New commission set up to study economic issues in north Baton Rouge

New commission set up to study economic issues in north Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Councilwoman Chuana Banks Daniel announced Wednesday the formation of what she called a 'blue ribbon commission' to tackle the lack of economic development in north Baton Rouge.

"What makes this different is that this is more organic and there is no such entity that is doing this work," Banks said. "We believe that no better than the people who live work and play and have an interest in north Baton Rouge to lead that effort."

The commission has no legal authority and can only make suggestions. One of the co-chairs, Gary Chambers, is an outspoken business owner in north Baton Rouge. In one of his recent columns, Chambers criticized Baton Rouge Area Foundation and said the white owner of the Baton Rouge Business Report was hiding behind racism.

"The only victim I see here is the pockets of rich white men, who for the first time in a decade have been brought to heel for their one-sided business practices," Chambers wrote.

Some have questioned if that kind of rhetoric is helpful from the co-chair of a group that's trying to attract businesses to north Baton Rouge.

"I think that if the Baton Rouge Area Foundation didn't act like a plantation house we wouldn't have to call them that," Chambers explained.

"I think when you have the resources to assist the community and you don't do it then that's the same - that's basically telling us we have all of these issues that we're not fixing in our community, but the resources that are allocated to do advancement in the community or not equitably distributed," Chambers added.

The commission also requested $100,000 in taxpayer funds, but admitted it has yet to come up with a plan on how to use that money.

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.