Saturday, October 6, 2007

What Rocks Your World?

With local and world events occuring at the pace we are currently witnessing, how do you cope? Are you experiencing anger? Confusion? Do You want to make someone pay? Or do you keep your "nose to the grindstone" blocking out all but affects you personally? How do you cope? Do you walk with Jesus? Is yoga your technique? How about Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll? What works for you?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Jena 6 Fanfare Just a Flare Up

(Click "PEACE" for video)

Think about it people, talking about racism is kind of like answering your wife's question as to whether she is fat. She knows she is, you know she is, other people can see she is, but there is not an answer that is safe for you to give because you are a liar with one and a __________ (you fill in the blank) with the other. Beside that, you may not make the cover of GQ either.

The same applies to cow manure, if you don't stir it, it doesn't stink - kind of like racism.

After all of the media attention and motivated protesters, the outcome for the defendants and the victim in our justice system will be more or less the same because we operate under established juris prudence and lady justice has proven to be color-blind for the most part.
So when the sun comes up tomorrow, just remember that while your neighbors skin color may not be what you think it ought to be, kind words and gentle actions may do more to make the day peaceful and help all of us live past this argument than trifling with something that is not going to change anyway.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Are Saggy Drawers and Lawyers Blues Our Emerging Reputation?

I have always found it amusing that a person can be a pillar in the community - looked to with respect by everyone - and in an instant, their reputation can change when associated with and unsavory event. Senator David Vitter is an example.

So it is with towns, cities, states, and countries. No matter what good has happened for their established history, unsavory events attach notoriety to every citizen from a city that has been branded as "special".

I am beginning to think that our water supply or proximity to the state mental institution has something to do with the lunacy exhibited by our elected officials. Just as the 30-year stench of Mayor Snyder's dead catfish pond are dissipating, we get a dose of bad lawyering and saggy drawers.

I don't know about the rest of you, but if I am going to be continually involved in a comedy production, I want to get paid.

Where's my check?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Old Chinese Proverb Say - "Gotcha"

(Click the pic to read the article)

The article associated with this picture is well written and very informative for those of you that care to expand your knowledge on global affairs that will affect us personally.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

With all of the happenings in Alexandria, it should not remain blank long.

Any one interested in forming a citizens group?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Do You Like Chinese Food?

(click onthe picture to read an interesting article)

While we bicker over local politics, there are macro forces on the move that may make all discussion of who wields what power locally totally irrelevant.

Think for a moment what the ramifications of China developing oil reserves off the coast of Cuba portends for us in Central Louisiana. And the growing influence that China is exerting in South America with their investments with capital that they have earned from access to our markets.

Ah yes, did you realize that to a great extent the 400 point drop on our stock market was in large part due to the announcement that the Chinese intend to begin liquidating their investments in our bond market? Yes, the main driver for today's drop was a liquidity crisis.

Remember the old question " what does that have to do with the price of eggs in China?". It just might have a lot to do with the price of eggs in the US when our economy hits the skids.

Just as a heads up, the only sector of our economy that was floating everything else was the housing market, you finish the rest of the conclusion.

My contention is that we can ill afford further weakening our area economy by in-fighting when we need to unite to make our community as strong as possible to weather the economic storm that is approaching - fast. It is time for everyone to get involved and work together or face the perils that approach.

Does anyone realize that one of our strongest competitors in the paper products arena is China? Ask the folks at Pineville Kraft. That is one "for instance".

Do you have any opinions on the changing landscape?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Did You Sleep Well Last Night?

(click on the photo to play video)

I want to thank the members of our armed forces that do the dirty work so that we can enjoy the privilege of armchair quarterbacking world affairs in relative safety.
This video not only shows the awesome might and power of our forces and the ability to project them around the world 24/7 in all weather conditions - but the squalor and degradation that other people around the world call their lives.

While I woke up this morning to the birds singing and having no fear to my family's safety or well-being, I know many in the world were on their quest for water and a few morsels of sustenance.

It is always good to remember that, but for the grace of God, there go I, and that our leadership and military might are all that separates us from the fate of the majority of the world.

What say you?

Monday, July 30, 2007

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Ball Of Confusion
The Temptations

37 years ago this song was topping the charts during a time of turmoil and turning point in our struggle as Americans.

1, 2... 1, 2, 3, 4, Ow!

People moving out, people moving in. Why, because of the color of their skin.Run, run, run but you sure can't hide. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.Vote for me and I'll set you free. Rap on, brother, rap on.

