For the first time in his five years as Mandeville mayor, Donald Villere has broken out the veto pen.
In a two-page statement, Villere said he was vetoing an ordinance — passed Thursday — that would have limited special events in the city to four specific areas: a portion of the city’s 1.5-mile lakefront, the Trailhead area, Sunset Point and the city’s harbor.
The ordinance was controversial because it would have ruled out areas along the lake and west of Ravine aux Coquille, which is where the annual Mandeville Family Reunion is held. People affiliated with the reunion vociferously opposed the measure.
“The ordinance is not only bad policy, it stands against the core values Mandeville was founded on,” Villere wrote in the statement announcing his veto. “I cannot sit by and watch the negative impact it will have on our generation and generations to come.”
The ordinance was sponsored by Mandeville Councilman Rick Danielson, who has announced his intention to challenge Villere for mayor in the spring elections.
Danielson presented the ordinance as a way to help protect the lakefront from overuse, and particularly to protect the oaks that line the shore.
In a statement issued through his political consultant, James Hartman, Danielson said Villere’s veto was “unfortunate.”
“Catering to the well-intentioned but misinformed desires of a single group with a unique interest is contrary to good government, but that is exactly what the mayor has done,” Danielson said.
Councilman Ernest Burguières, who voted for the ordinance, said he was disappointed by the tone of the debate, which was heated at times.
“It’s no longer sufficient to disagree on an issue. One apparently must also attack the other person and their motives to win at all costs,” he said.
Neither commented specifically on whether they would attempt to override Villere’s veto, a move that would require four votes on the five-member council. Because the ordinance passed 3-1 with Councilwoman Carla Buchholz — who said in a statement that she opposed the measure — absent, the chances of an override appear dim.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.