The honor among thieves in the Capitol is that legislators will not go against a bill concerning local politics. This leaves opportunity for questionable bills to be passed without push back. That will be the case with SB205, unless people show up to testify. Senator White’s bill to break Central away from BREC has 4 coauthors, Cloud, Foil, Henry and Tarver. What is their interest in Central? Why do legislators want control of Central parks?
Who Appoints the Board Members?
Senate Bill 205 sounds like what the Central wants, unless you read the details. It gives Zachary local control of their parks, but it does not do the same for Central. Instead, this bill would give legislature and the school board power over local parks. Out of 5 board members, the local government would only appoint 2. How can legislators read this bill and believe they are giving Central more local control?
The board shall be composed as follows:
(a) The member of the Louisiana House of Representatives whose district
encompasses the majority of voters of the recreation district shall appoint one
(b) The member of the Louisiana Senate whose district encompasses a
majority of the voters of the recreation district shall appoint one member.
(c) The city council of the city of Central shall appoint two members.
(d) The board of the Central Community School District shall appoint
PAC Pushing For Legislative Control of Parks
One of the 5 authors of SB205, Bodi White, has a billboard campaign funded by Our Future 15 PAC. The chairman of the PAC is Brandon Rogillio. Rogillio was part of the madness when Senator White made a deal with BREC in the first place. There was a bit of an uproar over land ownership and the possible conflict of interest. This history has caused a bit of frustration with citizens. Much of that history can be found in local newspaper archives. Woody Jenkins gives a great rundown of the timeline. There was also an opinion piece on Louisiana Voice about the fiasco. Since then there has been drama over city hall and finances.
Regardless of what happened, there are citizens feeling skeptical about state legislature having a say in local politics. The legislators for Central represent areas outside of the city. What happens when the representative or senator calling the shots does not reside in Central? How can locals trust that they will have their best interests at heart?
How You Can Get Involved
SB205 is set to be heard by the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs May 20, 2021 at 9:00 am. The community needs to show up and ask why legislators want control of Central parks.