Dropping out of the race would show real leadership

By Leonard Ford
Columnist, The Light

It is no secret that I’ve been hoping and praying that at least one or more of the four blacks vying for the mayor’s seat in the City of Alexandria would gracefully drop out of the race.

So far it’s only a wish, but I remain hopeful that Von Jennings, Roosevelt Johnson, the Rev. Joseph Franklin or Jay Johnson would see the light for the good of Alexandria’s mankind.

It appears my hopes may be dwindling as time is almost near and each candidate is putting out signs, circulating printed materials, participating in forums, launching Web sites and staging fundraisers. I fear no one will throw in the towel and call it quits.

However, just in case one or two heeds my call in order to give the best qualified candidate among them a chance to defeat Jacques Roy, I have developed the perfect statement to use in announcing to the public reasons for getting out of the race.

Here is that statement:

“After much thoughtful consideration and discussion with my family, friends, and supporters, I am here today to tell you that I have officially withdrawn my candidacy for mayor of Alexandria, but I have done so with great regret.  As much as I would like to lead the progress of Alexandria over the next four years, and as I strongly as I believe  I have the qualifications, experience, vision, and  ideas to govern this city, it is apparent  with three other black candidates in the race that I have little or no chance of  being elected mayor. I’ve come to realize that I will not be able to get, especially with the others (blacks) in this race, a majority of black votes to win outright or even reach a runoff if one is needed. This is a hard fact that I couldn’t just ignore. As much as I want Alexandria to have a black mayor, and as much as I want to be that black mayor, I can honestly say here and now that both will not happen in this current race due to four of us being on the ballot. I know that electing someone as mayor should be based upon their qualifications and experience rather than their skin color, but there is nothing wrong with wishing that a city with almost a 52 percent black population  have a black mayor.”

“Making this decision was not an easy one, but it was the right thing for me to do at this time.  Doing so does not make me weak, does not mean that I didn’t have faith in myself to win, and doesn’t mean that I didn’t have faith in you to vote for me. I may be dropping out of this race, but I plan to make it my business over these next four years to be in the know about all aspects of city business, and to do what I can for the betterment of Alexandria. Thank you.”

Of course, I’m being facetious, but having four black candidates in this mayoral race is nothing to joke about. It is a serious matter. It is serious enough that we all are going to have to look deep inside of us, do some soul searching, and decide on (not based on our friendship, church loyalty, family connections, or any other mutual relationship that we may have with each of the four black candidates) one specific black candidate who we know is the best qualified and experienced among the four, and who we know has the personality to get along with everyone both black and white.

It’s time for us to stop being the “people who can’t get their act together” when it comes to electing a mayor of Alexandria.  We weren’t together in 2006,  and we’re damn sure  not together now.  It’s the same old same old, and by now, you think we would have gotten a little smarter in figuring out that four black people running for the same office would split the black vote.

We can’t be this ignorant in the 21st century, can we? From the looks of things, we are and will continue to be until black people get it through their thick heads that we are only robbing ourselves the opportunity of ever having a black mayor.

Yes, I would like for this mayoral campaign to produce a black mayor, but most importantly than that, I implore each and every one of you to get out on Election Day and vote. Please, please, get out and do your civic duty on Oct.  2, 2010.

Roosevelt Johnson intends to take mayor’s seat

By Bill Sumrall
The Light
City Councilman-at-Large Roosevelt Johnson officially announced his candidacy
to run for mayor of Alexandria Thursday.

Some 50 people attended the June 24 event on the steps of Alexandria City Hall,

including members of Xtreme Praise Ministries, who performed afterward.

Johnson acknowledged God and thanked his wife, supporters and family during

his opening remarks.

“I’ve waited for this moment for four years, a chance to stand before you, to come

again, because I love Alexandria, I love this city, I love what Alexandria has to
offer for its future,” Johnson said, referring to his 2006 bid for the office of mayor.

“This is a great day for me because on this day, what the people have waited on,

for what you have waited on, I announce my candidacy,” Johnson said.

Applause and cheers from those present partially drown out his words.
Johnson finished third in the 2006 mayoral primary election. The open primary

election this year is Oct. 2 and, if needed, a runoff will be held Nov. 2. Qualifying
for the mayor’s race is set for July 7-9.

So far, only two other people, Von Jennings and the Rev. Joseph Franklin, have

announced their candidacy for mayor of Alexandria, a post currently held by
Jacques Roy.

Mayor Roy was elected to his first term in 2006 after former Mayor Ned

Randolph, who served for 20 years, decided not to seek a sixth term.
Johnson told the crowd about his plans should he win election as mayor.

“The Johnson plan is a plan of spirit for our community … for the best and the

brightest to come together for economic development and industrial growth, for
public safety and safe communities within our city, the repairing of the
infrastructure for future growth and development,” Johnson said.

Johnson also touted development of Red River economic assets, maintaining

good government, ensure partnerships with other cities, towns and communities
and restoring neighborhoods “to what we want them to be, to build a strong
community … within our Alexandria.”