Well, the only person talking about love thy brother is the...(preacher.)And it seems nobody's interested in learning but the...(teacher.) Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, Aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation.

Ball of confusion. Oh yeah, that's what the world is today. Woo, hey, hey.

The sale of pills are at an all time high.Young folks walking round with their heads in the sky.The cities ablaze in the summer time.

And oh, the beat goes on.

Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul.Shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon.Politicians say more taxes will solve everything.

And the band played on.

So, round and around and around we go.Where the world's headed, nobody knows.

Oh, great GoogaMooga, can't you hear me talking to you. Just a ball of confusion. Oh yeah, that's what the world is today. Woo, hey, hey.

Fear in the air, tension everywhere. Unemployment rising fast, the Beatles new record's a gas.

And the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation.

And the band played on.

Eve of destruction, tax deduction, city inspectors, bill collectors, Mod clothes in demand, population out of hand, suicide, too many bills, Hippies moving to the hills. People all over the world are shouting, 'End the war.'

And the band played on.

Great GoogaMooga, can't you hear me talking to you.Sayin'... ball of confusion.That's what the world is today, hey, hey.Let me hear ya, let me hear ya, let me hear ya.Sayin'... ball of confusion.That's what the world is today, hey, hey.Let me hear ya, let me hear ya, let me hear ya, let me hear ya, let me hear ya.Sayin'... ball of confusion.

How Far Have We Come?

Friday, July 27, 2007


This was forwarded to me by my son, an Afghanistan veteran;

One of my sons serves in the military.He is stationed stateside, here in California . He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him and his troops everywhere they go.Telling me how people shake their hands and thank them for being willing to serve and fight, not only our own freedoms but so that others may have them too.
Then he told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at yesterday, on his way home from the base. He said that several people were in the line ahead of him, including a woman dressed in a burkha. He said when she got to the cashier, she made a loud remark about the U.S. Flag, lapel pin, the cashier wore on her smock.The cashier reached up and touched the pin and said, 'Yes, I always wear it proudly, because I'm an American.'
The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.Then, a Gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward, putting his arm around my son's shoulders and nodding towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman:
Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that YOU could stand here, in MY country and accuse a check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that had you been this outspoken in YOUR own country, we wouldn't need to be there today.But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly, I'll gladly buy you a ticket and pay your way back to Iraq , so you can straighten out the Mess in YOUR country, that you are obviously here in MY country to avoid.
Everyone within hearing distance cheered! IF YOU AGREE... Pass this on to all of your proud American friends.
I just did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just Wondering?

After Saturday's tax election for the City of Alexandria, it is becoming even more painfully obvious that our citizens just do not care. If the outcome of the election was suitable to you, then all is well that ends well - until you realize that just 7% of the citizens of the City of Alexandria made a very important decision for the rest of you. Yep, 93% of the registered voters will abide by what the 7% voted for. What happened to majority rule? Well, I guess the majority has just given up - abdicated their responsibility or something. There is not an issue that is decided by the voters that warrants this poor turnout.
It is also very obvious that this phenomenon cuts across racial and socio-economic classes also. There would have to be a large number of both black and white voters absent as well as rich, middle-class and poor also to have poll numbers that low.
I can hardly think of a more important issue than a tax election , but, it appears that it would not matter what the issue.
Does anyone have any insight as to why folks will not participate in our system of governance. Is it possible that most feel that there is no use to try or the system is rigged?
Someone say something - - please.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Do We Take Our City For Granted?

Greensburg, KS, 7-16-07 -- Residents of Greensburg, KS which was destroyed by an F5 tornado put this American flag on one of the few remaining trees. FEMA is in Greensburg assisting with the rebuilding. Photo by Tim Tyson/FEMA
It is also our responsibility to ensure that our city affairs are in order to remain strong for others in their time of need, just as with Katrina and Rita. Before you cast a vote on Saturday as a reaction to recent events, think about what a no vote really means.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What Say You To The Saturday Tax Renewal ?

(Are you a good witch or a bad witch)
(click my nose)

In putting forth my not so humble opinion, I would observe that our local government works when all of us voice our opinions and then agree to let our leaders do their duties in executing the wishes of the majority when possible and following the most wise course when prudent in the face of opposition.

Such is the case with the tax renewal that is before us. It is widely observed that our city council has not been the best steward of our tax resources even when confronted with the fact that there is actually a surplus balance in the general fund. It seems that the general feeling is that there is too much discretionary revenue to feed the indiscretions of the city council and that it is time to curtail the temptation.

