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Thread: St. Helena's code

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    St. Helena Parish, as some of you may know, has some extremely ridiculous local code on the books. Open carry is essentially "outlawed" across the parish. I open carry throughout the parish, 100% of the time...going to the mailbox included. If you happen see me in St. Helena sans sidearm, you are in my house...and probably sitting in the bathroom when I'm taking a shower.

    The latter isn't going to change. Period. If I leave the house, I'm packing.

    Basically, I took a stab at handling this the "right way". Two letters to the parish attorney, one to each Police Juror, and then a submission of six information packets that carried everything from the LOCAL brochure to all pertinent legal information (including the appropriate AG Opinions), and a formal request to consider the code for revocation. The code is obviously and wantonly unconstitutional, and there was way, WAY more than enough info there to establish that to anyone who read even a small part of what I submitted. Hell, each folder was 1/2 inch thick, so no one needed to research anything, unless they thought I was feeding them something I cooked up.

    Today, the Secretary of the Police Jury, actually an extremely pleasant and helpful lady, emailed the following to me:

    Mr. Phillips:
    Your packets were handed to the Jurors on April 27th for their review. It was on the agenda May 11th and tabled until May 25th. On May 25th the Jury took no action. If you wish the matter brought before the Police Jury again you will have to request it be placed on the agenda. It would be in you best interest to have someone at the meeting.


    My immediate actions will obviously not change. Outside air won't hit me without a sidearm. If I am cited, I'll fight it, and if I am arrested, I'll continue doing the exact same thing when I get out. Whether that is wrong or right, sensible or stupid, I don't know. It's the only, and I mean ONLY thing that I am absolutely, positively, 100% sure about in this situation. I am NOT submitting to this ridiculous law, no matter what. Obviously, I'd move before I'd stop packing, but damned if that seems fair. Check 'em out (they both fall before the preemption date):

    St. Helena Parish Code of Ordinances
    Chapter 15. Miscellaneous Crimes and Offenses
    Subchapter A. In General
    Sec. 15-2. Carrying, possession, or discharge of weapons near swimming and picnic areas prohibited: violations and penalties.
    A.The carrying, possession, or discharging of firearms is hereby prohibited within 500 feet of any swimming or picnic area within the Parish of St. Helena when three or more persons are engaged in swimming or picnicking.
    B.Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 1-21 of this Code.
    (Ord. of 5-14-1964)

    Sec. 15-4. Hunting or discharge of firearms near public highways and residences.
    A.The carrying, possession or discharge of a loaded firearm for hunting or any other purpose within 500 feet of any inhabited dwelling or any other building or structure where a person or persons are present, without permission of the owner of said dwelling or building is prohibited.
    B.The carrying, possession or discharge of a loaded firearm for hunting or any other purpose within a distance of 100 feet of the center line of any public street, road, highway or thoroughfare, whether held by servitude or as owner, is prohibited.
    C.Any person violating the provisions of this section, unless he be a law officer or policeman acting within the scope of his duty and employment, shall be guilty of a violation of this Code and upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 1-21 of this Code.
    (Ord. of 11-13-1984)

    ******************
    Chapter 1. General Provisions

    Sec. 1-21. General penalty; continuing violations.
    A.It shall be unlawful for any person to violate or fail to comply with any provision of this Code or to commit any act which is declared to be a crime, a misdemeanor, or unlawful, and where no specific penalty is provided therefor, whoever is found to be in violation of any provision of this Code shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment within the discretion of the court.
    B.Each day any violation of this Code shall continue constitutes a separate offense.

    By this, every time I hunt in my "backyard", I do so on pain of citation/arrest for offense, because I don't ask my neighbor's permission. If I have a weapon, even an unloaded one, within 500 feet of three or more people who decide to eat a sandwich outside or jump in a river, I'm technically an outlaw. I break the law every day when I check my mail, and when I go anywhere, as a matter of fact, that I leave my vehicle. And that sucks.

