Seven seek the parish presidency in St. Bernard Parish - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Seven seek the parish presidency in St. Bernard Parish

ST. BERNARD PARISH, LA (WVUE) -

Saint Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta wants to keep his job, but six other candidates are working hard to unseat him.

"I didn't do anything I'm accused of, I'm a fighter. I enjoy a good fight, this one has been a lot personal,” said Peralta.

Peralta is seeking a second term under the cloud of indictments for alleged wrongdoing in St. Bernard and St. Tammany Parishes.

For months he has chocked up his prosecution by the state attorney general to politics that are designed to help an opponent.   

"We asked for an early trial, the attorney general turned us down,” Peralta said. The attorney general’s office has called Peralta’s assertions ludicrous.

Councilman-at-large Guy McInnis is one of Peralta’s challengers.

"I've been a councilman for the last three and a half years and I see a lot of the problems that St. Bernard faces and as a parish president I can do more,” McInnis said.

Also on the ballot, businessman and former parish councilman Wayne Landry.
 
"There's a drastic need right now for some leadership in our parish government and so I'm stepping up to the plate to be able to do that,” said Landry.

Another former parish councilman also wants the job, Tony “Ricky” Melerine.

"I always was going to run for parish president if needed, and this last administration and what's been going on it's needed,” Melerine stated.

Then there is Louis Pomes who retired from parish government after three decades.  He helped to lead the parish works department.

"It's pretty much an addiction and it's something I really enjoy doing and I think we're in desperate need of some really strong leadership in St. Bernard Parish,” Pomes stated.

Johnell Young is a St. Bernard Parish deputy who said he is on leave to make his first run for public office.

"This parish is a great parish, I love it and I believe I can actually do more for it in the seat of being parish president,” said Young.

Roland “Jimmy” Roques works in security and is also a first time candidate. 

"We have really problems in the presidential part of the parish, we have a parish president now he has his own problems,” said Roques.

They spoke of the need for more budget accountability within parish government, stronger ethics, increased population and more industry.

"Every penny of the BP will be used by the end of the year just to balance their budget,” Landry said of the budget.

"We need to set accountability standards, ethically, morally for our employees so that it translates to our citizens,” said McInnis.

"Top priorities are to make this a truthful government, we're going to try and hire an inspector general to run this spending,” said Roques.

The parish’s image is also a concern, some candidates said.

"There's no more pride and confidence in parish government and that's what I'm looking at bringing back,” said Melerine.

"The two major things that we're lacking in St. Bernard Parish, industry and population,” said Pomes in terms of economic development.

"My approach is going to be basic, it's going to be fairness, or equality for all people,” said Young when asked about his top priorities.

"My opponents talk about issues of  transparency, fiscal responsibility lowering recreation rates and all that, well, that's all great, but I've already done that,” said Peralta.

All of the candidates except Landry made a point of not mentioning Dave Peralta's name. Landry accused Peralta of already engaging in dirty politics.

It involves campaign materials and a picture taken of a vehicle that was parked in the lot outside Landry’s headquarters.

"He accused a truck that was parked outside of my campaign to be involved in something,” said Landry.

"They threw it like you would a newspaper and they purported it to be from me, it was not from me. I found it ironic that the vehicle that was seen making this illegal distribution of campaign materials was parked right in front of Mr. Landry's headquarters, the picture doesn’t lie,” said Peralta.

Candidates also said better code enforcement is needed. 

Peralta said there are many projects he would like to complete, including upgrades to the parish’s water system.

The election is October 24.  A runoff is expected.

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