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Thursday, August 31, 2006 by Blogger

I Can Be Nice Too: Excellent Town Talk Op-Ed On South Alexandria, Proposed Sports Arena "Faithful readers know the location well. From 1908 to 1985, the foundry and machine shop specialized in the manufacture, fabrication and repair of iron, steel and other metals.

Faithful readers also know that since the foundry closed, the 6.5-acre property has been declared an EPA Superfund site and a public health hazard. It's been on the EPA's national priority list since 1999. Toxic chemicals on the site and in nearby canal sediment range from arsenic to zinc.....Meanwhile, some of the nearly 6,000 people who live within one mile of the site have been interviewed by environmental officers and others."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 by Blogger

Note to the Town Talk: You're Not a Blog (And You Shouldn't Try To Be One) I know, I know. I've given the Town Talk a hard time before. I've called them the Clown Talk. It was just a joke, guys. I promise. But their latest foray into the blogosphere has me scratching my head. Not because I fear the competition. (Because they're not really competing against anyone other than themselves. I don't blog for money, and neither does WeSawThat or Cenla Antics). The reason I'm confused by this StoryChat option is that it denigrates real journalism into a sounding board for anonymous posters. And that is not be the function of a newspaper; it is the function of a blog. Gannett, gentlemen, you can't just takeover the blog culture by manufacturing your own. I know, you're going to say, "Look kid, that's not what we're trying to do. We're just adding a feature for our readers and subscribers." "But to those of us who like our news delivered to us straight, without the commentary (leave that to editorials), allowing anonymous bloggers to comment on a story like "Natchitoches Marine Killed In Iraq" directly under the headline, it just doesn't sit well." "Well, we're not calling ourselves a blog," they'll claim. "It's a StoryChat function, and many other newspapers in similarly-sized markets have implemented the same technology with great success." "And how do you measure that success?" I'll ask. "Ad revenue," they'll say. "Exactly. If you can just take over our local blogosphere, you can make our active bloggers make you money. It's genius." As WeSawThat points out, this has been done in other Gannett-owned papers throughout Louisiana, and it seems to behave in a fairly predictable fashion. Every post appears as an anonymous one, unless the writer includes his or her name in the body of the text. Opinion letters and political stories get the most feedback, a rough facsimile of what we're doing here. To be honest, part of me thinks, "Either way, this could be fun. Like when they had Sound Off!" But Sound Off had its problems, remember? I have no doubt that this feature will be used, but in order for this to happen, the paper must relinquish some of its journalistic authority in the process. Blogs work best as an independent reaction to the news, not as a part of the news itself (unless it's an individual reporter's blog). Am I the only one skeptical of this? Here's an example of how this will function: From the Gannett-owned Battle Creek Enquirer. This is the disclaimer you must agree to if you want to participate in the Town Talk's blog:

While the administrators and moderators of this forum will attempt to remove or edit any generally objectionable material as quickly as possible, it is impossible to review every message. Therefore you acknowledge that all posts made to these forums express the views and opinions of the author and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster (except for posts by these people) and hence will not be held liable. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should they see fit. As a user you agree to any information you have entered above being stored in a database. While this information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent the webmaster, administrator and moderators cannot be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised. This forum system uses cookies to store information on your local computer. These cookies do not contain any of the information you have entered above; they serve only to improve your viewing pleasure. The e-mail address is used only for confirming your registration details and password (and for sending new passwords should you forget your current one). By clicking Register below you agree to be bound by these conditions.
I Agree to these terms and am over or exactly 13 years of age I Agree to these terms and am under 13 years of age I do not agree to these terms
If you're under the age of thirteen, we suggest the following: Go to www.hotmail.com, register for a new e-mail account, preferably something of local import like NedGee or MyronKaa, then return to this page, click on the "I Agree to these terms and am over or exactly 13 years of age" (13, incidentally, is the legal age you have to be in order to write stuff on the Internet), give them your fake e-mail address, and you're in business! Seriously, I don't know a blog that comes with so much legal mumbo jumbo. "That's why it's not a blog," you'll say. "It's StoryChat. I get it, I get it."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 by Blogger

CenLamar: Ten Under Thirty: Danny Tran Danny Tran is a graduate of Alexandria Senior High School and Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He is an accomplished musician and actor, and his band, Everyday Atlas, is currently on tour throughout the American South. Lamar: You moved to Nashville after graduating high school. There seems to be a number of people from Central Louisiana who are moving to Nashville to pursue music careers. What's so special about the scene there? The stereotype about Nashville is that it's all gospel and country music. That can't be true; is it? Danny: To answer your second question, on the surface - yes, Nashville is all about country music. If you're looking to become a country pop idol then this is the place to be because it's the home base for all the major labels in that genre. Dig a little deeper and you'll see there's more to Nashville than tight jeans and cowboy boots. Lots of independent music is being nurtured here. Pink Spiders, Bang Bang Bang, and Kings of Leon are a few who are getting a lot of buzz these days. It also seems that musicians love this city. One of my bandmates works at a record store near downtown and has seen Jack White (of The White Stripes), Emmy Lou Harris, Ben Folds and Keith Urban on more than one occasion browsing the vinyl. Another reason is the temperament of the people. I know a lot of people that have moved from larger cities to Nashville, and I think one of the big reasons is that the asshole / talent ratio is much lower than say LA. Don't get me wrong, Nashville has it's fair share of downsides. The saturation of music here makes it tougher for young bands to make a name for themselves. That, and the drivers really suck. But all in all I think moving here was a great decision on my part. I've really come to appreciate music in a much more developed way. The city has definitely inspired me to expand my tastes in music and to study it and learn how a majority of what we listen to today all stems from the same source. Seeing how music has shaped and formed from slave ships to the British invasion - from New Orleans to Memphis to Chicago - from Alexandria to Nashville. Lamar: Tell us a little bit about your music, your band, and the kind of shows you play. Who do you think your audience is? Danny: My knowledge and talent for music came originally, and still kind of does, from a very mathematical basis. Keys on the piano, strings on the guitar, and rhythms in general were always patterns I could "see". I'd like to think that as my life experience has grown so has my understanding of the other side of music, which is the emotional humanity that it has the ability to express. My band, Everyday Atlas, is sort of an attempt to combine really catchy pop based music that you can dance to, with lyrics that encapsulate emotionally poignant moments in a clever or different way. The name Everyday Atlas references more the classical character of Atlas rather than a book of maps. We are all Atlases in our way, holding up worlds that we didn't necessarily choose. But unlike the muscle-bound demigod, we are just average, ordinary, everyday people. So in a way we like to hope that with our songs, we give people a little extra support for what they are carrying. Our shows are more about the songs and the grooves than they are about the spectacle. We don't run around on stage and strap ourselves to harnesses or stage dive. I don't think people necessarily grasp what we're really singing about on first listen, and I kind of like that. I get a lot of satisfaction when people come to me with that sound of realization. "Ohhh that's what you're talking about!" I think our audience ranges from mid teens to mid thirties. Lamar: Where would you like to be in ten years? Danny: In ten years. I would like to be making music for a living. I'd like to be married and possibly have a child. I'd like to have gone back graduate school at some point. Lamar: What did you earn your degree in? How did the Rapides Parish public school system prepare you for a place like Vanderbilt? Danny: My degree was in Engineering Science with a focus in Electrical Engineering and Music. Unfortunately, I feel like the importance of AP and BC classes was not stressed enough. Many of my friends came into college with several credits. I wish I would have known then how useful it would be. I would have gladly put in the extra effort to take those classes. Lamar: Do you stay in contact with any other Alexandria-born musicians? Danny: I recently had the pleasure of working with Josey Swift who is attending Belmont University. We had the opportunity to record my band in RCA Studio B, which was amazing. In case anyone's not familiar, RCA B is where Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and many others did a lot of recording. We even got to use a piano that Elvis himself played on. Lamar: When you were in high school, you did quite a bit of acting, right? Are you still interested in a career in acting? Danny: I am interested in it, but the only way I think it will happen is if I make it as a musician and crossover. I've invested a lot into my relationship and my business and I'm not willing to throw it away and start from scratch as an actor. Lamar: When you're not playing in your band and partying like a rock star, what do you do with your time? Danny: I'm self employed and I do a variety of technical consulting jobs. I do customized web design, web hosting, song production, and database maintenance. I really enjoy working for myself because I can set my own hours and have time to pursue my band's career as well. www.everydayatlas.com: Click Here Touring: October 27th, 2006 @ 9:00PM The Prince Deli and Sports Bar Knoxville, TN Admission: $5 October 13th, 2006 @ 10:00PM The Blue Fugue Columbia, MO Admission: $3-$5 September 7th, 2006 @ TBA 10 High Club Atlanta, GA Admission: TBA August 26, 2006 @ 9:00 PM Sin-E New York, NY Admission: $10 August 25, 2006 @ TBA Grog & Tankard Wisconsin Ave, NW -- Washington D.C. Admission: $6

by Blogger

New Link: Alexandria Tipitina's Co-Op

by Blogger

Tomorrow is the Deadline to Register to Vote! 8:30AM-4:30PM, Voter Registrar Offices, 701 Murray St

by Blogger

Download: Hotel Bentley Press Release Fun fact #1: I unwittingly authored two sentences in this press release. Verbatim lifts. But I'm okay with it. Fun fact #2: Under contract doesn't mean sold. Fun fact #3: They still plan on nuking City Hall and moving it into the Bentley's boiler room. Fun fact #4: I believe the Town Talk's server is hosting this PDF file. They probably want you to know that.

  • Note: One of these is not a fact

Monday, August 28, 2006 by Blogger

The Blogs Reported It First: Hotel Bentley Announcement This Morning

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Tonight: Jacques Roy Meet and Greet at Spirits Mayoral candidate Jacques Roy will be answering your questions tonight at Spirits, from 5:30-8PM. The event is open to the public.

Friday, August 25, 2006 by Blogger

KALB: Babs Zimmerman's "Spread the Rumor" (I just found this on the Video Blog section. It was published a week ago). An excerpt: "Our phone will be ringing off starting tomorrow with people who awakened with a sinking feeling and have decided against running for office, at least this year. And, then there will be people who are spreading rumors. So, herewith, is a list of rumors that have already started or will soon be here:

1) Spread the rumor that a candidate is dropping out. 2) Spread the rumor that you have had a consultant look at a race, and the gender or racial make-up of the electorate just won’t permit certain people to be elected. 3) Spread the rumor that only paid “volunteers” are working for a certain candidate....implying of course, that he/she cannot compel real people to work for him/her. 4) Spread the rumor that a candidate was paid to get into the race as a spoiler. 5) Spread the rumor that a candidate owes money all over town--or, better yet, all over the state. 6) Spread the rumor that an influential group of people have gone to a candidate begging him/her to leave a race. 7) Spread the rumor that a candidate’s real motive in running for office is to get his/her name known for a race for something else at a later time. 8) Spread the rumor that you have heard a candidate’s spouse is unhappy about the campaign. 9) Spread the rumor that a candidate has no money, never had any money and never will have any money. 10) Spread the rumor that the candidate is spreading rumors about each candidate."

Thursday, August 24, 2006 by Blogger

KALB: The Complete Story on the Vernon Parish Police Jury Audit Kudos to Kobos.

by Blogger

Gannett: Red River Parish School Bus Driver Made Black Children Sit At The Back Of The Bus The story is now being covered by the Associated Press and CNN. Click here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 by Blogger

How Is The Rapides Parish School District Performing? ("Is Our Children Learning?") To download the report, click here. (We place 27th out of 68)

Saturday, August 19, 2006 by Blogger

Anonymous Tip: Watch Out for the Escapee According to anonymous tip provided to CenLamar, KALB reported on an inmate who escaped from a half-way house on August 3rd; this report was filed approximately eleven days after the incident occured. The tipster asks the question: What was the delay in getting this information to the public? And is there any connection in the theft of a brand new Dodge Durango, first reported by the Town Talk? What's the deal?

by Blogger

Reposted: A Response to Scarlett Scarlett, I've been reading your political commentary since March, and you've always been a welcome and valuable contribution to the discussion. Thank you. I think you'd admit this: Your mind was set before Delores had even announced. A quick glance at the Cenla Antics archives will confirm this. Thus, it's never been about figuring out what value the other candidates may possess. That said, I also respect and admire Delores. She does, in fact, have many good ideas, and she has shown a willingness to listen to people about their concerns. But I think it's our democratic obligation to educate ourselves about all of the candidates and then choose who is best. I'm not speaking for Jacques. Please keep in mind that I entered this discussion months ago, before I even knew Jacques. As many of you know, I have thoroughly researched all of the candidates, though I haven't had the opportunity to meet with Joe Fuller or Alice Hammond personally. My decision to support Jacques was not based on any pre-existing loyalty. I'm speaking as a concerned citizen. Thirty-five may be young, but it's not that young. If Jacques wanted to, as our Constitution provides, he could run for President. This provision was added in recognition of the fact that 35 is an age of professional maturity. I'm not sure what comments Jacques made that you perceive to be immature, but everything I have ever heard from Jacques leads me to believe that he fully appreciates the demands of our community, the nature of our current growth, and the scope of mayoral authority. I believe his age is an asset, and judging from support he's garnered in the past few weeks, many other people, both young and old, also feel the same way. So it comes down to the issues. This should be an issues-based campaign. I listened to all of the candidates at the forum, and you're right, we're still in the very beginning and everyone's not as polished as they will be a month from now. But Jacques said a few things that stood out: -Growth in Alexandria must be controlled and planned properly. I believe he called this "controlled progressivism," the notion that we can expand without harming our sense of community. -Transparency should be a requirement of government. Citizens should be fully aware of every single consulting contract, every single proposal out for bid, every single issue of importance. -We must accept the fact that Alexandria has changed dramatically during the past twenty years, and to that end, it is critical that we elect a leader who responds proactively to this change. It may be true that, unlike Dr. Sams, Jacques (as well as Delores) did not itemize a list of specific projects he hoped to accomplish, but this is because at this point, such statements would be (borrowing one of your words) "immature." Instead, Jacques spoke about projects the City had already researched and analyzed, like the proposed loop, and he spoke about the need to accomplish goals in a swift manner, instead of waiting eternally. There's a risk in promising specific projects: What if the Bentley does, in fact, sell? What do we do with City Hall then? What happens to this vision of Downtown Alexandria? How can anyone guarantee that a business will trade locations or that developers will swoon over the opportunity to renovate dilapidated properties? (Unless, of course, these agreements have already been forged before the election, and then again, we're faced with the issue of transparency). Our next mayor should not, at this point, unilaterally jump to conclusions without fully understanding the facts. Instead, he or she should be willing to learn, adapt, and evolve. He or she should lay out a comprehensive vision, a methodology, a way of thinking about our future and our growth. Respectfully, Lamar Columbia News Service: Elected Officials 35 and Younger, courtesy spinoj07 COLUMBIA News Service A study completed last year by Rutgers University, which will be published in an upcoming monograph, found 814 elected officials under the age of 35 around the nation, including six members of Congress and three state executive officials. The study showed that compared with members of their generation who do not hold office, the young politicians are more likely to become involved in civic organizations, consume as much news as possible and come from more educated families. The study also defined the group as issue-oriented self-starters who were very active in college organizations. The Rutgers report notes that many prominent national officeholders started out as young elected leaders, and that several U.S. presidents held this distinction once themselves. The nation has already had one member of Generation X take the helm of a state, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, who was 36 when she took office, while the mayors of San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y., are both under 35. Sean Kelly, a political science professor at Niagara University and a former congressional research fellow, said it makes sense for the younger electeds to move to the forefront of political issues. Societal conditions have also influenced the younger officials' fiscal policy, he added. "Fiscal conservatism is something that unites them as an age group," Kelly said. "The first president they knew was Ronald Reagan, and they heard a drumbeat of lessening government while growing up." Rutgers will follow the study with networking events for young elected leaders from around the nation. Last May, the institute sponsored the first event, where 50 officials came together to discuss holding office and getting more young people involved. The young leaders said their age has given them a different perspective in dealing with issues facing youth and how they approach them. Many officials who have won high-level offices were 35 or younger when they FIRST held elective office: U.S. Presidents during the 20th/21st centuries 12/19 (58%) U.S. Senators serving in 2003 57/100 (57%) U.S. Representatives serving in 2003 215/435 (49%) Governors serving in 2003 25/50 (50%)

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Reschedule the Debate! Otherwise, It'll Just Be Another Bolton High Pep Rally! CenLamar has received information that the organizers of today's debate have failed to secure committments from a majority of the candidates for mayor. According to my sources, Delores Brewer, Charles F. Smith, and Jacques Roy will not be participating in this debate. I have also been told that Roosevelt Johnson is "pulling out," though this has not been confirmed. Additionally, CenLamar has learned that the format of the debate has been changed, and that debate organizers failed to attract significant media interest. Organizers should seriously consider rescheduling the debate in order to ensure that all of the candidates for mayor of Alexandria are able to participate. The issue of crime is important, and the citizens of Alexandria deserve to be able to hear from all of the candidates in a fair and open setting. Furthermore, I believe that all debates in this important election should be broadcast to the public. Once this debate is rescheduled, we should make sure that it will be broadcast on public access television. I recognize this will be a disappointment to many people, and indeed, I was also looking forward to a spirited conversation on the future of Alexandria. But I think with better planning, more time, and more publicity, this can take shape into the type of debate it needs to be.

