Redistricting plans outlined | 2 comment in advance of Aug. 21 public hearing

Published 10:30 pm Saturday, August 11, 2012

Although the ordinance to redraw city council districts “to provide for population equality” after the 2010 census was only introduced at the Bogalusa City Council meeting Tuesday, two members of the public commented on redistricting plans outlined by Washington Parish Elections Commission Chairman Marshall Jenkins at the prior meeting.

Joseph Bailey said he was concerned that the base plan talks about numbers of the white population as compared to those of the black population, while the recommended new Plan B speaks of white population and minority population numbers.

He also said he believes that the new plan calls for a decrease in black representation while, according to the census, the black population has increased.

Tina Ratliff, who is an African-American, as is Bailey, said she spoke for “the V.O.I.C.E.” as well as “several local churches, service organizations, community organizations and community leaders” when she supported the redistricting and Plan B.

“I am here to comment and encourage the selection of Plan B as the proposal to approve,” she said. “After careful and lengthy review of the three proposals, especially the reapportionment within not only the districts, but precincts, it was great to discover that the plan selected by our elected officials was also favored by our community leaders as representing the greater good of our community.”

Ratliff told Bailey that when the precincts are also taken into consideration, the racial breakdown in the proposed plan is “actually correct.”

In other business, the council adopted an ordinance that authorizes Mayor Charles Mizell to enter into a contract with Tullier Services, LLC for the Poplas Street bridge utility relocation. Tullier was the low bidder for the project.

The regular public hearing and possible council action on the redistricting ordinance will take place during the next meeting at 5:30 p.m. Aug.j3

21. The meetings are held in the courtroom at City Hall.