Mayor clarifies ‘living’ plan

Published 10:55 am Monday, March 2, 2015

Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said she wanted to better explain aspects of the Bogalusa Comprehensive Resiliency Plan and finally put to rest confusion centered on the document.

New Orleans’ Dana Brown & Associates, author of the Resiliency Plan, will be at Bogalusa City Hall Monday at 1 p.m. to answer concerns from the public about the Comprehensive Resiliency Plan. The meeting will be in the conference room.

“The state/federal government makes cities have a Comprehensive Resilience Plan in order to receive monies. We’ve never had a plan,” Perrette said. “Three years ago the city was awarded grant monies to develop a 20-year plan from Disaster Recovery Funds and is 100 percent funded. The goal is to make cities resilient to every kind of disaster, natural, manmade, economic, to name a few.”

Perrette said the public has had ample time to ask questions about the Comprehensive Resiliency Plan.

“There have been numerous advertised and attended meetings for the community’s input for the development.” Perrette said. “We grew so fast there was a boom in population. Unfortunately, we also deflated as quickly as we grew. The people had to develop a plan for future grants because the government won’t distribute money without a plan. In order to make a plan, people in Bogalusa were encouraged to attend these meetings that have spanned over the past two years.”

Perrette discussed aspects of the Comprehensive Resiliency Plan she said some residents don’t comprehend.

“People have been misinformed or have misinterpreted that the city is coming in to take people’s properties and destroy neighborhoods,” Perrette said. “This is illegal and not a fair thing. We have many vacant lots where someone has passed and the city tears down a dilapidated house. In the plan there is the term ‘land bank.’ This land is ‘banked’ not to become the city’s because there are still proper procedures with owners or those who inherited land but don’t live here where this land is left open. Where people get that the city is coming to take over their inheritance or homes is false and isn’t something that I would approve.

“The Obama Administration has encouraged and is pushing that cities and states go from big complexes in public assistance housing to smaller homes,” Perrette said. “These are pride-inducing homes. It is illegal to tear assisted housing down without a replacement in place.

“There is the question about urban gardening throughout the city on vacant properties. This is being done in cities across the nation,” Perrette noted. “It is where schools and agricultural agencies team up to educate children on better eating habits and where their foods come from. This is a movement on the part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s platform to fight childhood obesity and educate the youth of America.

“The Comprehensive Resiliency Plan is a living document and can be changed a million times,” Perrette said. “It’s a shame that public forums have been held for two years and now someone has misconstrued this to taking over people’s homes, taking their land, redistribution of voters. Even more have ludicrously said it’s about sharecroppers.”

Perrette said she can’t abide by people purposely twisting things around for their own cause.

“I hate that people have taken a piece of a changing document and twisted it to divide a community,” Perrette said. “I was hoping we were moving away from past stigmas. In this administration, there is no race but the human race.”