All eyes on the Bay Council races in the upcoming general election

Here is the lineup via Cassandra Favre:

Ward One: Incumbent Doug Seal (I) and George Williams (R).
Ward Two: Carol Strohmetz (D) and Gene Hoffman (R).
Ward Three: Jeffrey Reed will not face a challenger in the general election.
Ward Four: Larry Smith (R) and Tad Black (D).
Ward Five: Incumbent Joey Boudin (D) and Buddy Zimmerman (R).
Ward Six: Incumbent Lonnie Falgout (I) and Josh DeSalvo (R).

And then in the Council at large race is a triple threat match between Mike Weems (D), Susan Vegelia (I) and Gary Knoblock (R). That race will certainly be decided by a plurality rather than majority.

The electoral battle between Hizzoner and Mike Favre was not just between them as individuals. Hizzoner wanted a friendlier City Council. Being the current Councilman at Large, Favre begged to differ. That said of the list above I see up to 3 candidates that would have been considered Hizzoner friendly that were certainly encouraged to run by Hizzoner or his political operatives. If the Favre campaign has any coat tails (I personally think it does), he will have a chance to use some of his influence in the upcoming general election on June 6.

One more thing about the Council races, the voters for both At Large and in Ward 2 have good slates of candidates to choose from while the overall candidate quality varies in the rest of the races (some way more than others). That is not to say there aren’t good candidates in those other races because there are and it will be up to the voters to separate the wheat from the chaff over the next three weeks.

41 thoughts on “All eyes on the Bay Council races in the upcoming general election”

  1. Ward 1 Doug will probably get re-elected, while he is not my favorite, I just don’t think I could vote for George. Doug better make some changes now that Les is gone or he may be out.
    Ward 2 I’m voting for Hoffman. He is an attorney and will definitely be an asset to the Board on doing the “right and legal” actions. Carol is a good candidate, but Gene is my pick.
    Ward 4 That is a toss up!! Tad has experience, but do we want him back??
    Ward 5 & 6 Lonnie and Joey have stepped up and done the right thing for the City. They should be re-elected. Give them the opportunity to finish the business they have started.
    At Large? Gary has done a lot for the city in the rebuilding and being on the Planning commission. Susie has a lot of credentials and experience that impress me for the position. And while some of you may not want to hear this, It does not hurt to have a woman on the board. But don’t vote for her because of this, vote because of her track record with harbor and other areas of the city. She definitely can bring new and fresh ideas to the City. The city has a lot of rebuilding to do now with a new Mayor after June 6 and we need the council to be there and commit.

    1. Outraged,
      If life and observation at public meetings has taught me anything, it’s taught me that just by virtue of the fact that someone has a law degree and license does NOT guarantee they will “do the right thing!”
      I don’t know Hoffman. May be a decent fellow. But being a lawyer would never be my litmus test–NEVER!!

    2. Ward 4 is the place where I have heard from more dissatisfied voters than any other and its not even close.

      Watching Larry Smith routinely blow his stack does have entertainment potential, but that would also mean Ward 4 would have a Clowncilman instead of a Councilman.

      1. Ward 4 does not have the needs that some of the Wards have. I live in Ward 4. The only time I ever saw Compretta get excited was when they let him have a private road on his property against all normal procedures and when he wanted a side walk in front of his house. The side walk was a great investment but he could have been that motivated for things that did not benefit him.

      2. I am ward 4 and i would vote for no one but Larry Smith. He is well educated and does not play favorites. The rules are the rules and he has first handed put me in my place in a very respectful manner when i have been wrong and at the same time explained to me why it was wrong. Many of us fly off the deep end when we see something that is wrong being done, this shows dedication and passion about a subject. Larry Smith will not sit there and let other council members yea or nae something because it sounds good. He will do his homework, he will not only use his educational background but he will use something more important, something many people lack, its called COMMON SENSE

          1. Mr. Handshoe, I completely understand and respect your post. I do feel although he will do his homework and make the right decisions on behalf of
            Bay St. Louis!!

