Community relations and quality of life go hand in hand according to East Baton Rouge Parish mayoral candidate E Eric Guirard. A thriving community must be focused on forging forward as “one people”, he believes, especially in light of recent national events.
“The city needs to do more things to bring our city together as one people,” Guirard said. “We need a true ‘City Park’ in the middle of town like other cities have. People are familiar with New York’s Central Park from their own experience or movies and TV shows, so let’s bring that same energy to Baton Rouge. Events, festivals, concerts, weddings, picnics, entertainment and other events would become commonplace in City Park and it would be a gathering spot for all people of the parish. Go to Austin on a beautiful weekend day and you’ll see people of all races enjoying the parks and lakes in harmony.”
Guirard’s community relations/quality of life pillar of focus (one of five he has created to lead the city) also includes:
- A mythical mascot known as a “Tiguar” – half tiger/half jaguar, in honor of the two mascots of our two universities. Though this is a symbolic gesture it represents a true melding of the races.
- A massive clean-up campaign to reduce litter, unsightly properties, ugly street poles, ugly business signage, etc.
- Roaming video litter police that will “actually enforce our litter laws” without engaging people on the street. He proposes steep fines for infractions. “At $350 per cigarette butt or gum wrapper, the litter will quickly stop,” Guirard said.
- Encourage businesses to do their part to keep the city clean and beautiful as outlined in his “Business Development” pillar.
- Further development of the new Government Street District to attract young entrepreneurs, professionals and families.
- Encourage neighborhoods to “Get Out” – work out, clean out and watch out. It will combine neighbors getting together in groups to walk for exercise, pick up litter and perform neighborhood crime watch.
- In the same spirit as the Guardian Rouge (detailed in Guirard’s “Crime” pillar), explore combining the Baton Rouge and St. George Fire Departments. “Just like law enforcement, do we need two overlapping entities providing the same function?” he asked.
- Put Baton Rouge on one massive diet and exercise program. “We are probably one of the most obese cities in, not only the country, but the world. And the problem is even more exacerbated in the black community,” he said. A healthier population will reduce health care costs and utilization of public resources; increase business productivity; and improve education, emotional well-being, etc.
In addition to making Baton Rouge a great place to live, Guirard’s other pillars of focus include education, crime, traffic, and business development.