The signatures are in and it seems to be a matter of time before residents of a proposed City of St. George get to vote on their future—and ours.
However, as Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister writes in his new column, this potential fifth city inside East Baton Rouge Parish could have been avoided.
It was shorted-sighted politicians who not only didn’t learn from the past (Central City) but were also more interested, McCollister says, in protecting their careers, EBR public school system money and the system’s union jobs than taxpayers, parents and children.
Remember Central? Parents there wanted to control their schools and proposed an independent district, which the Louisiana Constitution allows—just like in Texas. It does not require the formation of an independent city.
That didn’t stop then-state Sen. Kip Holden from leading the opposition, using the argument of “you’re not a city like Baker and Zachary,” which he, incidentally, had represented and supported in their quests for their own school districts.
So, the people of Central put together a petition and became a municipality—and then got their own school district, which was their original goal. When you are talking about people’s children and their future, there is a motivation that is hard to stop. Central would not be denied.
But did our politicians learn anything? Obviously not.
Fast-forward and what we learn is that then-state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, along with state Reps. Pat Smith and Ted James, led the charge to defeat a bill by Sen. Bodi White that, if approved, would have allowed for the creation of an independent school district in Southeast Baton Rouge. Their argument was the same as Holden’s: No city, no school district.
Also in his column, McCollister comments on ABC news anchor Robin Roberts’ interview with Jussie Smollett. She rushed to get the exclusive interview when many others were skeptical about his claims and police were still investigating. Roberts and ABC gave Smollett a forum to spew his lies to a national audience, McCollister writes, without ever asking him a single hard-hitting question.
In more critique of the media, McCollister dives into the comparison of one-time money compared to non-existent money in state politics.
Some folks in the media, like columnist Stephanie Grace of The Advocate, and Democrats were quick to criticize Gov. Bobby Jindal for using one-time money in the budget. At least that was real money, McCollister writes. Read the full column. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org