    So, what does one do? Well, I thought that I was going about it correctly, but evidently I was wrong. Obviously, I am going to continue to pursue this, and I am going to continue to live according to what's constitutionally guaranteed to me. Now, as far as being armed while out of a vehicle within 1000 feet of a school here...uhhhhnn, sorry....as far as being armed while out of a vehicle within 1000 feet of a what somehow passes for a school here, well, that's not gonna happen. I can't honestly tell you that I have ever cast a shadow on that certain area here, anyway, and in fact, I would lay heavy, heavy odds that I have never done so, anyway, so I can very easily abide by that. And, as far as private property goes (stores, etc), all it will take is one request, and I, and my money, will never go there again. Also very easy to live with. But, in and on the rest of the parish, if you see me, you will see my sidearm.

    As far as stores go, with the few we have, I can honestly say that I have had no problems whatsoever. Whether people think I am law enforcement, or simply don't give a **** either way (most surely the case), I have never had anything more than a slight, short passing glance down at my hip, and that includes from LEOs....who I see all the time, and who never bother me. One gave my weapon a little tiny bit of the stinkeye the other day in the grocery store, but he looked up, nodded at me, said "hello", and went on his way to pick up milk and bread or whatever he was doing there....just like me.. Frankly, most of the LEOs around here, the sheriff included, are good and decent men and women with more important things to do than worry about someone who is carrying a gun that they can see. Hell, it's the woods out here! We don't have a single full green/red/yellow traffic light in the damned parish, so someone outta look out of place UNARMED is the way I see it.

    As the secretary of the Police Jury's email indicates, I probably should have gone to the meeting. Of course, I had no idea until I got this email that it had even been considered, and I only got it because I contacted her to ask her the status. Had I known, I would have gone, but the way I fumble around, forget what I am saying, and lose my train of thought when I talk, I surely would have done myself no favor there. That's why I took the time and trouble to submit such an extensive info packet to the Police Jurors.

    What aggravates me most about this ridiculous code is the inherent after-the-fact CYA factor it gives a LEO who arrests someone on state charges (that we all know do not exist). They can nail you and jail you, and then instead of admitting that they had no idea that OC was perfectly legal in LA, they could, if so advised of the existence of this code, later claim that they were enforcing the local code. MEM references meeting a St. Helena Deputy in a MS WalMart who obviously thinks that OC is illegal in Louisiana, and MEM's descriptive name (Kojak) truly bothers me, because that sounds like the Chief Criminal Deputy here, second only to the sheriff himself. Like I say, these LEOs, the sheriff and the Chief Deputy included, all seem to be very decent people to me, but MEM's description was too hard for me to ignore...and I have never ran across the sheriff or the Chief Deputy anywhere since they were in office here, so I honestly don't know what's gonna happen if I do....unless I can get this dumbass code nullified.

    So, any advice and/or help would be appreciated. I am entertaining the idea of requesting that the consideration be returned to a future agenda, and trying to pack the house if I can.

    Any advice?

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    Louisiana Revised Code 14:95 and Louisiana Revised Code 40:1796 work together, in concert, to bar any such action by St. Helena Parish.

    However, St. Helena Parish may, in accordance with Louisiana Revised Code 40:1796, regulate Firearms by:

    1. Acquiring the proper Taxes levied against them [Firearms] for certain matters,

    2. Pass a Local Ordinance prohibiting Firearms in certain Commercial Establishments (I assume Commercial Establishment means any Bar or Restaurant, under Louisiana Revised Code 14:95.5) and Public Buildings, and

    3. Securing the inventory of Firearms and Ammunition from Federal Firearms Dealers in 'High Risk' Parishes. (St. Helena Parish is not a 'High Risk' Parish for the purposes of this Code, however).

    Firearms are Legal in Parks in Louisiana, as there is no Law against it, so as long as the Firearm is not within a 1000 feet of any School, under Louisiana Revised Code 14:95.2, unless an exception under Louisiana Revised Code 14:95.2(B) applies.

