How Conservatives, NBR Leaders United To Stop BREC from Moving Zoo to SBR

If you have a few minutes, go to the AppStore on your iPhone and download a “QR Code Reader.”  It will allow you to point your phone at the QR code in the upper right of this article and click.  This will activate a video that will start playing on your phone.  This particular video is the meeting of the Board of Commissioners of BREC where they heard testimony on whether they should approve moving the Baton Rouge Zoo from its current location to a site adjacent to the Ascension Parish line.
The hearing is a marvelous civics lesson that shows how ordinary citizens can prevail against an entrenched bureaucracy that has absolutely no intention of bowing to the will of the people.
As the hearing unfolded, you can practically feel the members of the Board becoming more and more uncomfortable as they listened to the people.
They were forced to do something they hadn’t bothered to do before — actually listen to what people were saying about the location of the Baton Rouge Zoo.
In the end, they didn’t change their minds but they did change their votes.  They walked into the room with every intention to vote for moving zoo.  Yet, in the end, they voted against moving it!
Commission members must surely have marveled at their actions
and wondered how it happened.
How ordinary citizens of Baton Rouge rose up to defeat moving the zoo is an amazing story indeed.
Republicans and Democrats, blacks and white, liberals and conservatives, and some people in between joined in an historic coalition, which resulted in stopping something bad happening in our parish.
Working together for the first time were liberal Democrats such as Councilwoman Chauna Banks and conservative Republicans such as local architect Coleman Brown, who chairs the Infrastructure Committee of the conservative Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge.  There were moderates such as Becky Bond, liberal groups such the NAACP, and nonpolitical groups such as neighborhood associations.
Perhaps most influential were the four Mayors — Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, Baker Mayor Darnell Waites, Central Mayor Jr. Shelton, and Zachary Mayor David Amhrein — representing each of the parish’s municipalities.  For the first time in memory, they spoke with a common voice on an issue of importance.
At the public hearing, those who favored moving the zoo were few in number and failed to explain the rationale for moving the zoo.

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