Letter: Breakaway proponents short on facts

I have read with great interest in your publication and other less-reputable online journals, slanted reports regarding the fate of Senate Bills 199 and 73. These bills sought to create a Southeast Baton Rouge Community School System. While Senate Bill 199, which is commonly referred to as the enabling legislation was enacted, Senate Bill 73, the mandatory constitutional amendment failed miserably.

The after-session weave being spun by the misguided proponents of this movement is the unfortunate continuation of a misinformation campaign where truth and facts are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Consequently, I feel compelled to use this medium to inform the general public that Senate Bill 199 has no effect of law whatsoever without the passage of an accompanying constitutional amendment.

In fact, Section 3 of Senate Bill 199 specifically provides “This Act shall take effect and become operative if and when a proposed amendment to Article VIII, Section 13(D) of the constitution of Louisiana is adopted at a statewide election and which amendment authorizes the Southeast Baton Rouge Community School System.” It should also be noted that this year’s effort actually lost support when compared with 2012. Check the record, it’s online for your convenient viewing.

This reality has forced the proponents to rethink their approach. They now have focused their attention on incorporation merely as a pretext to the creation of a school system. Really?

What’s more, they haven’t the slightest understanding of the burdens — financial and otherwise — that will accompany such an undertaking.

Finally, they speak authoritatively as if there is unanimous support surrounding this effort. First, there is not unanimous support for this — not by a long shot. Secondly, the great American sociologist Marion F. Levy, Jr., reminds us that unanimity is not always healthy, as it is often reflective of uncritical thinking.

History is replete with examples of how the misguided efforts of a few negatively impacted the many who remained silent. I strongly urge the area residents to arm themselves with factual information about these proposals that do nothing more than sow seeds of discord and division. I still believe that one Baton Rouge is better!

Patricia H. Smith, member

Louisiana House of Representatives, District 67

Baton Rouge