Is Poor Leadership The REAL Reason Why North Baton Rouge Isn’t Thriving?

Is Poor Leadership The REAL Reason Why North Baton Rouge Isn’t Thriving?

For the past two decades, I have seen the gradual decline of North Baton Rouge such as businesses leaving, people moving, crime rate raising, education failing, substandard infrastructure creating, and lacking economic development and yet the elected officials who represent the area stay employed. As a law abiding citizen of North Baton Rouge for the past 45 years of my adult life, I have seen so many things happen with little accountability from leadership.

The common perception of North Baton Rouge citizens and elected officials from a visitor would be that they are lazy, poor, and idiotic. However, can you blame them when you open your eyes and see the community’s current state? As a community that seems to only receive the scraps from the city and states’ budget, you would think lawmakers and council members who represent the area would be more inclined to work together but they don’t. They only seem to care about themselves by exemplifying actions such as refusing to work together and allowing their own selfish pride to destroy the very community they were elected to represent.

I have always had great interest in politics, but I guess looking at it from the outside for so many years, I guess I couldn’t deal with the conniving and backstabbing some do just to be elected.

Many would say it is a black and white issue and perhaps that could be one of the biggest reasons but the fact of the matter is the responsibility lies in the citizens electing the wrong people.

I have personally witnessed black council members arguing with each other at council meetings; some black officials not even knowing the agenda before they arrived at the meetings yet they continue to point fingers at their white colleagues. In my honest opinion, it should be a requirement that one is knowledgeable of the Robert Rules of Order before getting elected.

In recent news, I saw the voting of the new Mayor Pro Tempore and it seems that if there was any shot at getting a black representative in the position then perhaps they all should have agreed to support one candidate and all lobbied their white colleagues for support, but that did not happen, instead fingers were pointed at each other.

Baton Rouge is a very “clickish” town and people wonder why we aren’t progressive. It is observed that the same people which are at the meetings are the ones being elected and lacking the desire to improve or change for the betterment. My mom always said, “the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

Where are all the MEN? Not saying women should not have a fair shot in office, but I think it should be a balance of both male and female representation.

I remember when Cleo Fields was the ‘MAN’  in town. Many may disregard his work but that brother brought economic growth to his community. Isn’t that the main reason we elect legislators?  What other black legislator, in recent years, has brought back resources to their community like Cleo did?  I’ll answer that for you – ZERO. Even though he lacked the votes in the legislature, Cleo Fields was very smart by developing relationships with his white counterparts. In turn, those relationships aided the community, economically. So please don’t use the excuse that it can’t be done!

I also remember male figures like Charles Kelly and the Johnson brothers.  I recall helping with the mayoral campaign of Ron Johnson as well as his brother, Don Johnson when he initially ran for judge. So yes, we have had some strong black men to represent us well in this community. The most important part is that we all were engaged and willing to support candidates who could help us. Now a days, if you can not raise the money then you do not get the support. What happened to a “one community” mindset?

What disappoints me is this old guard refusing to support any new young black men striving to get elected. Where are the mentors? When is it time to pass the torch?

When you think of the new crop of young black males running for political office in Baton Rouge, these young men come to mind: Eugene Collins, Antoine Pierce, Corey Smith, Braylon Hyde, Wendell Piper and if you specifically think of North Baton Rouge, no other name comes to mind other than Daniel Banguel. So yes, we have smart black men in our city who are ready to challenge the status quo. I often see that the stronger you are as a candidate, the more you are excluded from the powers that be.

Why don’t we use our best players in the game? A simple question many have yet to figure out.

In past elections, we were fortunate to have elected a black male state representative, Edmond Jordan, in the community. Although he is not from the North Baton Rouge community, I can live with giving him a shot.

The past 10 years have been hard and to know that my grandchildren will have to live here is very disappointing.

If we are truly going to grow North Baton Roug,e then we must first elect the right people, hold them accountable, work together, and empower the next generation.

I am hopeful that REAL change is coming soon.

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One Comment

  1. Trent
    Jan 08, 2017 @ 16:09:31

    This articles raises a lot of issues. Not as artfully as one would like, but I appreciate the time, energy and effort of the article’s writer. While I do not agree with several of the premises this article raises, I find it fruitful as an instrument to elevate the conversation about the plight of North Baton Rouge.

    There seems to be a patriarchal tinge in the article that is extremely wrong headed, and that is a shame. Historically, there is no credible evidence that any race is superior to any other, likewise, there is no serial orientation superior to any other. There are people who are qualified to lead and whether male or female, qualified is qualified.

    As far as other points made, the call for elected officials to work together is a heart thing, not a head thing. I believe the individual who penned this article raises a great point. The officials assuming office seemingly lack the wherewithal to legislate. From the outside, it does appear to be more related to personal aggrandizement than the good of the community. The vetting process for elected officials seems to be less than perfect on the local and national level. That is a matter of individual choice. Citizens must find it within themselves to value their participation in this democratic republic. I think dialogue through platforms such as this can lead to the participatory democracy that we are sorely lacking.

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