Port Allen council member targeted
PORT ALLEN — City Councilman R.J. Loupe said Wednesday he wasn’t surprised he has been targeted for a recall because Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter’s supporters have often attacked his character during City Council meetings.
A group of residents on Wednesday filed a recall petition with the Louisiana’s Secretary of State’s Office against Loupe. The recall petition comes the day after a different group of residents seeking to oust Slaughter submitted a 256-page signed petition to the West Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters Office.
“I had an idea it was coming,” Loupe said. “I’m just going to pray and see what happens. I’m going to leave it strictly to the people.”
Larry Profit and Gizele Thompson are named as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, in the recall petition against Loupe.
Caster Brown, a supporter in the effort, said the group is fed up with Loupe’s disrespect toward Slaughter and want to unseat the more than 30-year veteran of the five-member council because of his voting record.
Brown also said the group’s action is a direct response to the signed recall petition targeting Slaughter.
“We look at it as a conspiracy against the mayor that the whites have drummed up,” Brown said.
“(Loupe) has voted against everything the mayor has tried to put forth. He is part of the biggest problem and we have the votes to (target) the councilman at-large.”
Brown criticized Loupe for being part of the three-member council majority who in June 2012 voted in favor of hiring Adrian Genre, the city’s former police chief.
Brown said Genre cost taxpayers thousands of dollars when he pleaded guilty to perjury in a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city and its Police Department more than 10 years ago.
The lawsuit asserted only black applicants were given a written test during a Police Department interview process.
“This has been a race issue,” Brown, 59, said. “Everything she (Slaughter) puts up for a vote, the three white (councilmen) vote against it.”
Brown is referring to Councilmen Loupe, Garry Hubble and Hugh “Hootie” Riviere. In June, the men filed a lawsuit against Slaughter asserting the mayor has exceeded her executive powers in the handling of municipal affairs since taking office Jan. 1.
Several city workers have resigned, claiming that the mayor has created a hostile work environment.
“She has made some mistakes, but a lot of things I know within her campaign are on a positive note for this city,” Brown said. “We’re looking for positive things from her if they would just give her a chance and work with her.”
Slaughter told reporters outside of City Hall on Wednesday she doesn’t support the recall effort against Loupe.
“I’m just ready for this to all end and move the city forward,” she said.
Stacy Ryan, West Baton Rouge Parish’s registrar of voters, said the group now has 180 days — until March 3 — to collect 1,285 signatures from qualified voters and submit its petition to her office for certification.
Ryan said that figure represents a minimum of one-third of the city’s qualified voters as of Sept. 4.
After it’s certified, Ryan would then deliver the signed petition to the governor, who has 15 days to set a recall election to remove Loupe from office.
“The clock has started,” Ryan said. “We’re probably looking at a spring or fall 2014 election if they can get enough signatures.”