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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Who’s doing the math here?

Who’s doing the math here?

I’ve worked for the Lafourche Parish Public Library for many years.

My question is: Who’s coming up with the results of this “push poll” that the parish’s jail consultant Michael LeBlanc paid for?

In an article published in the Lafourche Gazette, he is quoted as saying that 82 percent of people polled said “redirecting library taxes to help pay for (a new jail) is sensible.”

He apparently made that comment to the Parish Council on Oct. 22.

In covering the same meeting, the Daily Comet doesn’t mention that 82 percent. In fact, when mentioning the results of this “push poll,” the Comet’s reporter says only 48 percent of the people polled support this tax rededication.

How is it that 48 percent, which is what was first reported, suddenly became 82 percent?

I’d like to point out a few other things.

First, Mr. LeBlanc stands to make money if this new jail is built. He is going to do what he can to promote it. He’s hired a public relations firm to, according to the Comet article, “provide voters with information about the upcoming election” because the parish can’t legally.

Would you trust information coming from a consultant that stands to gain financially if this jail is built?

This “poll” was so skewed against the library that it didn’t provide residents with accurate information or the opportunity to make an informed decision.

In the Gazette article, Parish President Randolph says, “the library system can reduce without losing service.”

In truth, if voters rededicate this millage to the jail, the library will have to cut services, hours, and staff members. Mrs. Randolph doesn’t care if the library loses the ability to provide services to residents because she doesn’t believe the library system provides valuable services.

Mrs. Randolph is trying to make the American Civil Liberties Union the bad guy. She’s quoted in the Gazette article saying, “The ACLU fought to take God and prayer from our schools and now wants religious books in our jails. Perhaps if they (ACLU) hadn’t, we probably wouldn’t need a bigger jail.”

The ACLU is working to inform residents about how this tax rededication would harm the library. It will not gain anything financially by being involved in this issue.

This issue is not about prayer in schools or the ACLU. Those supporting this rededication want to make you feel good about voting for the jail, saying the library is going to be fine. It won’t.

The library voluntarily gave back two mills in 2006 because it didn’t need that money anymore. We were honest then.

We’re being honest now when we say that we need this money to maintain and operate your libraries.

Paul J. Chiquet

Lafourche Parish Public Library

Branch Administrator

Cut Off