Opinion: Domangue stands up to fear-mongering regarding Recreation change
By Jessica Domangue, Council District 5
Yesterday, during the committee meetings, I proposed an ordinance to allow Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government to assume control of Recreation District 11 and to convert the recreation district board into an advisory board. During a heated discussion, a substitute amendment was proposed to include Recreation District 2/3.
What followed was politics at its best. The substitute amendment failed by a 5-4 vote and then the original motion for only Rec 11 passed with a 6-3 vote.
We should start prioritizing the best interests of children in our parish, instead of looking out for the egos of adults creating and implementing policies in our parish. If politicians have a clear conscience to do this, then the right thing to do is obvious.
Terrebonne Parish taking control of Recreation District 11 is the right thing to do. I provided pictures illustrating the decades of neglect and disrepair across the facilities in Council District 5. (Even though I only included photos of my district, many facilities are just as neglected in Council Districts 1, 2, and 8). Recreation District 11 has one of the highest property tax millages in the entire parish at 10 mils. WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE PAYING FOR? In Council District 5, we have little more than inadequate and dangerous playgrounds for children and families.
The TPCG Risk Manager corroborated my presentation, and our parish attorney instructed the parish safety inspector to immediately close playground equipment that is deemed unsafe. With the current financial state of Recreation District 11, that means that OUR children will have nowhere to play.
Terrebonne Parish taking control of Recreation District 2/3 is also the right thing to do. Nearly half of Council District 5 is within Rec 2/3, and we don’t even have a single neighborhood park for children. With no master plan and no money, constructing any project under the current structure would be unfeasible. As the focus is on the larger population of residents on the La. 311 corridor, the neighborhoods of Lisa Park have been largely forgotten. The current recreation system has failed every corner of Council District 5.
We can all have legitimate disagreements as to what exactly is the correct public policy. But I will not sit back and accept being labeled as a villain or racist for bringing attention to the shortcomings in Recreation District 11. I have always stood up for injustice regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, political beliefs, etc. In my career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I advocate every day for those who do not have a voice. I ran for office so that we can improve quality of life issues for children and families in this parish, only to be met with opposition from policy makers who do not even utilize the facilities they are trying to dictate.
I am asking for support in moving forward with improving recreation in this parish. If there is anyone who would like to discuss concerns, I encourage you to call me directly. There has already been and will continue to be fear-mongering related to changing recreation in this parish.
In closing, I ask my fellow council members… If we weren’t elected to have the courage to be change agents in this parish, what is the purpose of our office?