POSTED: Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 5:15pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 5:21pm
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — Mayor-President Kip Holden spoke out after last night's controversial vote that left his bond proposal on the shelf and off the November ballot.
Holden stated, “Several council members had obviously gotten together and decided to not let this go to the discussion stage… then you take away freedom of speech and allowing to express their opinions, it's quite oppressive. "
The proposal was removed in a 9-3 vote. NBC33 spoke with council members that voted both for and against the mayor's proposal.
“The bond proposal was ill conceived, hastily prepared, and ill timed. It did not merit being put on the ballot,” stated Mike Walker, who voted against the bond. “The nine council members that voted to not put it on the ballot listened to the people that have talked to them. We did what our constituents told us they wanted to do.”
However, council member Tara Wicker disagreed. “I think the public should have at least been given the opportunity to see the details of it,” said Wicker. “(To) hear the conversation, and have the opportunity to give their input on something that’s gonna impact this city as a whole tremendously.”
Around the Capital City, opinions on what happened at the council are all over the spectrum. Some say the Council made the right call, but others say the final decision should have been in the hands of the voters.
Tiara Anthony has called Baton Rouge for almost 30 years. She says at the end of the day, the bond issue impacts her checkbook, so what happens with it should be her decision.
“Taxpayers should have been able to look at that and decide whether or not they wanted it to go through,” stated Anthony. “If it has anything to do with my money, I think I should have had the right to see it.”
Last night's surprise move takes the bond issue off the agenda completely. That means council won't discuss it, won't look at it, and you won't be voting on it.
The council members that shot down the proposal are standing by their vote, and while some say the council shouldn't have had the final word, there are other people who think differently.
Adriane Hill has been following the bond issue closely for years. She tells me city does need to improve, but she adds if the council says this bond issue wasn't the right proposal, then she trusts that decision.
“I think they made the right decision,” stated Hill. “They are the decision makers for the city. We have elected them into office to represent us… what they say, we have given them authority to do that already.”