Parish council revisits redistricting issue

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2002


HAHNVILLE – The St. Charles Parish Council again discussed redistricting itself at length during its Monday meeting and, like a punch-drunk boxer, staggered to no conclusion.

An ordinance calling for a public referendum on a choice for either a six-district or eight-district plan for reapportionment was tabled by a split vote.

“It’s clear by a lot of public outcry that the people would like a choice,” said Councilman Lance Marino, co-sponsor of the proposed ordinance along with Councilwoman Dee Abadie.

However, members of the public addressing the council on the issue appeared just as split. Bob Lockwood, president of the Ormond Civic Association, and Stanford Caillouet, New Sarpy resident, were equally unstinting in support.

However, former councilman Ellis Alexander said either proposal would give the council an even number of members and split the council on many issues. “Instead of simplifying things, you’re complicating things,” he said.

The ordinance called for the referendum to be held in conjunction with the U.S. Senate race Oct. 5. However, Marilyn Richoux of Destrehan urged for a special election, to be held April 6.

Thelma Schexnayder agreed with Richoux and added, “When you try pleasing everybody, you end up pleasing nobody.”

Abadie urged passage, and said, “It’s a representation issue. Please vote for this; we’ll iron this out.”

And Councilman April Black repeated her past assertions she isn’t ready to vote on any six- or eight-district plan unless she sees it on paper first. “It is rather confusing,” she added.

“We are here to clarify the issue,” Councilman G. “Ram” Ramchandran said, while making another pitch for a six-district plan, and moving to amend the ordinance toward an April 6 election date. That failed in a 6-3 vote, with Ramchandran joined by Abadie and Clayton Faucheux.

Ramchandran then moved to table the matter, and that passed in a 5-4 vote, with Ramchandran joined by Marino, Abadie, Barry Minnich and Terry Authement.

Later in the meeting, Schexnayder again addressed the council on redistricting and pointed out the council is willing to pay South Central Planning for more plans on paper, but not willing to pay for a special election to decide the matter? She added the council has the power under the Home Rule Charter to develop its own plan and only needs the people to determine the number of districts.