Legal problems raise questions about Peralta's ability to lead

Dave Peralta (Source: SBSO)
Dave Peralta (Source: SBSO)

CHALMETTE, LA (WVUE) - With St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta facing more legal trouble this week, some in parish government said they're still focused on moving on despite the issues.

"We just need to get some stability in our building and move forward as a parish and get this distraction behind us," said Councilman Richie Lewis.

Peralta turned himself in on a charge of felony stalking Friday, and immediately posted a $35,000 bond. In April, he was indicted on a sexual battery charge. Both cases involve his now ex-wife.

Late Friday, a spokeswoman for Peralta said he hasn't resigned and is still running the parish.

UNO Political Analyst Dr. Ed Chervenak believes the situation raises questions over the parish president's ability to lead effectively.

"You're distracted because you're dealing with your legal issues, when you should be concentrating on your official duties," Chervenak said. "It's never a good look when you face indictment. Then, it's another black mark against Louisiana, not just the parish."

However, whether or not Peralta should step down stirs mixed opinion among parish voters.

"Innocent until proven guilty, and if he did do it, he should step down," said Amanda Allemand.

"He does not have to step down until that process or the system has proven him guilty," Christopher Anderson said. "Until they find him guilty, he should still be the parish president."

Arabi resident Peter Rupp has a much different view.

Rupp has been working on a recall petition, and says he's prepared to send it out to voters if a change doesn't come soon.

"Dave has exhibited qualities that are not becoming to a public position," Rupp said. "The responsible thing for Mr. Peralta to do would just be to go ahead and resign and step out with some dignity, or whatever dignity is left."

But Councilman Lewis says, at this point, that doesn't appear to be in the plans.

"I have no inclination that President Peralta is going to resign," Lewis said. "He hasn't sent out a memo saying he's going to resign. However, I think he needs to do what he feels best to move our parish forward, whether it's to step down or to go to work and do his job to the best of his capabilities."

We reached out to Peralta for comment, but he didn't get to us Friday.

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