Friday, August 18, 2006 by Blogger

Crime in Alexandria The debate tomorrow concerns crime in Alexandria. What are your thoughts on crime in Alexandria? The drug problem? The police chief? Police patrol?

by Blogger

Mayoral Debate: Tomorrow, 6PM, Bolton High School Auditorium, Sponsored by Crime Fighters.

by Blogger

The Town Talk: Political Posturing at Last Night's Forum

Thursday, August 17, 2006 by Blogger

Information Removed By Request Insofar as I can facilitate the sale of one of Alexandria's finest properties by removing time-sensitive information, I will gladly do so. I received information from three different sources, but it is my understanding that both parties prefer any information on a potential transaction to remain private until further notice. So for now, let's cross our fingers, say our prayers, and send all our best wishes out because this would be fantastic for our community.

by Blogger

Mayoral Forum: Six O'Clock, Council Chambers, Live on Channel Four

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 by Blogger

Advertising, Tips, Advice, Suggestions CenLamar receives approximately 9,000 unique visitors per month. Although we have declined the opportunity to invest in Google's standard advertising package, we are committed to aiding the promotional needs of a select number of local Central Louisiana businesses. We offer the following advertising packages: 1. One month, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $60 2. One year, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $600 3. Events promotion: $100 per event (Political and community events are always free. Just send us an e-mail) Please send an e-mail to lamarw@gmail.com. If you know of something CenLamar SHOULD be covering but isn't covering, speak your truth. Send an e-mail to cenlamar@gmail.com. If you'd like to share information on speaking engagements, events, and debates related to the upcoming mayoral election, CenLamar will publish this information. E-mail cenlamar@gmail.com. CenLamar will also publish: * Relevant, sourced poll information * Audio messages in mp3 format * User-submitted photos (as long as they're topical and in good taste) * Embedded video clips of local interest (preferably from YouTube or Google Videos). * Political analysis * Letters of complaint * Letters of praise * Love letters * Photographs of your favorite candidate * Comics * Personal Essays

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Fast-Tracking Expansion The City of Alexandria held a press conference today at the municipal building. Mayor Randolph read a statement about the need to fast-track road expansions, infrastructual improvements, and recreational facilities improvements. Four projects are slated for immediate fast-tracking: Versailles Boulevard, Jones Avenue, Lincoln Road, and Sugarhouse Road. The Versailles expansion will add an estimated $25- $30 million to the tax base-- that's just in the land, without the improvements, according to Rod Noles. Noles also pointed out that no one in city government owns land in this area (and that no one in his company owns land in this area). Additionally, the City of Alexandria will also be fast-tracking $3 million in recreational facilities improvements. Most of the parks in town will benefit, including Frank Hunter and Bringhurst; however, Compton Park and the Johnny Downs facilities are not included in this package.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 by Blogger

Let's Try This Out: What Do You Think Of Our Candidates For Mayor?

by Blogger

Joe Fuller

by Blogger

Jacques Roy

by Blogger

John Sams

by Blogger

Delores Brewer

by Blogger

Charles F. Smith

by Blogger

Roosevelt Johnson

by Blogger

Alice "Red" Hammond

Friday, August 11, 2006 by Blogger

KALB: Jacques Roy Video Blog

Thursday, August 10, 2006 by Blogger

Northside Journal and the Alexandria Mayoral Election For those of you unfamiliar with the Northside Journal, they've become a steady and passionate voice of reason. Unfortunately, they're north of the river, and as such, they rarely cover Alexandria's news. (I join the chorus of others who wish they'd change their name to the Rapides Journal and cover the entire parish). Anyway, here's their take on the Alexandria mayoral election. It's pretty straightforward. Download here. (Thanks WeSawThat) Excerpts: "Of the 'serious 6,' there are two candidates who have no connection with the previous administration, three who are deeply embedded with the current city regime, and one candidate who has served on the Rapides Parish Police Jury. The three are part of the septic tank that city hall has become." "Charles Fredrick Smith, Delores Brewer, and Roosevelt Johnson have all played their part in the decline and we can expect nothing more than a continuation of the status quo if any of the three become mayor. They ooze backroom deals and shady appointments. They hire family members as high priced consultants. They use their position for personal gain at the expense of the taxpayer." The article then discusses the differences between the two "outsiders," Jacques Roy and John Sams. "If Sams devotes the required amount of time to cleaning up the mess at city hall, he neglects his patients and violates his Hippocratic oath. I wonder what type of man could so easily discard such an ingrained part of his professional responsibility. If he upholds his responsibility to his patients, the voters who placed their faith in him won't be getting what they voted for. Dr. Sams is faced with quite a dilemma." "Last we have Jacques Roy. We can find no reason to believe that he will continue the circus that Alexandria City Hall has become. With his legal training, we assume he knows the scope of a mayor's authority, and the best way to put the brakes on a runaway city council."

by Blogger

And Now There Are Seven: Joe Fuller Joins The Mayor's Race

by Blogger

Breaking News: British Arrest 21 In Connection With Sophisticated Terror Plot This is just like when the US arrested that "mastermind" guy from Marksville. Except that this time, there was a real plot. And it involved more than just a group of dimwits who videotaped themselves practicing karate. Unless, of course, by liquid explosives, the Brits actually meant this.

by Blogger

The Independent: Don't Believe Warnings of Cajuns and Creoles Dying Out

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 by Blogger

Wonkette Exclusive Video: Cynthia McKinney Sings and Fights Disturbing and hilarious. As CNN reported earlier this morning, "Congresswoman McKinney appears to be the only person in the audience who knows the words to this song." From the Associated Press: Despite her defeat, McKinney was unbowed, unleashing a stemwinder of a concession speech in which she barely mentioned her opponent but praised leftist leaders in Cuba and Venezuela, took aim at the efficacy of electronic voting machines and offered several swipes at the media.

“Members of the press, as well as our political leaders, don’t give us explanations that explain, or conclusions that conclude,” McKinney said. “There comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent.”

Before she began her remarks, she played the song “Dear Mr. President,” an anti-Bush anthem by Pink, and sang along, somewhat out of tune, with its critical lyrics.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 by Blogger

The Town Talk to CenLamar: You Need Prior Written Approval. Otherwise, We're Calling Our Lawyers. Dear Mr. White: It has come to my attention that you are currently in violation of copyright law by displaying a photograph of Jacques Roy announcing his candidacy for Mayor photographed by Town Talk staff member Doug Collier on your website http://cenlamar.blogspot.com. As you do not have prior written authorization from The Town Talk to use the photograph, I must insist that you remove the photo from your website (http://cenlamar.blogspot.com) immediately. We are pleased that you found the photograph valuable and wished to share it with your readers. In the future, should you wish to reprint something photographed by a Town Talk staff member, the proper procedure is to contact our Executive Editor Paul Carty and request permission to reprint the content. He has the final say on what may and may not be used by other publications, and decisions are made on a case by case basis. His e-mail address is pcarty@thetowntalk.com and his phone number is 318-487-6370. Regarding stories posted on our website, you are welcome to post a direct link to any story on our site, provided the link is not framed or done in anyway that would make it unclear that the content is from The Town Talk (http://www.thetowntalk.com). I see some examples on the site which appear to follow those guidelines, and we appreciate the links. Written permission is not needed to link to our site or stories on our site when done this way. However, you may not copy any content from our site and post it on another site without prior written approval from Executive Editor Paul Carty, as outlined above. In order to prevent legal action on this matter, your prompt attention to removing the photograph from your website is appreciated. If the content is not removed within 36 hours from the time this notice was transmitted, I will have no choice but to forward this matter to our corporate legal counsel. Should you have questions regarding this matter, you are welcome to contact me directly. ------------------------------------------------------ Jim Smilie Online Manager The Town Talk - See also: Gannett Attempts to Squash Independent Press By Controlling Distribution Points See also: Copyright and Fair Use, Stanford University. See also: Bloggers Beware, WeSawThat

Monday, August 07, 2006 by Blogger

Jacques Roy for Mayor
Throughout the past five months, I have been reading and writing about the issues that face Central Louisiana on a daily basis. Like many of you, I have also been imminently interested in the upcoming Alexandria mayoral race. On numerous occassions, I have stated my belief that this is the most important election we’ve faced in twenty years. As a result of my interest, I have been afforded with the opportunity to meet with and listen to most of the current candidates. While I believe that they each possess their own unique set of skills and talents, ultimately, there is one candidate who clearly demonstrates the ability to lead Alexandria into the future: Jacques Roy. I recognize that I had previously stated I would not express my opinions until after the debates. But things changed. A new candidate entered the fold, someone with optimism, motivation, and passion for the future of our community, someone who understands the problems we face, and someone with an authentic, unselfish desire to solve these problems. This is not to suggest that the other candidates are not equally motivated; however, Mr. Roy stands out to me as the obvious choice. As such, I will be actively campaigning for Jacques Roy. It’s important for readers to know this from the beginning. I believe that Mr. Roy represents our best chance at full-forced change and reform, and I am looking forward to sharing his message. The blog will continue to function the same way it always has. It will include news items, commentary, polls, and reader’s letters. It will continue to be open to anyone with an opinion. In short time, Mr. Roy will be launching his own website, and questions about his campaign should be directed there.

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Jacques Roy Makes It Official
Apparently, Mr. Roy's lunchtime announcement drew a larger than expected crowd of supporters. Update: I recently received an e-mail from Mr. Roy. He'd like to make it clear that, despite rumors to the contrary, he is committed to serving as a full-time mayor. Mr. Roy writes: I will be full time, to my own financial detriment, to "do the right thing" and keep my promise. The charter requires a full time mayor, and the town deserves it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006 by Blogger

The Town Talk: Police Car Fire-Bombed in Alexandria

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The Alexandria Riverfront Center A few months ago, I wrote about a brainstorming session I attended at the Alexandria Riverfront Center. The Alexandria/Pineville CVB invited around thirty people, most of whom were associated, in some way, with local government, to talk about ways to improve and better utilize the ten-year-old Riverfront Center. I'm not sure what, if anything, was culled from that meeting, but recently, I was reminded that the Riverfront Center is a critical issue in any discussion of Downtown revitalization. Many people believe the primary problem with the Riverfront Center is that its controlling body, the CVB, charges too much to rent out convention space. They suggest that the CVB engages in trade favoritism with the hotel and motel industry, at the expense of local small businesses and charities who could also utilize the space, if only it were less expensive. (I don't know enough about the situation to draw a definitive conclusion, but I still find the theory interesting). They consider the CVB to function like a "lobbying group" for local hotels and motels. (If this is the case, then I wonder why Bob Dean's former manager at the Bentley once told me that one of their main problems was drawing in oft-promised convention business). Either way, I think we need to take a fresh look at the Riverfront Center. We invested a ton of money in the Center, and already, it's in jeopardy of becoming outmoded. People in the hotel business will tell you that most hotels undergo dramatic interior "changeovers" every seven to ten years; changeover is just a euphemism for redecorating. They do this because collective consumer tastes CHANGE in time, and for their business to stay profitable, they must be able to identify and accommodate those changes. It seems to me that a convention center must also make periodic reinvestments in its decor and design in order to stay competitive. Recently, we've all been a little distracted by the plans for a downtown sports arena. I don't want to draw any conclusions about the merits of this project without first knowing where exactly we're getting the funding for it. That said, it's obvious that, at this point, planning a sports arena should not be the top priority of Downtown revitalization. I tend to agree that we should be focusing on the most obvious component: the Red River. Earlier this week, two houseboat owners, Mr. Fine and Mr. Guillory, spoke to our City Council about the incredible potential of the Red River. The City had recently decided to evict all houseboat owners who docked their boats on the Red River. Personally, I'm a little baffled by this. If they couldn't find a written agreement between these owners and the City, then what exactly is the harm in trying to create one? They're already planning a marina, and these agreements, we hope, will become necessary anyway. But getting back to the point: Both of these gentlemen understood intuitively why riverfront commerce and revitalization makes sense. Mr. Fine envisioned condominiums, cafes, and boutiques; Mr. Guillory spoke about the profitability of a pier with a full-service fueling station. Which brings us back to the Riverfront Convention Center: I wonder what the candidates think about its future. I wonder if the community would support investing money for improvements and even expansion (the outside patio area, I am told, hasn't been fully-completed). What do you think?

Friday, August 04, 2006 by Blogger

Poll Results (So Far): What's The Most Important Issue In This Year's Mayoral Election? (Will be updated periodically)

Answer CountPercent
20%40%60%80%100%
Education210.53%
Candidate Qualifications315.79%
Small Business15.26%
Crime15.26%
Infrastructure Improvements210.53%
Holding Government Accountable1052.63%
Total19100%

by Blogger

Child Pornographer Nabbed Photographing Two Underage Girls At Compton Park

by Blogger

KALB Video Blog: Godard Interviews Councilman Harry Silver Read WeSawThat's transcript and commentary. Here.

by Blogger

Proof We're On The Right Track: Clear Channel Out Of Louisiana! I haven't been able to readily confirm this, but it's an "old" story that I somehow let slip through the cracks. Clear Channel Exits Louisiana Market For $4 Million In a deal filed with the FCC today, Clear Channel has agreed to sell Sports KDBS-AM, AC KKST-FM, Country KRRV-FM & Classic Rock KZMZ-FM/Alexandria, LA to Cenla Broadcasting Co. — a locally based company that already owns News/Talk KSYL and CHR/Pop KQID in the market. The transaction makes Cenla the dominant company in Alexandria, market No. 221. Opus Media Partners and Citadel each enjoy three-station clusters, while Cajun, Flinn, FM Broadcasting, Radio Group, URBan Radio, NWLA and Rose Ann Marx each have stand-alone operations in the market. Clear Channel gained control of the four stations in Alexandria following its merger with AMFM, which had acquired the stations via its 1999 merger with Capstar. Cenla has already made a $200,000 escrow deposit. It is not known when closing is expected.

by Blogger

Reposted: Anonymous Blogger's Top Ten Priority List Anonymous said...

1) Accountability 2) Putting the day-to-day operation back in the administration's hand and out of the council's hand which is what the charter actually says. 3) Putting the City as the leader in economic development and what it sees needs to happen, not have it follow the direction of many self-serving groups 4) INFRASTRUCTURE - if we don't increase our capacity to serve residents and businesses with water, sewer, gas and electricity - we're dead in the water in terms of growth 5) Increasing the tax base - NOT BY RAISING THEM - look at the pockets around the city, that lie within the City which are presently receiving all of the city services and have not been annexed - these are areas the City is losing property taxes on. Go beyond that and look just beyond our borders at areas receiving 3 of the 4 services and consider annexation. 6) Review and scrutinize every current contract for professional services - example attorneys - IF we have a City attorney, do we need an attorney for the Council? do we need 4, 5, 6 additional attorneys on retainer? Put these under contract for specific time periods of for specific projects. (attorneys are just one example) 7) Planning & zoning - get them some help! If we can't hire engineers and others for this department then let's outsource it and be done! 8) Personnel/Human Resources - the fact that it takes forever for someone to be hired at the City is ridiculous! Start running this like a REAL business - post the job internally for 3 weeks, then post outside. Use DOL or an outside source to screen candidates and then process internally - get rid of this someone in personnel is off every Monday and Friday and btw if your paperwork is on so-and-so's desk nothing is done until they come back from leave, vacation, etc. I understand civil service is involved, but other cities have found a way to make it work, why can't we? 9) Downtown - some of you aren't going to like this, but succesful cities have thriving downtowns - this has been proven by researchers. Thriving does not mean it is the hub of shopping, it means downtown has been reinvented in most places to something eclectic - an alternative place to go, built usually around something historic, cultural, or out of necessity. In our case we have all 3. We have the history downtown - granted Dean presently has it tied up with an outrageous price tag. The only way to get him to move is change the accessed value to what he thinks it's worth and start making him pay property taxes on $12 mill. Cultural - the arts district has a solid foundation with River Oaks and Caughlin Saunders - find ways to use them more. Necessity - government is downtown, therefore it will also be necessary for people to be downtown. Build off that base, along with the artist base to entice others to be downtown after 5 and on the weekends. It can work, but we need some creativity - something that is lacking in our leaders at this time. 10)20-40-year-olds - ENGAGE THEM!!! These are our most creative group of people, they want a reason to stay, they are the most mobile and have the ability to leave a city. Seek new fresh ideas from them. Find reasons for them to BELONG. Not everyone has two kids, a spounse, a house and a dog. There are still people who want to go out, enjoy a good reasonably priced dinner at a non-chain restaurant, enjoy music that is current of various genres and have places to meet with their friends - not necessarily bars and not always coffee houses. Ok, that's my top 10. Sorry if it's more than you wanted.

It's not more than we wanted, my friend. I think you would agree that this is just scratching the surface, but it's still a great list from which to work. Unfortunately, there's one thing we can't do: We can't expect to make Dean pay property taxes on $12.2 million. It's a great idea, but in order for us to do that, an appraisor would have to value the building at $81 million (commercial buildings are assessed at 15%). If anything, we should ask the tax assessor to reassess the building to a lower price (something that would be more in line with true market value). If the building itself is worth $2.5 million (I think that's probably fair), then assess it at $375,000. We must be able to push the asking price down and in line with market.

Thursday, August 03, 2006 by Blogger

What's The Most Important Issue In The Mayoral Election?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 by Blogger

Neologism: Wikiality (Colbert) combined the words Wikipedia and reality to make "Wikiality". Wikiality, by his definition, is a definition of "truth by consensus," (rather than fact) modeled after the approval-by-consensus format of Wikipedia. He praises Wikipedia for following his philosophy of "truthiness", that intuition and consensus is a better reflection of reality than fact. As he states, "if enough people believe something" it must be true. (Source: Wikipedia)

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City of Alexandria Planning for Downtown Indoor Sports Arena(Thanks to WeSawThat for coverting this to a JPG)
Download: Here's the proposed site in PDF.

by Blogger

Vitter Blog Post (Yes, He's a Blogger): Thanks Guys For The Off-Shore Drilling Legislation

The Hill Blog: A Vital Vote on Offshore Drilling

August 1st, 2006

The vote was extremely important. This is a real breakthrough, particularly in the Senate, in terms of opening up a new area for drilling, new production, and in terms of allowing revenue sharing. I think that model can allow us to open new areas in the future to increase domestic oil and gas production.

It was vitally important for Louisiana. We have been fighting for this for years – getting our fair share of offshore oil and gas revenues so that we can help meet our needs in terms of coastal reparation and hurricane protection.

by Blogger

Is Downtown Alexandria Dead? Yesterday, KALB's Larry Collins filed a report about the business activity (or lack thereof) in Downtown Alexandria. The report actually featured a screenshot of a comment left on the beloved blog, Cenla Antics. One of the most well-written critiques, I believe, is this one: "Anonymous said...

What is so important about downtown? It is nothing but a bunch of old buildings, lawyers' offices, public buildings and a decaying hotel that just can't make it on its own (actually not even with many hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money). Why pump money in a crime ridden ghost town when there are other areas where people want to be. Why must we be going upstream when the flow will give us results much more beneficial to everyone. After 40 years of trying and millions of public money squandered on downtown, including stopping progress for years by diverting I-49 downtown, I have become a naysayer, just as any rational person would become in regards trying to use taxpayers' money to do the impossible. And actually I have been to all the cities mentioned other than Fairhope and I believe the money spent would have produced results a hundredfold in the areas where the cities growth occurs naturally. Baton Rouge has the state capitol bldg, a casino and a few millionaires working diligently and difficulty still haunts downtown. We ain't Atlanta with one of the largest airports in the world and growth that is phenominal and still the growth and given its citizens suburbs that offer far more than confines of an artficial revamped area called downtown. I think it is you who should try and think outside the box and consider other possibilities for growth in Alexandria. Let's try for the next 40 years to allow private industry to move with less burdisome taxation and keep the government who has never made a profit or accompllished anything out of our pockets and away from more glorious redevelopement schemes."

This blogger makes a few excellent points about the nature of revitalization and its role in the free market. Certainly, it can be argued that a more effective use of our resources would be to continuously follow the money. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, this misses the point. The reason Downtown will continue to be an election-year issue (I wish it could be something more than that) is because Alexandria's growth is manic and arbitrary. Ask an urban planner about the importance of in-fill, the notion that in periods of growth and expansion it becomes imperative to focus equal attention to already developed areas that are threatened by draining resources. And to that end, the reason Downtown is important for our community is because it presents us with the best opportunity to capitalize on our location, and by following the models used by other similarly-sized cities (I've heard it argued that Downtown revitalizations NEVER work with cities our size, but empirically, it's just not true), we have the opportunity to turn Downtown into a destination again. And furthermore, due to the nature of our growth and expansion, it will become increasingly important for the community to have a shared third place. Now, I'm not arguing that Downtown is the ONLY location for this development; it's just the most logical. And that's why our local government decided to brick the sidewalks and that's why they're considering the installation of a trolley. If we were to install a trolley, it would allow tourists and convention guests the ability to explore the expanding resources of our downtown in a unique and memorable way.

I also believe that the argument that our city is spending money on downtown AT THE EXPENSE of other, more "worthy" locations is based on a fallacy. In fact, we've spent and earmarked far more spending for infrastructual improvements and additions off of 28-W than we have for Downtown. (Correct me if I am wrong. A City Councilman supplied me with that information).

In other words, let's put the scale of this revitalization effort in context: $1.8 million for sidewalk repairs, $250,000 for the installation of a trolley, and $2 or 3 million in real estate purchases still pales in comparison to the $12-$13 million Versailles expansion and Heyman lane overlay (And this doesn't even take into account the additional monies we'll have to spend to provide utilities and roadwork for the new residential and commercial developments around the Lakes District).

