St. George leaders decide not to appeal ruling on signatures

St. George saga over, for now

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's been a long, divisive fight to get the proposed city of St. George on a ballot for voters.

However, now faced with an uphill legal battle, supporters are throwing in the towel for this round.

"We knew from the beginning that this is something that would take a long time and it's something that would not be easy," said incorporation effort spokesman Lionel Rainey III.

The concession comes after Judge Wilson Fields threw out a lawsuit on July 6 against the East Baton Rouge Registrar of Voters. The suit questioned the Registrar's verification of petition signatures. Fields did not hear the merits of the case and tossed it out on a technicality issue saying St. George organizers did not have legal ground to file the suit in the first place.

The group announced Thursday they would not appeal because it would be too costly and time consuming.

Instead, Rainey says they will take a break before going back to the drawing board. He declined to go into specifics about what options are available to supports moving forward.

"Nothing has changed for people. They still have the desire to send their kid to a good public school and have a city that's responsible for their tax dollars," said Rainey.

Meanwhile, opponents of the movement say they are "delighted."

"It's a good day for Baton Rouge," said attorney Mary Olive Pierson. "It's a good day for us to be unified. It's a good day to be positive instead of fighting and bickering."

Pierson has been one of the most outspoken critics of St. George and had a contract with Baton Rouge to represent the city in any litigation involving the matter. She said it's time to move on and work together on making Baton Rouge better.

"They've got two years to think about this," said Pierson. "In that two years, why would they waste their time developing another fight instead of going on out and working with Mr. Drake and trying to do something about the schools. You can do a lot in two years."

Last month, the St. George petition fell short by 71 signatures.

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