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Section 5 Voting Rights Follies

The US Supreme Court this morning did not announce its ruling on whether or not to invalidate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Maybe Thursday. We are waiting on pins and needles here in West Feliciana Parish, because the ruling will have a direct impact on the implementation of a Home Rule Charter approved by parish voters last November. The charter (HRC) would create a new system of government, replacing the old “Police Jury” system, a vestige of Spanish colonial rule, and unique to Louisiana. Under the Voting Rights Act, states like Louisiana, which have had discriminatory voting practices in the past, must be “pre-cleared” by the US Justice Department before the can implement changes like this. If SCOTUS overturns Section 5, implementation can begin now, though Justice still gets to sign off on redistricting.

At issue is at what point localities who have been under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act since 1965 can be free of it. At what point will they have made sufficient racial progress to be out from under such strict Justice Department oversight?

I haven’t followed the controversy over Section 5, and haven’t even followed the controversy in my own parish over HRC — until recently, when local opponents of Home Rule launched a drive among the Police Jurors (who do not have police powers, FYI) to send the HRC back to voters for repeal. If they succeed — as they may well do in tonight’s meeting — voters of the parish may nullify an election less than a year later, before any of its results were implemented.

From the public meetings I’ve been attending, it appears that most of the resistance to Home Rule is based in race. I posted a lengthy analysis and report on my local blog this morning.   [1] In short, we’re told that the black community — 33 percent of this parish — doesn’t believe a black candidate can win the parishwide vote for Parish President under the Home Rule system, because no black has ever won a parishwide election. At the last public meeting, a black voter indicated to the largely white audience that in her view, a white person cannot represent a black person. (See my blog for the full context; I think that’s a fair representation of her views). It’s gotten nakedly racial here.

I did research this morning on the Secretary of State’s office, going through all the election records going back to 1982, which is the first year for which they’re available online. What I found is that black candidates over the last 31 years have rarely run for parishwide office — and in about one-third of the cases, when they have, a majority of black voters have chosen the white candidate. Plus, there was a 1996 election for District Attorney, covering West and East Feliciana Parishes, in which the black candidate, who won the office, carried West Feliciana by a comfortable margin. He couldn’t have done that without a significant percentage of the white vote.

It’s not 1965 in West Feliciana anymore, but some diehards among the local black community seem to believe that it is — and some whites in political office seem to be using that sentiment to hold on to the jobs that a majority of the parish’s voters eliminated in last fall’s election.

If SCOTUS upholds Section 5, the Justice Department might still pre-clear the HRC plan in time, and anyway, that has nothing to do with the local politics of trying to reverse the people’s November 2012 vote, motivated in part by largely groundless racial concerns. Under the new plan, black citizens will receive proportional representation. Their only concern is with the executive office (we don’t have a parish executive now), fearing that a black candidate doesn’t have a chance to win. Yet as I said, over the last generation, few black candidates have even bothered to run parishwide. So the evolution of the political system, and the will of a majority of voters, is being thwarted by a relatively disengaged populace voting their fears, not the facts. At least that’s how it seems to me.

UPDATE: I was wrong in my blog post. The new charter plan will have five council members: four elected by single member districts (two majority black, two majority white) and one elected at large by the whole parish. Plus the parish president, elected at large. So there is more reason than I thought for black citizens to be concerned about the dilution of black voting strength, but not, I think, sufficient reason, given the changed demographics, evolved political and cultural landscape, and the openness of the reform process, to justify attempting to overturn the charter. A charter commission member explained to me just now that the entire reason for the charter was to do away with an outmoded system of government, and replace it with a form that features a separation of powers for checks and balances. What we have now is not working, but rather miring itself in factionalism.

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25 Comments To "Section 5 Voting Rights Follies"

#1 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 17, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

That’s interesting that a candidate won in 1996. If you could share how and why, that would be interesting. But all in all,

If you live ina paradiogm where you cannot participate and or the participation exists with very strcit patrameters of exclusion — you learn early on not to engage. And that is the scenario for nearly all black people in my view. After such training, one doesn’t have to be told what the game is — they have been trained to play it a certain way.

I am always amazed that whites think, just because some law or provision has changed the game that the players would immediately shift gears. Two hundred years of training (and it was at leat 100 years plus that) is not going to disappear in fifty.