I wish to proffer a measured approach to the matter and would hope that cooler heads prevail at the polls. The most recent 1/2 cent increase voted in was to fund sorely needed police additions. Any retreat from that stance currently has the possibility of causing an extreme regression in the progress that has been made most evidently in community policing.

I would propose that citizens support the tax renewal with an eye to future performance by the council and administration to identify waste and duplication as well as opportunity missed to produce revenue with city assets to add to the general fund coffers. While the current council has shown a penchant for ever-increasing operational budget, a change of persons holding office with more fiscally educated and conservative leanings could easily roll back the revenues required to operate the city. All that is lacking is the right persons to come forward to serve and a recall suit for those that are currently holding the city council seats.

The budget is structured to have record of all expenses contained within cost centers. All of the cost centers are known and have established a track record over the years and are organized along departmental lines. The current administration can reign in expenses by cooperative oversight with department heads and appears to be working in that direction. Once they have established the budgeted amounts are actually what is necessary to run those departments efficiently, then any excess may be returned to the general fund and departments ratcheted down to readjust the budget for next year while maintaining a satisfactory level of services. If no significant savings are found within departments, then it will be obvious that the current funding level is necessary.

All of that to say this, we do not want to experience a drop in police or fire protection as these go directly to the security of our city. Any cuts to other departments would jeopardize the health of our citizens if performance is not adequate in water, sewer, sanitation, mosquito control, etc.

In summary, it is most prudent to pass the tax renewals and then press the administration to operate as conservatively as possible until the next budget can be submitted. During that time, all districts must impress upon their council members and the two at-large members the importance of returning to a position of fiscal restraint or face removal from office. There are qualified people living among us that would be good leaders, they just don't want to join the circus to serve their community. If our city council cannot find it within themselves to rise to the occasion, when we must rise to remove them from office for the general good.

The good people of Alexandria should remember that when they had questions about extremely high utility bills and crime sprees, all they got from their leaders were blank stares, shoulder shrugs, and dreams of spray parks. Enough is enough.

It is time to expect our leaders to lead and if they cannot, then they need to get the hell out of the way. We just may have to give them a nudge.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Will You Forge Alexandria's Future?

(Click on the picture of Mayor Roy to be taken to his speech)
Take the time, if you have not already done so, to listen to the thoughts of our mayor and his vision of the future of Alexandria.
It would be my observation that at this point in time, our handicaps are relatively small and of our own perception and making.
Our future is limited by our lack of cooperation, vision, and accurate assessment of our status quo. To the point that our collective futures are limited, will reflect our ability to reconcile our individual self-interest with the common good.
Whatever your station or path you walk, the power is yours to make Alexandria a better place.
Get committed.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What A Great Country!!!

I have since returned to Alexandria andI know it has been a while since the last post but I had been working 16 hour days to build a temporary town for the folks of Greensburg, Kansas. It felt good to be back in the operator's seat of dozers, trackhoes, and loaders to shape the earth to make a place for the people that were wiped out by the tornado earlier this year. Yes, the destruction was total. I think two houses and the motel at the edge of town survived, but not much else.

It also feels good to have met the crew of Pigmasters (, the folks that traveled for 20 hours from North Carolina to feed the towns folk with their style of barbeque pork while sharing the love of our fellow countrymen with the folks that really needed to know that others care. They brought everything they needed while a packing house in Dodge City donated the pigs to throw a celebration feast and get together for the folks that have lost almost everything.

All I can say is that we were very fortunate two years aqo when we had Katrina and Rita spare our city and all of you can be proud of the emmissaries Central Louisiana has sent forth to help as the general impression from the locals was that they were very thankful for such kind, polite, hard-working, respectful, and respectable folks to visit aid upon them.
Maybe we should count our blessings. We come from good stock.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How Would You Like Your Taco, Senior~

It is difficult to condense all of my observations while in New Orleans for the past two weeks, but this says it all. In the midst of monumental waste and fraud in the "Road Home Program", the minimum one-a-day body count, the convoy to march on Baton Rouge that had radio reporters at 9:00am pick-up sites commenting at 10:00am - Well ya' know how New Orleanians are - when no one but local officials and stragglers boarded, the item of the day was TACO TRUCKS. Yep, Taco Trucks. Somehow, the entrepreneurial spirit and drive that motivates one to equip and cater to a hard working clientele is adverse to the lazy, slovenly ways of the natives and they just won't take it anymore. BAN THE TACO TRUCKS - WE ARE MAD AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!

