OUR OPINION: Did the public strike out?

Staff Reports

The total rejection of the proposed amendments to the Parish Home Rule Charter by voters in Saturday's special election surprised many people, including us.

Twenty-eight changes were proposed by the all-volunteer Home Rule Charter Commission for voters to consider, some very minor, some  more important, and some, like the proposition which would have linked the salary of the Parish President to that of the Sheriff’s, perhaps more controversial.

The Commission worked on the Charter changes, off and on, for more than a year in public meetings which anyone could attend, and which were well publicized in area newspapers. Yet on election day, as Parish President Tommy Martinez ruefully noted, voter turnout was less than 4.5 percent.

Even though most voters stayed home, the public has spoken and rejected the work of volunteers who came up with at least some good proposals for fine tuning the Charter, giving it a housecleaning, so to speak.

Everyone knows that housecleaning is only important when it is neglected for too long.  Ascension Parish will not crumble because the charter failed to be revamped.

Of course, in this case, parish residents paid tens of thousands of dollars for an election to let the public vote on propositions to change the Charter which members of the public on a volunteer commission proposed, and which the parish Council approved.

It is all water under the bridge now.

A small percentage of the voting public, 4.5 percent, has soundly defeated what many believe was a needed tune-up of the Parish Charter.

The people have spoken, and we can live with the results.

But we can’t help thinking that more people in Ascension Parish should get out and vote the next time an election rolls around.