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Organizers of proposed City of St. George officially conceded; won't appeal judge's decision

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Organizers behind the proposed City of St. George have officially conceded.

The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1Mentaj ) reports that in a statement released Thursday, St. George spokesman Lionel Rainey said the group will not appeal a state judge's recent decision to toss their lawsuit against the East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar's Office for voiding their petition to get the city proposal on the ballot.

Rainey said the time it would take to fully litigate their case could exceed two years and cost about $250,000 in legal fees.

St. George advocates will have to wait two years before restarting their petition again.

"Nothing has been won. All they succeeded in doing is temporarily delaying the democratic process," Rainey said.

Mary Olive Pierson, an attorney representing the city-parish against St. George, said she was pleased with the decision and suggested St. George could spend the next two years trying to help improve the current school system rather than devising a plan B.

"Instead of working so hard to stay out, they could work to help improve schools and the city," Pierson said.

Last month, the registrar announced the St. George petition was short 71 signatures of the 17,859 required to make the ballot.

St. George leaders then filed suit, saying the registrar's validation process was flawed, but that lawsuit was rejected.

Rainey said the people behind St. George are still motivated and will continue to evaluate their options.

"We are as committed as ever to accomplish our goal of providing excellent public education for all the children of St. George and to create a city that serves the needs of all of its citizens," Rainey said.

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