This crazy mantra from the fixers is starting to get old. It was repeated over and over during the court case against LCG’s bungling attempt to fix their own charter with an ordinance. The maps were right, they said, it’s just the descriptions that were wrong. It was a simple mistake, don’t you know. Well, a fresh look at the old documents reveal that, the maps were fluid during the amendment process. To top it off, the descriptions were wrong back then, too! What’s worse, is even with the “fix” ordinance, the maps are STILL wrong!
The original charter amendment ordinance (which called for an election) was sprung on several council members at the July 10th, 2018, meeting. Back then, the maps were a big issue for Pat Lewis. This was primarily due to the reduced amount of minority representation in his new district. Over the next several weeks, the fixers made certain unspecified and unpublished amendments to the charter. These amendments were added as a finished charter that the voters approved on December 8th. Those unspecified changes included rearranging district lines.
Even before they began tinkering with district boundaries, the descriptions didn’t match the maps! A quick glance at the introductory ordinance shows the district descriptions are already badly mangled. For example, precincts 16, 17, and 18 are all listed in City District 1, but the map clearly has them inside City District 5. Feel free to review the entire document for yourself. It’s an absolute embarrassment.
By the way, these are our purported saviors of the city. Or was it the parish? Of course, this lack of attention to detail should be excepted. We’re painting with broad bushes! We’re dreaming! After all, who really cares about the details? The voters have spoken! Remember, too, that this is no amateur’s mistake. The author of this debacle has been in office for nearly twelve years.
Even after the “fix” in March, eight precincts require further attention
According to Louisiana Revised Statute 18:532.1, parish governing authorities must use WHOLE precincts as part of any redistricting or reapportionment plan. The law issues a strong directive that “no election shall be conducted” unless the districts are comprised of whole precincts. Revised Statute 33:1371 and 33:1411 make similar references to the use of only whole precincts in reapportionment or redistricting plans for both municipal and parish governments.
According to the fix the fix ordinance, there are eight precincts that violate state law by crossing district boundaries. They are Precincts 39, 40, and 47 which appear in districts 1 & 2, Precinct 74 appears in districts 2 & 3, Precinct 121 appears in districts 3 & 4, Precincts 72, 90, and 92 appear in 4 & 5, and Precinct 51 appears in districts 5 & 1.
LCG appears to already be apprised of this issue. Late last week, their GIS department will not print maps that include both district and precinct boundaries on the same map. A quick check with the Registrar of Voters office resulted in an immediate redirection to Lafayette Parish’s Legal department. It may be a good time to bring up that this is the very same legal department that said the rules in the state constitution and home rule charter don’t apply to them.
Over the next few weeks, will we see yet another “fix” ordinance aimed at these lingering issues? Of course, as they originally planned with the previous fix ordinance, they could always “prefer to leave it as-is” since the public being ignorant of any potential illegality “does no harm.”