Von Jennings: Alexandria needs effective leadership to move forward

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light/EverythingCenla

It’s no secret that Von Jennings is seeking to take Mayor Jacques Roy’s seat in October.

And she said she plans to do so by proving that she has the necessary leadership skills to get the job done.

“We need effective leadership that listens to the will of the people,” Jennings told The Light in a one-on-one interview. “The city needs leaders who will develop plans of action and follow through with input from residents. Many have the technical skills to do the job, but lacks leadership skills needed to move the city forward.”

“A good leader has goals to accomplish, and the behavior is based on those goals,” she said.

Though mulling over the decision whether or not to seek the city’s highest office since November 2009, after careful consideration and several conversations with community and business organizations, Jennings officially made her intentions known Tuesday, March 30, when she opened her campaign headquarters at 1012 Third St., across from Alexandria City Hall.

About 40 people attended the event to hear Jennings’ announcement. She is the first to officially announce candidacy.

Jennings said she hopes to bring to her native city the type of leadership she believes is lacking in Alexandria City Hall.

“We need leadership that is open to collaboration with others. I’m positive we can do a better job,” she said. “I have the ability to partner, to collaborate and the willingness to listen the move on and to develop plans of action that can be implemented.”

Jennings worked as an assistant to Mayor Jacques Roy in charge of the city’s AFEAT, which stands for Alexandria Fairness, Equality, Accessibility and Teamwork, a business program which was designed to bring in help minority and emerging business do business with the city. She was terminated in January 2009.

Jennings is a 1991 graduate of Peabody Magnet High School. She has bachelor’s degrees in political science and public administration from Grambling State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Southern University. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in public policy.

“I want everyone to appreciate that I am a candidate who will represent all of the citizens of Alexandria. I am willing to work with everyone. We have to understand that there are more issues that we have in common than those that are different,” she said.”

Jennings said she sees the city’s priorities as conservative financial planning, aggressive

economic development, work force development, youth development, drainage and flooding,

affordable utilities and infrastructure projects that will promote economic viability.

“The immediate needs are to have definite financial plans. The city is looking at a deficit. We need more revenue streams,” she said.

Meanwhile, Jennings said the city in its current state needs her leadership skills, which along with experience, make her the “excellent choice” to be the city’s leader.

“Much of my experience and skills are directly tied to those serving as mayor of any leader in a corporation,” she said.

Jennings said as she operates a grassroots campaign she looks forward to meeting all citizens “at their door.”

Holt: ‘Don’t kid yourself,’ there’s still much work to do

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

For those who believe Martin Luther King’s dream has been fulfilled, Sibal Suarez Holt, the keynote speaker at Alexandria’s noon day event honoring the slain civil rights leader, said, “don’t kid yourself.”

“We have not achieve justice and equality,” she said to a pack crowd at the Alexandria Convention Hall. (Sibal Holt’s speech)

Holt, a licensed general contractor and former president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, emphasized, “(Martin) envisioned, it’s up to us to make it real.”

The noon day program started late as the parade slated to begin at 10:45 a.m. lasted longer than usual due to the number of participants.

Other program participants included the Citywide Choir, University Christian Prep School from Shreveport, the Rev. Phillip Taylor and Mayor Clarence Fields, who gave greetings from the City of Pineville.

Mayor Jacques Roy participated in the parade but didn’t attend the program. Sykes said an apparent mix-up resulted in Roy’s name not being on the program. Several people, including the Rev. Joe S. Green, tried to get Roy to come in to the program, but he didn’t come.

Meanwhile, the day’s activities began with a Prayer Breakfast with the Rev. George Gennuso as the speaker.

Alexandria woman accused of stealing wallet from bank

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

Carol Stull, 66, 3311 Redwood Drive, was arrested Friday, Dec. 11, in connection with a stolen wallet from Union Bank, 1701 Metro Drive, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

According to the police report, a bank customer left his wallet on the counter after cashing his check about 10:30 a.m. Friday. He notified the bank that he had left the wallet.

The bank’s employee told the wallet’s owner she didn’t find the wallet in the bank. However, when reviewing video footage, she and another employee saw Stull allegedly picking up the wallet from the desk and concealing it inside a magazine. Stull conducted business at the front teller by cashing her payroll check of $216.

The bank’s employee said they knew Stull and that she worked next door at Noah’s Ark Daycare Center as a cook.

Officers went to the daycare center to talk to Stull. They asked her about the wallet and she replied she wasn’t aware of a wallet. Officers allgedly told Stull they observed the bank’s security footage and saw her take the wallet. Stull allegedly pointed toward some other daycare employees and said, “They’ve got the wallet.”

Officers allegedly found the wallet inside of a yellow envelope located on a desk in the daycare center. Stull told officers she found the wallet outside by the dumpster and turned it in toher boss. Inside the wallet were several credit cards, business cards and the owner’s driver’s license.

The wallet’s owner returned to the bank. He told officers he had between $200 and $400 in the wallet. Stull allegedly told officers there was no money in the wallet. She said she had only $216 from her payroll check and about $200.

Stull allegedly later told officers she had taken the wallet and about $292. She was booked in the Rapides Parish Jail on a charge of theft  $300  to $500.

Shreveport attorney Larry English accuses Roy of conflict of interest regarding the Cleco case

Attorney Larry English presents a seven-page document that outlines reasons he believe Mayor Jacques Roy had a conflict of interest regarding the Cleco case.

By Bill Sumrall, The Light

Claims of a conflict of interest were outlined against Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy during Tuesday’s City Council Legal Committee meeting.

