POSTED: Friday, December 13, 2013 - 12:05am
UPDATED: Friday, December 13, 2013 - 12:06am
Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — "[Tell people] where we are in the petition drive, answer a couple pertinent questions..." said spokesperson Lionel Rainey, III when he was asked about the goal for the public meeting concerning St. George.
The meeting Thursday was set to clear up some concerns about the proposed city. While many got answers, some are still asking questions.
"I leave here with more questions than I have answers," said Albert Samuels who opposes the incorporation. Terry Lambert, supporter, said she "gained a lot."
Supporters say they have about half of the signatures they need to put the item on the ballot, but some opponents feel that the idea needs
work. "I think we need a much more substantive rebuttal to Dr. Richardson's report than what we received here," said Samuels.
A recent study released by LSU economists showed that St George will leave Baton Rouge with a 53 million dollar bill. But supporters say,
that's not entirely the case. Rainey said, "There are a multitude of things that he did not include in the report--we didn't release a 30 page report, we released a two page report.
Speakers made sure to address the issue of race and the motive of St. George. Its been played out on a national scene--with sites like Huffington
post and daily mail picking it up. "I hope they know that our motives are pure. what we're trying to do is better the way of life for the people who live in this area," said Rainey. "We have million dollar homes, we have section 8 housing, so its never about race," added Lambert.
But others say the numbers speak for themselves. "Just look at the demographics, Baton Rouge is 55% Black; St. George is 75% white." Rainey said, "It doesn't help us at all if baton rouge hurts or baton rouge is negatively affected by this. We want a strong capital area."
To read the report issued by St. George supporters, click here . For the report released by LSU economists, funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, click here .