A recorded message went out Thursday around 4pm targeting folks in the Baton Rouge city limits and the proposed City of St. George area spreading rumors and strong opinion about the petition process and the impact of the City of St. George.
Spokesperson for the St. George movement, Lionel Rainey, responded to the robocall by saying:
“We get it. They don’t want people to vote on this. Nothing they say surprises us anymore. We’ve been dealing with blatantly inaccurate statements and outright lies since day one. It’s something different every time. At the end of the day, we have the truth on our side, and our story has never changed.”
The person on the recording is a lady who surely has a disdain for the whole St. George issue. The caller wants to make sure you are aware of three main points that she is passionate about and believes to be true.
She states that the St. George movement is using “children as petition gatherers.” If children are part of the process I imagine they are with their parents who are the ones actually gathering the signatures. I am sure that the children are the reasons the parents are involved. In fact, I would venture to say that the children involved could provide you with first hand testimonies as to why they personally want a new school district – or they’re in a private school and their parents are spending money that could be gathering a return in a college fund on tuition. Daily they see and feel the effects of being part of the failing East Baton Rouge Parish School System. These parents want their children involved in the democratic process. Is she inferring that that is a bad thing? If she is referring to the college students who are going door to door, they are over 18.
The second point she makes is that petition-gatherers are telling potential signers that they “must sign in order to retain their right to vote.” The only thing petition-gatherers are telling potential signers about their right to vote is that still have one! And by signing the petition they can bring this issue to a ballot and cast their vote, whether it be yay or nay.
She then goes on to claim that St. George “would raise our taxes.” Since this call has been confirmed as being received in the city limits of both Baton Rouge and the proposed City of St. George her statement makes no sense. Taxes would not automatically jump up when the City of St. George becomes a reality. In either city, it would require a vote of the people. If tax increases were put on a ballot in Baton Rouge it would be the leaders of Baton Rouge at fault, not the City of St. George. Because the St. George issue shed light on the City of Baton Rouge’s spending problems does not make them the fault of the St. George organizers. The blame falls on the backs of those who were voted to responsibly handle and spend taxpayer dollars and yet failed to do so.
“I am calling to encourage you to NOT sign the St. George petition. The St. George organizers are starting to look for new people in order to get more signatures. They are using CHILDREN as petition gatherers and telling people that you have to sign to RETAIN your right to vote. THAT IS NOT TRUE. They will raise our taxes and harm our schools. If they show up at your door, tell them politely that we don’t support St. George. Don’t let them PUSH you into signing their petition. Thank you. 225-341-4313”