MARK POPE: Moving Forward From The Election [OPINION]
A few thoughts on Saturday’s election in Lafayette Parish
Okay, the Nov. 18 election is history and the unofficial results are in from Lafayette Parish. Let’s analyze. The turnout was abysmal; unofficially, 11.5% of Lafayette Parish voters turned out. Thank goodness, though, the property millage renewals for the courthouse and the jail both passed (remember, both failed in April). State law mandates that the parish governing authority in each parish – Lafayette Consolidated Government in Lafayette Parish – fund the operation and maintenance of the courthouse and the jail.
The fun begins with the second point of analysis. Lafayette is still a solidly conservative community. In fact, 72% of Lafayette Parish voters on Saturday voted for John Schroder, a solidly conservative candidate for state treasurer. Schroder won 56% to 44% statewide. Concerning the fourth issue on the ballot, the rededication of the 3.56 (mills) health millage, the vote was only 42% conservative; that is, only 42% of voters rejected restructuring the health millage, which was the true conservative choice. With the approval of the health millage rededication, some of 3.56 mills will be moved to fund drainage – 1.1 mills move to drainage – and .25 mills goes to fund a new CREATE (Culture, Recreation, Arts, Tourism, Economy) initiative. In my estimation, the CREATE initiative is far from a conservative venture. It’s highly probable that most of the 58% who approved the 3.56 health millage rededication did so because they were told it was for drainage; the CREATE initiative was only sparsely mentioned in all the promotions, and many voters were unaware that CREATE is part of the rededication.
CREATE is an unnecessary and wasteful expansion and duplication of government, as many organizations already promote and support all aspects of the CREATE initiative. Consider the following quote from the 22-page CREATE plan. “Strategy A: Design a combined and redefined millage adjustment campaign to successfully fund the CREATE Lafayette mission without immediately [emphasis added] increasing the cost to the citizenry.” This quote from page 9 of the CREATE plan means that, over time, costs will definitely increase to Lafayette Parish citizens. The public was not told this, nor were they fully informed about the content of the plan. Moreover, the plan is written very generally – gobbledygook if you will – and is hard to decipher. One more quote from the CREATE plan: “The CREATE Lafayette initiative was established with an understanding that these clusters and disciplines would and should overlap thereby strengthening the ecosystem.” Who knows what CREATE will create.
One spokesperson with LCG stated that the United Nations is not mentioned in the CREATE plan, and the United Nations has nothing to do with CREATE. The United Nations is on page 2 of the CREATE plan, listed under “best practices research,” and again on page 5, as one of “international, national, and regional models,” upon which CREATE will be based. So, individuals within LCG were not aware of the content of the CREATE plan, and inaccurate information was given to the public.
Oh well, the election is over. Let’s all take a breath and prepare for the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.