I spent the last few days away from Alexandria, both in Houston (during the weekend with college friends) and in New Orleans (participating in a national conference held by the Environmental Protection Agency), and I have to admit that I am completely dumbfounded and flabbergasted by the idiotic accusations recently hurled toward my boss, Mayor Jacques Roy.
Let me be frank:
If you are a City Councilman, after four years of litigation against Cleco, then you should know the inside and outside of this lawsuit. You should know this case like the back of your hand.
If you’re a City Councilman still confused about who stands to benefit from this lawsuit or who represents the City, then, simply put, you are incompetent and unfit to represent the interests of the taxpaying citizens of Alexandria.
You should resign your seat in order to provide an opportunity for someone who actually understands the details of this lawsuit; otherwise, your ignorance will continue to unduly burden the taxpayers of Alexandria.
If you’re a City Councilman who doesn’t understand that the Mayor is a public official of the City of Alexandria and not a lawyer representing the City, then you’re either stupid or dazzlingly unqualified.
To those attorneys on the Alexandria City Council who have lobbed such accusations, aren’t you duty-bound to report “evidence” of improprieties to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel?
Then again, I suppose that if your “evidence” is primarily anonymous comments on blogs, then it’s doubly difficult, particularly whenever you know many of those comments were composed and published by your friends.
(And believe me, your friends do a terrible job of covering their footprints.)
Amen! Amen! Amen!
Or should I say Clowns with out makeup?
If they think there is a problem and want some official call as to who is right or wrong the only thing they must do is file a complaint with the ethics board and they will be given an official response. Of course, on second thought, doing that would put the matter to bed and it could not be brought up in the future to put out fires when they pay $150 for a hamburger. Better just keep doing what we are doing. Using rhetoric with no facts.
Lamar, everyone knows Myron Lawson has been blowing it out of his ass for years, partly due to gas (from spending $70,000 on BBQ ribs), but mainly because he’s a power-hungry hack.
Now don’t hold back, Lamar, tell us how you Really feel!
Well put and with a chaser, you.
By the way “Rebellion (Lies)” is a fantastic song by a fantastic band. “Rebellion” is on Funeral By Arcade Fire. Check out “Wake Up” on the same album. One of my favorite songs of all time. “Wake up” can be pointed to the citizens of Alexandria to pay attention to the true motives of some of its councilmen.
Editilla, on this particular issue, I don’t believe in holding back, even at my own peril.
Accusing someone of malfeasance is a serious charge, particularly when the accusation is made in a public meeting by a public official.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that if you’re going to make such an accusation, you should probably have your facts straight, and you shouldn’t be relying on the idle speculation of anonymous bloggers on the Internet or the gossip you pick up from your friends.
Either way, the truth is easy enough to come by, and this issue has already been beaten like a dead horse.
By way of background, for those of you unaware, here’s a (condensed) version of the story:
More than four years ago, two former employees of Cleco alleged that the utility company had systematically defrauded the City of Alexandria. Cleco filed suit against those two employees and EMS, a company created by David Pugh, one of those former employees.
A few months later, the City filed suit against Cleco; that case is currently set to go to trial in February 2010.
Two completely different cases: Cleco versus their former employees (which is actually three different lawsuits), and the City versus Cleco.
This all occurred during the previous administration, over a year before Jacques Roy even considered running for Mayor.
Anyway, the other former Cleco employee, Sam Sansing, hired Chris Roy, Sr., who then assigned the case to his son Jacques, to defend him against the employment suit filed by Cleco.
Notably, Sansing didn’t actually have a contract with Jacques Roy; his contract was with Chris Roy, Sr. But either way, prior to being elected Mayor, Jacques Roy represented Sansing.
Sure, it may be a little convoluted, but if you’re tasked with understanding these issues, it shouldn’t be too difficult. The employment dispute, for all intents and purposes, has absolutely nothing to do with the City’s case. Yes, some of the players overlap, and yes, the reason the City is now embroiled in litigation against Cleco is primarily because of the accusations leveled by those former employees. But regardless, the employment dispute deals with a completely different set of issues than the City’s case. The roles are reversed.
Still following me?
So three years ago, Jacques Roy decided to run for Mayor of Alexandria. During the campaign, one of his opponents suggested that Roy was a key player in the City’s case against Cleco, even though he wasn’t. At the time, a top adviser for his opponent’s campaign said this strategy was aimed to “confuse the voters” (and yes, that is a direct quote).
Now I know, some of you may be wondering how such a strategy could possibly gain any traction. The City was dealing with the most significant lawsuit in its history; why would it be a negative if one of the candidates already had a direct role in the suit (even though he didn’t)?
The simple reason: Money.
At the time, the City was primarily represented by attorneys who weren’t interested in having taxpayers pay them an hourly rate or a lump sum; instead, they wanted taxpayers to give them a significant portion of any potential settlement. The whole thing smelled bad, and the public knew it. So the strategy, even though it was patently dishonest, probably made some sense to Roy’s political opponents: If they could paint him as another “pig at the trough,” which is exactly what they did, then maybe they could undermine his credibility and, thus, his electability.
Again, it didn’t matter that Jacques Roy was a defense attorney in a completely different case; they only wanted to advance the meme that Roy was just another fat cat attorney waiting for a windfall from the City’s Cleco case.
Ultimately, the strategy didn’t work, and the public was wise enough to pick up on the lie.
But apparently, his political opponents are still consulting with the same playbook, ostensibly hoping that if they revisit this issue now, something will stick– or, at the very least, that they will earn a couple of articles with the words “ethics probe” and “Mayor Roy” in the same sentence.
It didn’t stick then, and it won’t stick now. Why? Because the whole strategy is based on a lie, a fundamental misunderstanding of the issues; it’s a strategy built on the politics of personal destruction. It’s irresponsible, unfounded, divisive, and counter-productive.
But most importantly, it’s unfortunate for the City. It distracts us from focusing on the issues that truly matter, from the work yet to be done, because, instead, we’re all forced to spend precious time and energy confronting and discussing a ridiculous, easily and already debunked lie.