    ***Although no Revised Statutes exsist making it a Crime to Carry a Firearm into StateParks, there are, however, Administrative Codes against this practice. However, Revised Code may or may not trump Administrative Code in this instance. Therefore, consult with an Attorney beforeany action is taken in this area. It issafe, however, to Carry a Firearm into a Localor Parish Park, in light of Louisiana Revised Statute40:1796.***

    ***LouisiananWMA Mananged Lands are off-limits to Firearms per Louisiana Revised Statute 56:109(C), unless; an exception applies as spelled out under Louisiana Revised Statute 56:109(D)(1) throughRS 56:109(5)(b).***


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    Yes, this is correct. This is the same as the now defunct Amite local ordinance. So, it is as "legit" as Amite's ordinance was, I would expect. It was my intent to seek the same sort of fix here, too.

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    aadvark wrote:

    ***Although no Revised Statutes exsist making it a Crime to Carry a Firearm into StateParks or any other WMA, there are, however, Administrative Codes against this practice. However, Revised Code may or may not trump Administrative Code in this instance. Therefore, consult with an Attorney beforeany action is taken in this area. It issafe, however, to Carry a Firearm into a Localor Parish Park, in light of Louisiana Revised Statute40:1796.***
    Except maybe this one... RS 56:109

    C. No person shall knowingly take, attempt to take, disturb, or destroy any wild bird or wild quadruped or the nest, egg, or young thereof on lands set apart as wildlife management areas and wildlife refuges, or have in his possession or keep, while on the lands, any firearm, trap, snare, or other device capable of being used in the taking or disturbance of the birds or quadrupeds on such areas, unless the person previously has been expressly authorized by a permit from the department to do so and only for the purpose and under the conditions specified in the permit.

    Administrative code derives its authority FROM statutes so statute ALWAYS trumps admin code.

    As far as the pre 85 code is concerned, the OP may have an option provided in Civil Procedures 1871 to 1883...


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    If you haven't done it already, I would suggest requesting it be put back on the agenda and ask for a confirmation on when it will be considered. Once we know that someone (or several someone's) should make it a point to be at that meeting to answer any questions.

    LOCAL folks - methinks this should be brought up Wednesday night.

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    I'd be more than happy to do that...and, of course, I'll definitely be there with however many sympathetic warm bodies I can drag along. But, it would sure make me feel good to know that someone more suited to it than me could be there to field the questions. I guess I'm asking if there are any takers for the job?

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    Georg,

    Yes, I am actually already am looking into a declaratory judgment, but I figured mention thereof would muddy the water of an already extensive post. Hopefully, there may be some success convincing the Police Jurors to do the right thing. If they chose not to, then I will definitely work toward forcing the issue.

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    Oh, yeah, I was thinking one more thing. Man, it sure would be nice if a bunch of sympathetic individuals opted to show up to lend some support (hint, hint)....

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    If we can get a confirmed date then I think that may be possible. I'm not that far away and I know that there are other from this area that may be able to make it as well. As long as I don't have any conflicts I can probably make it a point to be there.

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    AmosMoses wrote:
    Georg,

    Yes, I am actually already am looking into a declaratory judgment, but I figured mention thereof would muddy the water of an already extensive post. Hopefully, there may be some success convincing the Police Jurors to do the right thing. If they chose not to, then I will definitely work toward forcing the issue.
    Ya know, I've been meaning to learn a bit more about this process myself... perhaps we could get together at a library one day and do some reading...

    PM me if you decide to go that route.

    Edit - I'll do my best to be at the police jury meeting... just say when.

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    LA Confederate wrote:
    If you haven't done it already, I would suggest requesting it be put back on the agenda and ask for a confirmation on when it will be considered. Once we know that someone (or several someone's) should make it a point to be at that meeting to answer any questions.

    LOCAL folks - methinks this should be brought up Wednesday night.
    I added it to Wednesdays agenda. We discussed this before at the April and May meetings. Smokepole was researching it and brought a copy of the ordinance to a meeting. Amos, try to make the wednesday meeting if you can.
    President/ Founding Member
    Louisiana Open Carry Awareness League
    www.laopencarry.org

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    Fill them in on what happened in Amite too, incase they think they can't change stupid crap.