    3. Outraged , you are stereotyping these candidates by who you see them as and not by who they are and what they really stand for. I could sit here and make judgments on each one by simply going by what i think i know or by what I’ve heard, so please before you vote in ward 2 do your homework on the person u believe is fit for the job.
      Your stereotyping a candidate because he is a lawyer and you believe he is a better choice ??? Then you should also ask your self how many crooked lawyers are also out there. Your candidate ( the lawyer you believe is so honest ) was caught in 2012 stealing water from the city to his strip mall since Katrina and when caught tried blaming his tenants. From 2005- 2012 and over 50% of the time the suites stayed and still stay empty, so who was paying the water bill then ? Ask the sewage and water department they finally caught up with him. So Lawyer or Crook ??? they come in all shapes and sizes.
      Now lets address the broken down cars he parks in front of the empty strip mall, the ones with broken windows, flat tires, leaking oil but wants to sit on a council and tell others what they can and can not do with their properties. Now those cars really need help and to be repaired, correct ?
      Where do you think this took place ? Well let me just tell you where, in one of the suites. He and a buddy ran an illegal car repair shop out of one of the suites. Because this place would never be approved by the city with all of the dumping of toxic waste your favorite candidate and his friend did this after hours, knowing city officials were not on the job after 5. Numerous times building officials left door hangers, many times they tried contacting the owners of this illegal establishment but your pick for ward 2 was smart yes, sneaky yes and running an illegal business out of his strip mall. Remember all car repair shops, oil changing places etc. have to have a dumping ground approved, not to mention a business license.Now with all of that being said, lets not forget the firework stands that were also ran out of the same suite hmm I’m pretty sure that Freon, gas,oil, grease etc. mix well and make a BEAUTIFUL fireworks display. So please before you decide to vote do your homework , just because someone has the name lawyer behind their name, means as little as having the word MAYOR behind theirs. One more thing before I go, take a look at all of the jobs he’s had, Doesn’t seem to keep one very long now does he !!!!

      1. Tad Black, twice, appeared live on WQRZ & took questions from voters live on-air for an hour each time. Larry Smith ZERO.

  2. All we need is for the council to be fiscally responsible. The incumbents aside from Wendy took the education from the State Auditor and exercised there authority and reeled in Les as best as their vested powers could. It is a fact that the previous attorney fed them to the lions on many occasions.

    They need to just fund city needs not wants. They quit giving hand outs to unneeded and unasked for services.

    They also need to vet out all double dipping the taxpayer for already funded county endeavors.

    The investment environment is as good as it can be. Let private money develop and back the taxpayer out it.

    1. I recently saw sales tax figures for the Bay going back to the 1990s. The peak years were 1998-2000 and there was no taxpayer funded $30M dollar marina to attract people, it was all private capital.

      I’ve seen all the memes about how one bar is equal to 30 houses in terms of taxation back during the noise ordinance fight but that is way overstated when you look at actual numbers. In fact when you factor in the Harbor, the return on the taxpayer money compared to before the storm is negligible.

      Old Town is nicer than before the storm. I also see that gentrification is an issue with the indigenous populations that are being priced out of the area, especially in Ward 3. Artists are being priced out of Ward 2 due to real estate speculation.

      Growing the local economy while preserving the things that make the Bay unique is not an easy balancing act. Hopefully the market place will support the right balance.

      1. Making the Bay where families want to settle will be the new Administration’s challenge.
        The weekend homes are great, but they and Waveland both need to attract people who want to
        put down roots.
        A shrinking census in the lic public school district is very telling.
        The bar scene is well established. Time for some meat and potatoes economy now.
        Speaking of sales tax, Doug, it is really a mystery how the Bay’s sales tax lags when you look at all of the cars parked downtown on the weekends on the beach.
        I guess weekends just aren’t enough or something is just not right?!

      2. The average bar owner does not realize that the city only gets 18% of the 7% sales tax. I calculated that if during cruising there were a million dollars spent in BSL (not likely) that we would only collect about $13,000 to the BSL coffers. You can figure on your own what cash sales are reported in a typical bar and do the math from there.

        The Chamber and the Tourism GURU’s report some big guesstimates on revenue but never ( I have not seen) reduce it down to real local numbers. Not to say it is bad but the local businesses that directly benefit should bear some of the costs which is nearly not worth the effort to try and get them to. They claim they generate sales tax, that is not completely true, the customers pay that even when it is not reported!! Truth in numbers. That is why when there is what we call a big event it does not even put a ripple on the graph of tax diversions. It costs the municipalities money to host large events (Police, Clean Up, traffic congestion etc.) and the direct beneficiaries do not put up any money they just take it in. Tourism is funded by the local tax payer and room tax sales not by the Merchants who get direct benefit. It is amazing that they (Tourism) can do so much with so little support from the people it benefits. Their employees are hard workers for little pay for large results.

