Community support needed to help Scott Crittle purchase special van

Jan. 15, 2010

Alexandria Council, adminstraction back in room together

Mayor Jacques Roy and City Attorney Chuck Johnson sit at the table in the Council Chambers. The mayor and his staff returned to the chambers at the invitation of President Roosevelt Johnson. Photo by Sherri L. Jackson

By Sherri L. Jackson
The Light

In less than 30 minutes, the Alexandria City Council conducted all of the city’s business on its Dec. 15 agenda with little fanfare, with one noticeable exception: Mayor Jacques Roy and his staff were seated at their table inside the Council Chambers.

By all accounts, it appears Council President Roosevelt Johnson may be on his way to reach his goal of bringing a spirit of unity and cooperation among the Council and the Administration.

“It gives me great pleasure to invite the administration back to the council chambers…,” Johnson said.

Johnson gave Roy an opportunity to address the Council.

“Let’s move forward united together,” Roy said during his first Council meeting back in the council chamber since Councilman Myron Lawson, under his presidency, removed Roy,  and his staff away from the table to seats in the audience.

Meanwhile in the brief meeting, the Council after discussion of concerns gave the administration the approval to accept the Ducote Wrecking Inc. low bid of $86,200 to demolish the former Dominique-Miller stockyard.

Previously, District 2 Councilman Everett Hobbs, who owns a construction company, was concerned that the bid was much lower than the estimated $290,000.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting Hobbs said he spoke to Tom David with Pan American Engineers about the project and still came away with some concerns that Ducote could have the site “construction-ready” at such a low price.

Yet, Kay Michiels, Roy’s chief operating officer, explained the price was such because “the demolition contractor actually wants to use (salvaged) materials personally.”

District 1 Councilman Ed Larvadain III said he wanted assurances that there wouldn’t be any additional costs related to the demolition.

Demolition work should begin by the end of the year, Ken Juneau, mayoral assistant told District 3 Councilman Jonathan Goins.

In another matter, the Council accepted the administration’s recommendation to continue its relationship with Charlie Anderson, site coordinator, programming for the Area 4 Weed & Seed Initiative funded through the U.S. Department of Justice.

During the Public Safety Committee, Larvadain asked the administration whether the city was looking to expand the program to include District 1.

Roy said the administration was looking to expand the scope of the program’s services or to find similar program, such as Safe Streets, which the city previously had.

Larvadain asked that the discussion continue at a February council meeting.

Landrieu secures $487K for Alexandria

Press Release

WASHINGTON –United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that $487,000 to the City of Alexandriafor the Rail Spur Project was included in the omnibus appropriations bill that passed the Senate by a vote of 57-35.

This project entails the relocation and extension of existing rail lines to provide increased capacity and service to the Port of Alexandria. In total, the omnibus appropriations bill includes $45.9 million for Louisiana projects secured by Sen. Landrieu. Millions more were leveraged through key legislative provisions and competitive grant programs included in the bill. The bill now heads to President Obama to be signed into law.

“This project is a critical step to generating jobs for the City and the region,” said Sen. Landrieu. “A fully integrated port facility with intermodal transportation capabilities will attract business and industry to Alexandria. I support Mayor Roy’s vision for Alexandria and know that getting this port project underway could be the shot in the arm we need to put Central Louisiana on the move again.”

“I am very pleased with the work of the senior Senator from Louisiana on this critical infrastructure project,” said Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy. “Infrastructure is king. America is woefully underfunding her infrastructure presently. I know our Louisiana delegation supports ‘smart’ infrastructure investment, which is about spending on ‘future proofing,’ or ensuring we are using best practices to invest for 10, 20 and 30years out, not merely tomorrow’s fixes ‘on the cheap.’ This particular project is about inter-modality, which capitalizes on our existing competitive advantages in Central Louisiana.”

This shovel-ready project will rehabilitate and extend the City of Alexandria rail spur track to the Port of Alexandria on the Red River. These improvements will enable future enhancements necessary to create a fully functional inter-modal freight facility at the Port of Alexandria. This port provides access to Union and Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railroads, Interstate-49, U.S. Highways 71, 165, and 167 and LA Highways 1 and 28.

