Recall petition chair speaks to city

Published 5:11 am Friday, April 21, 2017

The regular meeting of the Bogalusa City Council on Tuesday night started off with quick action.

The council adopted a resolution to request an opinion from the Louisiana Attorney General, regarding adjustments to the city’s water and sewage bills.

In the public hearing on that issue, Fate Ferrell said he knew of some residents in Bogalusa who don’t have water meters.

“That’s not fair,” he said.

Council vice president Doug Ritchie quickly asked Ferrell to provide addresses, and said he would look into that situation.

The council then passed a second resolution, to hire Professional Engineering Consultants Corporation in the event the 2018/2019 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant is funded. The proposed project involves water lines in Richardsontown.

Two ordinances were also adopted. The first sets the ad valorem tax rates, with no change from last year. The second authorizes Mayor Wendy Perrette to enter a contract between the city and Professional Engineering Consultants Corporation, with regard to the 2018/2019 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant proposal.

All of the votes were unanimous in favor, with council members Scott Ard and Gloria Kates absent.

The council also introduced several ordinances, which will come up for public hearing and vote on Tuesday, May 2.

One would authorize the mayor to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the District A Neighborhood Association, LLC, to reopen and operate the Poplas Recreation Center. Another would amend and supersede prior city ordinances with regard to a road transfer. A third would authorize the mayor to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement regarding adjudicated properties. And a fourth would authorize the mayor to enter into a contract with the successful low bidder, NCMC, LLC, for the fiscal year 2016 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant for water distribution improvements.

Malcolm Moses, chairman of the committee that launched a petition to recall Mayor Wendy Perrette and at-large city council members Teddy Drummond and Doug Ritchie, was then scheduled to speak for eight minutes on “general community views.”

Moses asked that Public Works Director James Hall “be released immediately” for “refusing to obey (council) orders” to blacktop Roosevelt Street. Hall instead sealed the street in a three-shot process, which Washington Parish transportation manager Donnell Merritt had said might not be as “pretty” as a blacktopped, asphalt road, but would last longer because it’s more flexible.

Moses then requested that Hall be replaced by a “black man.”

“A black man would know the difference between blacktopping and sealing,” he said.

Moses also said Bogalusa Police Chief Kendall Bullen should have never been made chief, because he had “been violent to an assailant.” He said he had a “just-released report from Internal Affairs” that stated Bullen used excessive force in his arrest of Johnny Johnson, shortly after the turn of the century. The truthfulness of Moses’ report could not be confirmed by press time.

Moses also accused city leaders of “red-zoning” to dilute the black vote. Finally, he alluded to the Statue of Liberty.

“We shall defend ourselves, our families, our friends,” Moses said. “We have not received liberty or justice.”