Baker Councilman Charles Vincent wasn’t horsing around.
A couple of his constituents lodged complaints about people riding horses through the city’s subdivisions, leaving behind unwelcome deposits. So, legislators being legislators, he looked for a way to address the problem and came up with the solution of requiring horses to wear “dung bags,” or horse diapers.
Except it turns out there already was an ordinance on the books that makes it illegal to ride a horse in Baker.
The ordinance says: “It shall be unlawful to ride, lead or drive horses, mules, donkeys, asses or other equine animals on any public street, road or highway and the rights-of-way therefore or upon the sidewalks located within the city, except in parades, trail rides or other like events, when a permit for such an event has been obtained from the city police department.”
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Legislators being legislators, Vincent saw room for improvement so he got the council to pass a new ordinance that requires horses authorized for such permitted events to “properly wear a ‘Dung Bag’ to collect and prevent Horse Manure/Dung/Waste from being deposited or placed upon the streets of Baker.”
Mayor Harold Rideau, in an interview after the council voted to approve the new ordinance, said he didn’t really see a need for it since parades always have someone following behind the horses picking up waste.
Vincent might have received a complaint or two, the mayor said, but people riding horses through the city is not a big problem in Baker.
“I used to live in the country and ride horses and I can tell you, I would not ride a horse with a diaper,” Rideau said. “My horses were always free to eliminate anywhere.”
State’s high court removes Pointe Coupee justice of the peace
The Louisiana Supreme Court this week removed from office a justice of the peace in Pointe Coupee Parish for violating the state’s Judicial Code of Conduct.
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The state’s Judiciary Commission launched an investigation of J. Roosevelt Gremillion after allegations surfaced he rendered judgments against defendants without giving them the opportunity to be heard, without requiring the plaintiff to present evidence or sworn testimony and without giving the defendants written notice of said judgements.
The state commission also said Gremillion, who has served as a justice of the peace for District 7 since 2002, in proceedings often showed bias against African-Americans and in favor of creditors in cases involving debts. The commission further found Gremillion notarized power of attorney forms without requiring parties to appear before him and used his notary stamp in a manner that gave the false impression he was an attorney.
In addition to removing him from office, the court barred Gremillion from qualifying for any judicial office for the next five years. He was also ordered to pay the state’s Judiciary Commission $1,547 in investigation costs related to his case.
The Supreme Court’s justice panel wrote in its ruling that Gremillion’s conduct “constitutes a willful and persistent failure to perform his duty, willful misconduct relating to his official duty, and persistent, public conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.”
Gonzales said to have ‘retail leakage’ under control
Gonzales has its retail business buttoned up pretty tight and, in many cases, is siphoning off customers from surrounding areas, a new report presented to the City Council this week says.
The report on what’s known as “retail leakage” found that the small city in Ascension Parish is performing better than might be expected based on the size of the city’s market.
Retail leakage means residents are spending more for products than local businesses are selling. By definition, that means residents are spending their money somewhere else.
But the report from Buxton, a consulting firm based in Fort Worth, Texas, that that does consumer analytics found no retail leakage from Gonzales businesses. Instead, retail establishments such as Tanger Outlet Mall, Cabela’s, Home Depot and others are mopping up the leaks from other areas.
Sales for autos, furniture, building materials, pharmacies, sporting goods, food and drinks were among the city’s top performers and helped push Gonzales’ overall retail sales well above what the city’s market base would have otherwise dictated in 2015.
“You have a combined annual surplus of $152 million dollars that you import,” J. Michael Eades, president and chief executive officer of the Ascension Economic Development Corporation, told the council Monday.
Still, not all the retail pipes in the city are water tight.
Home furnishing was performing below potential, the report found, as were computer and software sales, power lawn equipment, nurseries, childrens and family clothing, clothing accessories, shoes and luggage.
Buxton, provided the free report to the city as part of a sales pitch for more detailed study.
Eades told the council the report can help build a pitch for future retailers to locate in the city. While council members listened to Eades deliver the free report’s findings Monday, they did not pursue buying further services from Buxton.
Advocate staff writers Emily Beck Cogburn, Terry L. Jones and David J. Mitchell contributed to this article.