Oncce my dog learned the boundaru=ies a fence is no longer needed.

[NFR: I didn’t live here then, but I presume that he was the better candidate. — RD]

#2 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 17, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

“So the evolution of the political system, and the will of a majority of voters, is being thwarted by a relatively disengaged populace voting their fears, not the facts. At least that’s how it seems to me.”

Behaving as they have been trained and by the light of their experience is probably more accurate. But again — this is a local matter.

#3 Comment By Bob Jones On June 17, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

“So the evolution of the political system, and the will of a majority of voters, is being thwarted by a relatively disengaged populace voting their fears, not the facts. At least that’s how it seems to me.”

Ultimately, this is why Madison et al did not want a constitutional system based on mass democracy. Ultimately, large scale democracy is nothing more than the dictatorship of the majority. A system in which 51% of the people can allow their fears and stereotypes (often defined by a loud, but small group) to drive their decision making, often free of facts. At this point, your sentence above sums up every election we hold in this country, and it certainly not unique to anything in your little corner of Louisiana.

#4 Comment By Art Deco On June 17, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

You’ve got to get MAD

___

1. You have 10,000 people at large in your parish, with another 5,000 in the state pen, no?

2. Your population at large is 40% black, no?

3. You elect a parish executive or you elect a ‘police jury’ who appoint a parish executive or a series of department heads. Can you explain how electing a parish executive diminishes the civic standing of the black population? The same population elects the executive as elects the police jury.

—-

1. Congress and the Attorney-General could compose and promulgate model electoral systems. As long as your charter copied the model, without qualification or adjustment, no pre-clearance would be required. Kind of a let down for officious nuisances though.

2. The purveyors of statute and case law re the Voting Rights Act have done nothing to promote innovative practices in electoral systems. No ordinal balloting, no single-transferable-vote, no manuals for redistricting procedure, nada. Instead, they require racial gerrymandering and complete discretion otherwise by legislative bodies to obtain quite unnecessary levels of equipopulousness.

3. Here in New York, the default mode of representation on municipal councils is first-past-the-post in at-large constituencies. That’s a dandy way to obtain one-party municipal councils (though a cynic might say it hardly matters because each all are extensions of local real estate interests). The purveyors of the Voting Rights Act take no interest in this sort of thing, nor in the gerrymandering which helps give the New York state legislature its 99.4% re-election rate. The Civil Rights Division meddles a great deal with you Dixie chickens and protect everyone very little.

[NFR: We have 33 percent black population (the state pen doesn’t count for redistricting). I erred in my original post; the new council will have five members, not four, and the fifth will be elected at large, like the parish president. So there is perhaps more reason to expect a dilution of black voting strength — but little reason to believe that whites won’t vote for blacks, based on the last 31 years of experience here, during which time two generations of whites and blacks have gone to school in integrated schools. Besides, two-thirds of the parish is white, a demographic that has changed greatly over the past half-century. Are their votes considered less than equal because of the color of their skin? Because they are white Southerners? I understand the necessity of federal oversight during the transition out of Jim Crow, but even Reconstruction ended at some point. — RD]

#5 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 17, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

If they are disengaged, how is it they are engaged enough to thwart what is being planned?

I know you think all significant problems have receded into the past of 1965, but as a great southern writer noted, the past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.

During Reconstruction, folks probably thought that was the final word. Experience teaches that progress is always in danger of regression – look at how the Bill of Rights is now significantly dead, from all we learned last week about routine egregious violation.

America’s “original sin” is certainly racism and Original Sin is notoriously hard to do away with.

It will take more than a mere majority vote, but widespread assent, before there is trust enough for complete reconciliation.

#6 Comment By pinkjohn On June 17, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

Gee, yeah. So surprising that blacks don’t trust whites to have their best interests in mind.

Sorry if I sound a little snarky here, but with the history of the parish as you have shared it here and on the local blog, it does not seem unreasonable to me for members of the black population to be dubious. I would guess that it will take more than 50 years to heal 400 years of racism.

That is not to say that there aren’t unreasonable people out there. Here in NYC, “playing the race card” generally means making an accusation of racism where no racist intent was meant, to fire up a political bloc to benefit one candidate or leader. Unfortunately, the memory of the time when real abuses where happening is still fresh for many, so it tends to work.