Johnson cited proper drainage, flood control and crime prevention as issues

important to him and pledged to establish partnerships with local private and
public colleges so graduates choose to stay and develop our future as a city.

“Our goal is to build strong communities and strong neighborhoods, quality of life,

to redevelop the Red River, to redevelop our port, to do those things that’s going
to make Alexandria grow,” Johnson said.

He wanted to ensure that a marina and redeveloping downtown and infrastructure

creates within the city “those goals, those objectives, that’s going to move our city
forward, to make Alexandria a marketplace for Louisiana,” Johnson said.

“On this day, the best choice, the right choice, for leadership, is workability,

accountability and responsibility, to do those things that’s going to bring those
results, with Roosevelt Johnson be chosen as your next mayor for the city of
Alexandria,” he said.

“There’s not but one choice which is the best choice, the right choice, for

leadership, to work together for the spirit of Alexandria, the spirit of our
community, to lead Alexandria forward, is Roosevelt L. Johnson,” he concluded.

Thursday’s announcement opened with welcoming remarks and the Pledge of

Allegiance led by Martha Raster, followed by the Rev. Michael Howard praying,
then Leonard Jackson citing Johnson’s experience and accomplishments.

Mitzi Gibson vying for District 2 Council seat

Mitzi Gibson announces she will run for the Alexandria City Council District 2 seat.

Editor’s Note:

Mitzi Gibson on Wednesday, June 30, formally announced that she will run for the District 2 seat on the Alexandria City Council.

Everett Hobbs currently holds the seat.

She made the announcement at the Alexander Fulton Hotel.

Below is the text of her announcement:

I am Mitzi Gibson and I want the opportunity to serve as your District 2 Alexandria City Councilwoman.

As I stand before you this evening, my announcement is not about me wanting to be on the city council, it’s about me wanting to serve you as your District 2 city councilwoman.

Let me take a moment to thank my family. My husband Jerry and our four wonderful children for their prayers and support………I also would like to thank the many supporters who have already called asking for yard signs, offering campaign contributions as well as their time. I can’t tell you how humbled and excited all of the outreach has made me feel.

………….It is our intent to make this election unlike any race in Alexandria’s history. We are scrapping the way campaigns and our city governments tone has operated over the past several years and branching off toward a more sound and efficient race and government that are based on the issues that many of our citizens too often face. Our vision and desire is to see a city where parents don’t have to decide between buying school supplies or paying utility bills nor our elderly having to choose between utility bills or medicine. There is a desire that local families and small businesses should not have to wake up to hundreds of thousands of dollars of water damage due to drainage complications. Every citizen should have safe streets free of crime, debris, and flood waters.

We should be aggressive at strengthening the businesses that are currently in our area and working to attract new ones. For the next several weeks, we will be walking the district not only talking about Drainage, Crime, Blighted neighborhoods, Trash pickup, and Economic Development but just listening to what you have to say. I’ve already been listening by attending our neighborhood meetings within District 2. I would like the opportunity to represent us and let our voice be heard.

I am focused and committed to telling our city administration as well as other council members how we feel and what we want in our community. I stand optimistic about the future of this progressive city I truly believe that everything we find wrong here in Alexandria can be fixed by those things that are found to be right about Alexandria.

With me as you’re Councilwoman I will listen to your comments and suggestions and act upon them to find a solution, but we must remember that in order for us to move forward in District 2, I need your willingness, ideas, time, support and your vote on October 2nd.  Please go out and express the change you want to see in our city by electing me as your next Alexandria District 2 City Councilwoman.

By expressing Your Voice, Your Vision and Your Vote you can be assured that our community will be a better place. Thank you all so much for coming out, I look forward to us working together, good evening and GOD bless!

Charlie Melancon brings his senatorial campaign to Cenla

By Sherri L. Jackson

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

And the economy are at the forefront of U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon’s mind these days because these are the issues that are on the minds of his constituents and just about everybody he talks to about the state of the union.

“Louisiana has been hit hard by this recession, and the partisanship in Washington is only making things worse,” Melancon said in a prepared statement. “I’m running for Senate because Louisiana deserves better. . . ”

Melancon, a Democrat who represents Louisiana’s  3rd District in the U.S.  House of Representatives, brought his message to Central Louisiana Thursday. He hosted a free “Jambalaya and Jobs” event at the Bolton Avenue Community Center.

“I’m a small businessman and fiscal conservative. We need to get spending and the deficit under control and create more economic opportunity for Louisiana by cutting taxes on small businesses and investing in job training and college opportunity.”

Melancon has represented the 3rd Congressional District since 2005.

Local officials attending Thursday’s event included Leona Venson, president of Rapides Federation of Teachers; Councilman Edward Lavardain III, District 1; Theodore Fountaine, Rapides ParishPolice Jury; Oliver Overton, Rapides Parish Police Juror; Rep. Herbert Dixon, District 26; Janet Dixon, Rapides Parish School Board; and John Allen, Rapides Parish School Board.