[StBernard] St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta faces recall petition

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue May 13 00:15:35 EDT 2014

St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta faces recall petition

Print Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Benjamin
Alexander-Bloch, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Peter Rupp lost a runoff for a St. Bernard Parish Council seat by 16 votes
in 2011, and he then unsuccessfully contested those results. The state's 4th
Circuit Court of Appeal ended up denying the election appeal, in which Rupp
claimed that at least 40 voters should not have been allowed to vote because
they either had homestead exemptions in St. Tammany Parish or listed parish
residences that shouldn't qualify as intended domiciles.

Rupp said on Monday he is pursuing the most recent recall effort because of
various contentions that he has with Peralta, culminating in Peralta's
indictment last month on a charge of sexual battery of his wife.

Dave Peralta's wife Sharon Peralta accused him in October of raping her at
their Meraux home. And after Peralta's recent indictment by a grand jury,
three St. Bernard Parish councilmen called for Peralta's "voluntary
resignation," saying that "unencumbered leadership and focus" was needed.

On Monday, Rupp echoed some of those councilmen's sentiments, saying that
Peralta "has too much on his plate right now, with the charge and the

"Can he continue to fulfill his obligation to the parish in an effective way
that moves this parish forward? The answer is no," Rupp said.

Peralta responded on Monday by saying that he is as dedicated to his job as
ever and that he is continuing to fight for the parish. He also added that
he still intends to run for re-election in the fall of 2015.

"I have only taken two and half days off since all of this started, and I
haven't even taken a vacation this year," Peralta said, speaking over the
telephone from Baton Rouge, where he said he was "meeting with members of
the legislature to drum up business and get support for projects that we are
trying to do in the parish."

"I can't see why people could say that I am not doing my job," Peralta said.

He added that Rupp has personal reasons for filing the recall petition.

Peralta fired Rupp's wife, Samantha, who worked as a legal secretary,
because she gave Rupp her access code to enter the government building. At
that time, parish officials said that she was fired "for cause, due to that
security breach."

Peralta highlighted that the investigation into that matter was initiated by
councilmen, not by his administration.

Rupp insisted on Monday afternoon that neither he nor his wife did anything
wrong, but he said that his disagreements with Peralta extended beyond those
more personal matters.

Rupp said that he expected to begin collecting signatures in the coming
weeks. Rupp would need to receive signatures from one-third of the parish's
registered, active voters within the next six months for a recall election
to be held.

The Secretary of State's Office records show 25,508 registered voters in St.
Bernard. So, Rupp would need signatures from about 8,500 parish voters.
Then, those signatures would have to be validated by the parish registrar of

St. Bernard Parish has not had a recall election since at least 1966, the
Secretary of State's office previously has confirmed.

Before Peter Rupp's previous attempt, the last effort in St. Bernard had
been in 2009, when Paul Molinary and Bradley Cantrell, angry that they
thought parish government was moving too fast to demolish homes damaged by
Hurricane Katria, led a recall effort against then-St. Bernard Parish
President Craig Taffaro.

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