Candidates learn roads, log truck fees concern constituents

Parish President candidates Lee Waskom and John Richmond, from left, were in the hot box at the political form at the Crossroads Baptist Church. Candidate Nicholas Wright did not attend. Another forum is scheduled Sept. 5 at the Marthaville gym sponsored by the Marthaville Heritage Society. Photo by Donna Dyson

By Donna Dyson, Marthaville correspondent

The public forum July 11 for the candidates for the for parish president was well attended by around 75 very concerned citizens.  Candidate Nicholas Wright was a no-show but Lee Waskom and John Richmond were there and did they ever have questions to answer. These two found out things that have been discussed for years with no answers. Floyd Townsend opened the forum with prayer and pledge and then the floor was opened for questions.

Joe Hays, Alton Powell, Nolan Powell, Shane Mitchell, Mitzi Roe, Jeremy Mitchell, Cynthia Withers, Elton Allen, Danny Townsend, Wayne Pleasant and John Earl Roe had questions as did others. One hot topic was about loggers and why they pay before they cut timber. Richmond and Waskom had no answers and no knowledge about it.

These candidates are new and they are finding some things that we want answers to. Another question was why loggers have to pay for their part on the road repair and the chicken trucks do not have to pay anything.

Boy, did that one question ever open up a can of worms. It really did when the one that writes the permits was told to leave the chicken trucks alone and to not issue them tickets at all.  Again, Richmond and Waskom knew nothing about it and could not answer the question.

The one thing everyone is upset about is why nothing is done about the roads. These two candidates are not worried about passing a tax. The biggest issue we have is trust. The people in the parish have a problem with that and the candidates believe they can redo the financial end, work with others, train the machine operators to lay a road and the list goes on. This meeting went on for over two and a half hours. It was a good meeting. Not all the questions were answered but I believe things will be looked into, like the chicken trucks and the $10,000 the loggers have to pay up front.

We have so many bad dirt roads in our parish and the once-good blacktop roads are now covered with sand or dirt to cover up the holes.  The parish roads are a disaster.  If we get a hard rain, the students will miss school because the buses cannot go down the road. Vehicles are being destroyed because of the roads. If you have an emergency, good luck. Whoever wins the election is winning one big headache.

The candidates are talking to the people, and to do that, they have to travel the roads to get to the voters. The Crossroads forum ended well. Floyd did a great job and there was no knock-down or drag out. The sheriff’s candidates present, Stuart Wright, Steve Pezant and Steve Rachal, agreed they were glad they were running for sheriff and not parish president.  That ended the night off with a good laugh.

There will be another forum Sept. 5 in the Marthaville school gym. After the Crossroads Forum, we may ­find answers to the questions that were asked Thursday. The Marthaville Heritage Society is putting on the next forum. T

here will be concessions and raffle tickets for sale. There will be a voter poll box and the one with the most money will win with proceeds going to the Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival.