I live inside the area of the proposed St. George City and it’s disheartening to see the St. George proponents want to dismember my hometown, where I was born, raised and lived my whole life. I made a career as a legislative staff attorney in Baton Rouge and retired after 29 years.
Not long ago we got a door hanger info card from the proponents. I have to take issue with some of their assertions. They do a Q&A format, and they are very definitive with most of their answers. However, for the question “Will we get a new school system,” the answer gets quite fuzzy and misleading. It states, “Once we have a city, we will begin the process of starting an independent school district.” They make it appear as if it is just some administrative process, like buying furniture, to go ahead and set up the school district. What they don’t say is that it is not a simple process; it is, however, a legislative battle, probably many battles over many years, and they may never get a school district. In the 1980s when the already established city of Baker wanted its own school district, it took eight years of legislative battles to get approval. It’s misleading.
In their website and social media they like to assert that the Legislature told them to create a city. Untrue. I challenge them to produce the legislative instrument that tells them to create a city. No individual or group can speak for the entire legislature; nor can any legislator commit the entire legislature to pass any instrument. As proof of the legislative directive and commitment, they post two clips of state senators from Baton Rouge arguing that one of the reasons to vote against the school district is that it would be in an unincorporated area of Baton Rouge. The two state senators are simply arguing against that bill. They are simply stating one of many reasons to defeat the bill. There is no directive or commitment in those clips. The only thing certain is that the Legislature has rejected the bill. It’s very misleading.
The St. George proponents want us to destroy Baton Rouge on the outside chance they may, one day, create a school district. Controversial legislation is very hard to pass, particularly when it requires a 2? 3 vote of approval. The Legislature is littered with dead bills that someone thought was good. About 1? 3 of the legislation introduced is actually passed. It’s a crap shoot. I’m not willing to destroy my hometown so those folks can roll the dice on our future.
W. Wade Adams
retired senior legislative attorney