    2. I couldn’t agree more, Rod. We need to take a year to do a complete inventory of what we have and what we need. Who we have and who we need. No extras. No handouts. No adding on to a broken marina. We need steady ground. While doing all that we can begin making some plans for the future, using citizen input. New people, not the same old names.
      I so look forward to a true, transparent financial plan. A refreshing change.

      1. The new Mayor and Council will have the monumental task of assessing a new path for the City. Currently, Public works is in need of new equipment, The Police Department is parsed out in two locations, the Main Municipal building is in need of maintenance, some of the Fire Department trucks appear to be dated and need upgrading or replacing. Now the Police Department does have new vehicles, but a new police complex will have to be addressed.

        The Current building ordinance and Comprehensive plan has come into question and changes will have to be made to update and legalize both documents. The city will have to look for increased revenue sources, which I have worked on over the last 4 years as Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission. By granting smart land subdivisions in areas of Bay St. Louis, we have seen a increased building not seen in a long time. We will see increased tax collections with out having to raise taxes. I do not advocate building on every parcel of land, however, by using the Comprehensive plan as a guide, the P&Z commission has helped usher in smart growth. Furthermore, the City Council, Planning & Zoning, and the Historical commission must work together to be sure smart growth continues so that the end result is a beautiful well planned city.

        It will be my mission to continue working for a better Bay St. Louis. With over 22 years being self employed, rebuilding and reopening 6 weeks after Hurricane Katrina, I am up to the task of being Councilman at Large.

        1. May I ask about the “condos” on Beach & Court St approved by P&Z and the Council? While watching the Council meeting on FB Live a concern about the parking variance was expressed. At that time, Court St LLC said that the development was really a hotel not condos & therefore had the required parking spaces yet Council passed the variances requested as condos as did P&Z.

          1. Trixie,

            The Planning & Zoning Coordinator along with the city attorney determined that this project were to be classified as condos. They spent 18 months researching current city ordinances to be sure. This Project was presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission as condominums and we could not change the legal definition. We could only rule on the two variances they asked for: the parking spaces, and the fence height. I am not sure why the developer attempted to change his presentation to the city council.

  3. Lana I would love to see more permanent homeowners in the Bay and Waveland, but what type of jobs opportunities would they have. Most would still have to drive to New Orleans or Slidell. Weekend property owners have always been a huge support of our area because of the close proximity to LA and N MS areas, We have the water front access to homes for Boating, sailing and fishing. That is our big attractions. These weekend people love the area and shop in our grocery stores, gift shops, restaurants and other vendors around. BSL and Waveland could never survive with the economy of only the locals. Remember many locals, including DH are retired. They come here to live after retirement. They spend money, but not like the weekenders. We need to boost our economy and promote our resources, all of our resources to attract people to come here and purchase a home whether it be weekend or permanent. Property taxes are important as they are long term not short term. This needs to be built up. If we have a non resident their tax base is substantially higher for property taxes than a homestead person. So basically we need to continue to grow our Real Estate and Development to increase our property tax base for future revenue. Once the people are here they will go into our community and spend money.
    Maybe the city planning commission or new administration needs to look at current areas that have not been redeveloped after the storm now 12 years later in residential area beachfront and think about re zoning to accommodate multi family. We have some of the best resources around, the Bay of St. Louis and Gulf, so lets take that and use it to our best ability. Some may not want to see Condos in residential areas, but look at the end of N. Beach in the Bay close to Hollywood Casino. No one is building back down there. Use this to property and develop condos. We have to quit thinking “old days” this is 2017 and we have to think about income for our great city.

