Rolfe McCollister Endorses The St. George Incorporation

He didn’t frame it that way, but when the Baton Rouge Business Report publisher penned an endorsement of the anti-business Democrat candidate Sharon Weston Broome for mayor-president of East Baton Rouge today, that’s precisely what he did.

The endorsement is utter nonsense. McCollister says Broome is a better choice than Bodi White because somehow she’s a better “listener,” whatever that means.

In a global economy and battle for attracting talent, we have to realize that Baton Rouge’s competition is not the region or state, but the entire nation. We can’t be parochial or think “small town,” because we aren’t anymore. We must be innovative and “think big,” or our children and grandchildren may have even larger issues to face. That is not a legacy we desire.

This is an important election. Baton Rouge is my hometown and I have lived here all my life. This community has been very kind to my family, and I love our capital city. I know Sen. Bodi White and Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, and they are both good people with a heart to serve. I have met with each, watched the debates and read their responses to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber questionnaire. It seems that on many of the issues, the candidates are in agreement on what needs to be done. So which will be the better listener and be more effective with the Metro Council and residents north and south? Who is the right choice at this time in history to unite our parish and move our city-parish forward? I thought about this long and hard. There are never any guarantees, and as they say, “The proof is always in the pudding.”

I concluded that Weston Broome is the servant-leader who can be the best mayor-president for our community and future. She gets my vote.

McCollister runs the “business” publication in Baton Rouge, and collects astonishingly confiscatory advertising rates for a rather nominal circulation purportedly exclusive to business owners in town.

One wonders how many business owners will find McCollister’s content worth their time when he endorses a state senator with a lifetime LABI rating of 32, and a 2016 score of 30, over another state senator with a lifetime LABI score of 73, and a 2016 score of 71.

That is a thoroughly indefensible position for him to take, and to support it by saying “the proof is always in the pudding” only punctuates the idiocy of his choice. We have a 40-point difference in LABI scores between the two. If you’re the publisher of the business magazine in Baton Rouge and you choose the anti-business legislator over the pro-business legislator, you aren’t qualified to speak on behalf of the business community from whom you are raking in advertising dollars.

McCollister isn’t a stupid man, so for him to take such a patently ridiculous position can only be explained by a motivation McCollister isn’t willing to share.

Perhaps he’s like also-ran primary candidate Darryl Gissell and was promised a role in a Broome administration. That would explain this passage…

Success will require surrounding one’s self with a strong leadership team—and getting wise counsel from those in our city, state and nation who have been “thought leaders” and have had success. We must have confidence that our next mayor-president can be trusted to be a good listener to hear the thoughts of residents and others with ideas and experience to arrive at the best solutions. That’s leadership.

We won’t make such an accusation, though, and we’ll search elsewhere for the reason behind McCollister’s endorsement against the interests of the people who pay him tribute.

The most obvious remaining answer has to be that McCollister has decided he wants to see the city of St. George become a reality.

Because that’s assuredly what will happen if Broome wins the mayor-president’s race. You will see a rush to incorporate St. George next June when the two-year timeout period from the previous effort has passed, and the collection of St. George signatures will proceed at a pace not seen during the 2015 incorporation effort. The organizers of that movement are simply biding their time until it’s legal to crank it up once again, and some of them are even hoping Broome wins for that very purpose.

The coming St. George incorporation is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, that nobody in Baton Rouge’s “in” crowd is even willing to address. Were these people honest with themselves and the citizenry of East Baton Rouge Parish, they’d understand that jumping from the frying pan of Kip Holden, who practiced crony capitalism and tax-and-spend liberal governance coupled with empty rhetoric on economic development, to the fire of Sharon Weston Broome whose entire career has been nothing more than a series of attacks on the business community and the productive sector, will serve to drive the unincorporated areas of the parish straight into municipal independence.

White has always been the candidate who offered hope to the anti-St. George crowd that he could address some of the issues which motivate people to want the new city. Rather than credit his efforts to hold the status quo together by promising the specific changes that would prompt the fissure they’re so concerned about, McCollister and the rest of the “in” crowd are now openly backing the candidate who will encourage it. And doing so in the name of “unity.”

He has to actually want St. George to take the position he’s taking. If he’s not a stupid man, which he is not, then this is the only explanation we can come up with.

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