By the way, we have forgotten just how much they suffer and that they are still the powerhouse of the state economy and deserve as much tax money as they can coerce from us rural folk since they contribute more to the state than anyone else.

ARROGANCE WITH YOUR HAND OUT sums it up Mr.'s Nagin & Jefferson

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Love My Channel Four!!!

Yes, and a spectacle it is. But I love it. Where in the world can one be both educated on local government in minute detail while being so entertained? And it is FREE - until you consider that part of the general fund is composed of overages due to utility billing excess and that is where the money comes from to pay for the show, which will make one cry - unless you don't think about it and let channel four be what it can be - a glorious folly - which is hilarious - except it mirrors our community - which makes me want to cry - which makes me think I may be bi-polar - that leads me to the conclusion that I must be nuts for living here - except I am in extraordinarily good company judging by the characters in our community - which makes me happy. Be there or be square - Au natural'.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Who Is Looking Out For You, Baby?

While there seems to be a great amount of disdain for Larry English and his filing of a class action suit against the City of Alexandria, one must observe that the ongoing action between CLECO and COA involves those entities and not necessarily the express interests of the citizens of Alexandria vis-a-vis possible past utility overcharges or refunds to the citizens. Is it possible that the class suit will get answers that have to date not been forthcoming or will it further cloud the issue and allow "attorney gold mining"?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This Is Really Why We Are In Iraq

I have laid out the case in previous posts that we are in Iraq and Afghanistan as a precursor to the solution of Iranian nuclear armaments whether it be by diplomacy or force, it will happen. The following link is an interesting article that shows how close to the brink we are.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cabrini Parking Hearing

We can surmise from the pan shot of the people in attendance at the meeting that there was opposition to the planned acquisition. Since the Town Talk and KALB have both done puff pieces to fulfill their obligation to cover the story, can anyone else enlighten the rest of us as to what transpired? How good is Cabrini's case and how sensible and adamant is the opposition?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Deal? Or No Deal?

Not to be the pessimist, but it is hard to bake a cake without the proper amounts of the correct ingredients and Cyntreniks was short 138.72 pounds of Ben Franklins to make the Bentley deal stick. Time to move on. The Bentley has historic significance to our community and is in need of preservation, no doubt. Who among us has the finances or business acumen to feed the white elephant all it will consume to have as a status symbol we can refer to as a landmark? Can a consortium of local investors be assembled to form an operating group that can lease the Bentley from Mr. Dean and have a satisfactory outcome? So far, no one in our community is stepping up - so why would any outsider be more aggressive. Does anyone have any observations that would make the downtown environment conducive to the economically viable operation of the Bentley Hotel? I would close by saying that we should all realize that Mr. Dean owns the Bentley hotel - not any one of us. It is rather disrespectful to discuss the outcome of the Bentley without the input of Mr. Dean - after all, it is he who owns the property. Any thoughts?

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's Deja Vu All Over Again!!!

Little did I know that the previous post was an invitation for the Board of Directors of Cabrini to feel the minds of the citizens of Alexandria had gone blank also. There is no need to ask why - just how many attempts are they going to make before success in blacktopping ballparks is achieved. Maybe Rapides needs to be the primary caregiver of choice for a while until they see the error of their ways. Care for the community ? - my fat hairy ass!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Roll The Dice Anyone?

Again, I have dredged up the past as it may be a guide to our future. Read the article and see how you answer this question plucked from the end of the article.

Are we sufficiently confident to bet the nation's welfare--and perhaps its security--on the premise that history has taken its last wrenching turn?

A Voice From The Past - Sixteen And A Half years Later

This article was written in December of 1990 and bears review for those of you that believe that Russia is no threat and have not paid attention to recent stirrings of their discontent with their place in the world.

Just a Little Cow Town That Fancies Itself A Metroplex

It amazes me that the folk of our town bandy about one word characterizations of our city, like growth, crossroads, etc., that somehow allow them to believe that we are in one of the major metroplexes of the civilized world. It gives me pain to break it to you, but Rapides Parish has a population the size of some of Dallas's subdivisions which is fine because on balance, this is a pretty good place to live. Our growth just will not carry us to megatropolis standards in the next few years and Lord help us if it did because we have no plan. And that is the point. According to the Alexandria City Charter, the Rapides Area Planning Commission (a misnomer) is designated as the planning body for the city. Of course it doesn't work and sets up a situation for finger pointing and retorts of "it's not my job" as people develop properties in ever meandering and mixed use ways, then wonder why there are conflicts with commercial encroaching on residential and so forth. Does anyone else see a lack of cohesive and comprehensive planning for our area or is it just me?