    1. Outraged,
      As the Director of the Port and Harbor Commission, Bill Cork, asked the local School Board in April, why are people willing to drive from as far away as Jackson County to work at Stennis and Port Bienville?! That troubles him. It should trouble all of us.
      We need those families to settle here.
      And, if all of the weekend people are shopping here, where is the sales tax??!! Bay St. Louis, according to the State Department of Revenue reports in the paper, always lags behind Waveland, and we have NO DOWNTOWN BUSINESS DISTRICT!!
      However, we do have that gold mine of an intersection of Highways 90 and 603. That is where all of the national firms locate, Wal Mart, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Exxon, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Waffle House, McDonald’s (two of them) both thriving. And Bay St. Louis has some too–Wendy’s several banks, PopEyes’s, Burger King, Waffle House. Bay St. Louis has many restaurants throughout the city and the bar scene is very well established, that attracts more visitors than residents. When we go out to eat, we hardly know anybody in the restaurants. That’s okay, we them and their cash.
      Neither city would be alive today without the highway. I know because I have been here a long time and have watched it grow. So where is the sales tax in the Bay?!
      As far as condos at the end of North Beach, when my brother, Bill Taylor, was Councilman-at-large right after Katrina, he proposed to have a “hearing” to see how the residents would feel about some low rise condos at the end of North Beach. Well, he found out. He got attacked over it by residents and even the US Congressman. They said “no one is going to ruin our neighborhood.”
      The study conducted by Port and Harbor revealed the three major reasons people work but do not live here:
      lack of quality public education, quality health care services, and the lack of a work ready work force.
      Our local Public School District is one of the detriments and it has to be addressed. Read yesterday’s Sun Herald with the recent statewide reading tests results. The East end of the Coast had the top scores, and we here in the west had the lowest. But we have a $25 million dollar budget, and a $2 million dollar Sports Complex!!?? If you love artificial turf, bleachers, and tennis courts, you’ll love this place. Check out some of the sports complexes of the academically thriving school districts east of us. It’s called priorities.
      The Port and Harbor Director said that he will take his study and present to the other Public Bodies in the County, and I have been promised that when he does, they will contact me so that we can get folks to those meetings to hear it.
      I know we have sailing, boating, fishing, the bar entertainment scene, good restaurants, etc. but our best resource is our young people. We need to find a way to keep them here and attract more families to want to come here to LIVE and work!
      The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government will continue to work toward this end.

      1. The much under-celebrated Tractor Supply Store is coming to the Bay & once people realize what it really is, it will be a blessing to the tax-base & along with Claiborne Hill, give Walmart a run for their $$$ in lots of areas.

        1. I hope it is a blessing to the Bay’s tax base both ad valorem as a commercial investment in the Highway and by way of sales tax.
          I am not sure how it would compete with Wal Mart
          and Claiborne Hill.
          All different merchandise, but I wish them all well.

          1. I misspoke, it won’t compete with Claiborne Hill. Tractor Supply stores in up north sell housewares, tires, work clothes, toys, clothing, as well as, farming equipment & lawn supplies.

  4. Fact:
    Lucifer is Gone!!!!!!!!!
    Favre for Mayor

    Now for the Council Races:

    At Large Gary
    Mike , a close second.
    Susan , out in left field, good credentials but ideas are another thing.
    Lucifer disciple as well.

    Ward 1 Doug
    Williams/ Chamber / disciple

    Ward 2 Gene,
    Carrroll is way out in left field. Would rather have Wendy.
    Lucifer disciple.

    Ward3 Jeffrey, done

    Ward 4 Tad?
    Larry , Another lefty,
    another Lucifer disciple, why??
    Wish Kyle was in there.

    Ward 5 Joey
    Buddy , not a bad guy,
    Just another disciple

    Ward 6 Lonnie
    Josh, good guy but Lonnie has battled for ward 6 from the get go.
    Able to get some things done even without the cooperation from this administration. Still battling for them.

    Now you ask why stick with the incumbents?

    The council was not the problem!!!
    They may have some faults but they did what had to be done. Some took longer than others to see the picture but they are a pretty good team with the addition of the 3 new ones.

    Just some thoughts

    1. Only speaking for Ward 6….I wish Lonnie well. I happened to be at one of the first community meetings where Lonnie introduced Josh and asked everyone to support his business; then proceeded to ensure Josh got all the support he needed to be successful. Personally, it would be hard to run against someone who displayed such support; but, politics are funny that way. Hopefully the race is a friendly one.
      It says a lot that Ward 6 had zero (0), none, naught, votes for Les. That is most likely representative of what Lonnie has done to expose what everyone already knew in regards to the attitude that BSL has toward Ward 6. It would be nice to see him have another term without the red tape of the previous administration.

