Re-elect police jurors
posted Thursday, October 20th, 2011 @ 7:45 am
Four members of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury face opposition in the Saturday, Oct. 22 primary election.
They are Police Juror Charles Jackson in District A, Police Juror Mack Calhoun in District B, Police Juror Walt Caldwell in District C and Police Juror Shane Smiley in District E.
In the District A race, Jackson, of West Monroe, is opposed by Scotty Robinson, a West Monroe businessman. Jackson and Robinson are Republicans.
In District B, Calhoun, a Republican from the Calhoun area in western Ouachita Parish, is opposed by Victor Binford and Lisa Sykes. Binford is a Republican while Sykes is a Democrat.
In District C, Caldwell, a Republican from West Monroe, is challenged by Stewart Cathey. Cathey is a Republican from Monroe.
In District E, Smiley faces Patton McHenry. Both candidates are from Monroe. Smiley is a Republican while McHenry is a Democrat.
We find it refreshing to see any elected official face opposition in any election cycle. We believe competition in the electoral process is a good thing. It offers incumbents an opportunity to explain to voters why they should be re-elected, and it allows challengers the opportunity to tell the electorate why it may be time to make a change in who represents them in an elected capacity.
Yet, the four members of the Police Jury who face opposition in the Oct. 22 election should be re-elected. We see no need to shake up the composition of the Police Jury, which, as a body, has done a very good job over the past four years in handling the parish's business.
Though the Police Jury works with a more than $50 million annual budget, police jurors in Ouachita often find their hands tied in adequately meeting the needs of the people in the parish. That's the case because more than 80 percent of the Police Jury's budget is dedicated, or must be spent on specific purposes such as meeting local, state and federal mandates.
Meanwhile, much of the Police Jury's funding must be appropriated to help operate the parish prison, the 4th Judicial District Court, the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office, the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court's office, the Ouachita Parish Tax Assessor's office and other offices or functions that are necessary for parish government to function on a day-to-day basis.
Accordingly, the Police Jury simply does not have much money at its disposal to tend to other concerns parish residents may have such as improving drainage in Ouachita or fully engaging economic development endeavors. That should not be interpreted as a call to raise taxes in Ouachita. It's simply an accurate statement about the Police Jury's finances.
We would be remiss if we did not single out Police Juror Pat Moore in District F and Police Juror Dr. Ollibeth Reddix in District D.
Moore and Reddix were re-elected without opposition. That says a great deal for the support Moore and Reddix enjoy in their respective districts, but that's not surprising to us. We recognized long ago that Moore and Reddix are dedicated public servants who genuinely care for their constituents.
The four police jurors who will stand for re-election Saturday, as well as Moore and Reddix, have worked well with one another over the past several years, exhibiting a willingness along way to set aside their parochial interests to do what's in the best interests of Ouachita Parish as a whole.
And we hope to see more of it over the next four years.