Without even specifying what the motion is, SMPG Council Members vote 7-0 on farmer Billy Broussard’s zoning variance.
In our second-most-recent feature on the St. Martin Parish Government (SMPG) battle with farmer Billy Broussard, we indicated that we’d be there to film a fully-expected dog-and-pony show by the SMPG Council when it considered Broussard’s zoning variance request. From that feature:
Now, on Monday, February 14, 2022 at approximately 2:00 p.m., a phone call was made by a long-time friend of SMPG Council President Chris Tauzin to him……….
Tauzin allegedly then proceeded to inform the caller, “It doesn’t matter at this point! The hole is too deep, and nobody can change that now. I don’t care if the President of the United States tried to intervene at this point. The hole is simply way too deep.”
The full SMPG Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, and we certainly plan to attend and videotape the little “dog and pony” show that the Council plans to conduct. We believe that efficiency should dictate that Tauzin open discussion of Broussard’s item as follows: “We are going to dispense with public comment and comments by Council members on the Duchamp Road rezoning request because, as I have stated, ‘the hole is too deep.’ Parish President Cedars is adamantly opposed to Mr. Broussard’s operations, and that fact has been well-documented. Therefore, I will entertain a Motion to Deny at this time. Motion to Deny by Councilman xxxxxx, seconded by Councilman yyyyyy. All those in favor vote green, and all those opposed vote red. The board is lit green by every member of this Council. It’s unanimous: Mr. Broussard’s application is denied!”
The SMPG Council came as close as possible to following the script above considering that “dispensing with public comment” would be a clear and unequivocal violation of Louisiana’s Open Meetings Laws (and that part of the script was obvious sarcasm).
It’s also a violation to convene a quorum of members behind closed doors, yet every meeting we’ve attended, the entirety of the membership comes from behind closed doors one minute prior to the meeting, and tonight’s (Wednesday, March 2, 2022) meeting was no exception. All of the members, attorney Allan Durand, and Parish President Chester Cedars all emerged one minute before the meeting.
What was blatantly obvious is that Broussard’s zoning variance had been discussed behind those closed doors, and the Council Members were likely told to keep their mouths shut! No doubt either Durand or Cedars (or both) told the Council Members that making statements such as Tauzin allegedly made on February 14, 2022 at around 2:00 p.m. can only hurt SMPG’s cause in a court of law.
They were likely further admonished that the meeting was obviously being videotaped and so the best policy for the Members would be to stay silent and simply vote after public comment. After all, as LSP Trooper Scott Lopez can testify, anything you say to that camera can and will be used against you!
The meeting started promptly at 5:00 p.m., and Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns turned on the ignition of his car to begin heading back to Baton Rouge at exactly 5:13 p.m.! Furthermore, there were six (6) perfunctory items which were conducted prior to Broussard’s matter. That should provide insight on just how much time Broussard’s matter took up on the agenda (six minutes, 49 seconds to be exact – five minutes of which was Broussard making public comment).
The only flaw in the SMPG Council’s otherwise superb dog-and-pony show? They obviously didn’t rehearse it well enough behind closed doors to actually articulate a Motion when that time came (notice we gave the guidance of “Motion to Deny” above, but apparently they’re simply not bright enough to follow that simple script)! Not to worry though, Parish President Chester Cedars came to the rescue (after the 7-0 vote had been cast!) in inquiring, “What is the Motion?”
Here’s the full 6:49 video:
Consideration of Broussard Zoning Variance in its entirety at the March 2, 2022 SMPG meeting. CLICK HERE for Broussard’s public comment.
We are extremely certain that there will be more features to come on this whole matter, but that’s enough comedy from one governmental entity for this one episode!
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