Local races on Tuesday’s ballot

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / November 4, 2000

LAPLACE – Besides helping to elect the next president of the United States Tuesday, voters in the River Parishes will have a few other things to decide on.

There is the third Congressional District representative to vote for, four state constitutional amendments, a school board member from District 8 in St. John Parish, a District 4 Justice of the Peace and a District 2Constable in St. John Parish and an alderman in Lutcher.U.S. PresidentOf course there are the two front runners in this race. Democratic Partynominee and current Vice President Al Gore and Republican candidate George W. Bush, the governor of Texas. Other presidential candidates onthe ballot are the Reform Party’s man, Pat Buchanan, Green Party nominee, Ralph Nader; Libertarian Party candidate, Harry Browne; Natural Law Party nominee, John Hagelin, Constitution Party’s man, Howard Phillips and the Socialists Workers Party candidate, James Harris.

U.S. RepresentativeIncumbent Billy Tauzin will face three people who are trying to win his seat from the Third Congressional District. Edwin “Eddie” Albares, DionBourque and Anita W. Rosenthal are all running against Tauzin.State Constitutional Amendments Amendment 1: This amendment would give the Legislature permission to dissolve the present Department of Economic Development and form a quasi-private corporation called Louisiana Inc. The idea is to create amore business-like atmosphere in order to develop industry and business in Louisiana.

Amendment 2: Voting for this amendment will mean that a taxpayer can no longer deduct federal income tax from his state income tax. It alsomeans that the state income tax rates will increase. The state is hopingto modernize its revenue base and methods of collecting revenue with this amendment. However, for Amendment 2 to pass, the voters must also passAmendment 3.

Amendment 3: Voting “yes” for No. 3 would eliminate the state sales taxon food, utilities and prescription drugs. Amendment 3 is part of the “taxswap” the state wants to modernize it fiscal affairs. Proponents ofAmendments 2 and 3 say revenues will increase by $200 million and the money will only be used to increase teacher pay in the state. Likeamendment 2, amendment 3 cannot pass unless No. 2 also passes.Amendment 4: Voting “yes” on No. 4 will allow local government to useeconomic development funds as grants or loans to businesses and industry that want to relocate in their area. However, to be eligible for thesefunds the businesses or industries must promise to hire a certain percentage of the residents in the area. The amendment, which wasdrafted by local Rep. Bobby Faucheux, is designed to attract morebusinesses and jobs to the state.

ST. JOHN PARISHSchool Board, District 8 District 8, which is in the northern area of LaPlace, was represented by Richard DeLong. However, due to health reasons, DeLong retired in Julyand the winner of this election will serve out the remaining two years of DeLong’s term.

The race started with five candidates, and after the October election it went into a run off between former school board member Russ Wise and former St. John Parish Council member Mike “Coach” Maggiore.Both candidates have been going door-to-door for the past four weeks trying to drum up support. In the primary election Wise got 37 percent ofthe vote and Maggiore garnered 35 percent, and parish political pundits have predicted this will be a close race.

Maggiore, a school teacher in New Orleans and resident of LaPlace, is not new to parish politics. He was a parish council member in the past and ranunsuccessfully for parish president in 1999.

Maggiore said his years as a teacher are his best qualification for the school board.

“We have businessmen and other professions on the board. I think it istime we have a teacher on the school board,” said Maggiore Maggiore has been endorsed by the St. John Parish Educators Association,the union of teachers and school employees.

“I believe that our schools are improving,” said Maggiore, “but I want to continue that improvement. With my professional and personal contacts Ibelieve I can be a liaison between the administration and the teachers and keep a united front to improve education.”Wise, also a resident of LaPlace, owns and operates a radio news service in Baton Rouge. A school board representative from the 11th Districtbetween 1995 and 1999, Wise is a big believer in public education.

His main goal is to build people’s confidence in public education.

“We have a real job ahead of us convincing people that the schools are good and that we will make them better,” said Wise.

To do this, Wise wants to improve school libraries, improve student test scores and build another high school on the east bank.

Wise said he has come up with a plan to pay for all these improvements.

Without going into details, Wise said, “I am laying the groundwork for a different approach to raising revenue that will not depend on sales taxes.”If elected, Wise said he will present his plan to the school board as his first order of business.

Wise has been endorsed by DeLong and by LaRue Speights, who was interim school board member from District 8 during the election.

DeLong said of Wise, “Russ was with us on every important issue from a balanced budget, operating in the black to supporting the superintendent and his staff, to fighting for increased teacher pay and respectability.”In Speights’ endorsement, she writes, ” As a high school teacher with 33 years experience, I know that Russ Wise is a man I would want serving on the board that employed me.”Justice of the Peace District 4 This election will decide who will serve out the remaining two years of Elliana DeFrancesch’s term as Justice of the Peace. DeFrancesch resignedthe position after winning the election of St. John Clerk of Court in 1999.William “Bill” Favor and Donald “Tyran” Williams beat out one other candidate in the October election by getting 43 and 37 percent of the vote, respectively.

After 32 years as a police officer, Favor believes he is best qualified to be a Justice of the Peace.

Favor said, “I want to strengthen the Justice of the Peace system and make it functional for the residents.”Favor believes the Justice of the Peace system in the state must be modernized and that he is best suited to do just that.

Businessman Donald Williams said he will uphold the law and be flexible and available to meet the people’s needs.

Williams said, “My desire is to give something back to the people of St.

John Parish. It gives me great pleasure to educate people about theservices of Justice of the Peace.”Constable District 2 Two people are headed into the runoff Tuesday after beating out a crowded field of three other candidates.

Albert A. Burl III of Garyville got 45 percent of the vote in October’sprimary election and Brent “Beno” Duhon Sr. got into the runoff with 30percent of the vote.

ST. JAMES PARISHAlderman, District 2, Division B In the only local political race in St. James Parish, Jason Amato and CarlVicknair head to the Nov. 7 election after beating out one other candidatein October. Amato came out ahead with 48 percent of the vote, andVicknair had 28 percent of the vote.

Return To News Stories