I write to clarify the issue about exactly what it means if you sign the petition to incorporate the remaining area proposed to be named the city of St. George.
In a letter to the editor, Charles Higgins argued that the St. George movement is only about your right to vote and the wars fought and lives lost to obtain that right. TO BE CLEAR: Your right to vote is intact and guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and amendments thereto, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the U.S. Voting Rights Act. Sign or not, pass or fail, the petition will have no impact on that right.
Signing the incorporation petition simply means that the signer supports and thinks it’s a good idea to segregate a huge segment of our parish, with its corresponding duplication of government services already provided. And, if the ultimate goal of a new school district is achieved, it will mean a substantial increase in taxes to finance, build and run the six or more new schools required for the children to be displaced (7,000) from the EBR system and sent back to currently nonexistent schools in the area. Unless the proponents plan to establish a money orchard to grow money on trees, new taxes and a lot of them will be required if the new city and the new school district are created.
The arguments in the Higgins letter about what our ancestors fought for are erroneous. (1) The Revolutionary War was fought to escape the tyranny and control by England. It cannot be rationally argued that our existing city-parish government is tyrannical. (2) In World War II, we fought the Nazis because they were systematically murdering Jews in order to establish what Hitler thought would be a “pure race” and in order to prevent them from taking control of all of Europe. Jews were fighting for their life, not simply their right to vote. To compare the St. George movement to fighting the Nazis is a disgrace. (3) The civil rights movement was about equality in a much broader sense than just voting. The goals of the movement were achieved in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the U.S. Voting Rights Act.
So, the Constitution, the amendments thereto and congressional legislation all guarantee everyone’s right to vote.
Signing the petition has nothing to do with your right to vote. It simply means that you support and are enthusiastic about the idea of creating a new city with duplication of services and the corresponding and inevitable new taxes to support it.
If you have signed the petition and wish to remove your signature, please go to www.withdrawstgeorge.com for information and instructions on how to do this. If you do not remember if you signed the petition, please visit the same website and search for your name.
Mary Olive Pierson
appointed counsel to city-parish