[NFR: But there has been very little civic engagement from the black community on this issue. Do you really think it’s fair to sit on the sidelines while good government reform is being discussed, to stay aloof from the discussion, even when your input has been actively sought, and then when the vote doesn’t go the way you want it to, start claiming racism? In our local case, it sounds like you think the South should continue suffering for its sins. The problem is that the parish is getting poorer, and one reason we can’t manage to recruit business is we have a dysfunctional local government, or so it is claimed. As a newcomer to the issue, it sounds like the black leadership, at least, is fighting to keep its own piece of a shrinking pie. Besides, I’m sorry, there is no way one can claim that only a member of their own race can adequately represent them and not be a racist. If you’re going to use that logic, then no white person should have voted for Barack Obama. You can’t have it one way and not the other. — RD]

#7 Comment By Roger Clegg, Ctr for Equal Opportunity On June 17, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

Here’s why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is bad policy, outdated, unconstitutional, and ought to be struck down by the Supreme Court: [2] and
[3]

What’s especially ironic is that the principal use to which Section 5 is put today is forcing jurisdictions to create and maintain racially segregated and gerrymandered voting districts – which is completely at odds with the original ideals of the Civil Rights Movement.

There are other federal laws available to protect the rights of voters, and they don’t raise the problems that Section 5 does.

#8 Comment By dedc79 On June 17, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

You wrote: “It’s gotten nakedly racial here.”

Just now, huh? Hadn’t it been nakedly racial, but in a different way, for a long time.

[NFR: That’s not what I mean. I mean the debate over good government, and governmental procedure, has become, for many in the black community, all about racial power politics. — RD]

#9 Comment By CW On June 17, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

Have you talked to black people in the area to see if they are as sure as you that white people are willing to vote for black candidates? Have you looked at surveys to see what Louisiana voters tell pollsters about their willingness to vote for black candidates?

You seem to be putting a lot of stock in that one election and assuming, without any other data, that the black people in your area are mistaken about the level of racial prejudice there. I would suggest that there is some chance that the black people in your community have a better sense of how much bigotry does or does not remain in the parish.

[NFR: Have you read the facts about black political participation and the 1996 election of a black DA? Or is it the case that no facts are allowed to get in the way of emotions that are felt by African-Americans? — RD]

#10 Comment By Donald On June 17, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

Rod,

You either didn’t read, or learned nothing from, the comments on your last Section 5 post. The statute itself answers your “at what point?” question quite clearly. I was one of two commenters to point that out. No response from you then; no acknowledgement of it now.

This litigation is for people who don’t want to comply with the statute. They want 5 Justices to overrule massive majorities of Congress. It will be a shame if Justice Kennedy goes along with it.

#11 Comment By pinkjohn On June 17, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

“[NFR: But there has been very little civic engagement from the black community on this issue. Do you really think it’s fair to sit on the sidelines while good government reform is being discussed, to stay aloof from the discussion, even when your input has been actively sought, and then when the vote doesn’t go the way you want it to, start claiming racism? In our local case, it sounds like you think the South should continue suffering for its sins.”

Yep, I hear you, and no I don’t think it’s “fair.” But you have run up against one of those issues that stumps white liberals trying to engage communities of color; “outreach.” The logic is, “let’s invite the ‘disenfranchised’ into the process.” It never works. I don’t think that was the actual tone here as you describe it, but it may have felt that way to some in the black community. Many are used to this treatment and have come to expect it, and so see it through that lens.

I understand that the house is burning down and good people are trying to save it. But some are going to feel like “you set this fire anyway, why should we help.” Shortsighted, yes. Inaccurate, probably. But what is logical from your POV won’t be to someone with different experience.

I know I’m not offering any solutions here, but there really aren’t many shortcuts to building real relationships across the race divide.

Years ago, (1989 I think) NYC was under orders from the Justice Dept. to dismantle the old Board of Estimate, which consisted of the five borough presidents, city council president and the mayor. The BOE apparently violated 1 person/1 vote, so it had to go and the city council had to be expanded and redistricted in a way to maximize minority representation. We had months of hearings on the new district map, hundreds of plans considered and discarded. District groups, minority organizations, civic councils etc. jumped into the process and a final map passed muster with DOJ. But the city council had always been a toothless institution and now they had real power. The first decade was a huge mess, and we had to pass term limits to get those old pols out. Now we have new political machines for almost every minority group (yay, what a step forward!).