Another problem I have with all of the naysayers is that they fail to recognize the "type" of development that revitalization proponents support. We're not using the old model of downtown; a revitalization of Downtown will involve several mixed use developments.

Sure, the Hotel Bentley is closed, and as long as Mr. Dean continues to think he can get an outrageous $12.2 million for the building (not the business; remember, he closed the business, so there is absolutely no goodwill), the hotel will continue to be closed. While the Bentley is an important component of Downtown, the last two years, during which time the hotel has been closed, have witnessed several new service industries (two bars, a lounge, a restaurant, and an internet cafe), all located across the street from the Bentley. If we were to "follow the money," as you say, then we must also recognize the unique value of these businesses; often, they are the only places that tourists and guests to our city will visit. (The Holiday Inn and the Riverfront Convention Center are still in business, after all). As I have said before, an outside investor's impression of Alexandria will be shaped by two primary factors: our airport and our downtown.

by Blogger

MP3: Delores Brewer On Moon Griffon. Thanks To WeSawThat For Posting This.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 by Blogger

Jacques Roy To Announce Candidacy For Mayor Of Alexandria From the Town Talk: Alexandria lawyer Jacques Roy will announce officially his candidacy for mayor at noon Aug. 7 in a field next to his office at 1100 Martin Luther King Drive.

Roy, 35 and a Democrat, will become the fifth announced candidate to fill the office being vacated by five-term Mayor Ned Randolph. The primary election is Sept. 30, with a runoff if needed Nov. 7

Note: The original article incorrectly stated Mr. Roy's announcement would take place next Tuesday; it will actually occur next Monday.

Originally published August 1, 2006

In Other News: KALB and The Town Talk are both reporting that Harry Silver will be running for the District 4 City Council Seat

by Blogger

An Inconvenient Truth: Now Playing In Theaters A letter sent to CenLamar: Lamar, please forgive me while I preach a little, but I've awakened to a crisis that we all share. I saw An Inconvenient Truth Saturday, and emphatically commend it to your attention. It is an extemely important film that should be shown in every public school in the US, but won't because of the messenger. Al Gore presents the science in a clear, compelling, and very human way. He has studied this subject for decades and knows his stuff. He doesn't scare the pants off you, but the science should. The graphs charting CO2 measurements over the life of our planet, the photos of what is happening to glaciers and polar ice caps, stories of polar bears drowning because they can't swim the distances they must to get to ice, disturbing storm patterns- these images all combine into a big wake up call. After presenting the evidence that our planet is in grave danger, Gore implores us not to go from denial to despair, but to do something. This email is my first attempt at doing something. Complacency is not an option.
There are good suggestions made for changing the alarming trends caused by excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Even if you've been a better conservationist than most, the suggestions bear repeating. I dislike fluorescent light, but I'm buying compact fluorescent bulbs anyway. I'll keep the thermostat on just comfortable, not cold. I'll keep promoting more trees and less grass...(trees absorb lots of CO2, while grass requires energy for maintenance.) I'll reduce my consumption of packaging materials and garbage in general. I'll turn off lights and computers and TV's. My next car will be a hybrid. I'll look for leaders to elect who make the environment a top priority. This link is for a pdf file listing ten suggestions for reducing CO2. It's on the website associated with the film: http://www.climatecrisis.net/pdf/10things.pdf .
Thanks for listening, and consider sharing this with your blog readers. Margaret Waring

Danny: My knowledge and talent for music came originally, and still kind of does, from a very mathematical basis. Keys on the piano, strings on the guitar, and rhythms in general were always patterns I could "see". I'd like to think that as my life experience has grown so has my understanding of the other side of music, which is the emotional humanity that it has the ability to express. My band, Everyday Atlas, is sort of an attempt to combine really catchy pop based music that you can dance to, with lyrics that encapsulate emotionally poignant moments in a clever or different way. The name Everyday Atlas references more the classical character of Atlas rather than a book of maps. We are all Atlases in our way, holding up worlds that we didn't necessarily choose. But unlike the muscle-bound demigod, we are just average, ordinary, everyday people. So in a way we like to hope that with our songs, we give people a little extra support for what they are carrying. Our shows are more about the songs and the grooves than they are about the spectacle. We don't run around on stage and strap ourselves to harnesses or stage dive. I don't think people necessarily grasp what we're really singing about on first listen, and I kind of like that. I get a lot of satisfaction when people come to me with that sound of realization. "Ohhh that's what you're talking about!" I think our audience ranges from mid teens to mid thirties. Lamar: Where would you like to be in ten years? Danny: In ten years. I would like to be making music for a living. I'd like to be married and possibly have a child. I'd like to have gone back graduate school at some point. Lamar: What did you earn your degree in? How did the Rapides Parish public school system prepare you for a place like Vanderbilt? Danny: My degree was in Engineering Science with a focus in Electrical Engineering and Music. Unfortunately, I feel like the importance of AP and BC classes was not stressed enough. Many of my friends came into college with several credits. I wish I would have known then how useful it would be. I would have gladly put in the extra effort to take those classes. Lamar: Do you stay in contact with any other Alexandria-born musicians? Danny: I recently had the pleasure of working with Josey Swift who is attending Belmont University. We had the opportunity to record my band in RCA Studio B, which was amazing. In case anyone's not familiar, RCA B is where Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and many others did a lot of recording. We even got to use a piano that Elvis himself played on. Lamar: When you were in high school, you did quite a bit of acting, right? Are you still interested in a career in acting? Danny: I am interested in it, but the only way I think it will happen is if I make it as a musician and crossover. I've invested a lot into my relationship and my business and I'm not willing to throw it away and start from scratch as an actor. Lamar: When you're not playing in your band and partying like a rock star, what do you do with your time? Danny: I'm self employed and I do a variety of technical consulting jobs. I do customized web design, web hosting, song production, and database maintenance. I really enjoy working for myself because I can set my own hours and have time to pursue my band's career as well. www.everydayatlas.com: Click Here Touring: October 27th, 2006 @ 9:00PM The Prince Deli and Sports Bar Knoxville, TN Admission: $5 October 13th, 2006 @ 10:00PM The Blue Fugue Columbia, MO Admission: $3-$5 September 7th, 2006 @ TBA 10 High Club Atlanta, GA Admission: TBA August 26, 2006 @ 9:00 PM Sin-E New York, NY Admission: $10 August 25, 2006 @ TBA Grog & Tankard Wisconsin Ave, NW -- Washington D.C. Admission: $6 |W|P|115692193058712098|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 04:07:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|New Link: Alexandria Tipitina's Co-Op |W|P|115689288793424527|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 03:12:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tomorrow is the Deadline to Register to Vote! 8:30AM-4:30PM, Voter Registrar Offices, 701 Murray St|W|P|115688968105304136|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 11:58:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Download: Hotel Bentley Press Release Fun fact #1: I unwittingly authored two sentences in this press release. Verbatim lifts. But I'm okay with it. Fun fact #2: Under contract doesn't mean sold. Fun fact #3: They still plan on nuking City Hall and moving it into the Bentley's boiler room. Fun fact #4: I believe the Town Talk's server is hosting this PDF file. They probably want you to know that.
  • Note: One of these is not a fact
|W|P|115687830352089426|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/28/2006 11:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Blogs Reported It First: Hotel Bentley Announcement This Morning |W|P|115683261898078350|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/28/2006 12:27:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tonight: Jacques Roy Meet and Greet at Spirits Mayoral candidate Jacques Roy will be answering your questions tonight at Spirits, from 5:30-8PM. The event is open to the public.|W|P|115679354101794815|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/25/2006 10:03:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: Babs Zimmerman's "Spread the Rumor" (I just found this on the Video Blog section. It was published a week ago). An excerpt: "Our phone will be ringing off starting tomorrow with people who awakened with a sinking feeling and have decided against running for office, at least this year. And, then there will be people who are spreading rumors. So, herewith, is a list of rumors that have already started or will soon be here:

1) Spread the rumor that a candidate is dropping out. 2) Spread the rumor that you have had a consultant look at a race, and the gender or racial make-up of the electorate just won’t permit certain people to be elected. 3) Spread the rumor that only paid “volunteers” are working for a certain candidate....implying of course, that he/she cannot compel real people to work for him/her. 4) Spread the rumor that a candidate was paid to get into the race as a spoiler. 5) Spread the rumor that a candidate owes money all over town--or, better yet, all over the state. 6) Spread the rumor that an influential group of people have gone to a candidate begging him/her to leave a race. 7) Spread the rumor that a candidate’s real motive in running for office is to get his/her name known for a race for something else at a later time. 8) Spread the rumor that you have heard a candidate’s spouse is unhappy about the campaign. 9) Spread the rumor that a candidate has no money, never had any money and never will have any money. 10) Spread the rumor that the candidate is spreading rumors about each candidate."

|W|P|115652582868236638|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/24/2006 01:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: The Complete Story on the Vernon Parish Police Jury Audit Kudos to Kobos.|W|P|115645181131906741|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/24/2006 12:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Gannett: Red River Parish School Bus Driver Made Black Children Sit At The Back Of The Bus The story is now being covered by the Associated Press and CNN. Click here.|W|P|115644864720696862|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/22/2006 04:11:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|How Is The Rapides Parish School District Performing? ("Is Our Children Learning?") To download the report, click here. (We place 27th out of 68)|W|P|115628839860530959|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 08:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Anonymous Tip: Watch Out for the Escapee According to anonymous tip provided to CenLamar, KALB reported on an inmate who escaped from a half-way house on August 3rd; this report was filed approximately eleven days after the incident occured. The tipster asks the question: What was the delay in getting this information to the public? And is there any connection in the theft of a brand new Dodge Durango, first reported by the Town Talk? What's the deal?|W|P|115604619081451475|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 06:58:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: A Response to Scarlett Scarlett, I've been reading your political commentary since March, and you've always been a welcome and valuable contribution to the discussion. Thank you. I think you'd admit this: Your mind was set before Delores had even announced. A quick glance at the Cenla Antics archives will confirm this. Thus, it's never been about figuring out what value the other candidates may possess. That said, I also respect and admire Delores. She does, in fact, have many good ideas, and she has shown a willingness to listen to people about their concerns. But I think it's our democratic obligation to educate ourselves about all of the candidates and then choose who is best. I'm not speaking for Jacques. Please keep in mind that I entered this discussion months ago, before I even knew Jacques. As many of you know, I have thoroughly researched all of the candidates, though I haven't had the opportunity to meet with Joe Fuller or Alice Hammond personally. My decision to support Jacques was not based on any pre-existing loyalty. I'm speaking as a concerned citizen. Thirty-five may be young, but it's not that young. If Jacques wanted to, as our Constitution provides, he could run for President. This provision was added in recognition of the fact that 35 is an age of professional maturity. I'm not sure what comments Jacques made that you perceive to be immature, but everything I have ever heard from Jacques leads me to believe that he fully appreciates the demands of our community, the nature of our current growth, and the scope of mayoral authority. I believe his age is an asset, and judging from support he's garnered in the past few weeks, many other people, both young and old, also feel the same way. So it comes down to the issues. This should be an issues-based campaign. I listened to all of the candidates at the forum, and you're right, we're still in the very beginning and everyone's not as polished as they will be a month from now. But Jacques said a few things that stood out: -Growth in Alexandria must be controlled and planned properly. I believe he called this "controlled progressivism," the notion that we can expand without harming our sense of community. -Transparency should be a requirement of government. Citizens should be fully aware of every single consulting contract, every single proposal out for bid, every single issue of importance. -We must accept the fact that Alexandria has changed dramatically during the past twenty years, and to that end, it is critical that we elect a leader who responds proactively to this change. It may be true that, unlike Dr. Sams, Jacques (as well as Delores) did not itemize a list of specific projects he hoped to accomplish, but this is because at this point, such statements would be (borrowing one of your words) "immature." Instead, Jacques spoke about projects the City had already researched and analyzed, like the proposed loop, and he spoke about the need to accomplish goals in a swift manner, instead of waiting eternally. There's a risk in promising specific projects: What if the Bentley does, in fact, sell? What do we do with City Hall then? What happens to this vision of Downtown Alexandria? How can anyone guarantee that a business will trade locations or that developers will swoon over the opportunity to renovate dilapidated properties? (Unless, of course, these agreements have already been forged before the election, and then again, we're faced with the issue of transparency). Our next mayor should not, at this point, unilaterally jump to conclusions without fully understanding the facts. Instead, he or she should be willing to learn, adapt, and evolve. He or she should lay out a comprehensive vision, a methodology, a way of thinking about our future and our growth. Respectfully, Lamar Columbia News Service: Elected Officials 35 and Younger, courtesy spinoj07 COLUMBIA News Service A study completed last year by Rutgers University, which will be published in an upcoming monograph, found 814 elected officials under the age of 35 around the nation, including six members of Congress and three state executive officials. The study showed that compared with members of their generation who do not hold office, the young politicians are more likely to become involved in civic organizations, consume as much news as possible and come from more educated families. The study also defined the group as issue-oriented self-starters who were very active in college organizations. The Rutgers report notes that many prominent national officeholders started out as young elected leaders, and that several U.S. presidents held this distinction once themselves. The nation has already had one member of Generation X take the helm of a state, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, who was 36 when she took office, while the mayors of San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y., are both under 35. Sean Kelly, a political science professor at Niagara University and a former congressional research fellow, said it makes sense for the younger electeds to move to the forefront of political issues. Societal conditions have also influenced the younger officials' fiscal policy, he added. "Fiscal conservatism is something that unites them as an age group," Kelly said. "The first president they knew was Ronald Reagan, and they heard a drumbeat of lessening government while growing up." Rutgers will follow the study with networking events for young elected leaders from around the nation. Last May, the institute sponsored the first event, where 50 officials came together to discuss holding office and getting more young people involved. The young leaders said their age has given them a different perspective in dealing with issues facing youth and how they approach them. Many officials who have won high-level offices were 35 or younger when they FIRST held elective office: U.S. Presidents during the 20th/21st centuries 12/19 (58%) U.S. Senators serving in 2003 57/100 (57%) U.S. Representatives serving in 2003 215/435 (49%) Governors serving in 2003 25/50 (50%)|W|P|115603936162664251|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 12:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reschedule the Debate! Otherwise, It'll Just Be Another Bolton High Pep Rally! CenLamar has received information that the organizers of today's debate have failed to secure committments from a majority of the candidates for mayor. According to my sources, Delores Brewer, Charles F. Smith, and Jacques Roy will not be participating in this debate. I have also been told that Roosevelt Johnson is "pulling out," though this has not been confirmed. Additionally, CenLamar has learned that the format of the debate has been changed, and that debate organizers failed to attract significant media interest. Organizers should seriously consider rescheduling the debate in order to ensure that all of the candidates for mayor of Alexandria are able to participate. The issue of crime is important, and the citizens of Alexandria deserve to be able to hear from all of the candidates in a fair and open setting. Furthermore, I believe that all debates in this important election should be broadcast to the public. Once this debate is rescheduled, we should make sure that it will be broadcast on public access television. I recognize this will be a disappointment to many people, and indeed, I was also looking forward to a spirited conversation on the future of Alexandria. But I think with better planning, more time, and more publicity, this can take shape into the type of debate it needs to be.|W|P|115601609390265044|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 07:45:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Crime in Alexandria The debate tomorrow concerns crime in Alexandria. What are your thoughts on crime in Alexandria? The drug problem? The police chief? Police patrol?|W|P|115595597635157810|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 12:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Mayoral Debate: Tomorrow, 6PM, Bolton High School Auditorium, Sponsored by Crime Fighters. |W|P|115593022531467009|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 09:37:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Political Posturing at Last Night's Forum|W|P|115591915857723596|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/17/2006 12:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Information Removed By Request Insofar as I can facilitate the sale of one of Alexandria's finest properties by removing time-sensitive information, I will gladly do so. I received information from three different sources, but it is my understanding that both parties prefer any information on a potential transaction to remain private until further notice. So for now, let's cross our fingers, say our prayers, and send all our best wishes out because this would be fantastic for our community. |W|P|115584365339298911|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/17/2006 10:25:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Mayoral Forum: Six O'Clock, Council Chambers, Live on Channel Four|W|P|115583561862181041|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/15/2006 04:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Advertising, Tips, Advice, Suggestions CenLamar receives approximately 9,000 unique visitors per month. Although we have declined the opportunity to invest in Google's standard advertising package, we are committed to aiding the promotional needs of a select number of local Central Louisiana businesses. We offer the following advertising packages: 1. One month, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $60 2. One year, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $600 3. Events promotion: $100 per event (Political and community events are always free. Just send us an e-mail) Please send an e-mail to lamarw@gmail.com. If you know of something CenLamar SHOULD be covering but isn't covering, speak your truth. Send an e-mail to cenlamar@gmail.com. If you'd like to share information on speaking engagements, events, and debates related to the upcoming mayoral election, CenLamar will publish this information. E-mail cenlamar@gmail.com. CenLamar will also publish: * Relevant, sourced poll information * Audio messages in mp3 format * User-submitted photos (as long as they're topical and in good taste) * Embedded video clips of local interest (preferably from YouTube or Google Videos). * Political analysis * Letters of complaint * Letters of praise * Love letters * Photographs of your favorite candidate * Comics * Personal Essays|W|P|115568633825090878|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/15/2006 02:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Fast-Tracking Expansion The City of Alexandria held a press conference today at the municipal building. Mayor Randolph read a statement about the need to fast-track road expansions, infrastructual improvements, and recreational facilities improvements. Four projects are slated for immediate fast-tracking: Versailles Boulevard, Jones Avenue, Lincoln Road, and Sugarhouse Road. The Versailles expansion will add an estimated $25- $30 million to the tax base-- that's just in the land, without the improvements, according to Rod Noles. Noles also pointed out that no one in city government owns land in this area (and that no one in his company owns land in this area). Additionally, the City of Alexandria will also be fast-tracking $3 million in recreational facilities improvements. Most of the parks in town will benefit, including Frank Hunter and Bringhurst; however, Compton Park and the Johnny Downs facilities are not included in this package.|W|P|115567631855744087|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Let's Try This Out: What Do You Think Of Our Candidates For Mayor?|W|P|115542959586546254|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Joe Fuller|W|P|115542955158119206|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy|W|P|115542952900118881|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|John Sams|W|P|115542950819191650|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Delores Brewer|W|P|115542948946970887|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Charles F. Smith|W|P|115542946714105511|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:36:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Roosevelt Johnson|W|P|115542943905125161|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Alice "Red" Hammond |W|P|115542936596858674|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/11/2006 12:50:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: Jacques Roy Video Blog|W|P|115532587099996078|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 02:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Northside Journal and the Alexandria Mayoral Election For those of you unfamiliar with the Northside Journal, they've become a steady and passionate voice of reason. Unfortunately, they're north of the river, and as such, they rarely cover Alexandria's news. (I join the chorus of others who wish they'd change their name to the Rapides Journal and cover the entire parish). Anyway, here's their take on the Alexandria mayoral election. It's pretty straightforward. Download here. (Thanks WeSawThat) Excerpts: "Of the 'serious 6,' there are two candidates who have no connection with the previous administration, three who are deeply embedded with the current city regime, and one candidate who has served on the Rapides Parish Police Jury. The three are part of the septic tank that city hall has become." "Charles Fredrick Smith, Delores Brewer, and Roosevelt Johnson have all played their part in the decline and we can expect nothing more than a continuation of the status quo if any of the three become mayor. They ooze backroom deals and shady appointments. They hire family members as high priced consultants. They use their position for personal gain at the expense of the taxpayer." The article then discusses the differences between the two "outsiders," Jacques Roy and John Sams. "If Sams devotes the required amount of time to cleaning up the mess at city hall, he neglects his patients and violates his Hippocratic oath. I wonder what type of man could so easily discard such an ingrained part of his professional responsibility. If he upholds his responsibility to his patients, the voters who placed their faith in him won't be getting what they voted for. Dr. Sams is faced with quite a dilemma." "Last we have Jacques Roy. We can find no reason to believe that he will continue the circus that Alexandria City Hall has become. With his legal training, we assume he knows the scope of a mayor's authority, and the best way to put the brakes on a runaway city council."|W|P|115524461345113941|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 10:04:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|And Now There Are Seven: Joe Fuller Joins The Mayor's Race|W|P|115522965116728682|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 08:38:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Breaking News: British Arrest 21 In Connection With Sophisticated Terror Plot This is just like when the US arrested that "mastermind" guy from Marksville. Except that this time, there was a real plot. And it involved more than just a group of dimwits who videotaped themselves practicing karate. Unless, of course, by liquid explosives, the Brits actually meant this.|W|P|115522494867526712|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 08:12:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Independent: Don't Believe Warnings of Cajuns and Creoles Dying Out|W|P|115522289332785074|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/09/2006 10:10:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Wonkette Exclusive Video: Cynthia McKinney Sings and Fights Disturbing and hilarious. As CNN reported earlier this morning, "Congresswoman McKinney appears to be the only person in the audience who knows the words to this song." From the Associated Press: Despite her defeat, McKinney was unbowed, unleashing a stemwinder of a concession speech in which she barely mentioned her opponent but praised leftist leaders in Cuba and Venezuela, took aim at the efficacy of electronic voting machines and offered several swipes at the media.

