Baton Rouge Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel took to Facebook this weekend to express her frustration with the sluggish pace of development in North Baton Rouge under Mayor-President Kip Holden’s administration.
Banks-Daniel on Sunday joined a Facebook thread started by Gary Chambers, publisher of TheRougeCollection.net, a commentary website that writes about local black issues. In the post, Chambers, who recently moderated a forum for candidates at Southern University, wrote that he would support Billy Nungesser, a white Republican, over Holden because the third-term mayor-president has not done enough to support North Baton Rouge and the parish’s black residents.
Banks-Daniel, who represents North Baton Rouge and the district where Holden lives, chimed in on the Facebook post that she has not felt supported in efforts to revitalize North Baton Rouge’s economy. She said she’s supported numerous projects for downtown and South Baton Rouge, but has seen little activity in her own district.
“It takes government (city, state, federal) funding in the millions for infrastructure; like streets, sidewalks, lighting, beautification, grants. tax incentives, dedicated resources just for that area’s purpose,” she wrote. “More importantly, it takes a visionary that gives eguitable (sic) opportunity to ALL areas of the city. Currently, I can say specifically that in District 2, the district I respresent (sic) on the Metro Council has not had that kind of support.
She went on to say that she was supporting Holden in his bid for Lieutenant Governor in part because his early exit from the mayor’s office could make way for a new mayor who could better advance North Baton Rouge’s interests.
“I voted on Nov. 7 for Melvin “Kip” Holden, mostly because his ascension to Lt. Governor will possibility (sic) advance the cause of NBR with the next mayor,” she wrote.
She said she is hopeful that her district will eventually see that kind of improvements she supports for other areas across the parish.
“I serve on the Metro Council and I have supported at least 85% of the Agenda Items that have meant for the betterment of the City-Parish (IBM, COSTCO, Downtown Development, Miss USA, etc.),” she wrote. “However, since I have been on the council the only project that has come along in my district has been street paving and sidewalks for Fairchild/Bradley Road.”
Holden, at the candidate forum last week, rejected the notion he was neglecting North Baton Rouge residents, saying that the businesses coming to the city were hiring residents from all over the parish, including North Baton Rouge. He said he’d helped make some side walks projects possible in that area. But he conceded that ultimately, developers are not interested in building in North Baton Rouge.
“You don’t have the investors who are investing in this community, and I’m telling you that straight up,” Holden said.