In May 2014, The Advocate published an opinion article titled “A moment of unity for St. George.” It created a false narrative of a marriage between equal partners (city of Baton Rouge and the unincorporated area of St. George).

The more appropriate analogy would be that two business partners recognize there are irreconcilable visions for the future and wish to consider dissolving the partnership for the good of their stakeholders (residents). But to use your spousal analogy, I have an alternate perspective for contemplation.

Consider a couple married at an early age and have a large family. Both spouses contribute to the financial obligations; however, the dominant spouse opens the family banking account in his name only and makes all the financial decisions. The docile spouse dutifully makes deposits and has limited input on the family expenditures.

After learning their children are significantly below the state and national averages in standardized testing, the docile spouse pleads with the dominant spouse to have equal say in education. Indignant, the dominant spouse asserts “our arrangement has been in existence for decades, and no changes are necessary.”

The docile spouse, resolved no longer to be ignored, insists that changes must occur to avert future family calamities and re-establish the potential for a stable future. The docile spouse goes to the recommended arbitrator (state Legislature) for redress. Twice the arbitrator renders an opinion (must remain in the EBRPSS) that agrees with the dominant spouse (though everyone knows the arbitrator has a paternal relationship with the dominant spouse).

The dominant spouse feels assured normalcy will return to the family household. Undeterred, the docile spouse elects to petition family court (the voters at the ballot box) for equal say in education and finances and agrees the family court decision will be final. Indignant, the dominant spouse scolds the docile spouse: “You are sullying the good name I gave you. You must accept the decision of the arbitrator. Don’t you realize the neighbors are talking about us, and continuing this public disagreement could jeopardize future invitations to parties (new businesses).”

The docile spouse is confident family court (voters) will make the best decision for the future.

Without making any concessions, the dominant spouse publicly pleads, “Please, for the sake of the children, please don’t bring your case to family court.” All the while, the dominant spouse makes every attempt to block the docile spouse’s case from being heard by family court by encouraging the arbitrator (state Legislature) to revise the law (Lawrason Act of 1898) and spreading misinformation about the family finances (St George budget). Undeterred, the docile spouse is determined to have family court hear the petition for equal say in education and finances for the family.

CHRIS RIALS

chemical engineer

Baton Rouge