“Members of the press, as well as our political leaders, don’t give us explanations that explain, or conclusions that conclude,” McKinney said. “There comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent.”

Before she began her remarks, she played the song “Dear Mr. President,” an anti-Bush anthem by Pink, and sang along, somewhat out of tune, with its critical lyrics.|W|P|115514361384272801|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/08/2006 11:16:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk to CenLamar: You Need Prior Written Approval. Otherwise, We're Calling Our Lawyers. Dear Mr. White: It has come to my attention that you are currently in violation of copyright law by displaying a photograph of Jacques Roy announcing his candidacy for Mayor photographed by Town Talk staff member Doug Collier on your website http://cenlamar.blogspot.com. As you do not have prior written authorization from The Town Talk to use the photograph, I must insist that you remove the photo from your website (http://cenlamar.blogspot.com) immediately. We are pleased that you found the photograph valuable and wished to share it with your readers. In the future, should you wish to reprint something photographed by a Town Talk staff member, the proper procedure is to contact our Executive Editor Paul Carty and request permission to reprint the content. He has the final say on what may and may not be used by other publications, and decisions are made on a case by case basis. His e-mail address is pcarty@thetowntalk.com and his phone number is 318-487-6370. Regarding stories posted on our website, you are welcome to post a direct link to any story on our site, provided the link is not framed or done in anyway that would make it unclear that the content is from The Town Talk (http://www.thetowntalk.com). I see some examples on the site which appear to follow those guidelines, and we appreciate the links. Written permission is not needed to link to our site or stories on our site when done this way. However, you may not copy any content from our site and post it on another site without prior written approval from Executive Editor Paul Carty, as outlined above. In order to prevent legal action on this matter, your prompt attention to removing the photograph from your website is appreciated. If the content is not removed within 36 hours from the time this notice was transmitted, I will have no choice but to forward this matter to our corporate legal counsel. Should you have questions regarding this matter, you are welcome to contact me directly. ------------------------------------------------------ Jim Smilie Online Manager The Town Talk - See also: Gannett Attempts to Squash Independent Press By Controlling Distribution Points See also: Copyright and Fair Use, Stanford University. See also: Bloggers Beware, WeSawThat |W|P|115506101385525482|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/07/2006 06:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Jacques Roy for Mayor
Throughout the past five months, I have been reading and writing about the issues that face Central Louisiana on a daily basis. Like many of you, I have also been imminently interested in the upcoming Alexandria mayoral race. On numerous occassions, I have stated my belief that this is the most important election we’ve faced in twenty years. As a result of my interest, I have been afforded with the opportunity to meet with and listen to most of the current candidates. While I believe that they each possess their own unique set of skills and talents, ultimately, there is one candidate who clearly demonstrates the ability to lead Alexandria into the future: Jacques Roy. I recognize that I had previously stated I would not express my opinions until after the debates. But things changed. A new candidate entered the fold, someone with optimism, motivation, and passion for the future of our community, someone who understands the problems we face, and someone with an authentic, unselfish desire to solve these problems. This is not to suggest that the other candidates are not equally motivated; however, Mr. Roy stands out to me as the obvious choice. As such, I will be actively campaigning for Jacques Roy. It’s important for readers to know this from the beginning. I believe that Mr. Roy represents our best chance at full-forced change and reform, and I am looking forward to sharing his message. The blog will continue to function the same way it always has. It will include news items, commentary, polls, and reader’s letters. It will continue to be open to anyone with an opinion. In short time, Mr. Roy will be launching his own website, and questions about his campaign should be directed there. |W|P|115500111518635249|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/07/2006 12:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Jacques Roy Makes It Official
Apparently, Mr. Roy's lunchtime announcement drew a larger than expected crowd of supporters. Update: I recently received an e-mail from Mr. Roy. He'd like to make it clear that, despite rumors to the contrary, he is committed to serving as a full-time mayor. Mr. Roy writes: I will be full time, to my own financial detriment, to "do the right thing" and keep my promise. The charter requires a full time mayor, and the town deserves it.
|W|P|115497881163070486|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/05/2006 12:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Police Car Fire-Bombed in Alexandria|W|P|115480671341480681|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/05/2006 10:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Alexandria Riverfront Center A few months ago, I wrote about a brainstorming session I attended at the Alexandria Riverfront Center. The Alexandria/Pineville CVB invited around thirty people, most of whom were associated, in some way, with local government, to talk about ways to improve and better utilize the ten-year-old Riverfront Center. I'm not sure what, if anything, was culled from that meeting, but recently, I was reminded that the Riverfront Center is a critical issue in any discussion of Downtown revitalization. Many people believe the primary problem with the Riverfront Center is that its controlling body, the CVB, charges too much to rent out convention space. They suggest that the CVB engages in trade favoritism with the hotel and motel industry, at the expense of local small businesses and charities who could also utilize the space, if only it were less expensive. (I don't know enough about the situation to draw a definitive conclusion, but I still find the theory interesting). They consider the CVB to function like a "lobbying group" for local hotels and motels. (If this is the case, then I wonder why Bob Dean's former manager at the Bentley once told me that one of their main problems was drawing in oft-promised convention business). Either way, I think we need to take a fresh look at the Riverfront Center. We invested a ton of money in the Center, and already, it's in jeopardy of becoming outmoded. People in the hotel business will tell you that most hotels undergo dramatic interior "changeovers" every seven to ten years; changeover is just a euphemism for redecorating. They do this because collective consumer tastes CHANGE in time, and for their business to stay profitable, they must be able to identify and accommodate those changes. It seems to me that a convention center must also make periodic reinvestments in its decor and design in order to stay competitive. Recently, we've all been a little distracted by the plans for a downtown sports arena. I don't want to draw any conclusions about the merits of this project without first knowing where exactly we're getting the funding for it. That said, it's obvious that, at this point, planning a sports arena should not be the top priority of Downtown revitalization. I tend to agree that we should be focusing on the most obvious component: the Red River. Earlier this week, two houseboat owners, Mr. Fine and Mr. Guillory, spoke to our City Council about the incredible potential of the Red River. The City had recently decided to evict all houseboat owners who docked their boats on the Red River. Personally, I'm a little baffled by this. If they couldn't find a written agreement between these owners and the City, then what exactly is the harm in trying to create one? They're already planning a marina, and these agreements, we hope, will become necessary anyway. But getting back to the point: Both of these gentlemen understood intuitively why riverfront commerce and revitalization makes sense. Mr. Fine envisioned condominiums, cafes, and boutiques; Mr. Guillory spoke about the profitability of a pier with a full-service fueling station. Which brings us back to the Riverfront Convention Center: I wonder what the candidates think about its future. I wonder if the community would support investing money for improvements and even expansion (the outside patio area, I am told, hasn't been fully-completed). What do you think?|W|P|115480160337881948|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Poll Results (So Far): What's The Most Important Issue In This Year's Mayoral Election? (Will be updated periodically)
Answer CountPercent
20%40%60%80%100%
Education210.53%
Candidate Qualifications315.79%
Small Business15.26%
Crime15.26%
Infrastructure Improvements210.53%
Holding Government Accountable1052.63%
Total19100%
|W|P|115474210892980053|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 03:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Child Pornographer Nabbed Photographing Two Underage Girls At Compton Park|W|P|115472992963921872|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 03:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB Video Blog: Godard Interviews Councilman Harry Silver Read WeSawThat's transcript and commentary. Here. |W|P|115472973264226448|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 12:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Proof We're On The Right Track: Clear Channel Out Of Louisiana! I haven't been able to readily confirm this, but it's an "old" story that I somehow let slip through the cracks. Clear Channel Exits Louisiana Market For $4 Million In a deal filed with the FCC today, Clear Channel has agreed to sell Sports KDBS-AM, AC KKST-FM, Country KRRV-FM & Classic Rock KZMZ-FM/Alexandria, LA to Cenla Broadcasting Co. — a locally based company that already owns News/Talk KSYL and CHR/Pop KQID in the market. The transaction makes Cenla the dominant company in Alexandria, market No. 221. Opus Media Partners and Citadel each enjoy three-station clusters, while Cajun, Flinn, FM Broadcasting, Radio Group, URBan Radio, NWLA and Rose Ann Marx each have stand-alone operations in the market. Clear Channel gained control of the four stations in Alexandria following its merger with AMFM, which had acquired the stations via its 1999 merger with Capstar. Cenla has already made a $200,000 escrow deposit. It is not known when closing is expected.|W|P|115471986852988940|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 09:55:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: Anonymous Blogger's Top Ten Priority List Anonymous said...

1) Accountability 2) Putting the day-to-day operation back in the administration's hand and out of the council's hand which is what the charter actually says. 3) Putting the City as the leader in economic development and what it sees needs to happen, not have it follow the direction of many self-serving groups 4) INFRASTRUCTURE - if we don't increase our capacity to serve residents and businesses with water, sewer, gas and electricity - we're dead in the water in terms of growth 5) Increasing the tax base - NOT BY RAISING THEM - look at the pockets around the city, that lie within the City which are presently receiving all of the city services and have not been annexed - these are areas the City is losing property taxes on. Go beyond that and look just beyond our borders at areas receiving 3 of the 4 services and consider annexation. 6) Review and scrutinize every current contract for professional services - example attorneys - IF we have a City attorney, do we need an attorney for the Council? do we need 4, 5, 6 additional attorneys on retainer? Put these under contract for specific time periods of for specific projects. (attorneys are just one example) 7) Planning & zoning - get them some help! If we can't hire engineers and others for this department then let's outsource it and be done! 8) Personnel/Human Resources - the fact that it takes forever for someone to be hired at the City is ridiculous! Start running this like a REAL business - post the job internally for 3 weeks, then post outside. Use DOL or an outside source to screen candidates and then process internally - get rid of this someone in personnel is off every Monday and Friday and btw if your paperwork is on so-and-so's desk nothing is done until they come back from leave, vacation, etc. I understand civil service is involved, but other cities have found a way to make it work, why can't we? 9) Downtown - some of you aren't going to like this, but succesful cities have thriving downtowns - this has been proven by researchers. Thriving does not mean it is the hub of shopping, it means downtown has been reinvented in most places to something eclectic - an alternative place to go, built usually around something historic, cultural, or out of necessity. In our case we have all 3. We have the history downtown - granted Dean presently has it tied up with an outrageous price tag. The only way to get him to move is change the accessed value to what he thinks it's worth and start making him pay property taxes on $12 mill. Cultural - the arts district has a solid foundation with River Oaks and Caughlin Saunders - find ways to use them more. Necessity - government is downtown, therefore it will also be necessary for people to be downtown. Build off that base, along with the artist base to entice others to be downtown after 5 and on the weekends. It can work, but we need some creativity - something that is lacking in our leaders at this time. 10)20-40-year-olds - ENGAGE THEM!!! These are our most creative group of people, they want a reason to stay, they are the most mobile and have the ability to leave a city. Seek new fresh ideas from them. Find reasons for them to BELONG. Not everyone has two kids, a spounse, a house and a dog. There are still people who want to go out, enjoy a good reasonably priced dinner at a non-chain restaurant, enjoy music that is current of various genres and have places to meet with their friends - not necessarily bars and not always coffee houses. Ok, that's my top 10. Sorry if it's more than you wanted.

It's not more than we wanted, my friend. I think you would agree that this is just scratching the surface, but it's still a great list from which to work. Unfortunately, there's one thing we can't do: We can't expect to make Dean pay property taxes on $12.2 million. It's a great idea, but in order for us to do that, an appraisor would have to value the building at $81 million (commercial buildings are assessed at 15%). If anything, we should ask the tax assessor to reassess the building to a lower price (something that would be more in line with true market value). If the building itself is worth $2.5 million (I think that's probably fair), then assess it at $375,000. We must be able to push the asking price down and in line with market.

|W|P|115471117619357085|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/03/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| What's The Most Important Issue In The Mayoral Election? |W|P|115463304556704224|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 11:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Neologism: Wikiality (Colbert) combined the words Wikipedia and reality to make "Wikiality". Wikiality, by his definition, is a definition of "truth by consensus," (rather than fact) modeled after the approval-by-consensus format of Wikipedia. He praises Wikipedia for following his philosophy of "truthiness", that intuition and consensus is a better reflection of reality than fact. As he states, "if enough people believe something" it must be true. (Source: Wikipedia)|W|P|115458582007875555|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 06:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
City of Alexandria Planning for Downtown Indoor Sports Arena(Thanks to WeSawThat for coverting this to a JPG)
Download: Here's the proposed site in PDF.|W|P|115456943335403531|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 03:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Vitter Blog Post (Yes, He's a Blogger): Thanks Guys For The Off-Shore Drilling Legislation

The Hill Blog: A Vital Vote on Offshore Drilling

August 1st, 2006

The vote was extremely important. This is a real breakthrough, particularly in the Senate, in terms of opening up a new area for drilling, new production, and in terms of allowing revenue sharing. I think that model can allow us to open new areas in the future to increase domestic oil and gas production.

It was vitally important for Louisiana. We have been fighting for this for years – getting our fair share of offshore oil and gas revenues so that we can help meet our needs in terms of coastal reparation and hurricane protection.

|W|P|115455939397551669|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 10:27:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Is Downtown Alexandria Dead? Yesterday, KALB's Larry Collins filed a report about the business activity (or lack thereof) in Downtown Alexandria. The report actually featured a screenshot of a comment left on the beloved blog, Cenla Antics. One of the most well-written critiques, I believe, is this one: "Anonymous said...

What is so important about downtown? It is nothing but a bunch of old buildings, lawyers' offices, public buildings and a decaying hotel that just can't make it on its own (actually not even with many hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money). Why pump money in a crime ridden ghost town when there are other areas where people want to be. Why must we be going upstream when the flow will give us results much more beneficial to everyone. After 40 years of trying and millions of public money squandered on downtown, including stopping progress for years by diverting I-49 downtown, I have become a naysayer, just as any rational person would become in regards trying to use taxpayers' money to do the impossible. And actually I have been to all the cities mentioned other than Fairhope and I believe the money spent would have produced results a hundredfold in the areas where the cities growth occurs naturally. Baton Rouge has the state capitol bldg, a casino and a few millionaires working diligently and difficulty still haunts downtown. We ain't Atlanta with one of the largest airports in the world and growth that is phenominal and still the growth and given its citizens suburbs that offer far more than confines of an artficial revamped area called downtown. I think it is you who should try and think outside the box and consider other possibilities for growth in Alexandria. Let's try for the next 40 years to allow private industry to move with less burdisome taxation and keep the government who has never made a profit or accompllished anything out of our pockets and away from more glorious redevelopement schemes."

This blogger makes a few excellent points about the nature of revitalization and its role in the free market. Certainly, it can be argued that a more effective use of our resources would be to continuously follow the money. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, this misses the point. The reason Downtown will continue to be an election-year issue (I wish it could be something more than that) is because Alexandria's growth is manic and arbitrary. Ask an urban planner about the importance of in-fill, the notion that in periods of growth and expansion it becomes imperative to focus equal attention to already developed areas that are threatened by draining resources. And to that end, the reason Downtown is important for our community is because it presents us with the best opportunity to capitalize on our location, and by following the models used by other similarly-sized cities (I've heard it argued that Downtown revitalizations NEVER work with cities our size, but empirically, it's just not true), we have the opportunity to turn Downtown into a destination again. And furthermore, due to the nature of our growth and expansion, it will become increasingly important for the community to have a shared third place. Now, I'm not arguing that Downtown is the ONLY location for this development; it's just the most logical. And that's why our local government decided to brick the sidewalks and that's why they're considering the installation of a trolley. If we were to install a trolley, it would allow tourists and convention guests the ability to explore the expanding resources of our downtown in a unique and memorable way.

I also believe that the argument that our city is spending money on downtown AT THE EXPENSE of other, more "worthy" locations is based on a fallacy. In fact, we've spent and earmarked far more spending for infrastructual improvements and additions off of 28-W than we have for Downtown. (Correct me if I am wrong. A City Councilman supplied me with that information).

In other words, let's put the scale of this revitalization effort in context: $1.8 million for sidewalk repairs, $250,000 for the installation of a trolley, and $2 or 3 million in real estate purchases still pales in comparison to the $12-$13 million Versailles expansion and Heyman lane overlay (And this doesn't even take into account the additional monies we'll have to spend to provide utilities and roadwork for the new residential and commercial developments around the Lakes District).

Another problem I have with all of the naysayers is that they fail to recognize the "type" of development that revitalization proponents support. We're not using the old model of downtown; a revitalization of Downtown will involve several mixed use developments.

Sure, the Hotel Bentley is closed, and as long as Mr. Dean continues to think he can get an outrageous $12.2 million for the building (not the business; remember, he closed the business, so there is absolutely no goodwill), the hotel will continue to be closed. While the Bentley is an important component of Downtown, the last two years, during which time the hotel has been closed, have witnessed several new service industries (two bars, a lounge, a restaurant, and an internet cafe), all located across the street from the Bentley. If we were to "follow the money," as you say, then we must also recognize the unique value of these businesses; often, they are the only places that tourists and guests to our city will visit. (The Holiday Inn and the Riverfront Convention Center are still in business, after all). As I have said before, an outside investor's impression of Alexandria will be shaped by two primary factors: our airport and our downtown.

|W|P|115454207866371329|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 10:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|MP3: Delores Brewer On Moon Griffon. Thanks To WeSawThat For Posting This.|W|P|115453918591744175|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/01/2006 02:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy To Announce Candidacy For Mayor Of Alexandria From the Town Talk: Alexandria lawyer Jacques Roy will announce officially his candidacy for mayor at noon Aug. 7 in a field next to his office at 1100 Martin Luther King Drive.

