White Castle to elect new mayor

Deidre Cruse, Governmental Reporter

With Mayor Maurice Brown off the ballot, Town of White Castle voters will elect their first new mayor in more than 17 years.

Two incumbent aldermen – Ernest J. “Bay Boy” Allen Sr. and Gerald Jermarr Williams – are applying for the job, as is perennial candidate Oneal “Elmo” Bosley.

The three other incumbent aldermen are part of a field of nine competing for the five seats on the Board of Aldermen in Saturday's primary elections.

Police Chief Mario Brown, with his brother facing prosecution on federal racketeering and fraud charges, is also facing two opponents in his bid for a second term – R. L. Downs Jr. and White Castle Police Sgt. Michael Troy Robinson Sr.

A federal grand jury indicted Maurice and Mario Brown as qualifying opened for the fall elections. The mayor was disqualified after the Louisiana Board of Ethics sued to have his name removed from the ballot for non-payment of a $3,000 ethics fine he agreed to in October 2009 but failed to pay.

The POST/SOUTH sent questionnaires to the candidates or used other information where it was available for this story.

Mayor's race

In the mayor's race, Allen, 64, is seeking the mayor's job after serving two terms on the Board of Aldermen.”I am not seeking the office of mayor for personal gain,” he said. “...My love for this town, my experience with government at a time when things were less troubled, and my close associations with those that are ready and willing to help is my motivation for this bid.”

In announcing his candidacy, he also cited the need for job training and recreational facilities for children.

Except for his service in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division, Allen is a lifelong resident of White Castle. His service honors included the Purple Heart, and he currently serves as first vice commandant of American Legion Post 212.

The candidate, a 1964 graduate of Iberville High School, attended Southeastern University. He is a member of St. Joseph Baptist Church.

He and his wife, Audrey Stevenson Allen, are the parents of three children, grandparents of six and great-grandparents of two.

Bosley, 57, is making his second run for the mayor's job. He also has run several times for parish president.

Neither he nor Williams returned their candidate's questionnaires.

Four years ago, Williams, 30, said he was an Iberville Parish school teacher emphasizing economic growth, and implementing educational programs, job training and job placement programs for youth.

Police Chief's Race

Mario Brown, a 40-year resident of the town, said he has worked to rebuild the police department with full- and part-time officers and dispatchers,and hopes to increase the department further.

Brown said he has been able to secure grants for new patrol cars, radios, computers and cameras, and he wants to acquire new technology to help control speeding on streets and in neighborhoods.

He has completed the Franklin Covey Cultural Diversity in Communities and other courses in policing and management and supervision. He is a member of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Chapter, Fight Crime-Invest in Kids, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which provides free training for his department.

The incumbent is a 1988 graduate of White Castle High School, a graduate of the LSU Training Academy and a Law Enforcement against Domestic Violence Instructor.

Brown worked as a firefighter and emergency medical technician, at the Elayne Hunt Correctional Center and as an Iberville Sheriff's deputy before becoming chief.

He is married to Lakisa Green-Brown.

Downs provided no information.

Robinson, 30, a White Castle police officer for more than 12 years  with post certification for 10 of them, is making his first run for public office.

“I want people to be able to be able to walk and ride around White Castle and [not] have to see drug dealers dealing [to] drug users [or] kids walking around town with their pants on the ground,” Robinson said on his candidate's questionnaire. 

He said he wanted to see children safe from speeders on residential streets, mutual respect between police officers and citizens and “to bring positive attention to the White Castle Police Department, and not negative.”

As chief, Robinson proposes to a number of programs, including adding an assistant chief, providing Drug Awareness and Resistance (DARE) officers for schools, neighborhood watches, crime stoppers, police explorers for kids, a drug patrol, a bike patrol and “a night out with the chief and his men for local kids.”

He is a 1998 graduate of White Castle High School, a 2000 graduate of LSU and a 2004 graduate of the Homeland Security Academy in Washington D. C.

He is the father of two sons.

Board of Aldermen

Incumbent John “Plug” Barlow, 50, a deputy clerk of court since 1967, is a White Castle native seeking his third term board.

Barlow pledges to “continue to do those things which are right and ethical and continue to maintain a balanced budget.”

Barlow has worked as a teller at the Bank of Commerce of White Castle and has owned and operated the convenience store Smart Stop there.