  5. Look at the Republican and Democratic Parties. The Candidates choose a party and are forced to give them money when they apply but the parties decide who they support. It is a sham. The head of the local Republican Party supported Les who appointed him to a position. The democrats didn’t want to support all of the candidates in their party for various petty reasons.

    They sound like the Chamber of Commerce. Show your support for us and we will pick and choose who we support!

  6. Fact R Fiction I like your summation of the candidates. I personally think the At Large race will be a toss up. Mike will probably take the majority of the votes with Suzie with 3 in the race. It definitely hurts Gary’s chances. Interesting Race. Could put Suzie in. Both Veglia and Weems have been around a long time. Gary has done good for the city with Rotary and other organizations, but a 3 horse race is hard to predict.
    Lonnie and Joey both have stood up for the City and should be put back in office. Shame on DeSalvo after all that Lonnie has done to help him and his business and I guess Les gets him to run.
    Tad?? is correct, sure wish Kyle had won. And Gene will probably win Ward 2. Carol is nice, but very conservative and does not want to see progress. Wants downtown to stay complacent and keep it for her own haven. Another Les supporter. Does not think Les has done wrong, so how can you support someone that is that Blind to the problems in the Bay???
    Ward 1 is another problem. How do you support George, but what has Doug done these last “how many years” He is the problem there. Total deadhead.. He has been there and should have been on top of all of these issues, but his head has been in the sand. he only like the glory of being an elected official. Maybe I’d hold my nose and vote for George, can’t be any worse than Doug.

    1. BSL Taxpayer I agree that Lonnie & Joey should stay in office but what you shamefully said about Mr. DiSalvo came directly out of Lonnie’s mouth.

      1. No Trixie it came out of Fishbait please read several posts above mine. He stated that Lonnie introduced him and asked everyone to support his business. Where is the negative here? I grew up where you don’t hurt people that try and help you. There is nothing wrong in expressing my opinion. If someone helps me and my business I sure am not going to take actions that would be negative towards them. Lonnie has done a good job and word all out on the street, not Lonnie, that Les encouraged DeSalvo to run.

  7. George is a horrible replacement to anyone. Doug stepped up to the plate with facts and figures and has on many occasions stood toe to toe with Les. He did give Les the benefit of the doubt early on but took him to task last several years!

  8. Doug was our Councilman in Ward 1 also and never failed to return a phone call.
    If he didn’t have a solution right away, he would tell you, and always followed up.
    Our neighbors also were pleased with his service to his constituents.

  9. Read was a good choice for ward 3 considering his opponent was a nonvoting puppet. Hoffman would bring common sense to ward 2 finally. Tadd has experience and a better temperament than Larry who will break the city’s health insurance when his aids show up. Doug and Joey do their homework they should stay, Williams and Zimmerman are too old and not very smart, they would cause the city’s health insurance to skyrocket with Georges health problems and all the kids Buddy gets paid to raise. Lonnie likes to embellish, exaggerate and flat out lie sometimes. But works circles around the last representative ward 6 had. Josh is a crook, he is also Tommy Kids and Fillingames lapdog. And thank the Lord that lying two face Les is out, he can go scam trash doctors or sell insurance.

    1. You should be ashamed of yourself. It’s one thing to have an opinion, but to assume one has AIDS is outright disgusting of you. Your parents would be ashamed of your comments and your grammar.

  10. Buddy will be more of the same Les BS. If you look at the time line he retired right after he was stopped opening bids behind closed doors. His golfing was slowed way down as well.

    George isn’t running for office Tish is. Watch the pandering for money start back up if he gets in.

    These guys all have one thing in common. They have all worked off the fat of the system their entire lives really not producing anything.

  11. Maybe the council needs to look at the Healthcare situation when re=elected. If you saw the budget the amount the city pays for all employees health insurance adds up quite a bit. Council members are not full time employees and should not be given health insurance. And I bet there are a lot more out there that the city pays for.
    This new council has a lot of work to do and I hope the people support them. Keeping Doug, Joey and Lonnie plus Reed there helps the transition and Favre of knowing where all of the faults of Les are and can start making major corrections in our city.

  12. Has anyone heard anything about what Les plans to do after the election?
    Any rumors or talk? I’d be curious as to his qualifications to hold any job. Maybe Trash Doctors will hire him…
    Will he have to step down from his position on that Board?
    It will be interesting to see.

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