St. George opponents set forum on incorporation ramifications

People organizing a movement against the proposed incorporation of a new city of St. George are holding a public forum Tuesday night to detail the possible political, educational and economic ramifications of forming a new city.

The assembly will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at St. George Catholic Church on St. George Drive.

“The silent majority on this issue has been silent for too long,” Kathleen Randall, a St. George area resident, said in a news release. “It is time for us do the work we need to do to hold this city-parish together.”

The forum will mark the first public gathering opposing the St. George movement.

Randall, a leader of the Better Together Campaign that opposes the St. George incorporation effort, said in an interview that organizers expect several hundred people to attend Tuesday’s forum, based on direct RSVPs and figures provided by some local organizations and church congregations.

Randall said speakers will partly focus on the impact forming a separate city might have on hundreds of children living in the area who currently attend East Baton Rouge Parish public schools.

The St. George effort began as a push for a new school district but snowballed into the effort to create a new city after the state Legislature repeatedly brushed off the school proposal.

Speakers at Tuesday night’s event plan to also talk about taxing, political infrastructure, public safety, public recreation and land use issues that the formation of the city of St. George could create, Randall said.

“You can’t be an informed citizen of any political community without information,” Randall said. “This is an opportunity to realize the implications of something that would be a major change in the history of Baton Rouge.”

Those planning to attend the event can RSVP at www.bettertogetherbr.org, where they also can request a Better Together yard sign, Randall said.

On Sunday night, St. George supporters are holding a $125 per person fundraiser at Louisiana Lagniappe.

Spokesman Lionel Rainey said the sold-out event is expected to attract more than 100 attendees. Rainey said the pro-St. George campaign is planning another fundraiser in the “near future.”

Advocate staff writer Elizabeth Crisp contributed to this report.