Drainage district election has a problem on where winner lives
By Saturday night, most local entities had decisions on elections. Orange voters returned the mayor and one council member to office, plus chose a new member over an incumbent. The Little Cypress-Mauriceville school patrons rejected a bond issue. And the Orange County Drainage District had one new director and a problem.
Challenger J.B. Arrington got enough votes to unseat incumbent director Pete Bean, but Arrington’s voter registration card has him living in another precinct than the one in which he ran.
Usually, a representative from a certain precinct or district has to live in the area he or she represents.
“It’s a strange situation,” said Drainage District Manager Wilton Duhon. He has sent the problem to County Attorney John Kimbrough for a legal decision.
Arrington, who owns J.B.’s Barbecue off Interstate 10 in the city of Orange, has listed his residence for voter registration as the business, Duhon said. The business includes an apartment where Arrington has lived in the past, he said.
Arrington’s main residence and property are on Parish Road off Interstate 10 by Claiborne West Park.
Precincts in the Drainage District follow watersheds in the county and do not coordinate with county precinct lines used for offices like commissioner and justice of the peace.
On Monday afternoon, Assistant County Attorney Doug Manning, said Kimbrough will make the decision on the election, however the decision will take research.
Arrington ran for the director’s seat of Drainage District Precinct 2 and beat incumbent James “Pete” Bean, 418 votes to 399. In the Precinct 4 race, challenger Jimmy Scales beat longtime incumbent Clyde Chesson 412 to 145.
In the Orange City Council race, three challengers from the newly-annexed part of Little Cypress ran against three incumbents. Mayor Brown Claybar won a fourth two-year term with 1,115 votes, compared to 967 votes for challenger Charles Atkinson. Claybar received 53.5 percent of the vote and Atkinson 46.5 percent.
All Orange council members are elected at-large, but run for specific places. In the Place 1 race, incumbent Theresa Adams Beauchamp beat challenger Glen Prince 1,085 to 938. Challenger Jeff Holland beat incumbent Cynthia Jackson and two other candidates to win the Place 3 seat. Holland had 1,131 votes, with Jackson getting 503, Mary Ann Kirksey 271, and Norman Sonnier 116.
Voters in the Little Cypress-Mauriceville school district rejected a $40 million bond issue with 849 voters against the bonds, and 739 for the bonds. Most of the bonds were targeted to build a new high school at the same site as the current high school.
In Pinehurst, voters returned incumbents to office. Longtime council member T.W. Permenter ran unopposed for mayor to replace his brother, Billy Permenter, who had been appointed to the seat but did not want to run. Incumbent council members John Zerko and Bob Williams won re-election against two challengers.
The Bridge City and West Orange-Cove school districts, along with the cities of West Orange and Bridge City, did not have to hold elections because candidates ran without opposition.