Here Is How The “At Large” Council Election Works

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In response to many questions on-line, and in an effort to inform the voters in the City of Central, here is the corect information on how this Saturday's eletion for the five Council seats will work:

In plain English, any candidate receiving more than 10% of the total number of votes cast wins a seat on the Council.  Remember that each voter gets to vote for 5 candidates, so the maximum a candidate can get is 20% assuming everyone does cast 5 votes.  Then there is a runoff for any remaining seats, and the number of candidates who will be in the runoff election is twice the number of open seats.  As an example, if three candidates are elected on the first ballot and two seats remain open, the top four candidates who did not already win a seat will be in a runoff election for the two remaining seats.

There has been discussion of not casting all five of your votes so that your favorites have a better chance of being elected.  That is actually true.  However, with 28,706 votes cast in the 2006 Council race, it would take ten voters each deciding to cast only 4 votes in order to reduce the votes a candidate needs by one vote.  In other words, each vote you do not use causes your "favorite" to need 1/10th of a vote less to get elected.  Is that a good trade-off for not getting to voice your opinion on the remaining candidates?  You decide.  Also, remember that the "no votes" also make it easier for your candidate's opponents to get elected.


  1. Mike Mannino

    March 25, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for the clarification in simple English ! I knew somebody could explain it.

  2. ward

    March 25, 2010 at 9:58 am

    This is my opinion on at-large versus districts and term limits:
    If we have single districts and I’m not satisfied with the Council person representing my district, I would be stuck if no one runs against him/her in the next election. To be quite honest, do you think someone would want to subject themselves to the style of campaigning/politics seen during this election to serve the public in the future? I recall the school board was divided into districts…twice. The original districting included two incumbents in the same district. So, the school board choose to have the boundaries re-drawn to separate these incumbents before the election. In order to qualify, you must live in the district you represent.
    Term limits. I would support term limits if it was rotated. For instance, If you owned a business, would you want to change out ALL your employees at the same time? All of your employees are very productive. You understand in order keep up with the ever-changing economy, you must be continuously improving to stay competitive. How do you think your business would prosper by walking in on Friday and saying to your employees, “…today is your last day, your replacement will be here Monday.” There must be a transition period and a learning curve for the new members. The new members might not agree with an established member but they will need to learn every detail. When you get down to the nuts and bolts, the decision you make might be obvious. But to those that are not as involved with the details, your decision appears to be wrong. Districting and term limits are not what will move this City forward right now. I believe there are more important issues the candidates could channel their focus besides this. My vote will not hinge on a candidate’s position on this matter.

  3. mike mannino

    March 25, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Single member districts may be great for the people
    that live around the area where we have 3 members of
    the current administration living on the same street.
    But its been an issue for people in the rest of the
    City. The large majority of people I have talked to
    are in favor of districts. I agree with you on the phase
    in starting with assigning the candidates that we
    elect at large this time to districts if its legal.
    Elections are great! People get to hear the issues
    and vote for the people they agree with. By the way Dusty,
    this is sent from my Blackberry out on a compressor deck
    While I am waiting for mechanics to come back with parts.
    Aint technology something !!

  4. ward

    March 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I hope your Blackberry is intrinsically safe. Just as texting and driving is unsafe, don’t put yourself in a position to get hurt.

  5. ward

    March 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    “…where we have 3 members of
    the current administration living on the same street”

    Since you brought that up.
    Aren’t there some new candidates from the same street? Is this really about Central or has it turned into a neighborhood power struggle?

  6. Mike Mannino

    March 25, 2010 at 7:02 pm


    No candidates from the same street for City Council. In fact, if you elect the challengers, you will almost have all of Central covered.

    You are asking questions, especially about Exxon, that you already know the answers to I beleive. The unit is new, no issues about intrinsically safe. I don't mind answering your questions because its really helping me with the voters to answer, even though it is clear you are trying to pin something negative on me with no success. It troubles me though that I dont see you asking any of these probing questions of other candidates, deserving as they are. Do you have an agenda, like its not obvious. If you have any more questions, you can call me anytime at 261-8346

  7. ward

    March 25, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Don’t take it so personal. And I am not trying to pin anything negitive on you. If it appears so, I will stop replying to you. I work in the industry and know how important safety is. Just helping you with a JSA. I do not have an agenda. If I did, I would not beat around the bush. What does my agenda appear to be. You just seem to have an answer for everything so I’m enjoying the conversation. When the election is over, I will give you a call.

  8. Mike Mannino

    March 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks. I really do enjoy discussing politics and you can see I definitely have an opinion. At least I can say you do stay involved. Heck with the phone call, I’ll buy you lunch at Sammys one day win or lose. We can debate issues and still walk away with a handshake.

  9. Robby

    March 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I like Sammy’s…..

  10. Mike Mannino

    March 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    You can too !! Might need some debate help.