Dec. 1: It’s Holiday Time in Cenla

Read The Light: Dec. 1, 2009
The Light, Dec. 1-14, 2009

It's holiday time in Central Louisiana

Mayor Jacques Roy questions justification of fact-finding probe against him

Mayor Jaques Roy, during his weekly press briefing, denied the claims of conflict of interest made during Tuesday’s Legal Committee meeting and attributed its fact-finding probe to politics.

Roy told local print and broadcast reporters present for the Dec. 2 broadcast discussion that he looked forward to the city moving forward following Tuesday’s change in the City Council’s leadership.

During Tuesday’s regular session, the Council elected Roosevelt Johnson as its new president to replace outgoing president Myron Lawson and elected Harry Silver as its vice president.

The mayor noted the Legal Committee has yet to submit a report on its fact-finding probe to the full Council for a vote. He said he would welcome review by the state Ethics Board or state Bar Association.

Roy said material submitted for the probe tell one side but that, for example, current attorneys representing EMS and Sansing have answered the concerns in connection with the mayor’s involvement with its clients in the Cleco litigation.

The mayor, as did Council member Chuck Fowler during Tuesday’s meeting, questioned the justification cited for the probe and attributed to the city’s Home Rule Charter.

Blame game full of players at Alexandria City Hall

By Leonard Ford Jr.

Though I have been quiet on the current problems happening over at Alexandria City Hall between Mayor Roy’s administration and some members of the Alexandria City Council, don’t think that I haven’t been keeping up with their shenanigans.

Too much doesn’t get by me. Sometimes I feel that it’s not my place to comment. However, with what has been transpiring at our “hall of bickering” as of late, my self-imposed silence has come to its end.

And that end leads me right into commenting about the deep political divide between our mayor, Jacques, and the city council, especially three of our outspoken councilmen, Myron, Jonathon, and Ed. This political divide both cripples the effectiveness of the council and administration and makes observers throughout Alexandria and surrounding cities wonder what has and is happening in Alexandria City Hall.

Some division between the mayor’s administration and the council is healthy, and disagreement on hot issues is expected. However, after the last several council meetings, there can be little doubt in anyone’s mind that Roy has utter contempt for Myron, Jonathon, and Ed. Likewise, it appears Myron, Jonathon, and Ed have utter contempt for Roy. Simply put, they don’t like each other.

This contempt among the “players” has now reached a new level. Both sides are ready to do battle in their “tit for tat” tug of war, which all boils down to finger pointing about who is making the other look bad in the public eye.

About two weeks ago, it came to light that the City Council, specifically Council President Myron Lawson had spent approximately $71,000 for food and beverages for council meetings. It wasn’t really stated who first brought this spending up. Nevertheless, the excessive spending was discussed in a council meeting. Both the administration and Lawson offered reasons behind the amount of money spent. Each one had their say, which wasn’t good enough for the other. Thus, it was the beginning of another way of “taking the blame off of me and putting it on you.” Discrediting one another can be a bitch.

Now it appears that this “taking the blame off of me and putting it on you” has taken own a life of its own. The Council’s Legal Committee is now pressing for the council’s to discuss a “potential conflict” of interest that involves Mayor Roy and whether or not he was double dipping in the Cleco case as mayor and attorney.

Here’s the thing. Something (the large amount of money spent on food) came out that could possibly make Lawson seem that he did something underhanded. He has not been accused of doing anything, and I want to make that perfectly clear. However, with the maneuvering to bring up the “potential conflict” for Roy, it makes it seem that some people, and I’m not saying who, is trying to take the wolves off Lawson’s tail and put them on Roy’s tail. I’m not saying that this is the case . We are smarter than that.

Then there’s Roy, who has stated that this thing with his “potential conflict” is the council’s (I’m sure that he is not referring to all council members) way for Lawson to “deflect attention” away from him because of the large amount of money spent on food.

This entire mess basically pits two men, who I think a lot of us consider honorable. However, with the way they have been playing the “blame game,” it is getting difficult to say who’s being straightforward, and who’s talking with a “forked tongue.” Roy will have his believers, especially those in his administration who has every confidence in him that he is doing what is right. He will also have those who think he is not right for the office and should go. Lawson will also have his believers, especially his allies on the council, who also have every confidence in him that he is doing a fine job. He also will have those who think that he is wrong for the council and should go.

Let’s see who is still standing come election time.

Former Peabody Warhorse drum major to lead SU’s band at Bayou Classic

Read more here: Nov. 15, 1-8