a b "W. D. "Bill" Chanler". louisianagravestones.org. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ Kerry B. Garland, "DA Brown to drop mayor's assault case", Minden Press-Herald, September 17, 1976, p. 1
  6. ^ "Patterson asks Guste for beating investigation, claims DA inaction", Minden Press-Herald, October 1, 1976, p. 1
  7. ^ "Henry Brown is victor in DA race on Saturday", Minden Press-Herald, October 4, 1976, p. 1
  8. ^ Mike Poe, "Council to [City Attorney Robert C.] White: 'Draw up the Plan'", Minden Press-Herald, August 8, 1978, p. 1
  9. ^ a b "City Council Appoints Colten Part-Time Mayor", Minden Press-Herald, August 7, 1973, p. 1
  10. ^ "Pat Patterson is Democrat Mayor Nominee", Minden Press-Herald, August 19, 1974, p. 1
  11. ^ Gary Smith (July 26, 1999). "From the Vault". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 13, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Electric Bill Rally Draws 500 to Civic Center", Minden Press-Herald, September 18, 1974, p.1
  13. ^ "Mayor and City Council Won't Attend Utility Bill Rally", Minden Press-Herald, September 17, 1974, p. 1
  14. ^ Minden Press-Herald, September 17, 1974, p. 1
  15. ^ a b State of Louisiana, General Election Results for Webster Parish, November 5, 1974
  16. ^ "Garrett, Staples, McCowen, Kirk all gain city council seats Tuesday", Minden Press-Herald, November 8, 1978, p. 1
  17. ^ "New mayor, council, chief officially take office", Minden Press-Herald, January 2, 1975, p. 1
  18. ^ "Patterson, Colten return from industrial seminar", Minden Press-Herald, April 24, 1975, p. 1
  19. ^ "Patterson home from municipal meet", Minden Press-Herald, March 17, 1975, p. 1
  20. ^ "Patterson appointed as committee member", Minden Press-Herald, March 4, 1976, p. 1
  21. ^ Patterson named District A Vice President of LMA", Minden Press-Herald, July 27, 1977, p. 1
  22. ^ "City council adopts record budget", Minden Press-Herald, February 4, 1975, p. 1
  23. ^ "Mayor Patterson cites '75 progress", Minden Press-Herald, January 27, 1976, p. 8C
  24. ^ "Mayor gets revenue sharing support", Minden Press-Herald, March 19, 1976, p. 1
  25. ^ "Council OKs proposed budget", Minden Press-Herald, October 21, 1976, p. 1
  26. ^ "Historical bricks removed from Broadway", Minden Press-Herald, January 1, 1976, p. 1
  27. ^ "Brick supply far exceeds bandstand needs", Minden Press-Herald, February 5, 1976, p. 1
  28. ^ "Beautifiers support litter law", Minden Press-Herald, January 28, 1976, p. 1
  29. ^ "City endorses right-to-work", Minden Press-Herald, May 17, 1976, p. 1
  30. ^ "Electrical tie-in is due May 1", Minden Press-Herald, March 4, 1975, p. 1
  31. ^ "Patterson veto is formal now", Minden Press-Herald, June 1, 1977, p. 1
  32. ^ "Mayor J. E. Patterson: I am not opposed to reducing utility rates", Minden Press-Herald, May 27, 1977, p. 1
  33. ^ "Richard Baker, December 1934". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Mayor says Baker suit 'unjustified'", Minden Press-Herald, November 19, 1976, p. 1
  35. ^ "Citizens group to study utility plan offer", Minden Press-Herald, November 8, 1977, p. 1
  36. ^ "Committee meets to study LP&L power proposal", Minden Press-Herald, November 16, 1977, p. 1
  37. ^ "Patterson, Batton, McCowen announce election plans", Minden Press-Herald, March 1, 1978, p. 1
  38. ^ Marilyn Miller, "Utility 'give-away' is blasted", Minden Press-Herald, March 2, 1978, p. 1
  39. ^ "Energy costs will go up, says [City Utilities Director E. Henry] Lowe," Minden Press-Herald, March 27, 1978, p. 1
  40. ^ Marilyn Miller, "'City stands to lose everything' - Batton", Minden Press-Herald, March 29, 1978, p. 1
  41. ^ "Patterson disclaims Batton power plant estimate", Minden Press-Herald, March 3, 1978, p. 1
  42. ^ "Patterson claims LP&L's offer is best", Minden Press-Herald, April 12, 1978, p. 1
  43. ^ "City can't raise taxes", Minden Press-Herald, May 5, 1978, p. 1
  44. ^ "Council calls for May 13 referendum", Minden Press-Herald, April 12, 1978, p. 1
  45. ^ "City will retain public-owned utilities", Minden Press-Herald, May 15, 1978, p. 1
  46. ^ "Mayor Patterson warns of end to economic boom", Minden Press-Herald, June 29, 1978, p. 1
  47. ^ "LP&L suit won't affect city contract", December 19, 1978, p. 1
  48. ^ "Senior Citizens Center Near Completion Here", Minden Press-Herald, December 14, 1978, p. 1
  49. ^ "Webster Parish breaks ground on new center for seniors". KTBS-TV. Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  50. ^ Minden Press-Herald, December 18, 1978, p. 1
  51. ^ "Mayor's son slain", Minden Press-Herald, November 8, 1978, p. 1
  52. ^ Minden Press-Herald, November 3, 1978, p. 1
  53. ^ a b c "Sadie Grace Chanler Patterson". findagrave.com. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
Preceded by
Tom Colten
Mayor of Minden, Louisiana

Jacob E. "Pat" Patterson
1974-1978

Succeeded by
Jack Batton