For the record:
During the last four years, I have learned, first-hand, about the hazards and the pitfalls of publishing an open website about my own impressions of life in Central Louisiana. And without a doubt, I’ve made it doubly difficult for myself, because although my website is a hobby, something that I do on my own free time, my job is in public service, as an assistant to the Mayor of my hometown. I am humbled and honored to work for and serve my hometown, and I think that anyone who regularly reads this blog can attest that I care strongly and think deeply about the future of Alexandria, even if you disagree with some of my opinions and observations.
For better or worse, I have been taught to write fearlessly, to say what I mean, to welcome and nurture a thoughtful debate on the issues, and to not shy away from writing about my own personal experiences.
Sometimes, the conversations can get heated. Sometimes, I say the wrong things. I try my hardest to ensure for the integrity of my own words. When I am wrong, when my facts aren’t straight and my words aren’t precise, I will admit it. I have no problem admitting when I make “stupid” mistakes.
But in a community as small as Alexandria, I also believe it is critically important to stand up for yourself whenever someone is publicly publishing lies about you.
So, I want to make this abundantly clear: Greg Aymond, one of Central Louisiana’s most prolific and outspoken bloggers, has consistently and repeatedly lied about me, the nature of my work, my blog, and my character. Mr. Aymond has earned his fair share of press throughout the last few years. The local media has referred to him as a “watchdog” and as some sort of expert in public records requests, which, with all due respect to our local media, really speaks to their own dereliction of duties.
Yesterday, in a convoluted response to my post about economic development in the knowledge-based economy, a response that, incidentally, had nothing to do with the subject at hand (he believed I was writing about smart growth), Mr. Aymond wrote that I was a “political whore, bullshit artist, and (sic) best taxpayer supported blogger in CenLa,” and then proceeded to accuse me of accepting advertisement revenue from the campaign of David Vitter and challenged me to write about the need for “smart, honest, open, (sp) politicians.”
I’ve written a lot about the need for smart, honest, and open politicians, but I haven’t written much about the need for smart, honest, and open bloggers.
Let’s get this out of the way:
Anyone who claims that I have ever earned a single penny off of this website is lying. Flat-out lying.
Anyone who suggests that I willingly and knowingly place advertisements on this blog is lying. If you see an ad on this website, it’s because of the browser you’re using, not because I allow ads.
Anyone who suggests that I operate this blog while working at my job is lying. Flat-out lying. Again, this is a hobby of mine, something that I publish and maintain from the comfort of my own home, on my own personal computer, and on my own time.
Anyone who suggests that this blog is supported by taxpayer dollars is lying. Flat-out lying.
Anyone who suggests that I am merely serving as a mouthpiece for someone else is lying. I think and write for myself.
And anyone who suggests I am hiding my website’s hit counts is lying. Top right-hand corner. It’s been there all along.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know I have been critical of Mr. Aymond before. I’ve called attention to what I believe to be his incendiary comments about African-Americans, and I’ve reminded readers of his brief but public stint in the Ku Klux Klan. I’ve called him to task for lying about statements made by an employee of the Ethics Administration, when he attempted to assert that a public official filing an extension for a personal financial disclosure report was somehow committing a crime, and I’ve criticized him for his representation of and personal relationship with Richard Barrett, the late leader of a White Nationalist organization.
But as critical as I have been, I have never invented a series of flat-out lies about him. The worst thing I’ve ever called him is a bully.
Frankly, I’ve never considered Mr. Aymond to be a “watchdog;” to me, he’s more like my neighbor’s Pomeranian: yappy, self-important, and relentlessly annoying. And as much as Greg Aymond likes to commend himself for being so well-educated, he consistently and constantly mangles the English language like a newly-immigrated 12-year-old student in an ESL course. (Maybe this is worse than calling him a bully, but you know what? It’s true. If he wants to promote himself as so intellectually superior, then the least he can do is learn how to spell words like “Congratulations.” Really, not that difficult).
But back to the point: The guy is lying, repeatedly, almost pathologically. Dambala of The American Zombie is a citizen watchdog and a public records aficionado; Greg Aymond of CentralLaPolitics is, for the most part, nothing more than a bad fiction writer who learned how to use the Control-C and Control-V functions on his keyboard in order to recycle stories written by other people. However critical Dambala may be about public officials and however much he may write about alleged corruption, you get the feeling that he actually loves and is passionate about Louisiana. After reading Greg Aymond’s blog for the last few years, I think he may love his Confederate heritage (in all seriousness), but I have never considered him to be a true champion of our region or our State.
In all the years he has been blogging, I’ve never- not once- read anything that he has written about why he loves living in Central Louisiana. And perhaps that is because the man who publishes and operates CentralLaPolitics doesn’t really like Central Louisiana. For years, he has exuded anger and resentment, a type of sad and pent-up frustration that he sublimates by inventing stories about corruption and fraud. Last week, for example, when the City of Alexandria announced its intention to apply for grant funding from the Louisiana Recovery Authority in order to make certain drainage repairs, Greg Aymond imagined fraud. Someone, call the FBI; they may be getting a grant! He’s been so woefully ignorant about the waiver granted in order to allow Central Louisiana to repair alleged deficiencies along our federal levees (all of which are outside of the Alexandria city limits) that he has publicly campaigned against it. He opposes infrastructure improvements in the inner-city because he believes it’s simply political pandering toward African-Americans.
I doubt he and I will ever see eye-to-eye, but I can promise this much: I believe in this community and its future. I cannot, in good conscience, say the same thing about Central Louisiana’s self-styled “watchdog.” Watchdogs look after something that they care about and want to protect, and I’ve seen little evidence that Mr. Aymond actually cares about Central Louisiana, no matter how prolific he is as a blogger or how frequently he recycles the local news on his website.