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    Is there any way you could follow up with the members of the police jury to find out why there was no action taken? It could be a procedural issue or something simple to remedy to get them to address it. Just a thought...

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    barf wrote:
    Is there any way you could follow up with the members of the police jury to find out why there was no action taken? It could be a procedural issue or something simple to remedy to get them to address it. Just a thought...
    What barf said. A few phone calls might get you the info you need.

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    charlie12 wrote:
    barf wrote:
    Is there any way you could follow up with the members of the police jury to find out why there was no action taken? It could be a procedural issue or something simple to remedy to get them to address it. Just a thought...
    What barf said. A few phone calls might get you the info you need.
    Ok... all legislative bodies operate by a set of rules. If the path of recourse is still via the St. Helena Police Jury, then the interested party should obtain a copy of said rules. If you're lucky, they have posted these rules online. My only question to the police jury at this point would be "where can I get a copy of your rules?'

    EDIT -

    See... http://library3.municode.com/default...ction=whatsnew

    Begin reading at Sec 2-101

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    georg jetson,

    Thank you for assisting me correct my inadvertant error in my former post.

    I was unaware of Louisiana Revised Code 56:109, however; I will correct my oversight.

    The former post, as it pertains to Firearms in WMA Land within Louisiana, was based and derived, in part, from HandgunLaw.com.

    I will also alert Mr. Steve Aikens, the Director and co-Publisher of the above mentioned website, to this error (as the information was, in part, derived from His website).

    I will carefully review Louisiana Revised Code more closely, in the future, before I cite any further omissions.

    Thank you,

    aadvark

    P.S.1: Mr. Steve Aikens is a Professional Firearm afficinando out of New Mexico who works carefully to preserve and protect New Mexican Firearm-related affairs there. Furthermore, Mr. Steve Aikens has ties directly with HandgunLaw.com and The New MexicanState Legislature, as a Citizen.

    P.S.2: I will edit the error from my previous post, as it pertains to RS 56:109.

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    No problem aadvark... hopefully 56:109 becomes irrelevant after Sen. Hebert's bill passes.

    The important thing here it to be correct in the law. We should strive to encourage each other to make sure the law we rely on to make decisions is correct. Even posting mistakes can be a good thing as it should keep us on our toes to check things out for ourselves and not to rely on what others have found.

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    Mr. Mark Edward Marchiava:

    No I am not employed with any type of Government Agency.

    ************************************************** **************

    georg jetson:

    What Bill is this that you speak of?

    P.S.: Have you heard about the Bill that would allow Concealed Carry Permit holders to be exempt from the 'Firearm Free School Zones'?

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    mark edward marchiafava wrote:
    All this back and forth chatter, not a single mention of the state constitution's article 1 sec 11.
    I'm convinced all you guys want to do is fill space with thousands of words.
    Are ya'll employed in some state agency? Sure seems like it.
    There is no need to mention the OBVIOUS. The OP is persuing one option available to them and in this option it is MORE relevant to focus on the procedure. He has already done his research with regard to Art 1 sec 11. Why be repetitive? If he decides to seek a declaratory judgment and injunction against the Parish THEN art. 1 sec 11 will become center stage. Pay attention!!

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    aadvark wrote:
    Mr. Mark Edward Marchiava:

    No I am not employed with any type of Government Agency.

    ************************************************** **************

    georg jetson:

    What Bill is this that you speak of?

    P.S.: Have you heard about the Bill that would allow Concealed CArry Permit holders to be exempt from the 'Firearm Free School Zones'?
    SB 81 and it's doesn't exempt you from the school zone only the 1000' part. It would do away with the 1000'

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    Thank you, Charlie12.

    Iwas confused about this.

    Still..., it is good that Concealed Permit Holders will no longer have to worry about the 1000 foot 'Buffer Zone' surronding Schools.

    Louisiana SenateBill 81meshes well with 18 U.S.C. 922(q)(2)(B)(ii).

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    Thanks guys. I appreciate all the help!

    Let's see:

    I have emailed Ms. Strickland to get the item back on the agenda, and I will immediately inform you all of the date.