It is not that I feel that the south SHOULD continue to suffer for it’s past sins, but I am sure that it will. The justice of it is a different question. I just feel that it is not all past and good intentions in the present will only go so far. In your local case, I certainly hope for the best outcome for all of you. I just don’t see harmony in the near future. Some hard work still has to be done.

#12 Comment By hattio On June 17, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

Rod says
“I understand the necessity of federal oversight during the transition out of Jim Crow, but even Reconstruction ended at some point.”

Given that the end of reconstruction was the beginning of Jim Crow, that might not be the best way to convince the African American voters in your parish that this is NOT a white power grab.

#13 Comment By hattio On June 17, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

Rod Says
“I haven’t followed the controversy over Section 5, and haven’t even followed the controversy in my own parish over HRC — until recently, when local opponents of Home Rule launched a drive among the Police Jurors (who do not have police powers, FYI) to send the HRC back to voters for repeal. If they succeed — as they may well do in tonight’s meeting — voters of the parish may nullify an election less than a year later, before any of its results were implemented.”

and then says

“So the evolution of the political system, and the will of a majority of voters, is being thwarted by a relatively disengaged populace voting their fears, not the facts. At least that’s how it seems to me.”

If the majority of voters repeal it, doesn’t that mean that the HRC is NOT the will of the majority of voters? I don’t see how this is somehow not majoritarian. Inefficient to be sure, but it seems it’s all about getting out the vote. There’s a city in Alaska that for several election cycles voted to go dry (no alcohol allowed to be sold) and then voted to repeal the next election. Eventually, they settled on allowing alcohol only to be sold by a city owned liquor store. Seemed a roundabout way to reach true consensus, but did seem to reach a consensus. Your parish may have to do something similar, but it seems that reaching consensus with the African-American voters in your parish is something that needs to be done to settle the issue.

#14 Comment By Bob Jones On June 17, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

“Do you really think it’s fair to sit on the sidelines while good government reform is being discussed, to stay aloof from the discussion, even when your input has been actively sought, and then when the vote doesn’t go the way you want it to, start claiming racism?”

You know what you are right, it is neither fair nor right, but people do it none-the-less. Take for example the issue over naming our local high school. This was a new school to be built to accommodate a rapidly growing population. The school board spent 9 months on public meetings, took regular input from parents on the new name, had several open public meetings, and spent three different public meetings debating the new name before voting to approve the name receiving the largest about of parent and public support. Martin Luther King HS in a neighborhood that is about 75-80% white. The day following the final board vote there was a small note in the local section of our local newspaper on the board meeting. The next day the $hit hit the fan, as all of those who were not engaged and completely aloof came out of the wood work to cry conspiracy, because “no one asked them”.

FYI. These were uniformly white folks who complained, even the professional race baiting complainers from Arizona who drove in to lie to the board about “their” children.

Needless to say the board held firm to their decision, the school opened and today (13 years later) it is one of the top schools in the region (So. Cal.).

All that being said, I hope your local government holds firm as well. The best thing they can do is stand firm against the after the fact whiners, who will never want to do the hard work of being engaged, but only want to piss on everything once it is decided.

#15 Comment By Art Deco On June 17, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

A charter commission member explained to me just now that the entire reason for the charter was to do away with an outmoded system of government, and replace it with a form that features a separation of powers for checks and balances. What we have now is not working, but rather miring itself in factionalism.

There are better ways and worse ways to conduct elections and public business, but I would wager that the ‘factionalism’ is a consequence of the social relationships among the politically active minority, and that that will continue. You might benefit from an elected executive not due to ‘checks and balances’ but because an appointed administrator might be pulled this way and that by your factionalized legislative body and an elected executive can make more liberal use of his middle finger (or whatever gesture they use in rural Louisiana to say the same thing).

He was entertaining:

[4]

#16 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 18, 2013 @ 12:15 am

Robert Nix, Jr., the first Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice of African descent, pointed out when he was merely a member of the bench that when the well connected Anglo elites justices proposed someone for appointment to offices that were more or less patronage positions, in the gift of the court, the other justices deferred to the proposal as a matter of trust among gentlemen, but when Nix OR the ITALIAN-American justice proposed someone, the other justices all asked a lot of questions about the nominee’s qualifications and background.