Friday, May 4, 2007

I Have A Dream - And It Is Coming True

While searches and capacity caps are the antithesis of open meetings at the Alexandria City Council, I am joyous that public interest has risen to this level. There is no quarreling with the necessity of searches as the exchanges and opinions have become more heated and the number cap has been posted for a long time as the chamber safely holds 72 people by fire marshall standards. If this keeps up, the council may need to buy a big scream TV (ebonically correct pronunciation) for the city hall steps.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I Want My Car Back!!!

I find it amazing that folks that should know would gloss over a litle ole constitutional matter like illegal search and seizure. Using the Town Talk figures of roughly $850.00 in towing and storage fees and extrapolating that to the stated 500 cars - appears to be an exposure amount of $425,000.00 for that alone. Let's see, now we have attorney fees, damage to property, defense of employees for criminal trespass, etc. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe someone did not think this through? What say you, Mr. Citizen?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Loose Ends?

OK, the silence is deafening on several items that I would have thought there would a mere mention of some kind over the past couple of weeks.
1. The Bentley Deal
2. The CLECO Deal
3. The second set of books kept by the city involving employee hospitalization.
4. The utility rate quandary the citizens find themselves in.
5. Any other deal I have missed but that you wish to add to the list.
Am I over-reacting?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I Applaud Your Effort Michelle

I am quite sure that by now you are having some of the same emotions our local teachers experience as they deal with some of their "thick as a brick" students. Please continue your blog efforts as meaningful dialogue takes time to develop. "Brickheads" come with the territory.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What the Hell Does That Have To Do With The Price Of Eggs In China??!!?

Growing up in Wakkanai was a unique experience that exposed me to a culture half a world away in an extreme climate and caused me to look at the world differently. While some of you may think this is all about me, I can assure you that this is merely an attempt to share my experience in hopes that you too may look at the world differently and how global events affect you personally.

Wakkanai is a fishing port famous for King Crab as well as anything else they could dredge from the sea while having snow was on the ground from September until June and in the hills during August. Springtime saw the sun at 2:00AM during the kelp harvest as dark came at 9:00pm and winter permitted the sun to work 8 hours at best. It was a harsh climate with hardy people working to harness the bounty of the sea.

Today, its port activities are gearing for offshore oil exploration since the Kuril islands are one of the petro hot spots of today with some of the largest deposits of natural gas as yet unmapped. Both Russia and China are laying claim to the area with Japan asserting that have always maintained sovereignty over the area.

It does something to a 7 year old kid that has just seen JFK murdered and the event splashed over the TV while living under nuclear threat and focusing on it more intently because his Air Force family is flying halfway around the world to live in a land of ice and snow where the nuclear enemy could be seen on a clear day while living in an information blackout. On occasion, we were confined to our housing units because of Russian May Day protests and other events while armed guards patrolled our perimeter fence. It was quite a shock upon our return to see hippies protesting at San Francisco International while we enjoyed our first glass of fresh milk in three and a half years. Vietnam had escalated while we were overseas and America had changed from Ozzie and Harriet to a cauldron of racial and social turmoil topped with Vietnam War protest, all while we were trapped in our own little time warp. I grew up not trusting politicians because I had seen the action behind the headlines and knew it did not square with what was being fed to the general public. Hence I have always had a healthy skepticism of what is found in the press and an appreciation of the importance of seemingly insignificant information.

A prime example is the KAL 007 incident. While I was not there at the time of the downing, the function of our outpost was to monitor all electronic activity that could be picked up in the area. It had long been a practice for stripped B-58 Hustlers to skirt Russian airspace to incite a response in order to map communication and fighter response tactics for future US penetration strategies. Evidently, the Russkies had enough by the time KAL 007 wandered into their airspace and got splashed. Some bodies and debris from the wreckage did wash up on the shores of Wakkanai, hence the memorial. The lesson learned here is that the Russians knew KAL 007 was a passenger flight as they had trailed it visually for some time and shot it down with no apology because it was within their airspace. Done deal. End of story. They had also been provoked for some time prior to the event and made a cold, calculated decision to set an example to the rest of the world that they were to be feared while the rest of us talked about whether they were right or wrong.