Roy, 35 and a Democrat, will become the fifth announced candidate to fill the office being vacated by five-term Mayor Ned Randolph. The primary election is Sept. 30, with a runoff if needed Nov. 7

Note: The original article incorrectly stated Mr. Roy's announcement would take place next Tuesday; it will actually occur next Monday.

Originally published August 1, 2006

In Other News: KALB and The Town Talk are both reporting that Harry Silver will be running for the District 4 City Council Seat

|W|P|115446788953628862|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/01/2006 11:46:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
An Inconvenient Truth: Now Playing In Theaters A letter sent to CenLamar: Lamar, please forgive me while I preach a little, but I've awakened to a crisis that we all share. I saw An Inconvenient Truth Saturday, and emphatically commend it to your attention. It is an extemely important film that should be shown in every public school in the US, but won't because of the messenger. Al Gore presents the science in a clear, compelling, and very human way. He has studied this subject for decades and knows his stuff. He doesn't scare the pants off you, but the science should. The graphs charting CO2 measurements over the life of our planet, the photos of what is happening to glaciers and polar ice caps, stories of polar bears drowning because they can't swim the distances they must to get to ice, disturbing storm patterns- these images all combine into a big wake up call. After presenting the evidence that our planet is in grave danger, Gore implores us not to go from denial to despair, but to do something. This email is my first attempt at doing something. Complacency is not an option.
There are good suggestions made for changing the alarming trends caused by excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Even if you've been a better conservationist than most, the suggestions bear repeating. I dislike fluorescent light, but I'm buying compact fluorescent bulbs anyway. I'll keep the thermostat on just comfortable, not cold. I'll keep promoting more trees and less grass...(trees absorb lots of CO2, while grass requires energy for maintenance.) I'll reduce my consumption of packaging materials and garbage in general. I'll turn off lights and computers and TV's. My next car will be a hybrid. I'll look for leaders to elect who make the environment a top priority. This link is for a pdf file listing ten suggestions for reducing CO2. It's on the website associated with the film: http://www.climatecrisis.net/pdf/10things.pdf .
Thanks for listening, and consider sharing this with your blog readers. Margaret Waring
|W|P|115445807883889002|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com--> Danny: My knowledge and talent for music came originally, and still kind of does, from a very mathematical basis. Keys on the piano, strings on the guitar, and rhythms in general were always patterns I could "see". I'd like to think that as my life experience has grown so has my understanding of the other side of music, which is the emotional humanity that it has the ability to express. My band, Everyday Atlas, is sort of an attempt to combine really catchy pop based music that you can dance to, with lyrics that encapsulate emotionally poignant moments in a clever or different way. The name Everyday Atlas references more the classical character of Atlas rather than a book of maps. We are all Atlases in our way, holding up worlds that we didn't necessarily choose. But unlike the muscle-bound demigod, we are just average, ordinary, everyday people. So in a way we like to hope that with our songs, we give people a little extra support for what they are carrying. Our shows are more about the songs and the grooves than they are about the spectacle. We don't run around on stage and strap ourselves to harnesses or stage dive. I don't think people necessarily grasp what we're really singing about on first listen, and I kind of like that. I get a lot of satisfaction when people come to me with that sound of realization. "Ohhh that's what you're talking about!" I think our audience ranges from mid teens to mid thirties. Lamar: Where would you like to be in ten years? Danny: In ten years. I would like to be making music for a living. I'd like to be married and possibly have a child. I'd like to have gone back graduate school at some point. Lamar: What did you earn your degree in? How did the Rapides Parish public school system prepare you for a place like Vanderbilt? Danny: My degree was in Engineering Science with a focus in Electrical Engineering and Music. Unfortunately, I feel like the importance of AP and BC classes was not stressed enough. Many of my friends came into college with several credits. I wish I would have known then how useful it would be. I would have gladly put in the extra effort to take those classes. Lamar: Do you stay in contact with any other Alexandria-born musicians? Danny: I recently had the pleasure of working with Josey Swift who is attending Belmont University. We had the opportunity to record my band in RCA Studio B, which was amazing. In case anyone's not familiar, RCA B is where Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and many others did a lot of recording. We even got to use a piano that Elvis himself played on. Lamar: When you were in high school, you did quite a bit of acting, right? Are you still interested in a career in acting? Danny: I am interested in it, but the only way I think it will happen is if I make it as a musician and crossover. I've invested a lot into my relationship and my business and I'm not willing to throw it away and start from scratch as an actor. Lamar: When you're not playing in your band and partying like a rock star, what do you do with your time? Danny: I'm self employed and I do a variety of technical consulting jobs. I do customized web design, web hosting, song production, and database maintenance. I really enjoy working for myself because I can set my own hours and have time to pursue my band's career as well. www.everydayatlas.com: Click Here Touring: October 27th, 2006 @ 9:00PM The Prince Deli and Sports Bar Knoxville, TN Admission: $5 October 13th, 2006 @ 10:00PM The Blue Fugue Columbia, MO Admission: $3-$5 September 7th, 2006 @ TBA 10 High Club Atlanta, GA Admission: TBA August 26, 2006 @ 9:00 PM Sin-E New York, NY Admission: $10 August 25, 2006 @ TBA Grog & Tankard Wisconsin Ave, NW -- Washington D.C. Admission: $6 |W|P|115692193058712098|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 04:07:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|New Link: Alexandria Tipitina's Co-Op |W|P|115689288793424527|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 03:12:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tomorrow is the Deadline to Register to Vote! 8:30AM-4:30PM, Voter Registrar Offices, 701 Murray St|W|P|115688968105304136|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 11:58:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Download: Hotel Bentley Press Release Fun fact #1: I unwittingly authored two sentences in this press release. Verbatim lifts. But I'm okay with it. Fun fact #2: Under contract doesn't mean sold. Fun fact #3: They still plan on nuking City Hall and moving it into the Bentley's boiler room. Fun fact #4: I believe the Town Talk's server is hosting this PDF file. They probably want you to know that.
  • Note: One of these is not a fact
|W|P|115687830352089426|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/28/2006 11:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Blogs Reported It First: Hotel Bentley Announcement This Morning |W|P|115683261898078350|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/28/2006 12:27:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tonight: Jacques Roy Meet and Greet at Spirits Mayoral candidate Jacques Roy will be answering your questions tonight at Spirits, from 5:30-8PM. The event is open to the public.|W|P|115679354101794815|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/25/2006 10:03:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: Babs Zimmerman's "Spread the Rumor" (I just found this on the Video Blog section. It was published a week ago). An excerpt: "Our phone will be ringing off starting tomorrow with people who awakened with a sinking feeling and have decided against running for office, at least this year. And, then there will be people who are spreading rumors. So, herewith, is a list of rumors that have already started or will soon be here:

1) Spread the rumor that a candidate is dropping out. 2) Spread the rumor that you have had a consultant look at a race, and the gender or racial make-up of the electorate just won’t permit certain people to be elected. 3) Spread the rumor that only paid “volunteers” are working for a certain candidate....implying of course, that he/she cannot compel real people to work for him/her. 4) Spread the rumor that a candidate was paid to get into the race as a spoiler. 5) Spread the rumor that a candidate owes money all over town--or, better yet, all over the state. 6) Spread the rumor that an influential group of people have gone to a candidate begging him/her to leave a race. 7) Spread the rumor that a candidate’s real motive in running for office is to get his/her name known for a race for something else at a later time. 8) Spread the rumor that you have heard a candidate’s spouse is unhappy about the campaign. 9) Spread the rumor that a candidate has no money, never had any money and never will have any money. 10) Spread the rumor that the candidate is spreading rumors about each candidate."

|W|P|115652582868236638|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/24/2006 01:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: The Complete Story on the Vernon Parish Police Jury Audit Kudos to Kobos.|W|P|115645181131906741|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/24/2006 12:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Gannett: Red River Parish School Bus Driver Made Black Children Sit At The Back Of The Bus The story is now being covered by the Associated Press and CNN. Click here.|W|P|115644864720696862|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/22/2006 04:11:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|How Is The Rapides Parish School District Performing? ("Is Our Children Learning?") To download the report, click here. (We place 27th out of 68)|W|P|115628839860530959|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 08:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Anonymous Tip: Watch Out for the Escapee According to anonymous tip provided to CenLamar, KALB reported on an inmate who escaped from a half-way house on August 3rd; this report was filed approximately eleven days after the incident occured. The tipster asks the question: What was the delay in getting this information to the public? And is there any connection in the theft of a brand new Dodge Durango, first reported by the Town Talk? What's the deal?|W|P|115604619081451475|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 06:58:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: A Response to Scarlett Scarlett, I've been reading your political commentary since March, and you've always been a welcome and valuable contribution to the discussion. Thank you. I think you'd admit this: Your mind was set before Delores had even announced. A quick glance at the Cenla Antics archives will confirm this. Thus, it's never been about figuring out what value the other candidates may possess. That said, I also respect and admire Delores. She does, in fact, have many good ideas, and she has shown a willingness to listen to people about their concerns. But I think it's our democratic obligation to educate ourselves about all of the candidates and then choose who is best. I'm not speaking for Jacques. Please keep in mind that I entered this discussion months ago, before I even knew Jacques. As many of you know, I have thoroughly researched all of the candidates, though I haven't had the opportunity to meet with Joe Fuller or Alice Hammond personally. My decision to support Jacques was not based on any pre-existing loyalty. I'm speaking as a concerned citizen. Thirty-five may be young, but it's not that young. If Jacques wanted to, as our Constitution provides, he could run for President. This provision was added in recognition of the fact that 35 is an age of professional maturity. I'm not sure what comments Jacques made that you perceive to be immature, but everything I have ever heard from Jacques leads me to believe that he fully appreciates the demands of our community, the nature of our current growth, and the scope of mayoral authority. I believe his age is an asset, and judging from support he's garnered in the past few weeks, many other people, both young and old, also feel the same way. So it comes down to the issues. This should be an issues-based campaign. I listened to all of the candidates at the forum, and you're right, we're still in the very beginning and everyone's not as polished as they will be a month from now. But Jacques said a few things that stood out: -Growth in Alexandria must be controlled and planned properly. I believe he called this "controlled progressivism," the notion that we can expand without harming our sense of community. -Transparency should be a requirement of government. Citizens should be fully aware of every single consulting contract, every single proposal out for bid, every single issue of importance. -We must accept the fact that Alexandria has changed dramatically during the past twenty years, and to that end, it is critical that we elect a leader who responds proactively to this change. It may be true that, unlike Dr. Sams, Jacques (as well as Delores) did not itemize a list of specific projects he hoped to accomplish, but this is because at this point, such statements would be (borrowing one of your words) "immature." Instead, Jacques spoke about projects the City had already researched and analyzed, like the proposed loop, and he spoke about the need to accomplish goals in a swift manner, instead of waiting eternally. There's a risk in promising specific projects: What if the Bentley does, in fact, sell? What do we do with City Hall then? What happens to this vision of Downtown Alexandria? How can anyone guarantee that a business will trade locations or that developers will swoon over the opportunity to renovate dilapidated properties? (Unless, of course, these agreements have already been forged before the election, and then again, we're faced with the issue of transparency). Our next mayor should not, at this point, unilaterally jump to conclusions without fully understanding the facts. Instead, he or she should be willing to learn, adapt, and evolve. He or she should lay out a comprehensive vision, a methodology, a way of thinking about our future and our growth. Respectfully, Lamar Columbia News Service: Elected Officials 35 and Younger, courtesy spinoj07 COLUMBIA News Service A study completed last year by Rutgers University, which will be published in an upcoming monograph, found 814 elected officials under the age of 35 around the nation, including six members of Congress and three state executive officials. The study showed that compared with members of their generation who do not hold office, the young politicians are more likely to become involved in civic organizations, consume as much news as possible and come from more educated families. The study also defined the group as issue-oriented self-starters who were very active in college organizations. The Rutgers report notes that many prominent national officeholders started out as young elected leaders, and that several U.S. presidents held this distinction once themselves. The nation has already had one member of Generation X take the helm of a state, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, who was 36 when she took office, while the mayors of San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y., are both under 35. Sean Kelly, a political science professor at Niagara University and a former congressional research fellow, said it makes sense for the younger electeds to move to the forefront of political issues. Societal conditions have also influenced the younger officials' fiscal policy, he added. "Fiscal conservatism is something that unites them as an age group," Kelly said. "The first president they knew was Ronald Reagan, and they heard a drumbeat of lessening government while growing up." Rutgers will follow the study with networking events for young elected leaders from around the nation. Last May, the institute sponsored the first event, where 50 officials came together to discuss holding office and getting more young people involved. The young leaders said their age has given them a different perspective in dealing with issues facing youth and how they approach them. Many officials who have won high-level offices were 35 or younger when they FIRST held elective office: U.S. Presidents during the 20th/21st centuries 12/19 (58%) U.S. Senators serving in 2003 57/100 (57%) U.S. Representatives serving in 2003 215/435 (49%) Governors serving in 2003 25/50 (50%)|W|P|115603936162664251|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 12:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reschedule the Debate! Otherwise, It'll Just Be Another Bolton High Pep Rally! CenLamar has received information that the organizers of today's debate have failed to secure committments from a majority of the candidates for mayor. According to my sources, Delores Brewer, Charles F. Smith, and Jacques Roy will not be participating in this debate. I have also been told that Roosevelt Johnson is "pulling out," though this has not been confirmed. Additionally, CenLamar has learned that the format of the debate has been changed, and that debate organizers failed to attract significant media interest. Organizers should seriously consider rescheduling the debate in order to ensure that all of the candidates for mayor of Alexandria are able to participate. The issue of crime is important, and the citizens of Alexandria deserve to be able to hear from all of the candidates in a fair and open setting. Furthermore, I believe that all debates in this important election should be broadcast to the public. Once this debate is rescheduled, we should make sure that it will be broadcast on public access television. I recognize this will be a disappointment to many people, and indeed, I was also looking forward to a spirited conversation on the future of Alexandria. But I think with better planning, more time, and more publicity, this can take shape into the type of debate it needs to be.|W|P|115601609390265044|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 07:45:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Crime in Alexandria The debate tomorrow concerns crime in Alexandria. What are your thoughts on crime in Alexandria? The drug problem? The police chief? Police patrol?|W|P|115595597635157810|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 12:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Mayoral Debate: Tomorrow, 6PM, Bolton High School Auditorium, Sponsored by Crime Fighters. |W|P|115593022531467009|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 09:37:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Political Posturing at Last Night's Forum|W|P|115591915857723596|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/17/2006 12:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Information Removed By Request Insofar as I can facilitate the sale of one of Alexandria's finest properties by removing time-sensitive information, I will gladly do so. I received information from three different sources, but it is my understanding that both parties prefer any information on a potential transaction to remain private until further notice. So for now, let's cross our fingers, say our prayers, and send all our best wishes out because this would be fantastic for our community. |W|P|115584365339298911|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/17/2006 10:25:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Mayoral Forum: Six O'Clock, Council Chambers, Live on Channel Four|W|P|115583561862181041|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/15/2006 04:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Advertising, Tips, Advice, Suggestions CenLamar receives approximately 9,000 unique visitors per month. Although we have declined the opportunity to invest in Google's standard advertising package, we are committed to aiding the promotional needs of a select number of local Central Louisiana businesses. We offer the following advertising packages: 1. One month, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $60 2. One year, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $600 3. Events promotion: $100 per event (Political and community events are always free. Just send us an e-mail) Please send an e-mail to lamarw@gmail.com. If you know of something CenLamar SHOULD be covering but isn't covering, speak your truth. Send an e-mail to cenlamar@gmail.com. If you'd like to share information on speaking engagements, events, and debates related to the upcoming mayoral election, CenLamar will publish this information. E-mail cenlamar@gmail.com. CenLamar will also publish: * Relevant, sourced poll information * Audio messages in mp3 format * User-submitted photos (as long as they're topical and in good taste) * Embedded video clips of local interest (preferably from YouTube or Google Videos). * Political analysis * Letters of complaint * Letters of praise * Love letters * Photographs of your favorite candidate * Comics * Personal Essays|W|P|115568633825090878|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/15/2006 02:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Fast-Tracking Expansion The City of Alexandria held a press conference today at the municipal building. Mayor Randolph read a statement about the need to fast-track road expansions, infrastructual improvements, and recreational facilities improvements. Four projects are slated for immediate fast-tracking: Versailles Boulevard, Jones Avenue, Lincoln Road, and Sugarhouse Road. The Versailles expansion will add an estimated $25- $30 million to the tax base-- that's just in the land, without the improvements, according to Rod Noles. Noles also pointed out that no one in city government owns land in this area (and that no one in his company owns land in this area). Additionally, the City of Alexandria will also be fast-tracking $3 million in recreational facilities improvements. Most of the parks in town will benefit, including Frank Hunter and Bringhurst; however, Compton Park and the Johnny Downs facilities are not included in this package.|W|P|115567631855744087|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Let's Try This Out: What Do You Think Of Our Candidates For Mayor?|W|P|115542959586546254|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Joe Fuller|W|P|115542955158119206|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy|W|P|115542952900118881|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|John Sams|W|P|115542950819191650|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Delores Brewer|W|P|115542948946970887|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Charles F. Smith|W|P|115542946714105511|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:36:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Roosevelt Johnson|W|P|115542943905125161|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Alice "Red" Hammond |W|P|115542936596858674|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/11/2006 12:50:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: Jacques Roy Video Blog|W|P|115532587099996078|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 02:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Northside Journal and the Alexandria Mayoral Election For those of you unfamiliar with the Northside Journal, they've become a steady and passionate voice of reason. Unfortunately, they're north of the river, and as such, they rarely cover Alexandria's news. (I join the chorus of others who wish they'd change their name to the Rapides Journal and cover the entire parish). Anyway, here's their take on the Alexandria mayoral election. It's pretty straightforward. Download here. (Thanks WeSawThat) Excerpts: "Of the 'serious 6,' there are two candidates who have no connection with the previous administration, three who are deeply embedded with the current city regime, and one candidate who has served on the Rapides Parish Police Jury. The three are part of the septic tank that city hall has become." "Charles Fredrick Smith, Delores Brewer, and Roosevelt Johnson have all played their part in the decline and we can expect nothing more than a continuation of the status quo if any of the three become mayor. They ooze backroom deals and shady appointments. They hire family members as high priced consultants. They use their position for personal gain at the expense of the taxpayer." The article then discusses the differences between the two "outsiders," Jacques Roy and John Sams. "If Sams devotes the required amount of time to cleaning up the mess at city hall, he neglects his patients and violates his Hippocratic oath. I wonder what type of man could so easily discard such an ingrained part of his professional responsibility. If he upholds his responsibility to his patients, the voters who placed their faith in him won't be getting what they voted for. Dr. Sams is faced with quite a dilemma." "Last we have Jacques Roy. We can find no reason to believe that he will continue the circus that Alexandria City Hall has become. With his legal training, we assume he knows the scope of a mayor's authority, and the best way to put the brakes on a runaway city council."|W|P|115524461345113941|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 10:04:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|And Now There Are Seven: Joe Fuller Joins The Mayor's Race|W|P|115522965116728682|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 08:38:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Breaking News: British Arrest 21 In Connection With Sophisticated Terror Plot This is just like when the US arrested that "mastermind" guy from Marksville. Except that this time, there was a real plot. And it involved more than just a group of dimwits who videotaped themselves practicing karate. Unless, of course, by liquid explosives, the Brits actually meant this.|W|P|115522494867526712|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 08:12:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Independent: Don't Believe Warnings of Cajuns and Creoles Dying Out|W|P|115522289332785074|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/09/2006 10:10:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Wonkette Exclusive Video: Cynthia McKinney Sings and Fights Disturbing and hilarious. As CNN reported earlier this morning, "Congresswoman McKinney appears to be the only person in the audience who knows the words to this song." From the Associated Press: Despite her defeat, McKinney was unbowed, unleashing a stemwinder of a concession speech in which she barely mentioned her opponent but praised leftist leaders in Cuba and Venezuela, took aim at the efficacy of electronic voting machines and offered several swipes at the media.

