JR Ball: Questions need answers on both sides of St. George debate

JR Ball Baton Rouge

Barring a timetable delaying legal challenge, the voters in this long-proposed, much-debated city of St. George will get their say later this year on the question of creating East Baton Rouge Parish’s fifth city. On Monday, the parish registrar of voters confirmed there are enough signatures on the St. George petition to send the matter to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who will decide if all the qualifications are met to call an election.

As the political—and perhaps legal—process plays out, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, members of the Metro Council, BRAC and anti-incorporation activists are rightfully asking residents within the proposed city of St. George to carefully consider the ramifications of a “Yes” vote. There are a lot of conflicting numbers flying around and each voter should do some deep study before the election.

Rather than simply pose questions, perhaps Broome, council members and others can answer a few as well:

• Why do they do nothing while mosquito abatement and other local agencies waste—yes, waste—our tax dollars? You don’t think that fuels pro-St. George sentiment?

• When will they address a known sexual harasser with a lengthy disciplinary file remaining employed on the public payroll—despite this individual previously resigning for not wanting to follow his then-supervisors’ rules?

• When will they ponder the fallout from making decisions (MovEBR project manager) that seem more about “sharing the wealth” than pursuing the maximum efficiency of our sales tax dollars? Is government about providing services or creating jobs and public-sector wealth?

• At what point does city-parish government begin making contract decisions based on who can deliver the best service at the best price, rather than the CEO’s race or political influence?

• When will the Metro Council have the courage to police the council member or members who believe the parish attorney’s office is his or their personal playground?

If Broome, the council and others refuse to address these questions, it’s hardly fair to suggest those favoring St. George have any queries to consider. I would suggest there’s much thinking required on both sides of this St. George debate.

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