That sort of thing can set nerves on edge among people who know the deck has been quite openly stacked against them for centuries. So long as there is a distinct “black” experience, and there still is, there will be suspicion that people who experience life as “white” won’t really understand the concerns of those who don’t.

Its good when black majorities vote for white candidates and white majorities vote for black candidates. Hopefully we’ll see more and more of that. My congress rep cheerfully told the local press the first time she ran “I don’t see a racial divide in this election. Everybody is voting for me,” and pulled it off with 64% in a 3-way primary. But real concerns, as well as phony expressions from people whose meal ticket is threatened, do persist.

Have you sat down and talked at length with some of your neighbors who opposed the new charter? Have you really listened in depth and detail to their concerns? Have you tried to sort out what sort of modern, streamlined charter they WOULD accept?

#17 Comment By Roger II On June 18, 2013 @ 9:30 am

I would love to read an in-depth article on this. I would like to hear black residents describe their fears and explain why they didn’t participate in the process. I’d like to hear from the people that developed the home rule proposal. In particular, the rationale behind the at-large council district isn’t apparent. Did the developers reach out to the black community during the process or did they just count out blacks since blacks did not volunteer? What would black residents prefer? I hope you do the reporting and write this up. It would be fascinating.

[NFR: Yes, I’m thinking of doing this. One of the members of the Home Rule Commission told me they reached out time and time again to black leaders, asking them to join the process, but got nowhere. I need to speak to black leaders to confirm this, though. I need to talk to commission members to find out the reason for an at-large seat, but I’m pretty sure it was to have a voice on the new council who spoke for the interests of the entire parish, not just a particular district. I’ve heard critics of the Police Jury system say that one problem with the Jury is that its members advocate exclusively for their own districts, and tend to forget the interests of the whole. — RD]

#18 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 18, 2013 @ 10:25 am

A good solution is to have all members elected at large using an order-of-preference voting system. That way, if a sizeable minority, say one fifth or more, of voters throughout the parish have an over-riding common concern, whether it is rooted in race or city vs. agriculture or anything else, they are likely to all cast their first place votes for one candidate, who will be among those elected. If they constitute 40 percent of the population, they will likely elect two out of five. And if enough first place votes have already elected their first choice, the remaining votes will help choose the candidate to fill a third seat. Its a fluid process, and unlike proportional representation, it allows each vote to find the column where it will do the most good, avoiding most of the evils of gerrymandering, or even honest efforts to draw district lines.

#19 Comment By Art Deco On June 18, 2013 @ 10:39 am

If people are concerned about the factionalizing effects of district representation, you can attempt at-large representation with a Hare electoral system. That is described here:

[5]

minority viewpoints gain representation under this method. (Of course, it might just alter the axes of factionalization).

#20 Comment By Bob Jones On June 18, 2013 @ 10:55 am

“reason for an at-large seat, but I’m pretty sure it was to have a voice on the new council who spoke for the interests of the entire parish”

You know this is often very difficult to achieve as that at-large member will still live is a specific part of the parish, and the concern will be that he/she will still have the interests of their neighborhood at heart first. As such that part of the parish would essentially have two voices on the board.

Maybe that won’t be true, but it is definitely a legitimate concern. I have seen a similar dynamic in smaller cities, which elect at large councils. When all of the council members live in the same part of the city, then that part of the city tends to get the most attention.

[NFR: If Council Member Bob Forehead focuses on the interests of his neighborhood over and against the rest of the parish, and this bothers people in the rest of the parish, then he will not get re-elected. He is answerable to everybody. — RD]

#21 Comment By John Mark Ockerbloom On June 18, 2013 @ 11:20 am

“At issue is at what point localities who have been under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act since 1965 can be free of it. At what point will they have made sufficient racial progress to be out from under such strict Justice Department oversight?”

You asked this same question in a [6], and in the comments both Donald and I pointed to the provisions in the Voting Rights Act for localities to “be free of” section 5, as well as various examples of localities that had accomplished this.