“Members of the press, as well as our political leaders, don’t give us explanations that explain, or conclusions that conclude,” McKinney said. “There comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent.”

Before she began her remarks, she played the song “Dear Mr. President,” an anti-Bush anthem by Pink, and sang along, somewhat out of tune, with its critical lyrics.|W|P|115514361384272801|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/08/2006 11:16:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk to CenLamar: You Need Prior Written Approval. Otherwise, We're Calling Our Lawyers. Dear Mr. White: It has come to my attention that you are currently in violation of copyright law by displaying a photograph of Jacques Roy announcing his candidacy for Mayor photographed by Town Talk staff member Doug Collier on your website http://cenlamar.blogspot.com. As you do not have prior written authorization from The Town Talk to use the photograph, I must insist that you remove the photo from your website (http://cenlamar.blogspot.com) immediately. We are pleased that you found the photograph valuable and wished to share it with your readers. In the future, should you wish to reprint something photographed by a Town Talk staff member, the proper procedure is to contact our Executive Editor Paul Carty and request permission to reprint the content. He has the final say on what may and may not be used by other publications, and decisions are made on a case by case basis. His e-mail address is pcarty@thetowntalk.com and his phone number is 318-487-6370. Regarding stories posted on our website, you are welcome to post a direct link to any story on our site, provided the link is not framed or done in anyway that would make it unclear that the content is from The Town Talk (http://www.thetowntalk.com). I see some examples on the site which appear to follow those guidelines, and we appreciate the links. Written permission is not needed to link to our site or stories on our site when done this way. However, you may not copy any content from our site and post it on another site without prior written approval from Executive Editor Paul Carty, as outlined above. In order to prevent legal action on this matter, your prompt attention to removing the photograph from your website is appreciated. If the content is not removed within 36 hours from the time this notice was transmitted, I will have no choice but to forward this matter to our corporate legal counsel. Should you have questions regarding this matter, you are welcome to contact me directly. ------------------------------------------------------ Jim Smilie Online Manager The Town Talk - See also: Gannett Attempts to Squash Independent Press By Controlling Distribution Points See also: Copyright and Fair Use, Stanford University. See also: Bloggers Beware, WeSawThat |W|P|115506101385525482|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/07/2006 06:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Jacques Roy for Mayor
Throughout the past five months, I have been reading and writing about the issues that face Central Louisiana on a daily basis. Like many of you, I have also been imminently interested in the upcoming Alexandria mayoral race. On numerous occassions, I have stated my belief that this is the most important election we’ve faced in twenty years. As a result of my interest, I have been afforded with the opportunity to meet with and listen to most of the current candidates. While I believe that they each possess their own unique set of skills and talents, ultimately, there is one candidate who clearly demonstrates the ability to lead Alexandria into the future: Jacques Roy. I recognize that I had previously stated I would not express my opinions until after the debates. But things changed. A new candidate entered the fold, someone with optimism, motivation, and passion for the future of our community, someone who understands the problems we face, and someone with an authentic, unselfish desire to solve these problems. This is not to suggest that the other candidates are not equally motivated; however, Mr. Roy stands out to me as the obvious choice. As such, I will be actively campaigning for Jacques Roy. It’s important for readers to know this from the beginning. I believe that Mr. Roy represents our best chance at full-forced change and reform, and I am looking forward to sharing his message. The blog will continue to function the same way it always has. It will include news items, commentary, polls, and reader’s letters. It will continue to be open to anyone with an opinion. In short time, Mr. Roy will be launching his own website, and questions about his campaign should be directed there. |W|P|115500111518635249|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/07/2006 12:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Jacques Roy Makes It Official
Apparently, Mr. Roy's lunchtime announcement drew a larger than expected crowd of supporters. Update: I recently received an e-mail from Mr. Roy. He'd like to make it clear that, despite rumors to the contrary, he is committed to serving as a full-time mayor. Mr. Roy writes: I will be full time, to my own financial detriment, to "do the right thing" and keep my promise. The charter requires a full time mayor, and the town deserves it.
|W|P|115497881163070486|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/05/2006 12:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Police Car Fire-Bombed in Alexandria|W|P|115480671341480681|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/05/2006 10:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Alexandria Riverfront Center A few months ago, I wrote about a brainstorming session I attended at the Alexandria Riverfront Center. The Alexandria/Pineville CVB invited around thirty people, most of whom were associated, in some way, with local government, to talk about ways to improve and better utilize the ten-year-old Riverfront Center. I'm not sure what, if anything, was culled from that meeting, but recently, I was reminded that the Riverfront Center is a critical issue in any discussion of Downtown revitalization. Many people believe the primary problem with the Riverfront Center is that its controlling body, the CVB, charges too much to rent out convention space. They suggest that the CVB engages in trade favoritism with the hotel and motel industry, at the expense of local small businesses and charities who could also utilize the space, if only it were less expensive. (I don't know enough about the situation to draw a definitive conclusion, but I still find the theory interesting). They consider the CVB to function like a "lobbying group" for local hotels and motels. (If this is the case, then I wonder why Bob Dean's former manager at the Bentley once told me that one of their main problems was drawing in oft-promised convention business). Either way, I think we need to take a fresh look at the Riverfront Center. We invested a ton of money in the Center, and already, it's in jeopardy of becoming outmoded. People in the hotel business will tell you that most hotels undergo dramatic interior "changeovers" every seven to ten years; changeover is just a euphemism for redecorating. They do this because collective consumer tastes CHANGE in time, and for their business to stay profitable, they must be able to identify and accommodate those changes. It seems to me that a convention center must also make periodic reinvestments in its decor and design in order to stay competitive. Recently, we've all been a little distracted by the plans for a downtown sports arena. I don't want to draw any conclusions about the merits of this project without first knowing where exactly we're getting the funding for it. That said, it's obvious that, at this point, planning a sports arena should not be the top priority of Downtown revitalization. I tend to agree that we should be focusing on the most obvious component: the Red River. Earlier this week, two houseboat owners, Mr. Fine and Mr. Guillory, spoke to our City Council about the incredible potential of the Red River. The City had recently decided to evict all houseboat owners who docked their boats on the Red River. Personally, I'm a little baffled by this. If they couldn't find a written agreement between these owners and the City, then what exactly is the harm in trying to create one? They're already planning a marina, and these agreements, we hope, will become necessary anyway. But getting back to the point: Both of these gentlemen understood intuitively why riverfront commerce and revitalization makes sense. Mr. Fine envisioned condominiums, cafes, and boutiques; Mr. Guillory spoke about the profitability of a pier with a full-service fueling station. Which brings us back to the Riverfront Convention Center: I wonder what the candidates think about its future. I wonder if the community would support investing money for improvements and even expansion (the outside patio area, I am told, hasn't been fully-completed). What do you think?|W|P|115480160337881948|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Poll Results (So Far): What's The Most Important Issue In This Year's Mayoral Election? (Will be updated periodically)
Answer CountPercent
20%40%60%80%100%
Education210.53%
Candidate Qualifications315.79%
Small Business15.26%
Crime15.26%
Infrastructure Improvements210.53%
Holding Government Accountable1052.63%
Total19100%
|W|P|115474210892980053|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 03:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Child Pornographer Nabbed Photographing Two Underage Girls At Compton Park|W|P|115472992963921872|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 03:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB Video Blog: Godard Interviews Councilman Harry Silver Read WeSawThat's transcript and commentary. Here. |W|P|115472973264226448|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 12:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Proof We're On The Right Track: Clear Channel Out Of Louisiana! I haven't been able to readily confirm this, but it's an "old" story that I somehow let slip through the cracks. Clear Channel Exits Louisiana Market For $4 Million In a deal filed with the FCC today, Clear Channel has agreed to sell Sports KDBS-AM, AC KKST-FM, Country KRRV-FM & Classic Rock KZMZ-FM/Alexandria, LA to Cenla Broadcasting Co. — a locally based company that already owns News/Talk KSYL and CHR/Pop KQID in the market. The transaction makes Cenla the dominant company in Alexandria, market No. 221. Opus Media Partners and Citadel each enjoy three-station clusters, while Cajun, Flinn, FM Broadcasting, Radio Group, URBan Radio, NWLA and Rose Ann Marx each have stand-alone operations in the market. Clear Channel gained control of the four stations in Alexandria following its merger with AMFM, which had acquired the stations via its 1999 merger with Capstar. Cenla has already made a $200,000 escrow deposit. It is not known when closing is expected.|W|P|115471986852988940|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 09:55:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: Anonymous Blogger's Top Ten Priority List Anonymous said...

1) Accountability 2) Putting the day-to-day operation back in the administration's hand and out of the council's hand which is what the charter actually says. 3) Putting the City as the leader in economic development and what it sees needs to happen, not have it follow the direction of many self-serving groups 4) INFRASTRUCTURE - if we don't increase our capacity to serve residents and businesses with water, sewer, gas and electricity - we're dead in the water in terms of growth 5) Increasing the tax base - NOT BY RAISING THEM - look at the pockets around the city, that lie within the City which are presently receiving all of the city services and have not been annexed - these are areas the City is losing property taxes on. Go beyond that and look just beyond our borders at areas receiving 3 of the 4 services and consider annexation. 6) Review and scrutinize every current contract for professional services - example attorneys - IF we have a City attorney, do we need an attorney for the Council? do we need 4, 5, 6 additional attorneys on retainer? Put these under contract for specific time periods of for specific projects. (attorneys are just one example) 7) Planning & zoning - get them some help! If we can't hire engineers and others for this department then let's outsource it and be done! 8) Personnel/Human Resources - the fact that it takes forever for someone to be hired at the City is ridiculous! Start running this like a REAL business - post the job internally for 3 weeks, then post outside. Use DOL or an outside source to screen candidates and then process internally - get rid of this someone in personnel is off every Monday and Friday and btw if your paperwork is on so-and-so's desk nothing is done until they come back from leave, vacation, etc. I understand civil service is involved, but other cities have found a way to make it work, why can't we? 9) Downtown - some of you aren't going to like this, but succesful cities have thriving downtowns - this has been proven by researchers. Thriving does not mean it is the hub of shopping, it means downtown has been reinvented in most places to something eclectic - an alternative place to go, built usually around something historic, cultural, or out of necessity. In our case we have all 3. We have the history downtown - granted Dean presently has it tied up with an outrageous price tag. The only way to get him to move is change the accessed value to what he thinks it's worth and start making him pay property taxes on $12 mill. Cultural - the arts district has a solid foundation with River Oaks and Caughlin Saunders - find ways to use them more. Necessity - government is downtown, therefore it will also be necessary for people to be downtown. Build off that base, along with the artist base to entice others to be downtown after 5 and on the weekends. It can work, but we need some creativity - something that is lacking in our leaders at this time. 10)20-40-year-olds - ENGAGE THEM!!! These are our most creative group of people, they want a reason to stay, they are the most mobile and have the ability to leave a city. Seek new fresh ideas from them. Find reasons for them to BELONG. Not everyone has two kids, a spounse, a house and a dog. There are still people who want to go out, enjoy a good reasonably priced dinner at a non-chain restaurant, enjoy music that is current of various genres and have places to meet with their friends - not necessarily bars and not always coffee houses. Ok, that's my top 10. Sorry if it's more than you wanted.

It's not more than we wanted, my friend. I think you would agree that this is just scratching the surface, but it's still a great list from which to work. Unfortunately, there's one thing we can't do: We can't expect to make Dean pay property taxes on $12.2 million. It's a great idea, but in order for us to do that, an appraisor would have to value the building at $81 million (commercial buildings are assessed at 15%). If anything, we should ask the tax assessor to reassess the building to a lower price (something that would be more in line with true market value). If the building itself is worth $2.5 million (I think that's probably fair), then assess it at $375,000. We must be able to push the asking price down and in line with market.

|W|P|115471117619357085|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/03/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| What's The Most Important Issue In The Mayoral Election? |W|P|115463304556704224|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 11:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Neologism: Wikiality (Colbert) combined the words Wikipedia and reality to make "Wikiality". Wikiality, by his definition, is a definition of "truth by consensus," (rather than fact) modeled after the approval-by-consensus format of Wikipedia. He praises Wikipedia for following his philosophy of "truthiness", that intuition and consensus is a better reflection of reality than fact. As he states, "if enough people believe something" it must be true. (Source: Wikipedia)|W|P|115458582007875555|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 06:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
City of Alexandria Planning for Downtown Indoor Sports Arena(Thanks to WeSawThat for coverting this to a JPG)
Download: Here's the proposed site in PDF.|W|P|115456943335403531|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 03:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Vitter Blog Post (Yes, He's a Blogger): Thanks Guys For The Off-Shore Drilling Legislation

The Hill Blog: A Vital Vote on Offshore Drilling

August 1st, 2006

The vote was extremely important. This is a real breakthrough, particularly in the Senate, in terms of opening up a new area for drilling, new production, and in terms of allowing revenue sharing. I think that model can allow us to open new areas in the future to increase domestic oil and gas production.

It was vitally important for Louisiana. We have been fighting for this for years – getting our fair share of offshore oil and gas revenues so that we can help meet our needs in terms of coastal reparation and hurricane protection.

|W|P|115455939397551669|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 10:27:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Is Downtown Alexandria Dead? Yesterday, KALB's Larry Collins filed a report about the business activity (or lack thereof) in Downtown Alexandria. The report actually featured a screenshot of a comment left on the beloved blog, Cenla Antics. One of the most well-written critiques, I believe, is this one: "Anonymous said...

What is so important about downtown? It is nothing but a bunch of old buildings, lawyers' offices, public buildings and a decaying hotel that just can't make it on its own (actually not even with many hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money). Why pump money in a crime ridden ghost town when there are other areas where people want to be. Why must we be going upstream when the flow will give us results much more beneficial to everyone. After 40 years of trying and millions of public money squandered on downtown, including stopping progress for years by diverting I-49 downtown, I have become a naysayer, just as any rational person would become in regards trying to use taxpayers' money to do the impossible. And actually I have been to all the cities mentioned other than Fairhope and I believe the money spent would have produced results a hundredfold in the areas where the cities growth occurs naturally. Baton Rouge has the state capitol bldg, a casino and a few millionaires working diligently and difficulty still haunts downtown. We ain't Atlanta with one of the largest airports in the world and growth that is phenominal and still the growth and given its citizens suburbs that offer far more than confines of an artficial revamped area called downtown. I think it is you who should try and think outside the box and consider other possibilities for growth in Alexandria. Let's try for the next 40 years to allow private industry to move with less burdisome taxation and keep the government who has never made a profit or accompllished anything out of our pockets and away from more glorious redevelopement schemes."

This blogger makes a few excellent points about the nature of revitalization and its role in the free market. Certainly, it can be argued that a more effective use of our resources would be to continuously follow the money. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, this misses the point. The reason Downtown will continue to be an election-year issue (I wish it could be something more than that) is because Alexandria's growth is manic and arbitrary. Ask an urban planner about the importance of in-fill, the notion that in periods of growth and expansion it becomes imperative to focus equal attention to already developed areas that are threatened by draining resources. And to that end, the reason Downtown is important for our community is because it presents us with the best opportunity to capitalize on our location, and by following the models used by other similarly-sized cities (I've heard it argued that Downtown revitalizations NEVER work with cities our size, but empirically, it's just not true), we have the opportunity to turn Downtown into a destination again. And furthermore, due to the nature of our growth and expansion, it will become increasingly important for the community to have a shared third place. Now, I'm not arguing that Downtown is the ONLY location for this development; it's just the most logical. And that's why our local government decided to brick the sidewalks and that's why they're considering the installation of a trolley. If we were to install a trolley, it would allow tourists and convention guests the ability to explore the expanding resources of our downtown in a unique and memorable way.

I also believe that the argument that our city is spending money on downtown AT THE EXPENSE of other, more "worthy" locations is based on a fallacy. In fact, we've spent and earmarked far more spending for infrastructual improvements and additions off of 28-W than we have for Downtown. (Correct me if I am wrong. A City Councilman supplied me with that information).

In other words, let's put the scale of this revitalization effort in context: $1.8 million for sidewalk repairs, $250,000 for the installation of a trolley, and $2 or 3 million in real estate purchases still pales in comparison to the $12-$13 million Versailles expansion and Heyman lane overlay (And this doesn't even take into account the additional monies we'll have to spend to provide utilities and roadwork for the new residential and commercial developments around the Lakes District).

Another problem I have with all of the naysayers is that they fail to recognize the "type" of development that revitalization proponents support. We're not using the old model of downtown; a revitalization of Downtown will involve several mixed use developments.

Sure, the Hotel Bentley is closed, and as long as Mr. Dean continues to think he can get an outrageous $12.2 million for the building (not the business; remember, he closed the business, so there is absolutely no goodwill), the hotel will continue to be closed. While the Bentley is an important component of Downtown, the last two years, during which time the hotel has been closed, have witnessed several new service industries (two bars, a lounge, a restaurant, and an internet cafe), all located across the street from the Bentley. If we were to "follow the money," as you say, then we must also recognize the unique value of these businesses; often, they are the only places that tourists and guests to our city will visit. (The Holiday Inn and the Riverfront Convention Center are still in business, after all). As I have said before, an outside investor's impression of Alexandria will be shaped by two primary factors: our airport and our downtown.

|W|P|115454207866371329|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 10:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|MP3: Delores Brewer On Moon Griffon. Thanks To WeSawThat For Posting This.|W|P|115453918591744175|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/01/2006 02:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy To Announce Candidacy For Mayor Of Alexandria From the Town Talk: Alexandria lawyer Jacques Roy will announce officially his candidacy for mayor at noon Aug. 7 in a field next to his office at 1100 Martin Luther King Drive.

Roy, 35 and a Democrat, will become the fifth announced candidate to fill the office being vacated by five-term Mayor Ned Randolph. The primary election is Sept. 30, with a runoff if needed Nov. 7

Note: The original article incorrectly stated Mr. Roy's announcement would take place next Tuesday; it will actually occur next Monday.