    Last night I drafted a pro se Petition for Relief by Declaratory Judgment Pursuant to Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Art. 1871-1883, and I am working on a memorandum in support thereof with service and citation to the Police Jury and the LA AG. I am gonna prep a Rule to Show Cause for the judge's sig, as well as a Judgment....Optimistic? Well, not really. It can't go but one way, and we all know that. I figured that after an answer arrived thereto, I would rule 'em into court and then file a motion for summary judgment immediately thereafter for a look see at the show cause hearing date. Oh, and I'll draft an injunction to have on hand.

    The most obvious reason that the thing didn't pass is probably because I wasn't there, I would imagine. I am a bit surprised the 6th District guy didn't step up, because he's really a good guy. But, what can you do? Maybe he's got other battles picked out...I don't know. I'll call him and see. I find it hard to bitch about any of these guys just yet, mainly because I haven't spoken to them. Seems a bit unfair on my art at this point. Likely my fault for not being there. I actually didn't know when the thing was set for, but I didn't want to screw it up by being there myself anyway, as ridiculous as that may sound to ya'll. I'm NOT the guy you want talking for you. Trust me on that.

    I am considering meeting with the parish attorney and presenting him with a copy of the declaratory judgment and associated docs, advising him that I will file same as soon as the courthouse opens the day after the Police Jury meeting if the result of the meeting is not satisfactory. Obviously, I wish that the Police Jury had done the correct thing.

    LA Confederate
    - Thanks for everything! You are extremely helpful, and I appreciate it. as I said, I have contacted Ms. Strickland for the meeting to be returned to the agenda, and I will keep ya'll informed.

    Yale - Thanks for adding the item to the meeting agenda. I am going to do the best I can to be at the meeting, but it's not looking too promising right now due to prior plans. I will see if I can crawfish out of them, though, and be there, because I sincerely appreciate everything you guys are doing for me...for us.

    MEM - Thanks...I believe I covered every legal base with these guys, all in documentation, of course...preemption by statute as well as propriety, US and LA constitutional issues, statutory issues, etc. It's all in there. Obviously, none of them read what I submitted, but I figured I would start at GO and escalate as necessary. I have a one man "OC Day" in St. Helena every single day I am alive and walk outdoors. It may be low key, but that's pretty much how I live now. I sorta look at it like I carry the sidearm, it doesn't carry me...as corny as that sounds.

    georg - I would definitely appreciate any help you can push my way in regard to the declaratory judgment. Any info I have, and help I can give you, you are more than welcome to. The odds of me being able to supply you with any info you don't already have are slim, but again, if I am ever able to assist you with anything, you've got it.

    charlie12 - I put the info in the info packet I sent the Jurors, including the actual prior statute as well as the final resolution by the Amite City Council. I have to assume that they paid the same amount of attention to that that they did to the other pileof stuff I put in there. I am not real surprised at all that this is progressing as it has thus far....but, I figured, in my admittedly limited purview of all things legal, that this was the "right way" to go about this.

    barf - I'll see what I can find out about why no action was taken. As I said, maybe they figured that if I didn't care enough to show up, they weren't gonna worry with it. That's why I took pains to submit the info I did the way that I did. In hindsight, I shoulda asked about the when and wherefore, and been there. Live and learn, as they say.

    Something else I was thinking...though this probably should be another thread:

    I wonder why seeking a declaratory judgment may not be a satisfactory available avenue re: "school zone" OC. Especially now with CC law changed the right way. Maybe it's been done. Maybe it's not wise. Could it potentially backfire, setting precedent we don't want set? It seems safe enough - this just at a quick glance at the CCP language regarding others similarly situated, and with no look whatsoever regarding case law or precedent It's hard for me to tell by the ambiguous language who "opts in" to these things, though:

    Art. 1880. Parties When declaratory relief is sought, all persons shall be made parties who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the declaration, and no declaration shall prejudice the rights of persons not parties to the proceeding. In a proceeding which involves the validity of a municipal ordinance or franchise, such municipality shall be made a party, and shall be entitled to be heard. If the statute, ordinance, or franchise is alleged to be unconstitutional, the attorney general of the state shall also be served with a copy of the proceeding and be entitled to be heard.
    On the one hand, it seems that anyone who has a similar interest is automatically considered a party by default:

    ...all persons shall be made parties who have (emphasis supplied) or claim any interest which would be affected by the declaration...

