Four Vie to Become CEO of East Baton Rouge

Four Vie to Become CEO of East Baton Rouge

Mayor-President Will Lead Parish

BATON ROUGE — In a four-way race for Mayor-President on Nov. 6, incumbent Kip Holden, who is seeking a third term, is the clear favorite but he still has his work cut out for himself.The wild cards in the race are• The parish’s exploding murder rate

• Whether Holden can hold at least 25 percent of white voters

• Whether a large turnout for President Obama will push Holden over the top

• Whether Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, the Republican nominee, can rally voters in South Baton Rouge, Central, and Zachary to his cause in large enough numbers

• Whether independent candidates Gordon Mese and Steve Myers can draw off enough votes from Holden and Walker to force a runoff election on Dec. 8.

Mayor-President Kip Holden, a Democrat, is touting Baton Rouge’s designation by one national organization as the No. 1 place in America to start a new business.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker is citing another No. 1 designation for the city — America’s murder capital or close to it with a record-breaking 100 murders likely before year’s end.

“We can’t be America’s ‘Next Great City,’ as the Mayor is fond of saying, with a murder rate that goes through the ceiling,” Walker said.  His top issue is crime and getting violent crime under control.  Walker said he plans to make Baton Rouge such an inhospitable place for criminals that they will leave the parish.

Walker, who opposed the recent CATS tax and the effort to “roll forward” property taxes, has pledged to oppose new taxes.

Local businessman Gordon Mese, who owns Garden District Nursery, said the key to making Baton Rouge a better place to live is reforming the Unified Development Code (UDC), which he believes is holding the city back.

Attorney Steve Myers, also an independent, is running on a conservative, or somewhat libertarian platform, that includes cutting the size and cost of parish government.  He too has problems with the UDC, especially as it relates to rental property.

Myers is opposed to new or increased taxes.  He said he wants to hold government to what he sees as its proper purposes — police, fire, roads, drainage, and sewer.

Holden was a radio newsman before entering politics.  He served on the Metro Council and as member of the Louisiana House of Representatives before being elected Mayor-President in 2004.

He has said that the Green Light traffic improvement program has been one of his most important achievements.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker began his service in local government when Mayor-President Woody Dumas named Walker as the parish’s Chief Administrative Officer at the age of 23.  After four years, he became Administrative Coordinator for the Clerk of Court’s office.  He built a real estate business before being elected to the Metro Council in 2000.

Walker has been endorsed by the Louisiana Republican Party and the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish.  Holden has been endorsed by the Democratic Party of East Baton Rouge Parish.

The parish is considered a battleground.  Popular Gov. Bobby Jindal only carried it with 50.9 percent in 2011 on his way to a landslide victory in the rest of the state.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!