A graduate of St. John High School, he earned a B.A. In general studies at Nicholls State University. He is a member of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church and of the Krewe of Okeanos Mardi Gras Ball.

Erick K. “Duck” Batiste, 34, a program director for Options for Living, is seeking a second term as alderman.

“I will continue to help revitalize the Town of White Castle by bringing businesses, houses, programs for all citizens and clean up blighted property in and around the town,” Batiste said on his candidate's questionnaire.” “Also, I will continue to finish projects that we started around town. My goal is to build on what we have to make one White Castle.”

Batiste holds a B.A. In history from Southern University. He is a member of the Democratic Municipal Officials, Louisiana Movement, Let's Move!, the Parent-Teacher-Student Association, Habitat for Humanity and St. Joseph Baptist Church.

Kendrick D. Fleming, 29, a sous chef at Nottoway Plantation, is a first-time candidate for public office.

“I want to help the mayor-elect with the task of making White Castle a better town to play and life,” he said on his questionnaire. “I plan to propose such programs like an after-hour clinic and tutoring session [six] for young kids and adults. I want to be a help to the community in any way possible.”

Fleming holds an associate in science degree in business administration from Columbia College, an associate in science in culinary management from Florida State College, Jacksonville, and is earning a master's in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

He is a member of the Free Masons and of the American Culinary Federation. He is married to April Fleming and is the father of three.

Jonathan “Jon Kris” Greene, 28, recently self-employed as a financial consultant, is seeking his second term on the board. He worked for six years as branch manager of the Dow Federal Credit Union.

“I plan to continue focusing on economic development by beautifying the town and supporting strong law enforcement,” he said on his questionnaire.

Greene, who  currently serves as White Castle's commissioner of water, said he is a strong supporter of technology, automatic meter reading for utilities, wants to promote healthy living with updated and renovated parks and recreation, to implement after school programs for youth focusing on career and job preparation and to continue to keep White Castle financial “sound and stable.”

A 1999 White Castle High School graduate, Greene holds both a B. S. degree is business management and an MBA with an emphasis on finance and human resource development from Southern University.

He is a member of the Krewe of Spirits, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Southern University Alumni, Southern University MBA Association, Beta Gamma Sig Honor Society and the National Black MBA Association.

Eric Jackson and Kipp V. Knight provided no information.

Knight, 41, was defeated four years ago in his bid for a third term on the board.

Dionne “Bambi” Lewis, 28, a fourth grade teacher at Dorseyville Elementary School, is seeking her first public office.

“If elected, I plan to work with city officials to promote economic development by seeking businesses to invest in our city and bring jobs to our community, seek opportunities to improve the aesthetics of our city and seek companies to educate our residents of various home purchasing programs,” she said on her questionnaire. “I plan to get answers to questions, listen to the citizens' concerns, get input from residents and assist in building a community of value.”

Lewis, a 2000 graduate of White Castle High School, holds a B. S. degree in marketing and currently is studying for a master's degree in public administration at Southern University.

She is a member of Mt. Zion II and is the mother of two.

Businesswoman Barbara “Bo” O'Bear, 51, a three-term member of the Board of Alderman who made an unsuccessful run for mayor four years ago, is seeking to return to the board. She describes herself as a “public servant at heart and a kingdom builder.”

“I am entering the Board of Aldermen['s] race to proudly represent the Town of White Castle with character, dignity, respect and honesty by attending every meeting, standing firm on issues, problems and concerns facing the residents...” she said on her questionnaire.

She proposes to seek grant funding to lower the town's gas price and for other programs,, maintain a balanced budget, run an efficient sewer and water program, maintain roads and streets, communicate and assist with the police department.

O'Bear is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society and White Castle High School's Save Our School effort. She is a sponsor of White Castle on Bowie, a mentor for children, a motivational speaker and singer.

She is the mother of a daughter.

Incumbent Garnell Young, 62, who retired after 30 years at IMC Agrico, is seeking a fourth term on the board.

He said his priority is “to bring economic development to our town and educational programs to help our kids with after school tutoring.”

Young is a 1967 graduate of Iberville High School He is a deacon at St. John Baptist Church, vice president of the Parent Teacher Association and sponsor of the St. John Baptist Junior Church.

He is married to Diana Young and the father of two.