  11. ward

    March 26, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Just because someone chats on this board doesn’t mean they are involved. What I will say is I have been involved from long ago. I have been apart of meetings at DEMCO years ago when we were trying to incorporate the city. I’ve been to meetings to get our own schools system. I have stood on countless street corners encouraging folks to get out and vote. I have been on several committees. I have volunteered my labor and skills to improve our school structures. I have been involved more than you would possibly know. I have seen first hand certain candidate express opposition to both the incorportation and the school during this time. Now they want to be apart. That is ok as long as there heart is truly in the right place. I have not seen many of the candidates exert much effort to what we have today. I have seen what people will do and say during election time to persuade the uninformed. I have seen how people will take personal stabs at candidates for the sake of a vote. Personally, it sickens my stomach to see how grown people act. These are people our young are to look up to. I wish everyone luck and I pray to my GOD that His hand will guide this city to make the right choices. Choices based on what we believe are the best for our future. We have a very important right to vote and protect our investment. Our current President has “smoothed” his way into office and is dragging the country down (my opinion only). His approval rating is about 55% and droping. Sad thing is…it’s too late. The damage is done. Central, As you go to bed tonight, pray that the Lord’s will is done. Good Luck to everyone.


  12. Concerned parent

    March 27, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I agree with “These are people our young are to look up to”. Something I never really thought much about till this election that shows by example to our young is the selling of beer at a function to raise money for these young. This is an event our current Mayor is a chairman of the board for. Don’t you think they have enough encouragement to drink without witnessing this at function for them? Which also brings into play that a very politically involved person’s son was given a permit to open a daiquiri shop down the street from our High School. The new owner of this daiquiri shop and his family are big supporters of the current city administration. Then when you look at his parent’s facebook, they exclaim how proud they are and can’t wait to have a daiquiri. (now their page is made private).This is a school board member’s son. Doesn’t look like he always have our young’s best interest at heart either on this issue. Part of this is opinion and part is fact. The facts are:

    1. Beer sold at an event for the young.
    2. Our current Mayor and one current councilman
    chair this event.
    3. A politically connected person’s son was given a permit and is opening a daiquiri down the street from our high school.

  13. Mike Mannino

    March 27, 2010 at 8:01 am

    agree buddy. when this is over lets remember what our goal was in the beginning, long ago. A better place for our kids and schools for them to acheive. Hopefully, God will be pleased and bless us.


  14. cmay09

    March 27, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Mike and Ward<
    Good stuff there guys!

    When should it ever come a surprise that a "connected" individual get a permit? Do you think he actually paid for that permit? As far as beer being sold at the youth event, the drinking issue is not what our "leaders" do— but what You teach your children.

  15. Kathi Cowen

    March 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    To Concerned Parent: The “board member’s son” had to go through every step of the process to rezone just like any other applicant. Check the meeting agendas posted on the wesite and you will see Case #RZ-08-09 was presented in two public hearings, the November 19, 2009 P&Z and the December 8, 2009 Council meeting. Prior to the public hearings, the little yellow sign was posted at the street and all required ads were placed in the paper to notify all who might wish to object. The time for your concerns to be heard and considered is at these public hearings. The ABC board, not the City, approves licenses for sale of liquor.
    I can personally assure all Central residents that no permit is issued (or denied for that matter) based in the applicant’s last name or political affiliation (as implied in an earlier post.)
    And, yes to cmay’s question – all applicants for permits must pay the fees.

    Kathi Cowen
    Planning & Zoning Manager
    City of Central

  16. Concerned parent

    March 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    What ever you say!

  17. Robby

    March 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    What bothers me is Person A applies for a permit for a business at a particular spot A and is denied.
    Person B, who is politically connected, who has money, knows people with money, has friends and family with money, has more friends on the council, P&Z board, and gets a permit at particular spot A approved!


  18. Donna Dufour

    March 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Robby, sad but true, it looks like w are in for the SOS for four years.

  19. Kathi Cowen

    March 28, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Robby — I have no idea what particular case you are referring to. I’ve only been in this office since October. If you want to call me with the specific case you are upset about, I will be happy to investigate this allegation. I can be reached at 262-5000 between 8:00 and 4:30 M – F.

  20. concerned parent 2

    March 28, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I sure the process of the permit was does properly, but what does concern me the most do we really need another temptation for our kids to have to deal with? I wish the ones who are suppose to have good character, values and really care about our city and the message we are sending to our kids, our future would reconsider.

  21. Kyle

    March 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Guys, the election is over. Let’s move on and celebrate this great city that we live in, our great school system, and the fact that we are all fortunate enough to live in a country where we can express our opinions.