My question to you, then, is: Is there a problem with West Feliciana also availing itself of these “bailout” procedures, like those other localities did? If so, is it a problem with the law’s provisions, or with the situation in West Feliciana?

#22 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 18, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

Art Deco and I made the same proposal. And it wasn’t even a conspiracy. I’ve agreed with Josh McGee, Erin Manning, and David White, but I think this is a first for me and Art Deco. Only on TAC.

#23 Comment By Marcus Harris On June 28, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

I am a young Black male and I reside in West Feliciana. I came across this blog a little late but I will answer some of the concerns and questions. My answers are not my opinion and contain some facts that may be shocking to some. Also, I do not represent all of the minorities of West Feliciana, for each have their own say in this matter.

1) The Home Rule Charter Commission did not reach out to all of the Black leaders of the parish. If they did, there would be a different Home Rule plan established that would be fair to all. All of the MAJOR Black leaders of the parish that I talked to said that they did not know the complete details of the plan and were not invited to participate in its development.

2) Fact: There was a black District Attorney for East and West Feliciana Parish. Why did he win? He won because of who he was running against. In West Feliciana parish we have a large prison by the name of Angola. The running mate is a high ranking warden of this prison and no one black or white wanted Angola in its politics…….Period.

3) The Home Rule Charter passed because of the high turnout for the presidential election. President Obama did not win West Feliciana parish and it can be said that many of those that opposed him voted for Home Rule. So why didn’t the black community vote against it? It’s simple; the black community did not know what they were voting for. Some that I talked to had never heard of it at the time of the vote and left it blank. They did this not knowing that they actually voted for it by not voting at all. And why did they not know? Because the major black leaders of the community were left out of the planning process and therefore did not have the information required to educate their people.

4) We are not afraid of change. In fact, some of us embrace the idea of a change of government for the parish. We can see that a change will bring prosperity. But we also can see that this prosperity is but for a few. That is why we oppose the plan. Not because we are afraid but, because it benefits a select group. How do you take command of a parish and bend it to your will? Easy, just dictate the voting outcome.

5) Reducing the number of districts is the only way to improve the odds of a vote outcome. But, we are not talking about Vegas were the outcome is determined by statistics and luck but, rather an outcome that is determined by what group wants it. So now let’s improve our odds even more by saying that one of the councilmen will be a parish wide one. Now we have a person with the same ideology of the parish president but with one given advantage; this person can vote. Now let’s look at the other four positions. It is a given that there will be two white councilman and two black councilman. This fact is based on the redistricting boundaries. The two white councilmen represent the areas with the highest number of whites. So now we have three white councilmen that represent a large portion of the 67%. So how do you think they will vote? They definitely will not go against the select group within the 67%. So what about the black councilman and will their vote ever matter? How can it when it will always be a 3/2 outcome for the 67%. Hey!!!! We hear you and appreciate your opinion but we represent a larger group and therefore we must abide by the people we represent. And this ladies and gentlemen is what you call voter dilution and it is how you take control of a parish.

[NFR: Marcus, I don’t agree with all of this, but I really appreciate you explaining your point of view. Thanks. — RD]

#24 Comment By Marcus Harris On June 29, 2013 @ 12:08 am

Hey Rod. I gave you the answer to the question of why…..Why do we oppose the Home Rule Charter? This is just my version of the same answer that you would get from every black person who sees the charter for what it is. I would like to read what it is you disagree with and also some positive fact on why we should not oppose this plan.
NOTE: Keep all seven districts+drop at large councilman=no fuss from this side

[Note from Rod: Marcus, take a look at westfeliciana.blogspot.com, a blog I started to write about these issues. I posted your earlier comment there. There have been a couple of responses. I’m posting something every day there, because I don’t think readers of this blog care much about the problems in West Feliciana. I’d love it if you would start reading that other blog and sending in your responses to the discussion there. I don’t have comments because I don’t want to be dealing with anonymous people trashing others. — RD[

#25 Comment By Marcus Harris On June 29, 2013 @ 8:37 am

Let’s not take this out of context. This is not a black and white issue, but a right vs. wrong issue. The whole issue here is that we have given a minority block (influential people) of voters the vote control of the parish. This in turn changes everything because the parish will hurt economically and its growth will be stunted, because the plan allows too much power for the parish president and the at large member.