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In response to the Rodney King reference on Cenla Antics: No, I'm not saying, "Why can't everyone just get along?" I know this is a naive question, and King's motivation for this statement had little to do with any real hope for reconciliation. I think that a big problem with the political climate in Alexandria is that policy is framed along racial lines. When I was living in Houston, I seem to recall Alexandria grabbing the nation's interest because of a few racially-charged stories, particularly the APD SWAT team fiasco in Sonya Quarters. We have made steps toward reconciliation, but our history is filled with incidents of racism and bigotry (and it's hard to escape our history). The deseg plan of the late 60s remains a point of contention, and this occured over forty years ago. It is very difficult to find a white leader who is responsive and understanding to the needs of the African-American community, and it is equally as difficult to find a black leader who doesn't repeat the tired mantra, "It's our turn." This is incredibly discouraging. This is a big election year for us. It will be interesting to see which leaders step up to the plate as unifiers and which ones continue to rely on their narrow bases in order to squeek out a victory. The cast of characters presented to us has done little to prove that they can move beyond the current discourse. But small towns are inherently complacent. They'd rather not rock the boat too much. Personally, I think that Alexandria needs a group of forward-thinking progressives who balance these "heartland values" with their own desire to see Alexandria improve every single neighborhood within its city limits. But I know this is probably a tall task. Perhaps those of us who know and love this community should be happy that people like "Mr. White Flight," who responded to me earlier, are, in fact, moving outside of the city limits. Perhaps when those individuals who are so proud of their race that they would rather live in a city controlled by those with their skin color actually pack up their bags and leave town, Alexandria will be left with a community of people who are here because they love this place and they see its potential. Those people, like Mr. White Flight, can bark from the sidelines, but they won't be able to affect any change because they're living out in Glenmora or Woodworth. So I guess I'm reaching toward this conclusion: If the white people who can't stomach black leadership finally move out of town (and start their own little River Ranch) and if the black leaders who rely on consulting groups and inside deals to spend tax dollars on their own personal friends and family members are finally exposed and convicted of ethics violations, what we will have left is a core community of people who are all here because they want to be. Oh, to be young and idealistic. I think everyone should try to remember what it was like.