Originally published August 1, 2006

In Other News: KALB and The Town Talk are both reporting that Harry Silver will be running for the District 4 City Council Seat

|W|P|115446788953628862|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/01/2006 11:46:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
An Inconvenient Truth: Now Playing In Theaters A letter sent to CenLamar: Lamar, please forgive me while I preach a little, but I've awakened to a crisis that we all share. I saw An Inconvenient Truth Saturday, and emphatically commend it to your attention. It is an extemely important film that should be shown in every public school in the US, but won't because of the messenger. Al Gore presents the science in a clear, compelling, and very human way. He has studied this subject for decades and knows his stuff. He doesn't scare the pants off you, but the science should. The graphs charting CO2 measurements over the life of our planet, the photos of what is happening to glaciers and polar ice caps, stories of polar bears drowning because they can't swim the distances they must to get to ice, disturbing storm patterns- these images all combine into a big wake up call. After presenting the evidence that our planet is in grave danger, Gore implores us not to go from denial to despair, but to do something. This email is my first attempt at doing something. Complacency is not an option.
There are good suggestions made for changing the alarming trends caused by excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Even if you've been a better conservationist than most, the suggestions bear repeating. I dislike fluorescent light, but I'm buying compact fluorescent bulbs anyway. I'll keep the thermostat on just comfortable, not cold. I'll keep promoting more trees and less grass...(trees absorb lots of CO2, while grass requires energy for maintenance.) I'll reduce my consumption of packaging materials and garbage in general. I'll turn off lights and computers and TV's. My next car will be a hybrid. I'll look for leaders to elect who make the environment a top priority. This link is for a pdf file listing ten suggestions for reducing CO2. It's on the website associated with the film: http://www.climatecrisis.net/pdf/10things.pdf .
Thanks for listening, and consider sharing this with your blog readers. Margaret Waring
|W|P|115445807883889002|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com--> Danny: My knowledge and talent for music came originally, and still kind of does, from a very mathematical basis. Keys on the piano, strings on the guitar, and rhythms in general were always patterns I could "see". I'd like to think that as my life experience has grown so has my understanding of the other side of music, which is the emotional humanity that it has the ability to express. My band, Everyday Atlas, is sort of an attempt to combine really catchy pop based music that you can dance to, with lyrics that encapsulate emotionally poignant moments in a clever or different way. The name Everyday Atlas references more the classical character of Atlas rather than a book of maps. We are all Atlases in our way, holding up worlds that we didn't necessarily choose. But unlike the muscle-bound demigod, we are just average, ordinary, everyday people. So in a way we like to hope that with our songs, we give people a little extra support for what they are carrying. Our shows are more about the songs and the grooves than they are about the spectacle. We don't run around on stage and strap ourselves to harnesses or stage dive. I don't think people necessarily grasp what we're really singing about on first listen, and I kind of like that. I get a lot of satisfaction when people come to me with that sound of realization. "Ohhh that's what you're talking about!" I think our audience ranges from mid teens to mid thirties. Lamar: Where would you like to be in ten years? Danny: In ten years. I would like to be making music for a living. I'd like to be married and possibly have a child. I'd like to have gone back graduate school at some point. Lamar: What did you earn your degree in? How did the Rapides Parish public school system prepare you for a place like Vanderbilt? Danny: My degree was in Engineering Science with a focus in Electrical Engineering and Music. Unfortunately, I feel like the importance of AP and BC classes was not stressed enough. Many of my friends came into college with several credits. I wish I would have known then how useful it would be. I would have gladly put in the extra effort to take those classes. Lamar: Do you stay in contact with any other Alexandria-born musicians? Danny: I recently had the pleasure of working with Josey Swift who is attending Belmont University. We had the opportunity to record my band in RCA Studio B, which was amazing. In case anyone's not familiar, RCA B is where Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and many others did a lot of recording. We even got to use a piano that Elvis himself played on. Lamar: When you were in high school, you did quite a bit of acting, right? Are you still interested in a career in acting? Danny: I am interested in it, but the only way I think it will happen is if I make it as a musician and crossover. I've invested a lot into my relationship and my business and I'm not willing to throw it away and start from scratch as an actor. Lamar: When you're not playing in your band and partying like a rock star, what do you do with your time? Danny: I'm self employed and I do a variety of technical consulting jobs. I do customized web design, web hosting, song production, and database maintenance. I really enjoy working for myself because I can set my own hours and have time to pursue my band's career as well. www.everydayatlas.com: Click Here Touring: October 27th, 2006 @ 9:00PM The Prince Deli and Sports Bar Knoxville, TN Admission: $5 October 13th, 2006 @ 10:00PM The Blue Fugue Columbia, MO Admission: $3-$5 September 7th, 2006 @ TBA 10 High Club Atlanta, GA Admission: TBA August 26, 2006 @ 9:00 PM Sin-E New York, NY Admission: $10 August 25, 2006 @ TBA Grog & Tankard Wisconsin Ave, NW -- Washington D.C. Admission: $6 |W|P|115692193058712098|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 04:07:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|New Link: Alexandria Tipitina's Co-Op |W|P|115689288793424527|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 03:12:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tomorrow is the Deadline to Register to Vote! 8:30AM-4:30PM, Voter Registrar Offices, 701 Murray St|W|P|115688968105304136|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/29/2006 11:58:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Download: Hotel Bentley Press Release Fun fact #1: I unwittingly authored two sentences in this press release. Verbatim lifts. But I'm okay with it. Fun fact #2: Under contract doesn't mean sold. Fun fact #3: They still plan on nuking City Hall and moving it into the Bentley's boiler room. Fun fact #4: I believe the Town Talk's server is hosting this PDF file. They probably want you to know that.
  • Note: One of these is not a fact
|W|P|115687830352089426|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/28/2006 11:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Blogs Reported It First: Hotel Bentley Announcement This Morning |W|P|115683261898078350|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/28/2006 12:27:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Tonight: Jacques Roy Meet and Greet at Spirits Mayoral candidate Jacques Roy will be answering your questions tonight at Spirits, from 5:30-8PM. The event is open to the public.|W|P|115679354101794815|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/25/2006 10:03:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: Babs Zimmerman's "Spread the Rumor" (I just found this on the Video Blog section. It was published a week ago). An excerpt: "Our phone will be ringing off starting tomorrow with people who awakened with a sinking feeling and have decided against running for office, at least this year. And, then there will be people who are spreading rumors. So, herewith, is a list of rumors that have already started or will soon be here:

1) Spread the rumor that a candidate is dropping out. 2) Spread the rumor that you have had a consultant look at a race, and the gender or racial make-up of the electorate just won’t permit certain people to be elected. 3) Spread the rumor that only paid “volunteers” are working for a certain candidate....implying of course, that he/she cannot compel real people to work for him/her. 4) Spread the rumor that a candidate was paid to get into the race as a spoiler. 5) Spread the rumor that a candidate owes money all over town--or, better yet, all over the state. 6) Spread the rumor that an influential group of people have gone to a candidate begging him/her to leave a race. 7) Spread the rumor that a candidate’s real motive in running for office is to get his/her name known for a race for something else at a later time. 8) Spread the rumor that you have heard a candidate’s spouse is unhappy about the campaign. 9) Spread the rumor that a candidate has no money, never had any money and never will have any money. 10) Spread the rumor that the candidate is spreading rumors about each candidate."

|W|P|115652582868236638|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/24/2006 01:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: The Complete Story on the Vernon Parish Police Jury Audit Kudos to Kobos.|W|P|115645181131906741|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/24/2006 12:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Gannett: Red River Parish School Bus Driver Made Black Children Sit At The Back Of The Bus The story is now being covered by the Associated Press and CNN. Click here.|W|P|115644864720696862|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/22/2006 04:11:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|How Is The Rapides Parish School District Performing? ("Is Our Children Learning?") To download the report, click here. (We place 27th out of 68)|W|P|115628839860530959|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 08:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Anonymous Tip: Watch Out for the Escapee According to anonymous tip provided to CenLamar, KALB reported on an inmate who escaped from a half-way house on August 3rd; this report was filed approximately eleven days after the incident occured. The tipster asks the question: What was the delay in getting this information to the public? And is there any connection in the theft of a brand new Dodge Durango, first reported by the Town Talk? What's the deal?|W|P|115604619081451475|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 06:58:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: A Response to Scarlett Scarlett, I've been reading your political commentary since March, and you've always been a welcome and valuable contribution to the discussion. Thank you. I think you'd admit this: Your mind was set before Delores had even announced. A quick glance at the Cenla Antics archives will confirm this. Thus, it's never been about figuring out what value the other candidates may possess. That said, I also respect and admire Delores. She does, in fact, have many good ideas, and she has shown a willingness to listen to people about their concerns. But I think it's our democratic obligation to educate ourselves about all of the candidates and then choose who is best. I'm not speaking for Jacques. Please keep in mind that I entered this discussion months ago, before I even knew Jacques. As many of you know, I have thoroughly researched all of the candidates, though I haven't had the opportunity to meet with Joe Fuller or Alice Hammond personally. My decision to support Jacques was not based on any pre-existing loyalty. I'm speaking as a concerned citizen. Thirty-five may be young, but it's not that young. If Jacques wanted to, as our Constitution provides, he could run for President. This provision was added in recognition of the fact that 35 is an age of professional maturity. I'm not sure what comments Jacques made that you perceive to be immature, but everything I have ever heard from Jacques leads me to believe that he fully appreciates the demands of our community, the nature of our current growth, and the scope of mayoral authority. I believe his age is an asset, and judging from support he's garnered in the past few weeks, many other people, both young and old, also feel the same way. So it comes down to the issues. This should be an issues-based campaign. I listened to all of the candidates at the forum, and you're right, we're still in the very beginning and everyone's not as polished as they will be a month from now. But Jacques said a few things that stood out: -Growth in Alexandria must be controlled and planned properly. I believe he called this "controlled progressivism," the notion that we can expand without harming our sense of community. -Transparency should be a requirement of government. Citizens should be fully aware of every single consulting contract, every single proposal out for bid, every single issue of importance. -We must accept the fact that Alexandria has changed dramatically during the past twenty years, and to that end, it is critical that we elect a leader who responds proactively to this change. It may be true that, unlike Dr. Sams, Jacques (as well as Delores) did not itemize a list of specific projects he hoped to accomplish, but this is because at this point, such statements would be (borrowing one of your words) "immature." Instead, Jacques spoke about projects the City had already researched and analyzed, like the proposed loop, and he spoke about the need to accomplish goals in a swift manner, instead of waiting eternally. There's a risk in promising specific projects: What if the Bentley does, in fact, sell? What do we do with City Hall then? What happens to this vision of Downtown Alexandria? How can anyone guarantee that a business will trade locations or that developers will swoon over the opportunity to renovate dilapidated properties? (Unless, of course, these agreements have already been forged before the election, and then again, we're faced with the issue of transparency). Our next mayor should not, at this point, unilaterally jump to conclusions without fully understanding the facts. Instead, he or she should be willing to learn, adapt, and evolve. He or she should lay out a comprehensive vision, a methodology, a way of thinking about our future and our growth. Respectfully, Lamar Columbia News Service: Elected Officials 35 and Younger, courtesy spinoj07 COLUMBIA News Service A study completed last year by Rutgers University, which will be published in an upcoming monograph, found 814 elected officials under the age of 35 around the nation, including six members of Congress and three state executive officials. The study showed that compared with members of their generation who do not hold office, the young politicians are more likely to become involved in civic organizations, consume as much news as possible and come from more educated families. The study also defined the group as issue-oriented self-starters who were very active in college organizations. The Rutgers report notes that many prominent national officeholders started out as young elected leaders, and that several U.S. presidents held this distinction once themselves. The nation has already had one member of Generation X take the helm of a state, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, who was 36 when she took office, while the mayors of San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y., are both under 35. Sean Kelly, a political science professor at Niagara University and a former congressional research fellow, said it makes sense for the younger electeds to move to the forefront of political issues. Societal conditions have also influenced the younger officials' fiscal policy, he added. "Fiscal conservatism is something that unites them as an age group," Kelly said. "The first president they knew was Ronald Reagan, and they heard a drumbeat of lessening government while growing up." Rutgers will follow the study with networking events for young elected leaders from around the nation. Last May, the institute sponsored the first event, where 50 officials came together to discuss holding office and getting more young people involved. The young leaders said their age has given them a different perspective in dealing with issues facing youth and how they approach them. Many officials who have won high-level offices were 35 or younger when they FIRST held elective office: U.S. Presidents during the 20th/21st centuries 12/19 (58%) U.S. Senators serving in 2003 57/100 (57%) U.S. Representatives serving in 2003 215/435 (49%) Governors serving in 2003 25/50 (50%)|W|P|115603936162664251|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/19/2006 12:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reschedule the Debate! Otherwise, It'll Just Be Another Bolton High Pep Rally! CenLamar has received information that the organizers of today's debate have failed to secure committments from a majority of the candidates for mayor. According to my sources, Delores Brewer, Charles F. Smith, and Jacques Roy will not be participating in this debate. I have also been told that Roosevelt Johnson is "pulling out," though this has not been confirmed. Additionally, CenLamar has learned that the format of the debate has been changed, and that debate organizers failed to attract significant media interest. Organizers should seriously consider rescheduling the debate in order to ensure that all of the candidates for mayor of Alexandria are able to participate. The issue of crime is important, and the citizens of Alexandria deserve to be able to hear from all of the candidates in a fair and open setting. Furthermore, I believe that all debates in this important election should be broadcast to the public. Once this debate is rescheduled, we should make sure that it will be broadcast on public access television. I recognize this will be a disappointment to many people, and indeed, I was also looking forward to a spirited conversation on the future of Alexandria. But I think with better planning, more time, and more publicity, this can take shape into the type of debate it needs to be.|W|P|115601609390265044|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 07:45:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Crime in Alexandria The debate tomorrow concerns crime in Alexandria. What are your thoughts on crime in Alexandria? The drug problem? The police chief? Police patrol?|W|P|115595597635157810|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 12:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Mayoral Debate: Tomorrow, 6PM, Bolton High School Auditorium, Sponsored by Crime Fighters. |W|P|115593022531467009|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/18/2006 09:37:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Political Posturing at Last Night's Forum|W|P|115591915857723596|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/17/2006 12:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Information Removed By Request Insofar as I can facilitate the sale of one of Alexandria's finest properties by removing time-sensitive information, I will gladly do so. I received information from three different sources, but it is my understanding that both parties prefer any information on a potential transaction to remain private until further notice. So for now, let's cross our fingers, say our prayers, and send all our best wishes out because this would be fantastic for our community. |W|P|115584365339298911|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/17/2006 10:25:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Mayoral Forum: Six O'Clock, Council Chambers, Live on Channel Four|W|P|115583561862181041|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/15/2006 04:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Advertising, Tips, Advice, Suggestions CenLamar receives approximately 9,000 unique visitors per month. Although we have declined the opportunity to invest in Google's standard advertising package, we are committed to aiding the promotional needs of a select number of local Central Louisiana businesses. We offer the following advertising packages: 1. One month, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $60 2. One year, sidebar advertisement with graphics: $600 3. Events promotion: $100 per event (Political and community events are always free. Just send us an e-mail) Please send an e-mail to lamarw@gmail.com. If you know of something CenLamar SHOULD be covering but isn't covering, speak your truth. Send an e-mail to cenlamar@gmail.com. If you'd like to share information on speaking engagements, events, and debates related to the upcoming mayoral election, CenLamar will publish this information. E-mail cenlamar@gmail.com. CenLamar will also publish: * Relevant, sourced poll information * Audio messages in mp3 format * User-submitted photos (as long as they're topical and in good taste) * Embedded video clips of local interest (preferably from YouTube or Google Videos). * Political analysis * Letters of complaint * Letters of praise * Love letters * Photographs of your favorite candidate * Comics * Personal Essays|W|P|115568633825090878|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/15/2006 02:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Fast-Tracking Expansion The City of Alexandria held a press conference today at the municipal building. Mayor Randolph read a statement about the need to fast-track road expansions, infrastructual improvements, and recreational facilities improvements. Four projects are slated for immediate fast-tracking: Versailles Boulevard, Jones Avenue, Lincoln Road, and Sugarhouse Road. The Versailles expansion will add an estimated $25- $30 million to the tax base-- that's just in the land, without the improvements, according to Rod Noles. Noles also pointed out that no one in city government owns land in this area (and that no one in his company owns land in this area). Additionally, the City of Alexandria will also be fast-tracking $3 million in recreational facilities improvements. Most of the parks in town will benefit, including Frank Hunter and Bringhurst; however, Compton Park and the Johnny Downs facilities are not included in this package.|W|P|115567631855744087|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:39:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Let's Try This Out: What Do You Think Of Our Candidates For Mayor?|W|P|115542959586546254|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Joe Fuller|W|P|115542955158119206|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy|W|P|115542952900118881|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|John Sams|W|P|115542950819191650|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Delores Brewer|W|P|115542948946970887|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Charles F. Smith|W|P|115542946714105511|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:36:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Roosevelt Johnson|W|P|115542943905125161|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/12/2006 05:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Alice "Red" Hammond |W|P|115542936596858674|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/11/2006 12:50:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB: Jacques Roy Video Blog|W|P|115532587099996078|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 02:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Northside Journal and the Alexandria Mayoral Election For those of you unfamiliar with the Northside Journal, they've become a steady and passionate voice of reason. Unfortunately, they're north of the river, and as such, they rarely cover Alexandria's news. (I join the chorus of others who wish they'd change their name to the Rapides Journal and cover the entire parish). Anyway, here's their take on the Alexandria mayoral election. It's pretty straightforward. Download here. (Thanks WeSawThat) Excerpts: "Of the 'serious 6,' there are two candidates who have no connection with the previous administration, three who are deeply embedded with the current city regime, and one candidate who has served on the Rapides Parish Police Jury. The three are part of the septic tank that city hall has become." "Charles Fredrick Smith, Delores Brewer, and Roosevelt Johnson have all played their part in the decline and we can expect nothing more than a continuation of the status quo if any of the three become mayor. They ooze backroom deals and shady appointments. They hire family members as high priced consultants. They use their position for personal gain at the expense of the taxpayer." The article then discusses the differences between the two "outsiders," Jacques Roy and John Sams. "If Sams devotes the required amount of time to cleaning up the mess at city hall, he neglects his patients and violates his Hippocratic oath. I wonder what type of man could so easily discard such an ingrained part of his professional responsibility. If he upholds his responsibility to his patients, the voters who placed their faith in him won't be getting what they voted for. Dr. Sams is faced with quite a dilemma." "Last we have Jacques Roy. We can find no reason to believe that he will continue the circus that Alexandria City Hall has become. With his legal training, we assume he knows the scope of a mayor's authority, and the best way to put the brakes on a runaway city council."|W|P|115524461345113941|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 10:04:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|And Now There Are Seven: Joe Fuller Joins The Mayor's Race|W|P|115522965116728682|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 08:38:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Breaking News: British Arrest 21 In Connection With Sophisticated Terror Plot This is just like when the US arrested that "mastermind" guy from Marksville. Except that this time, there was a real plot. And it involved more than just a group of dimwits who videotaped themselves practicing karate. Unless, of course, by liquid explosives, the Brits actually meant this.|W|P|115522494867526712|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/10/2006 08:12:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Independent: Don't Believe Warnings of Cajuns and Creoles Dying Out|W|P|115522289332785074|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/09/2006 10:10:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Wonkette Exclusive Video: Cynthia McKinney Sings and Fights Disturbing and hilarious. As CNN reported earlier this morning, "Congresswoman McKinney appears to be the only person in the audience who knows the words to this song." From the Associated Press: Despite her defeat, McKinney was unbowed, unleashing a stemwinder of a concession speech in which she barely mentioned her opponent but praised leftist leaders in Cuba and Venezuela, took aim at the efficacy of electronic voting machines and offered several swipes at the media.

“Members of the press, as well as our political leaders, don’t give us explanations that explain, or conclusions that conclude,” McKinney said. “There comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent.”

