News alert: ‘We’re back,’ St. George organizers declare

    Declaring “we’re back,” organizers of the St. George incorporation movement filed the necessary paperwork with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office this morning to begin a second effort to create an independent city.

    Those behind the effort are remaining quiet, but the group posted a video on its Facebook page—entitled “Sign St. George for a Better Baton Rouge”—outlining the history of the incorporation effort and why they’re back for a second attempt. The group’s initial bid to create an independent city and school district in suburban southeast Baton Rouge failed in 2015 when the courts ruled invalidated signatures left their petition short of the number required to trigger an incorporation election.

    “(We were) silenced by a system determined to maintain the status quo,” says the narrator in the video.

    Details remain unclear, but multiple sources say this incorporation effort will cover a smaller geographic area, removing areas where residents displayed little support during the first bid or have since been incorporated by Baton Rouge.

    Calls to Darryl Gissel, chief administrative officer for Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, for comment were not immediately returned.

    In the video, the group says supporters were hopeful following Broome’s election that their “concerns would be heard and addressed.” Instead, the video goes on to declare that since the new mayor took office taxes have increased, violent crime has surged and there’s been a lack of educational progress from the East Baton Rouge Public School System.

    The Secretary of State’s office, through spokesperson Meg Casper Sunstrom, confirmed it received and approved the required incorporation paperwork earlier this morning.

    “We’re ready to reignite,” the video says, “the efforts to make East Baton Rouge Parish a better place to live and raise a family for everyone.”

    More details in today’s Daily Report PM.