Also, it was common practice for Russian trawlers to be present within sight of our base and occasionally capture a fishing boat and crew. Sometimes they returned the boat, sometimes not. The fate of the crews were not disclosed publicly but it was common knowledge that the Russians turned them into coal miners on Sahkalin where they slaved to their death. These stories were common while illustrating the barbaric capabilities of the Russian government.

Because of their heritage, geography, and loss of territory and status, the Russian bear has been wounded. This is why we should realize that our involvement in the Middle East is a battle not only with Islamic extremist but with Russian surrogates that cause us to expend wealth, military assets, and develop internal tensions and divisions. Russia is also why we gave most favored nation trade status to the Chinese over human rights concerns so that their meteoric economic development will cause Russia to focus more on their territorial integrity than military expansion and adventurism. This pressure will be seen in the Siberian territory that has been sparsely populated by Russians and increasingly encroached upon by the Chinese as they both vie with the Japanese to develop the oilfields of the subarctic seas . Even with economic competition for energy resources of the Middle East, increasing industrialization of China and India will drive the East to locate and develop petroleum assets causing possible military conflict and conquests of contested territory.

To some of you, I am quite sure that this scenario sounds like recent history with the perceived demise of the USSR mixed with old domino theory , but I can assure you that with a little research, you may find that the near future will prove the wisdom of our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq and what is at stake is nothing less than our survival as a country.

Now that we have been around the world to get here, this is my message. NAFTA is possibly the initial blueprint to unite Canada, Mexico, and the United States if not in one country, at least in a loose confederation to be able to withstand the changes that are occurring in the East. Therefore, we in Louisiana cannot afford to accept the so-called leadership and current government structure of our state and local entities if we are going to be able to have the flexibility and ability to ride the wave of change that is engulfing our fair state. Our current system governs roughly 4.8 million people to date. With the state level and the 64 parish and subsequent municipal subdivisions, we are supporting more government structure with tax revenues than actually accomplishing objectives. Our system of government within our state was and is becoming increasingly cumbersome and counterproductive. Bouncing down our state and local highways should remind you that the rubber is not meeting the road, especially where government performance is concerned. I feel it is time to have a bottom to top review of what is broke and what works and look to consolidate governmental entities in order to remove duplication, inefficiency, and tax load to citizens and commerce.

Does anyone see that Louisiana still has a plantation mentality? We have a wealth of natural resources that would be he envy of many other states from minerals to petroleum, timber, livestock, seafood, the ability to raise citrus and about any other crop that is useful to mankind.

So why is it that we do not focus on maximizing our resources and export value added products?

I also wonder when we will receive our first shipment of eggs from China?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is He a Good Witch or a Bad Witch??

Well, Mayor Roy has been in office past 100 days and my curiosity has me asking what do folks think of the way our new mayor is handling his office? Personally, I feel he is doing what I hoped he would. It appears that he has surveyed the operations of the city thoroughly while defining his role in our government and reminding the city council of theirs. He has also defined areas of need and requested assistants to aid handling issues in that area. While I might disagree with the expenditure of funds and expansion of city gorvernment, I am quite sure Mayor Roy can make the case for additional assistants as the areas of concern he has identified are not going to fix themselves or go away. What say you?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ultra-Conservative or Realist

I wish the world would realize that armed conflict is a terrible waste of precious resources both in material wealth and human life which embodies unknown potential for creativity and betterment of our planet. I resign myself to know every organism operates in its own self interest. Herein lies the dilemma between Liberal thought and Conservative thought, not the common destination of world peace and prosperity, but the path that will have us arrive. Is it possible to begin a dialogue as to whether we actually possess the same long term goal? If so, then is it a matter of how to get there? I have never sought to classify myself as liberal or conservative as that seems to be a polarizing exercises that creates division and stops progress. Is it possible that our conversation become more goal oriented? Or should we choose the path first to see where it leads? Any thoughts?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And The Definition Of Insanity Is?

John Breaux, Don Imus and assundry local vocals have one thing in common, they lack the ability to assess right and wrong as well as act accordingly. The test for us as citizens is whether we have the ability to see through the fog created when all of the hot air meets cold hard facts. Or maybe there is no right and wrong - only what one can get away with. Do you view the world through the prism of your self interest also - or is there an absolute right and wrong?

Monday, April 9, 2007

How Financial Pain Sharpens Citizen Interest -or- Does It Inspire People to Vote with Their Feet???

My, my, this month's utility bill was so high I thought it was the house payment. Get used to it until all of Alexandria is willing to do a reality check.
How did we get here you ask? Better yet, what are we going to do about it? Well, maybe it is time for you to throw in your two cents.

