East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden is right to point out the potentially grave implications of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest round of state budget cuts for mental health services and domestic violence programs, saying that the cuts could cause “fallout” in Baton Rouge.
Holden said such cuts would hamper Baton Rouge’s ability to advance public safety. We don’t believe — nor did Holden suggest — that local public safety is primarily the state’s responsibility. The primary responsibility for promoting Baton Rouge’s public safety rests with local officials. Nor do we believe that Holden’s remarks should be considered a partisan issue, although the mayor is a Democrat and Jindal is a Republican. Holden also had some positive things to say about the governor, lauding Jindal’s initiatives to promote local economic development and transportation projects.
Holden’s concern about the impact of state cuts to mental health services and domestic violence programs should resonate with everyone in Baton Rouge, regardless of party. Effective public safety involves more than law enforcement patrols. It also requires a network of services to help make criminal activity less likely.