    As for beer at the “function” (Cookin in Central festival is what I’m sure you are referring to), that has always been the case since it was started years ago. Obviously, the public doesn’t mind or else they wouldn’t be drinking it. Go ahead and tell people they can’t have beer with their crawfish. I’m sure there will be plenty of complaints! After all, this is south Louisiana. Keep in mind that a lot of money has been raised by this event for the schools, and the schools don’t seem to have a problem with beer being served. No one on the school board has complained. Since when did drinking beer become an evil? The city-parish sells beer at the River Center for all of its festivals and concerts. Does that make Kip Holden a bad man?

    As I said, let’s get over it. There are too many good things about our community and why people love to live here. Let’s talk about the good things from now on and promote our good city rather than trash talk it.

  22. ward

    March 29, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Conserned Parents,
    Raise YOUR kids, teach them right from wrong and you won’t have to worry about society steering them wrong. If you live by example, they will be like you.

    Ms.Dufour, to change your attitude and get involved in a positive way will help you and this community. It takes more effort to froun than to smile. I wish you well.

  23. Donna Dufour

    March 30, 2010 at 8:22 am


    We all have something about us that could change, otherwise we consider our self’s perfect. I am perfect by no means. I know by saying this I am opening the door for more criticism. So have at it. I do intend to start attending meetings. For example: I looked at the minutes of the meeting during which a vote was taken about the daiquiri shop in question. It went before the P&Z board in Oct.or Nov. and no one opposed it. If the ones who didn’t want it would’ve stated opposition I’m sure the vote would have been put off, giving the citizens enough time to gather support against it. That didn’t happen, so when the permit sign went up in the stores window everyone was asking how this did happen. Six or seven months after a meeting to approve something is not the time to complain or start asking questions. I didn’t realize it had been approved that long ago. So, yes you will be seeing me at some of these council and P&Z meetings. I may not make everyone of them though.

  24. concerned parent 2

    March 30, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    To Kyle
    Yes the sell of alcohol does bring in a large revenue, that why they do it. There are some citizens who don’t agree with it, I just think it send the wrong idea to our kids. My opinion I’m entitled, and I know there will always be people who don’t agree with me, their opinion, their entitled. I do agree with you there are a lot of great things happening in our city.
    To Ward
    I am really not trying to debate about this, I agree with you about teaching right from wrong and to live by example, something we do every day when it comes to our children. However it makes it a little more challenging when society and easy access at some of our kids peers homes where parents think its ok. There were times when my son got it from his friends parents, and I know that still goes on. I think concerned we should be. Mixed signals.
    To Donna
    The meeting with P&Z about the daiquiri shop was announced in the Central News but in little bitty print, you had to go looking for it to see it, there would have been lots opposition if more people would have known about it back in Oct./Nov.. I think better communication is needed or either everyone will have to be present at every board meeting, (P&Z,Council,School Board) and what ever else that concerns the people of Central so we are all informed. That takes a lot of time. Been there. I do think it is some of the responsibility of the people we put in higher positions to really think of whats best for all people not just their agendas.

  25. Donna Dufour

    March 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I agree.I posted something about that on another forum. The public attending and participating in these meetings is only part of it. That is why we elect someone to represent us and look out for welfare. Public participation did not help when it came to Elegant Memories getting a liquor license. This is a reception hall and the reidents down Frenchtown Rd fought it and lost. Personally I didn’t see anything wrong with it, but when there is that much opposition and they still get a license, I don’t agree with that.

  26. Kyle

    March 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Again, I’m going to keep things on a positive note from now on. To me, it’s not whether something gets approved or not, it’s all about the public keeping informed. I’m going to start going to more meetings just to keep informed. I may not have an opinion to share on every issue, but I would like to at least attend public meetings and sit in the audience to hear what’s going on so that I can be informed and correct false rumors or misinformation that seems to get spread around so many times whether it be a school board meeting, council meeting, or P&Z meeting. I also watch the EBR council meetings on TV. Now, some of those are definitely comical. Did anyone see the big argument between Councilman Loupe and Parish Atty Roper? Wow, that was heated!

  27. dave

    March 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Question From The Moderator:

    If we went to the trouble of video-ing and making Council and School Board meetings available to view on this site, how many of you would take advantage of it and take the 30 to 60 minutes to watch each video every other week? (The boring and uneventful meetings are usually the shortest) I ask because these are large video files and take time to upload, but we are willing if people will watch and encourage others to do so. We do have counters that record how many times a post is accessed and how long it is watched, but I would like some input from those of you who would watch and encourage others to do so.


  28. concerned parent 2

    March 30, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Can you tell how many hits you had on the forums you able to upload?
    How many were interested enough to watch, maybe that’s a starting place.

  29. dave

    March 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Candidate Forum at Central High: 213 views

  30. Mike Mannino

    March 30, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Yes I watched that Kyle. Those two definitley have something personal behind this. They are both lawyers, maybe they had some kind of conflict in the past. I dont think its over yet so keep watching. Its gonna get interesting I bet !

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