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This survey was commissioned by the League of Women Voters of St. Tammany to measure registered votersΓÇÖ attitudes towards their local government and their expectations of the new parish government. As has been in the case in all previous St. Tammany surveys, the problem most pressing to voters is managing growth and its accompanying problems. There is considerable concern that the north shore will become like the south shore if present trends continue. Very few voters feel that the current parish government has been responsive to their needs and wishes on the subject of growth. Yet a majority reject the notion of centralized regulations and compatible zoning, a situation that presents a serious problem for the new parish government, which must deal with independent municipalities. Our interpretation of this seeming inconsistency is that voters in St. Tammany have always had a greater sense of identification with their city, town or area than with the parish as a whole. Thus, they are reluctant to vest control, even for managing growth, in a central authority. Voters with college degrees are most likely to see the need for centralized regulations and compatible zoning, but even this group is evenly divided on the issue of greater centralization. On the other hand, voters in St. Tammany are relatively trustful of the way parish government manages money. In fact, they are more trustful than voters in New Orleans or adults in the U.S. as a whole. Furthermore, they do not believe that competition between the various municipalities and parish government is an important problem. The new parish government faces a serious dilemma as it attempts to deal with the ΓÇ£growth issueΓÇ¥. On the one hand, voters want them to control growth, but at the same time they are reluctant to give them authority to do so.


Sponsor: St. Tammany League of Women Voters