1. Tremendously escalated natural gas prices used to fuel electrical power generating plants nationwide. Natural gas burns clean and has been used as a replacement fuel in older coal and oil fired plants in order to comply with EPA emission requirements for sulphur - therefore driving up demand for natural gas exponentially.

2. Locally, we as a city are unregulated by the PSC because our municipal body is the regulating body for utility rates. In other words, the city council sets rates and handles complaints. CLECO is regulated as to its rate delivered to the city.

3. Our electrical utilities are set up just as the many other departments that the city must administer and a wise thing was done years back and that was to set each department up as a cost center. The reason this is important to understand is that as a cost center, all income is applied against all expenses and the resulting figure, (that most of us would refer to as a profit or loss) is expressed as a surplus or deficit to indicate possible needs or inefficiencies in that particular department.
That brings us to the simple principle that we buy our electricity which is metered into the city distribution system and then distributed to users as metered service. The difference between the two (and yes there is one) is referred to as line loss. The margin between the two must be marked-up to cover costs as no governmental body can give away a thing of value.
Line loss is the natural loss of electricity that is bled off power lines due to atmospheric conditions, line contact with limbs, and un-metered service such as street lights and power theft. Note that the expansion of incorporated areas has the consequence of additional street lighting and anyone that is receiving power and not paying for it is cost-absorbed by rate-payers .
In the recent KALB utility story, mark-up was highlighted in their cursory review of rates.
This is just a kick off of the discussion and your input and insights are welcome to help identify what has rapidly become a huge negative for the residents and businesses here and anyone that is considering locating to Alexandria.
After all, it has been my contention that government needs to do what it does best in the governmental arena to make our community most attractive while leaving privates sector functions to the free-market. How well this municipal function is managed will have a great impact on future city development . It is all on paper for anyone that understands to have the data to formulate future policy. What say you?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Lesson in Human History - Author Unknown

The following was discovered in the Spanky library and composed by unknown author. While I find no accompanying sources - it could happen. Does your family history have any resemblance to this thesis and if so, do you feel your political outlook has been shaped by your family history? What say you?
A Lesson in Human History
The division of the human family into its two distinct political branches occurred some 10,000 years ago, when humans coexisted as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers.

The pivotal event of societal evolution was the invention of beer.This epochal event was both the foundation of modern civilization and the occasion of the bifurcation of humanity into its two distinct subgroups: Liberals and Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain, and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so it was necessary to stick close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days killing animals to barbecue at night while they were drinking beer.
This was the beginning of the conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting, learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly barbecues and doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the liberal movement. An interesting evolutionary side note: some of these early liberal men eventually evolved into women.

Liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the trade union, the invention of group therapy and group hugs, and the concept of democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that the conservatives provided.

Over the years, conservatives became to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth.

Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men.

Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists,dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't "fair" to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer, They eat red meat, and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters,rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, soldiers, athletes,and generally anyone who works productively outside government.

Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.
Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the wild west was tame and created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history.

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. -- Lyndon B. Johnson

Blogomania On The Rough Side

I offer kudos to Michelle of Cenlamedia for opening dialogue between the rabble and the media. My only wish is that folk would be a bit more civil.
When I was a younger person and on an occasion that I was not being particularly diplomatic or pleasant, a gentleman older than I reminded me that one could catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar. Not that anyone reading this may have a particular interest in collecting flies, but should understand the gist of the saying. Am I being overly sensitive or are Cenlamedia posters being extraordinarily surly??? Or have good manners just gone out of style??

Monday, April 2, 2007

Positively Positive Suggestions

OK, I have done it to myself now and have absolutely overdosed on negativity, so, the new rule on this post is, if you bring a problem you must bring a solution. The subject base is wide-open and the only moderated comments will be the abusive ones. By the way, everyone to date has been non-abusive so it is possible to conduct a dialogue in a civil manner. I have not rejected the first post. Have a wonderful Monday and know that for all of the nay saying, we are still a city where strangers greet and talk like old friends - a rare quality my years of traveling have revealed to me.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Hotel Bentley Follies

