Banks-Daniel recall organizers say they’ll ramp up drive in January

Organizers of an effort to remove Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel from office said they plan to ramp up their petition drive after the first of the year.

James Slaughter, an early advocate of the recall attempt, said they have already collected about half of the 7,151 signatures needed to put the recall to a vote.

“It’s been slow but sure,” Slaughter said. “We’re certainly not panicking yet, and we really want to move full-speed ahead in January.”

Their deadline is April 15. All signatures must then be verified as belonging to registered voters who live in Banks-Daniel’s district before a special election can be set on the proposed recall.

In the meantime, Banks-Daniel says she’s not focused on her opposition and isn’t fazed by the effort to unseat her.

“It’s hard for me to speak on the recall. I still don’t know anything about it,” she said. “There’s not one person who has indicated to me that they’ve been approached about the recall or asked to sign anything.”

Banks-Daniel was elected last December to represent District 2, which blankets north Baton Rouge’s Scotlandville neighborhood up through Baker.

Slaughter, who ran against Banks-Daniel in that election, said he’s not the driving force behind the recall attempt despite his widely reported disputes with Banks-Daniel over her role in the termination of Slaughter’s brother from the Jewel J. Newman Community Center in Scotlandville.

Donald Ray Adams, a Scotlandville resident who lives a few streets from Banks-Daniel, filed the recall paperwork in October. He said volunteers have been going door-to-door to collect signatures, and they plan to “flood the district” with their efforts early next year.

Adams said his concerns go beyond the community center and its former longtime director Carl Slaughter.

“I know a lot of people are going around and saying it’s about Carl Slaughter, but it’s not,” Adams said.

“My whole concern is the district, and our district now — it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse.”

Adams said he doesn’t see Banks-Daniel in the community much, and he worries the district isn’t getting the same economic opportunities that go to other areas of the parish.

“It’s ridiculous the way north Baton Rouge is being treated,” he said. “I haven’t seen any change in this district in the last 10 to 15 years.”

Banks-Daniel said she believes Adams and Slaughter have a personal vendetta against her because she is a newcomer to the area’s leadership.

“I don’t have time to focus on any negative perception because there’s too much work to do,” she said. “If I focus on them, then the people in my district lose.”

She said the firing of Carl Slaughter is an example of her coming into the position and making better decisions for the area. Since she reorganized the staff at the community center, she said, fire upgrades are being made, more programs are being scheduled and the space is rented most weekends.

“A lot of great things are going on,” she said.