Councilman Trae Welch is the latest victim of what the Baton Rouge council members jokingly refer to as the “Council Curse.”
At least the last five members of the Metro Council who have sought another political office have been defeated.
Most recently it was Welch who challenged Mike Erwin for his 19th Judicial District Court seat on Nov. 4. Welch won just 43 percent of the vote.
Last year, Scott Wilson, who represents the Central area, ran for and lost a seat in the state House of Representatives against political newcomer Barry Ivey.
Wilson was criticized by opponents as being not conservative enough. Wilson had a conservative voting record on the council, but opponents were still able to find ways to use his votes against him. For example, he was criticized for approving wasteful spending simply for voting in favor of the mayor’s annual budget for the city-parish.
Former Mayor Pro Tem Mike Walker also ran a spirited, but fruitless, campaign for mayor-president in 2012 against incumbent Kip Holden.
And Councilwomen C. Denise Marcelle and Donna Collins-Lewis both ran for the same legislative seat in 2011, each losing to state Rep. Alfred Williams.
Now, Buddy Amoroso is hoping he can buck the trend. The first-term Republican councilman is running for Hunter Greene’s vacated seat in a March special election. Greene was successful in his bid for a seat on the 19th JDC bench, ousting sitting Judge Annette Lassalle.
The Metro Council hasn’t always been cursed. Some elected officials got their start on the Metro Council — including Holden. State Sen. Sharon Weston Broome also did a stint on the council.
It would seem to be an obvious launch pad for a more glamorous political career, and it is expected that council members besides Amoroso soon will try to break the curse. Both John Delgado and Tara Wicker have expressed interest in running for mayor-president.
Food truck ordinance off the table for now
A proposed food truck ordinance that would have constrained their operations in Denham Springs was nixed during the City Council’s Thursday meeting.
The ordinance would have placed a number of restrictions on mobile food vendors, including a prohibition on operating within 300 feet of “any restaurant or retail business establishment that sells food products.”
Criticism of the proposed ordinance began the first day it was introduced, back in September.
Councilwoman Annie Fugler, who brought the matter to the council, asked to withdraw the ordinance before a public hearing Thursday, with the option of resubmitting an item addressing food trucks sometime in the future.
Denham Springs only has one food truck that regularly operates in the city, a vehicle owned by La Frontera grocery that operates out of the store’s parking lot on Florida Avenue.
Owner Todd Sibley was pleased the item was withdrawn. He said he supports health standards, but doesn’t want “overregulation” of business, specifically faulting the 300-foot buffer zone.
Precise language for a new ordinance has not been drafted, but Sibley said he has already spoken to several council members and hopes the public will be included in drafting a new proposal.
Roper peppers EBR city-parish with lawsuits
Fired Parish Attorney Mary Roper isn’t backing down from her fight with the Metro Council that let her go earlier this fall. She started off the week filing a lawsuit against the city-parish and council administrator’s office for not responding to her record requests seeking council members’ emails, texts, memos and social media messages that make mention of her.
On Wednesday, she filed five more lawsuits, which are nearly identical to the initial one, suing the individual council members personally for failing to provide their records. The council members she sued are Chandler Loupe, Buddy Amoroso, C. Denise Marcelle, John Delgado and Trae Welch.
Loupe said Wednesday he turned over all of his personal and work emails that matched the criteria outlined in the records request, but he said he doesn’t know how to access text messages that have been deleted from his phone.
Roper, who was fired in September, is seeking messages dating back to 2008.
Roper’s attorneys say the public record requests could be used to gather evidence to help prove her contention that the council members were colluding to remove her. The request also could be used for a defamation case Roper said she is planning to file against several of the council members for alleging she was involved in a stolen computer program scheme.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said Roper has never been investigated for wrongdoing related to the computer program theft.
Compiled by staff writers Rebekah Allen and Steve Hardy
* This article was edited after publication to remove a mention of former legislator Woody Jenkins. The initial story said he led opposition to Scott Wilson, but Jenkins said he never took an official position on Wilson and recused himself from a vote of the East Baton Rouge Parish Republican Party that resulted in an endorsement of Barry Ivey.