First of all, the Bentley is an invaluable part of our local history and in my opinion needs to be a monument to our history, not a grave marker to our folly. With the impetus to "Save the Bentley", let us realize several observations that should guide our actions as citizens.
(1) Bob Dean LLC purchased the Bentley for 5 million in 1998 - The current sale price of 12.5 million appears to be exorbitant in light of the fact that maintenance was lacking and a city water main burst and flooded the basement causing extensive damage as well as property values have not appreciated to that extent in our area. I do not recall a bidding war between prospective buyers either.
(2) The Hotel Bentley ability to book rooms was reliant on the Riverfront Convention Center for convention bookings that were anticipated and never materialized and are not present today. Hence, downtown development must be more solid before there is a revenue base for the hotel.
(3) The city's penchant for using your tax dollars for questionable real estate development is well documented for those that care to remember or research the facts.
(4) Doesn't Bob Dean deserve consideration for "cooperative endeavors" as much as Cyntrenics and wouldn't it be a lesser debt load for the city since he already owns the property needing only assistance with garnering business and renovation, not the additional revenue needed for acquisition?
I am sure there are more observations, but these get us started on a discussion.
The current deal stinks and the city needs to run from it like a three week old can of bad tuna.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Where is the fire?

If anyone thinks that they see a pattern on this blog, they may be correct if they have guessed that we are opening discussions on every department in the city of Alexandria. In the spirit of self-analysis, I will admit that I am off-base on some things, but I am going to throw a ball fairly often or I would be a lazy pitcher. I am looking for you to call 'em when they are bad and throw your two cents in. No offense intended and none taken.
Now to the subject at hand. I had visited a fire station a couple of years ago and discovered a very sad, but interesting circumstance. After some small talk, I was shown a pumper truck with a hole in the tank that was not allowed to be repaired for budgetary reasons. So, you say, big deal, just hook up to the hydrant. Great advice except that the adapter (est. cost $120.00) to connect the supply hose was kept on the ladder truck and, by God, the city was NOT going to buy another one for the pumper.
The firemen on duty were fairly satisfied with their pay and scheduled raises as their union has been fairly good negotiators at the state level and taken mandatory pay raises out of the hands of local officials (which was wise). To me, the Fire Department appears to be well staffed, trained and equipped. I form this judgement because I do not hear anything to the contrary. I will admit this is a faulty way of making a judgement because that is what I thought whenever the story about the adapter was relayed to me. I was also reminded that failure to perform as intended leads to loss of life in their business. Any observations?

What is the plan Stan? Do we have one?

I waited with bated breath as the city announce that there was a study commissioned to study future growth in our fair city. It was talked about in the news now and then and appeared to take quite a while to compile, so I am expecting much information with maps and statistics and a PLAN. That was a few years ago and I have a copy that I have read and is gathering dust in one of my file cabinets. Alexandria 2010 (the title of the study) was much ado about what a lot of us already know, like population and the highways that cross here and what kind of industry we have here. In all earnest, the study was a fair analysis of our city at that point in time - nothing more.
For $400,000.00 I would expect a thorough analysis of our city, plus a plan. Like a more sensible layout for the main arteries that we use, or what industries would best fit our population skill set, or what would suit the blighted and barren areas within the corporate limits.
The only plan that folks in charge seem to have these days is how to study separating the public from their tax dollars at 200 and 400 thousand a whack. OK, enough whining because a lot of us already know the score and I am now obligated to offer a solution.
Maybe some space in the newly acquired utilities building could be dedicated for a war room complete the three basic items for planning as follows; (1) a big map (2) a big conference table (3) a coffee pot. Just add some folks , look at the map, have some coffee, and come up with a plan. Does anyone think we could do this for less than $400,000.00. I have a conference table to donate, a map shouldn't cost too much from the RAPC (which is actually designated as our city planning body - see the charter), I am sure we could scrounge a coffee pot, and I would bet we could get enough folks with diverse talent and interests to provide input. Any takers?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More Power to the People

Does anyone have much knowledge about our power plant and distribution system? I personally believe that we have a much underutilized asset that some in power would love to sell for scrap - it has already been suggested a few years ago. It is a dual fuel ( natural gas and number 2 fuel oil) so it is flexible. I have recently often wondered how efficient it would be if we could have gotten our hands on some of that cheap #2 that Hugo Chavez was trying to give away back in the winter?

GAEDA love 'em

My concern with GAEDA since its inception was; 1. it took legislation sponsored by Rick Farrar to be able to create such an entity. 2. The board operates in a manner insulated by the city council from the voters. 3. It has the power to fee (tax) without direct voter approval.
In a recent Town Talk article, it was noted that plans for the area around city park were being held confidential. What kind of crap is that? Or is it a glimpse of more to come? Help me fill in the blanks please.