Breaking up is hard to do, as the song goes, and thanks to a new lawsuit against organizers of the new city of St. George in East Baton Rouge Parish, breaking up just got a little harder. We hope that drama is resolved soon, since lingering uncertainty about how thousands of citizens will be governed isn’t good for anyone.
In an Oct. 12 election, residents in an unincorporated southeastern part of the parish voted by a wide margin to form a new city of St. George. EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, joined by two other plaintiffs, is suing to block the incorporation — arguing, among other things, that the boundaries of the new city were drawn to exclude minorities and unfairly engineer a victory for St. George supporters.
St. George’s boosters say a new city would operate more efficiently and pave the way for a separate school district to give parents better options. Critics argue a new city would increase operating costs for local government and negatively affect the rest of the parish.
Broome’s suit is funded by private donors and could delay the incorporation of St. George for years. We opposed the creation of St. George, but we think the legal standard has to be very high to set aside the results of an election. Given the compelling public interest in a swift resolution, we urge the courts to address this case quickly. That’s the best way to advance public confidence in representative government — something that’s desperately needed now, here and across the country.