To my friend and colleague Joe Page, a former City Councilman and one of the most decent, intelligent, and fair-minded people I have ever encountered:

There aren’t many people in the City of Alexandria, Louisiana who have dedicated their entire professional career to public service.

Joe Page is, without any doubt, an exceptional leader and public servant. He’s soft-spoken man who possesses a deep and abiding belief in his own community. Yesterday, at the conclusion of a press briefing, he spoke his mind as a citizen, and I commend him for his courage, his tenacity, and his integrity.

Like Mr. Page, I didn’t clear my remarks with anyone. I speak as a taxpaying citizen of the Great City of Alexandria.

Yet, somehow, without any attribution, this is what Town Talk reporter Bret McCormick writes about Mr. Page’s statements:

His speech raises questions about what should and shouldn’t be aired over Channel 4, which by law is supposed to be prohibited from broadcasting political speech.

I’ve met Bret McCormick a handful of times. Like me, Bret’s also a blogger who operates his own personal website on the side, though, unlike Bret, I’d never exploit his own personal website for a story.

I am certain I will catch some criticism for saying this, but again, Bret reported Mr. Page’s “speech raises questions about what should and shouldn’t be aired over Channel Four.” Who raised those questions? Where were they raised?

Mr. Page has just as much of a right to express his opinion as Gayle Underwood, a woman who speaks on camera in almost every publicly-televised meeting, and no one would ever dispute her right.

Except, of course, for Gayle Underwood.

Gayle Underwood said, on G. Aymond’s blog:
If Mr. Page is using the channel 4 as a private citzen (sic) does this mean that if a citzen in attendance at the briefing should also give them the right to speak or ask a question? Would like a written answer to this for the Adminstration (sic).They have my address and all phone numbers. 

Gayle, THIS IS NOT ANY TYPE OF OFFICIAL RESPONSE, but for crying out loud, you’re on Government Access Television more than anyone else outside of city government. Anyone and everyone who pays attention to city government has heard from you. (And you know, Gayle, I don’t care if I sound like a spoiled or entitled brat, because that is not who I am: But a couple of years ago, during a public meeting, I remember a wonderful and kind elderly woman addressing the audience about the problems associated with slum lords. The woman never singled anyone out or named names, but I will always remember your bizarre reaction, just as I will always remember your strange reaction to a heartfelt e-mail I sent to you).

Gotta love Alexandria.

Thank God we have people like Joe Page.

One thought

  1. Lamar,

    I don’t know Joe very well, but I like him. His reputation is that he is of the highest character. My father knows him and Charles F. Smith fairly well.

    However, the issue remains: (Caveat – I am not a citizen or resident of Alexandria, and have not been since early 1971, through I ran a business in the city in 2007. I am merely acting like this is some of my business). What is Joe’s position with regards to the City? If he truly was speaking as a private citizen (I take him at his word) how can the city then deny anyone a similar forum?

    I know there would have been different issues if he were an active officeholder or even a declared candidate. As far as Ms. Underwood – she claims she’s limited to 3 minutes. Is this true? Was Joe limited to 3 minutes?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions. I’m just curious.

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