Before she began her remarks, she played the song “Dear Mr. President,” an anti-Bush anthem by Pink, and sang along, somewhat out of tune, with its critical lyrics.|W|P|115514361384272801|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/08/2006 11:16:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk to CenLamar: You Need Prior Written Approval. Otherwise, We're Calling Our Lawyers. Dear Mr. White: It has come to my attention that you are currently in violation of copyright law by displaying a photograph of Jacques Roy announcing his candidacy for Mayor photographed by Town Talk staff member Doug Collier on your website http://cenlamar.blogspot.com. As you do not have prior written authorization from The Town Talk to use the photograph, I must insist that you remove the photo from your website (http://cenlamar.blogspot.com) immediately. We are pleased that you found the photograph valuable and wished to share it with your readers. In the future, should you wish to reprint something photographed by a Town Talk staff member, the proper procedure is to contact our Executive Editor Paul Carty and request permission to reprint the content. He has the final say on what may and may not be used by other publications, and decisions are made on a case by case basis. His e-mail address is pcarty@thetowntalk.com and his phone number is 318-487-6370. Regarding stories posted on our website, you are welcome to post a direct link to any story on our site, provided the link is not framed or done in anyway that would make it unclear that the content is from The Town Talk (http://www.thetowntalk.com). I see some examples on the site which appear to follow those guidelines, and we appreciate the links. Written permission is not needed to link to our site or stories on our site when done this way. However, you may not copy any content from our site and post it on another site without prior written approval from Executive Editor Paul Carty, as outlined above. In order to prevent legal action on this matter, your prompt attention to removing the photograph from your website is appreciated. If the content is not removed within 36 hours from the time this notice was transmitted, I will have no choice but to forward this matter to our corporate legal counsel. Should you have questions regarding this matter, you are welcome to contact me directly. ------------------------------------------------------ Jim Smilie Online Manager The Town Talk - See also: Gannett Attempts to Squash Independent Press By Controlling Distribution Points See also: Copyright and Fair Use, Stanford University. See also: Bloggers Beware, WeSawThat |W|P|115506101385525482|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/07/2006 06:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Jacques Roy for Mayor
Throughout the past five months, I have been reading and writing about the issues that face Central Louisiana on a daily basis. Like many of you, I have also been imminently interested in the upcoming Alexandria mayoral race. On numerous occassions, I have stated my belief that this is the most important election we’ve faced in twenty years. As a result of my interest, I have been afforded with the opportunity to meet with and listen to most of the current candidates. While I believe that they each possess their own unique set of skills and talents, ultimately, there is one candidate who clearly demonstrates the ability to lead Alexandria into the future: Jacques Roy. I recognize that I had previously stated I would not express my opinions until after the debates. But things changed. A new candidate entered the fold, someone with optimism, motivation, and passion for the future of our community, someone who understands the problems we face, and someone with an authentic, unselfish desire to solve these problems. This is not to suggest that the other candidates are not equally motivated; however, Mr. Roy stands out to me as the obvious choice. As such, I will be actively campaigning for Jacques Roy. It’s important for readers to know this from the beginning. I believe that Mr. Roy represents our best chance at full-forced change and reform, and I am looking forward to sharing his message. The blog will continue to function the same way it always has. It will include news items, commentary, polls, and reader’s letters. It will continue to be open to anyone with an opinion. In short time, Mr. Roy will be launching his own website, and questions about his campaign should be directed there. |W|P|115500111518635249|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/07/2006 12:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
Jacques Roy Makes It Official
Apparently, Mr. Roy's lunchtime announcement drew a larger than expected crowd of supporters. Update: I recently received an e-mail from Mr. Roy. He'd like to make it clear that, despite rumors to the contrary, he is committed to serving as a full-time mayor. Mr. Roy writes: I will be full time, to my own financial detriment, to "do the right thing" and keep my promise. The charter requires a full time mayor, and the town deserves it.
|W|P|115497881163070486|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/05/2006 12:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Town Talk: Police Car Fire-Bombed in Alexandria|W|P|115480671341480681|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/05/2006 10:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Alexandria Riverfront Center A few months ago, I wrote about a brainstorming session I attended at the Alexandria Riverfront Center. The Alexandria/Pineville CVB invited around thirty people, most of whom were associated, in some way, with local government, to talk about ways to improve and better utilize the ten-year-old Riverfront Center. I'm not sure what, if anything, was culled from that meeting, but recently, I was reminded that the Riverfront Center is a critical issue in any discussion of Downtown revitalization. Many people believe the primary problem with the Riverfront Center is that its controlling body, the CVB, charges too much to rent out convention space. They suggest that the CVB engages in trade favoritism with the hotel and motel industry, at the expense of local small businesses and charities who could also utilize the space, if only it were less expensive. (I don't know enough about the situation to draw a definitive conclusion, but I still find the theory interesting). They consider the CVB to function like a "lobbying group" for local hotels and motels. (If this is the case, then I wonder why Bob Dean's former manager at the Bentley once told me that one of their main problems was drawing in oft-promised convention business). Either way, I think we need to take a fresh look at the Riverfront Center. We invested a ton of money in the Center, and already, it's in jeopardy of becoming outmoded. People in the hotel business will tell you that most hotels undergo dramatic interior "changeovers" every seven to ten years; changeover is just a euphemism for redecorating. They do this because collective consumer tastes CHANGE in time, and for their business to stay profitable, they must be able to identify and accommodate those changes. It seems to me that a convention center must also make periodic reinvestments in its decor and design in order to stay competitive. Recently, we've all been a little distracted by the plans for a downtown sports arena. I don't want to draw any conclusions about the merits of this project without first knowing where exactly we're getting the funding for it. That said, it's obvious that, at this point, planning a sports arena should not be the top priority of Downtown revitalization. I tend to agree that we should be focusing on the most obvious component: the Red River. Earlier this week, two houseboat owners, Mr. Fine and Mr. Guillory, spoke to our City Council about the incredible potential of the Red River. The City had recently decided to evict all houseboat owners who docked their boats on the Red River. Personally, I'm a little baffled by this. If they couldn't find a written agreement between these owners and the City, then what exactly is the harm in trying to create one? They're already planning a marina, and these agreements, we hope, will become necessary anyway. But getting back to the point: Both of these gentlemen understood intuitively why riverfront commerce and revitalization makes sense. Mr. Fine envisioned condominiums, cafes, and boutiques; Mr. Guillory spoke about the profitability of a pier with a full-service fueling station. Which brings us back to the Riverfront Convention Center: I wonder what the candidates think about its future. I wonder if the community would support investing money for improvements and even expansion (the outside patio area, I am told, hasn't been fully-completed). What do you think?|W|P|115480160337881948|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Poll Results (So Far): What's The Most Important Issue In This Year's Mayoral Election? (Will be updated periodically)
Answer CountPercent
20%40%60%80%100%
Education210.53%
Candidate Qualifications315.79%
Small Business15.26%
Crime15.26%
Infrastructure Improvements210.53%
Holding Government Accountable1052.63%
Total19100%
|W|P|115474210892980053|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 03:16:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Child Pornographer Nabbed Photographing Two Underage Girls At Compton Park|W|P|115472992963921872|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 03:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|KALB Video Blog: Godard Interviews Councilman Harry Silver Read WeSawThat's transcript and commentary. Here. |W|P|115472973264226448|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 12:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Proof We're On The Right Track: Clear Channel Out Of Louisiana! I haven't been able to readily confirm this, but it's an "old" story that I somehow let slip through the cracks. Clear Channel Exits Louisiana Market For $4 Million In a deal filed with the FCC today, Clear Channel has agreed to sell Sports KDBS-AM, AC KKST-FM, Country KRRV-FM & Classic Rock KZMZ-FM/Alexandria, LA to Cenla Broadcasting Co. — a locally based company that already owns News/Talk KSYL and CHR/Pop KQID in the market. The transaction makes Cenla the dominant company in Alexandria, market No. 221. Opus Media Partners and Citadel each enjoy three-station clusters, while Cajun, Flinn, FM Broadcasting, Radio Group, URBan Radio, NWLA and Rose Ann Marx each have stand-alone operations in the market. Clear Channel gained control of the four stations in Alexandria following its merger with AMFM, which had acquired the stations via its 1999 merger with Capstar. Cenla has already made a $200,000 escrow deposit. It is not known when closing is expected.|W|P|115471986852988940|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/04/2006 09:55:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Reposted: Anonymous Blogger's Top Ten Priority List Anonymous said...

1) Accountability 2) Putting the day-to-day operation back in the administration's hand and out of the council's hand which is what the charter actually says. 3) Putting the City as the leader in economic development and what it sees needs to happen, not have it follow the direction of many self-serving groups 4) INFRASTRUCTURE - if we don't increase our capacity to serve residents and businesses with water, sewer, gas and electricity - we're dead in the water in terms of growth 5) Increasing the tax base - NOT BY RAISING THEM - look at the pockets around the city, that lie within the City which are presently receiving all of the city services and have not been annexed - these are areas the City is losing property taxes on. Go beyond that and look just beyond our borders at areas receiving 3 of the 4 services and consider annexation. 6) Review and scrutinize every current contract for professional services - example attorneys - IF we have a City attorney, do we need an attorney for the Council? do we need 4, 5, 6 additional attorneys on retainer? Put these under contract for specific time periods of for specific projects. (attorneys are just one example) 7) Planning & zoning - get them some help! If we can't hire engineers and others for this department then let's outsource it and be done! 8) Personnel/Human Resources - the fact that it takes forever for someone to be hired at the City is ridiculous! Start running this like a REAL business - post the job internally for 3 weeks, then post outside. Use DOL or an outside source to screen candidates and then process internally - get rid of this someone in personnel is off every Monday and Friday and btw if your paperwork is on so-and-so's desk nothing is done until they come back from leave, vacation, etc. I understand civil service is involved, but other cities have found a way to make it work, why can't we? 9) Downtown - some of you aren't going to like this, but succesful cities have thriving downtowns - this has been proven by researchers. Thriving does not mean it is the hub of shopping, it means downtown has been reinvented in most places to something eclectic - an alternative place to go, built usually around something historic, cultural, or out of necessity. In our case we have all 3. We have the history downtown - granted Dean presently has it tied up with an outrageous price tag. The only way to get him to move is change the accessed value to what he thinks it's worth and start making him pay property taxes on $12 mill. Cultural - the arts district has a solid foundation with River Oaks and Caughlin Saunders - find ways to use them more. Necessity - government is downtown, therefore it will also be necessary for people to be downtown. Build off that base, along with the artist base to entice others to be downtown after 5 and on the weekends. It can work, but we need some creativity - something that is lacking in our leaders at this time. 10)20-40-year-olds - ENGAGE THEM!!! These are our most creative group of people, they want a reason to stay, they are the most mobile and have the ability to leave a city. Seek new fresh ideas from them. Find reasons for them to BELONG. Not everyone has two kids, a spounse, a house and a dog. There are still people who want to go out, enjoy a good reasonably priced dinner at a non-chain restaurant, enjoy music that is current of various genres and have places to meet with their friends - not necessarily bars and not always coffee houses. Ok, that's my top 10. Sorry if it's more than you wanted.

It's not more than we wanted, my friend. I think you would agree that this is just scratching the surface, but it's still a great list from which to work. Unfortunately, there's one thing we can't do: We can't expect to make Dean pay property taxes on $12.2 million. It's a great idea, but in order for us to do that, an appraisor would have to value the building at $81 million (commercial buildings are assessed at 15%). If anything, we should ask the tax assessor to reassess the building to a lower price (something that would be more in line with true market value). If the building itself is worth $2.5 million (I think that's probably fair), then assess it at $375,000. We must be able to push the asking price down and in line with market.

|W|P|115471117619357085|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/03/2006 12:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| What's The Most Important Issue In The Mayoral Election? |W|P|115463304556704224|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 11:14:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Neologism: Wikiality (Colbert) combined the words Wikipedia and reality to make "Wikiality". Wikiality, by his definition, is a definition of "truth by consensus," (rather than fact) modeled after the approval-by-consensus format of Wikipedia. He praises Wikipedia for following his philosophy of "truthiness", that intuition and consensus is a better reflection of reality than fact. As he states, "if enough people believe something" it must be true. (Source: Wikipedia)|W|P|115458582007875555|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 06:41:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
City of Alexandria Planning for Downtown Indoor Sports Arena(Thanks to WeSawThat for coverting this to a JPG)
Download: Here's the proposed site in PDF.|W|P|115456943335403531|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 03:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Vitter Blog Post (Yes, He's a Blogger): Thanks Guys For The Off-Shore Drilling Legislation

The Hill Blog: A Vital Vote on Offshore Drilling

August 1st, 2006

The vote was extremely important. This is a real breakthrough, particularly in the Senate, in terms of opening up a new area for drilling, new production, and in terms of allowing revenue sharing. I think that model can allow us to open new areas in the future to increase domestic oil and gas production.

It was vitally important for Louisiana. We have been fighting for this for years – getting our fair share of offshore oil and gas revenues so that we can help meet our needs in terms of coastal reparation and hurricane protection.

|W|P|115455939397551669|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 10:27:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Is Downtown Alexandria Dead? Yesterday, KALB's Larry Collins filed a report about the business activity (or lack thereof) in Downtown Alexandria. The report actually featured a screenshot of a comment left on the beloved blog, Cenla Antics. One of the most well-written critiques, I believe, is this one: "Anonymous said...

What is so important about downtown? It is nothing but a bunch of old buildings, lawyers' offices, public buildings and a decaying hotel that just can't make it on its own (actually not even with many hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money). Why pump money in a crime ridden ghost town when there are other areas where people want to be. Why must we be going upstream when the flow will give us results much more beneficial to everyone. After 40 years of trying and millions of public money squandered on downtown, including stopping progress for years by diverting I-49 downtown, I have become a naysayer, just as any rational person would become in regards trying to use taxpayers' money to do the impossible. And actually I have been to all the cities mentioned other than Fairhope and I believe the money spent would have produced results a hundredfold in the areas where the cities growth occurs naturally. Baton Rouge has the state capitol bldg, a casino and a few millionaires working diligently and difficulty still haunts downtown. We ain't Atlanta with one of the largest airports in the world and growth that is phenominal and still the growth and given its citizens suburbs that offer far more than confines of an artficial revamped area called downtown. I think it is you who should try and think outside the box and consider other possibilities for growth in Alexandria. Let's try for the next 40 years to allow private industry to move with less burdisome taxation and keep the government who has never made a profit or accompllished anything out of our pockets and away from more glorious redevelopement schemes."

This blogger makes a few excellent points about the nature of revitalization and its role in the free market. Certainly, it can be argued that a more effective use of our resources would be to continuously follow the money. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, this misses the point. The reason Downtown will continue to be an election-year issue (I wish it could be something more than that) is because Alexandria's growth is manic and arbitrary. Ask an urban planner about the importance of in-fill, the notion that in periods of growth and expansion it becomes imperative to focus equal attention to already developed areas that are threatened by draining resources. And to that end, the reason Downtown is important for our community is because it presents us with the best opportunity to capitalize on our location, and by following the models used by other similarly-sized cities (I've heard it argued that Downtown revitalizations NEVER work with cities our size, but empirically, it's just not true), we have the opportunity to turn Downtown into a destination again. And furthermore, due to the nature of our growth and expansion, it will become increasingly important for the community to have a shared third place. Now, I'm not arguing that Downtown is the ONLY location for this development; it's just the most logical. And that's why our local government decided to brick the sidewalks and that's why they're considering the installation of a trolley. If we were to install a trolley, it would allow tourists and convention guests the ability to explore the expanding resources of our downtown in a unique and memorable way.

I also believe that the argument that our city is spending money on downtown AT THE EXPENSE of other, more "worthy" locations is based on a fallacy. In fact, we've spent and earmarked far more spending for infrastructual improvements and additions off of 28-W than we have for Downtown. (Correct me if I am wrong. A City Councilman supplied me with that information).

In other words, let's put the scale of this revitalization effort in context: $1.8 million for sidewalk repairs, $250,000 for the installation of a trolley, and $2 or 3 million in real estate purchases still pales in comparison to the $12-$13 million Versailles expansion and Heyman lane overlay (And this doesn't even take into account the additional monies we'll have to spend to provide utilities and roadwork for the new residential and commercial developments around the Lakes District).

Another problem I have with all of the naysayers is that they fail to recognize the "type" of development that revitalization proponents support. We're not using the old model of downtown; a revitalization of Downtown will involve several mixed use developments.

Sure, the Hotel Bentley is closed, and as long as Mr. Dean continues to think he can get an outrageous $12.2 million for the building (not the business; remember, he closed the business, so there is absolutely no goodwill), the hotel will continue to be closed. While the Bentley is an important component of Downtown, the last two years, during which time the hotel has been closed, have witnessed several new service industries (two bars, a lounge, a restaurant, and an internet cafe), all located across the street from the Bentley. If we were to "follow the money," as you say, then we must also recognize the unique value of these businesses; often, they are the only places that tourists and guests to our city will visit. (The Holiday Inn and the Riverfront Convention Center are still in business, after all). As I have said before, an outside investor's impression of Alexandria will be shaped by two primary factors: our airport and our downtown.

|W|P|115454207866371329|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/02/2006 10:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|MP3: Delores Brewer On Moon Griffon. Thanks To WeSawThat For Posting This.|W|P|115453918591744175|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/01/2006 02:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jacques Roy To Announce Candidacy For Mayor Of Alexandria From the Town Talk: Alexandria lawyer Jacques Roy will announce officially his candidacy for mayor at noon Aug. 7 in a field next to his office at 1100 Martin Luther King Drive.

Roy, 35 and a Democrat, will become the fifth announced candidate to fill the office being vacated by five-term Mayor Ned Randolph. The primary election is Sept. 30, with a runoff if needed Nov. 7

Note: The original article incorrectly stated Mr. Roy's announcement would take place next Tuesday; it will actually occur next Monday.

Originally published August 1, 2006

In Other News: KALB and The Town Talk are both reporting that Harry Silver will be running for the District 4 City Council Seat

|W|P|115446788953628862|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com8/01/2006 11:46:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|
An Inconvenient Truth: Now Playing In Theaters A letter sent to CenLamar: Lamar, please forgive me while I preach a little, but I've awakened to a crisis that we all share. I saw An Inconvenient Truth Saturday, and emphatically commend it to your attention. It is an extemely important film that should be shown in every public school in the US, but won't because of the messenger. Al Gore presents the science in a clear, compelling, and very human way. He has studied this subject for decades and knows his stuff. He doesn't scare the pants off you, but the science should. The graphs charting CO2 measurements over the life of our planet, the photos of what is happening to glaciers and polar ice caps, stories of polar bears drowning because they can't swim the distances they must to get to ice, disturbing storm patterns- these images all combine into a big wake up call. After presenting the evidence that our planet is in grave danger, Gore implores us not to go from denial to despair, but to do something. This email is my first attempt at doing something. Complacency is not an option.
There are good suggestions made for changing the alarming trends caused by excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Even if you've been a better conservationist than most, the suggestions bear repeating. I dislike fluorescent light, but I'm buying compact fluorescent bulbs anyway. I'll keep the thermostat on just comfortable, not cold. I'll keep promoting more trees and less grass...(trees absorb lots of CO2, while grass requires energy for maintenance.) I'll reduce my consumption of packaging materials and garbage in general. I'll turn off lights and computers and TV's. My next car will be a hybrid. I'll look for leaders to elect who make the environment a top priority. This link is for a pdf file listing ten suggestions for reducing CO2. It's on the website associated with the film: http://www.climatecrisis.net/pdf/10things.pdf .
Thanks for listening, and consider sharing this with your blog readers. Margaret Waring
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