Alexandria City Councilmember Ed Larvadain, who chairs the committee, began by saying he’s conducting a fact-finding probe and outlined justification for his actions by citing sections of the city’s Home Rule Charter.

However, Councilmember Chuck Fowler claimed the action is a “kangaroo court” and questioned Larvadain’s application of the sections cited.

Most of Alexandria City Council’s committee time Tuesday, Dec. 1, was occupied by claims of a conflict of interest on the part of Mayor Jacques Roy in dealing with the city’s lawsuit against Cleco Corp.

The claims were detailed by Larry English, an attorney representing local attorney Bridget Brown, who was also involving at one point in the city’s lawsuit against Cleco Corp.

English acknowledged in a seven-page statement that he read aloud to the committee that he represents Brown, “who has filed suit against the city for recovery of legal fees in the CLECO matter.”

“I also want to acknowledge that Ms. Brown has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Jacques Roy and City Attorney Charles Johnson for tortuous interference of Contract and Defamation, again in the CLECO matter,” English stated.

Council President Myron Lawson swore in former City Attorney Kelvin Sanders and English were to testify separately before the committee chaired by Larvadain, who cross-examined both men.

“Mayor Roy as a private lawyer was intimately involved in the CLECO representation as legal Counsel to Sam Sansing and EMS,” English stated, identifying EMS and Sansing as “consultants who claim a share of any funds awarded through the CLECO litigation.”

“However, in November of 2007, Attorney Roy won a special election and was named Mayor of Alexandria,” English stated.

“I believe at the moment Mr. Roy was elected, he should have immediately resigned his representation of Sam Sansing and EMS,” English stated. “And moreover he should not have discussed the CLECO case in any form or fashion until after he had done so. He did neither,” English testified before the committee in his statement.

English stated that once Roy became mayor “he was required by the Rules of Professional Conduct to cease all representation of Sam Sansing and EMS.”

“Furthermore he was required to seek a written waiver from the Council before having any discussions about the CLECO case. He did neither,” English stated.

English claimed this was in “clear violation of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct” that governs attorneys.

English also claimed Roy violated the City Charter by having a financial interest in the outcome of the Cleco litigation.

Roy did not attend Tuesday’s City Council committee or regular session.

Kay Michiels, the city’s Chief Operating Officer/Director of Planning, gave the city administration’s response to the published City Council’s agenda in a document dated Nov. 25 as follows for the Legal Committee meeting Dec. 1:

“To continue fact finding probe in regards to the potential conflict with Mayor Roy in regards to EMS, LLC, Sam Sansing and David Pugh involving the case of City of Alexandria vs. Cleco and related cases,” Michiels stated in the response.

“This agenda item neither merits nor requires a response since no fact finding probe was authorized by the City Council pursuant to the Alexandria Home Rule Charter.”

English also presented affidavits from several people claiming Roy engineered Bridget Brown’s removal from the Cleco litigation after his election as mayor.

“The conduct of Mayor Roy along with the willing approval of the City Attorney (Chuck Johnson) brings into question the moral authority of the Mayor’s office itself,” English stated, by refusing to honor the Legal Committee’s subpoena of city employees and documents in its fact-finding probe.

“The mayor has stated that he has two ethic opinions that blessed his conduct. Rather than produce these alleged opinions, he attacks the President of the Council (Myron Lawson) as having an ethical problem also,” English stated.

English was referring to earlier questions raised in broadcast reports about the $70,000-plus costs of the City Council’s catered meals authorized by Lawson.

“These are not the actions of an elected official who had a momentary ethical lapse. These are the actions that show a clear pattern of abuse and contempt for the rules of the City Charter,” English stated in reference to Mayor Roy.

English ended his testimony before the committee by challenging the City Council about what they plan to do about the allegations.

“I warn each of you that the citizens are watching to see if in Alexandria everyone is beholding to the rule of law,” English stated.

Afterward, committee members Larvadain and Jonathan Goins voted over the objection of committee member Harry Silver in favor of Larvadain preparing a report to go before the full council.

APD narcotis conduct Operation C.L.A.M.P

About 100 officers from federal, state and local agencies assisted the Alexandria Police Department’s Narcotics Division in operation C.L.A.M.P. early Thursday morning, Nov. 12, according to Newman Bobb of the Alexandria Police Department.
Operation C.L.A.M.P – cleaning local areas and making progress — was designed to target all areas of illegal narcotics including distribution of cocaine, crystal meth, marijuana, prescription pills and obtaining prescription by fraud.

APD narcotics agents began the first phase of the operation about four months ago by using undercover agents to buy illegal narcotics from people that were selling them on the streets and from their homes or businesses in Alexandria.

This operation was not limited just to distributions from mid to street level drug dealers from their homes or businesses, but agents also targeted pharmacies were people were obtaining prescriptions by fraud.

The second phase of Operation C.L.A.M.P. began around 5 a.m. Thursday when officers from all over the area worked together to try to serve about 70 warrants. A total of over 30 offenders were picked up on outstanding warrants gained during the undercover work of phase one of the operation.

Alexandria Narcotics agents were able to conduct a successful operation as citizens from the neighborhood watch groups became more involved and started taking a zero tolerance stand about the drug dealing in their neighborhoods.

Once information from the Narcotics Tip line and from neighborhood watch groups was compiled, agents gave special attention to the areas of complaints and began their investigative work.

The effort was also helped by full cooperation and teamwork from area pharmacists who are intent on stopping fraudulent prescriptions being filled.

Nov. 1: Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisina hosts major fund-raiser

Nov. 1, 2009 cover


Click here to read the Nov. 1-14 issue of The Light: Pages 1-8

Oct. 15 coverClick here to read The Light: Pages 1-6, Pages 7-12