EBR bond vote latest battle in power struggle between mayor, council
BATON ROUGE- For the second time in a month, the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council said no to sending Mayor Kip Holden's tax plan to voters, so it won't be on the November ballot.
Council members aren't happy with the way it was laid out and angry about not getting enough information up-front from the Mayor's office.
The plan called for infrastructure improvements, building upgrades, including to the prison, juvenile services and the police department headquarters, as well as ventures to bring in new business.
The failing vote is the latest in what's been a series of struggles between the mayor and council.
Council members claim they've never gotten enough information about any of the mayor's big projects. They say they were kept in the dark about the crime camera program and didn't get timely information about the search for a new police chief this summer.
Some say Wednesday night's vote is the biggest challenge to the mayor's power to date, with the council winning the tug-of-war for now, but the mayor and council don't say their issues have gotten that out-of-hand.
Holden said, "This is not Washington D.C., this is not the TEA Party, the Republican Party or this is not the Democratic Party. Somebody's gonna have to take a step back just for a second and evaluate just where we are as a city and parish."
"The executive branch and the legislative branch have got to work together and we just haven't had the communication," said Councilman Scott Wilson.
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Walker said, "We can all sit down and debate on an issue very thoroughly and very civilly and still make a decision that no one walks away mad."
"Maybe the communications or barriers that they are talking about will be removed," said Holden, "But at the same time I will say we were able to be the story out there."
And the mayor plans to keep selling his plan to anyone who will listen, in hopes that someday, the public will ask their representatives to give it another shot.