    OTOH, separately reading within the span of two little words, it may at first seem that a party's inclusion therein in is by specifically considered action:

    ...all persons shall be made parties who have or claim (emphasis supplied) any interest which would be affected by the declaration...

    But, the "or" between "have" and "claim" makes me extremely cautious, however. Cautious enough that I would think it ill advised at this point to pursue same half-cocked and pro se. Well, for someone like me to pursue it pro se, anyway...what I am saying here is that I am merely bringing this up for conversation, not like I was considering something like this. It seems that I have my hands full with the law absolutely on my side, and only dealing with the St. Helena Police Jury.

    That said, with the "have or claim" phrase stuck in there, the protective exclusionary language doesn't seem to offer very much protection, does it?

    ...
    and no declaration shall prejudice the rights of persons not parties to the proceeding.


    My (or anyone's) situation regarding "school zone OC" seems to include anyone else similarly situated, whether they actually opt-in or not. So, one would at first think that the foregoing exclusion is useless as well as pointless. But, if so, why roll it into the article? I mean, so one individual's right to OC in a "school zone", if declared as no right to at all in final declaratory judgment, does not affect another's right to carry, oh, say, bananas in a school zone? No, of course not. But, if all others who have the same or similar uncertainties of right are automatically included, then the exclusion offers no safe harbor in the event of an adverse declaratory judgment, does it? Is it ambiguous, or am I just stupid (don't say "both", smartass!)

    In closing, I have to say that as contentious as some of these threads occasionally get, everyone here is more than willing to help, and that pleases me greatly. Some may attribute a tad of "selfishness" in motive to this, but I don't. Even if so...so what? I'll say it again...you guys are all extremely helpful, and I thank you all for your help. Hopefully I may be able to return the favor.

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    Amosmoses... GREAT JOB doing your homework AND GREAT questions concerning Art 1871!!!

    If I may request that we meet soon at a library so that we might learn a bit more about how to properly prepare a D.J. Obviously as as a Pro Se litigant, this is YOUR baby, but WE CAN learn together the proper procedure PRIOR TO ALERTING ANY INTERESTED PARTIES OF YOUR INTENTIONS!!!

    With respect to the injunction (CCP art 3601), it MIGHT be a good idea to include it in the initial petition... but that would be something you could discover at the library...

    I encourage every member of this forum to do their own research regarding the discussion points of this thread. The DJ is a powerful tool, but the citizen must learn a GREAT DEAL before being able to use it effectively. Amosmoses concerns are NOT without merit.

    Edit - Amosmoses, did you read the Police Jury's rules??

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    Guys,

    Ms. Strickland replied to my email in request for placing the item on the agenda of the SHPPJ...and it will be on June 8th at 6:00PM CST ... which sucks somewhat, as I expected to be in Georgia at that point. But, I surely don't want to delay the thing, and I SURE don't want to risk that no one will be there, so I am going to do some checking to see what I can do about my Georgia trip.

    It's too important for me have the convenience of missing the meeting, which was surely my screw up last time. I may well be able to contact all these people beforehand...which I need to do either way!

    Does this meeting time sound good for others? The GA thing is no mandate, and this is more important, no doubt. So, if this meeting time is good for any of you guys who can/will/want to come, it needs to stay, and I need to do whatever it takes to be here myself. Even though I won't be there to actually address the PJ, I am a resident, and "the instigator" of this, for lack of a better term, so I need to be there.

    Does it look like I can count on someone to be there to speak, and does this time look good for others to show up to show support?

    Thanks!

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    If we can figure out who may be able to attend to speak up, I will be more than happy to mail him/her a copy of the info packet I sent in to the Police Jury. Not that that person would really need it, you know....mainly just so we could be on the same page, and also so (s)he could see exactly what I proposed to them and what I used as a legal basis to do so.

    Thanks again!

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