26 February 2008
alexandria mayor; city council attempting to head-off the town talks channel 4 public records request 'investigation'
in a speech in today's economic development committee meeting, alexandria mayor jacques roy seemingly took this blog and presumably other blogs to task over questions we've been raising concerning the proposed contract between the city of alexandria and kja communications group over the management of the government public access channel four and the city of alexandria's official website.
this morning, the alexandria daily town talk published a report stating that
the mayor in his speech today says that "under ordinance 386-2003 and ordinance 397-2003 this council, in 2003 authorized work on both the enhancement of the city's government access channel and on the website of the city and it spells out in detail what that would include and it includes city government airing of services, city facilities and services, community centers, website overview , also downtown rocks, brown bag, pops on the levee, amoa, arna bontemps, performing arts, seasonal events, twelve nights of christmas, mardi gras, river fest, zoo-boo, lady bass tournaments, uncle sam jam, the alexandria zoo, youth leagues, hunting, fishing, golf, aces, movie theatres, restaurants, night life and shopping and i say all that to point out that the council authorized there to be work done on both the website and channel four." then the mayor says "to clear up for the publc and we should have this discussion publically, we had talked about doing an rfp, because kja had submitted a proposal and they had one outstanding for months, mr. eric hunt also submitted a proposal and so we've decided, you and i had talked about we'd pull everything and wait..." what he mayor never explains is that since there has been ordinances on the books since 2003 -- then why hasnt any of this or a substantial amount of it been done already? thats what no one wants to explain. there is this 11m41s promotional video that mysteriously appeared a couple of months ago on channel four -- but still the vast majority of the time channel four is blue screened. why?
According to a copy of the proposal, KJA -- the only firm that has been involved in the maintenance of city media outlets in the past few years -- could have gotten a new contract for $145,000 if the proposal would have passed. It's not clear how long KJA has been under contract with the city.A public records request sent to the office of City Attorney Charles "Chuck" Johnson requesting copies of previous contracts has not been answered. Calls to his offices were not returned Monday.
councilman lawson never addresses why the council continually defers and delays consideration and enactment of ordinance(s) setting forth specific policies and procedures concerning the operation of channel four etc. why is that? then, when we bring these questions up we get admonished for what councilman lawson calls "creating tensions." well we guess we do!
over and over again this past year we've witnessed councilman lawson state that channel four needs to be taken to 'the next level.' yet it never is. whoever is running channel four wont even help citizens out and put the date on the committee meetings. by the way, we never have seen the retreat video broadcast despite the mayor's assurances to us through kalb that it would be broadcast. again, why is that? that special star tek city council meeting from december 2007 was never broadcast either. why?
furthermore, we have the right to speculate as to whether or not anything "untoward" is going on. louisiana has a reputation, well deserved, as the most corrupt state in the nation. for example see: corporate crime reporter: 'louisiana most corrupt state in the nation' and us news and world report: 'louisiana's history of corruption bodes ill for the relief money headed its way' it wasnt bloggers that gave louisiana this reputation - it was for the most part politicians. who was it that used a fake traffic study and represented it to be real?
why should we have to go to all the trouble and expense of filing public records requests when the city already has or should possess the technology to post the information in controversy and everything else applicable to public records to its website for everyone to see. if the city cant figure out how to sort all their many documents and post them -- then why not do one an intergovernmental agreement with the rapides parish clerk of court and have her teach you how?
now that we think of it the mayor never stated whether or not the city had answered the town talk's public records request.
anyway, the mayor and the city council can try and spin the channel four and city website deal anyway they like but like a famous politician once said -- watch what they do not what they say.
so when we finally see some progressive action taken on channel four, including consistent broadcast and rebroadcasting of every regular and special city council and committee meeting we will believe something is actually being done.
also, we would like to add that if the media would do their job and ask questions and follow up on these things, then that would effectively kill blogs because there wouldnt be much of anything to speculate about now would there? there should have already been a whole series of articles in the town talk about channel four and the city's website and whats really going on. if its the city council throwing a monkey wrench in everything then find out and report it.