Central Citizen Challenges CCGG

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The following letter was sent in from a reader who requested that it be published as an article. does not endorse any specific candidate or political group. If anything in this article is incorrect or untrue, please send an email to and the issue will be fixed.  If anyone wishes to submit a rebuttle to this post or if the CCGG wishes to clarify its position please e-mail us at .

WHO ARE YOU, PURPORTED “CENTRAL CITIZENS FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT”? I have tried repeatedly to find out who you are since the day I received a red pamphlet hand out of sorts with your logo of a claim to “sweep” the present administration from office and then endorsing a full list of candidates with only two incumbents included. When questioned, the candidates listed on the handout (or suggested ballot), deny knowing how their names got put there. They deny knowing who founded or who claim to be members of CCGG. IF this is CENTRAL Citizens for GOOD government, why was this not an advertised open meeting. Why were we as Central Citizens not included in the decisions made for endorsement of said candidates. Why will you not come into the light of day and identify yourselves? Are you even from Central or an outside group hoping to gain control of our Mayor’s office and council for personal gain? As a lifelong resident of Central, I have a right to know who you are. I have a right to know who gave you the authority to speak for me as a Central Citizen without my having any input what so ever in this clandestine publication. Whomever you are, be assured, the people of Central are an intelligent group of people. We have always been perfectly capable of assessing a candidate for public office by reviewing their past accomplishments, and their future plans for the office they seek. I have absolutely no need for your clandestine suggestions especially if you do not have the intestinal fortitude to sign off on your propoganda. I await your identity IF you have the guts to come forth. -Debbie Dougherty


  1. Kyle

    March 17, 2010 at 9:19 am

    May I ask which candidates did this Central Citizens for Good Government recommended? Seems to me they are a special interest group trying to take over our city as you stated.

  2. Joann

    March 17, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Seems like to me these people have been to Washington. They sound just like that crowd that’s trying to take over the USA without a vote.

  3. dave

    March 17, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    The following e-mail was received by and Mr. LeClercq has asked that this response by posted:

    Dear Debbie & CS Editor,

    My name is Mike LeClercq and I am a proud member of Central Citizen’s for Good Government.
    You have every right to question the legitimacy of the CCGG, and we who have formed and operate the newly formed organization. We are an up front and open group of Citizens who are concerned about the direction of Politics in Central.
    First we want to sincerely thank all of the People of Central who have given so very much to make this Community what it has become and is becoming.
    Thank you Mr. Mayor and ALL City council members for what you have done.
    To make it short, we are concerned at the way the present Government is not open to outside ideas, and in the Mean Spirited way the higher ups treat the people who disagree with them at the meetings. This behavior has gone on for their full term of office. The members of the CCGG are trying to participate in changing this rudeness.
    Everyone in the community is invited to join the CCGG, and we invite you to our meetings.
    This Saturday you have an opportunity to Meet the Candidates and CCGG Members from 11am to 2pm in the Sullivan Hardware parking lot . Food, Music and Fun.
    Call Me at 636-5425

    Mike LeClercq
    Board of Directors CCGG

  4. Debbie

    March 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Mr. LeClercq,

    Thank you for coming forward, I would next like to know, who besides yourself sits on your board and is there an organizational charter that I might get a copy of. These are two very important facts in my deciding to join an organization.

    Thank you,
    Debbie Dougherty

  5. My Opinion

    March 17, 2010 at 5:43 pm


    The candidates that are being supported by this newly formed organization are as followed:

    Jr Shelton
    Doug Browning
    Ralph Washington
    Wayne Messina
    Tony Lobue
    Mike Mannino
    Charles Lee Hinton

    You are absolutely correct. They are a special interest group that is trying to take over our city. They have commonly mis-stated the truth and misrepresented the facts on many issues resulting in good citizens being misinformed. I find it very amusing that the pamphlet displays a broom insinuating that our City needs a clean slate, but yet two of the seven candidates or Incumbents.

    Mr. Mike LeClercq (CCGG) stated earlier that, “we are concerned at the way the present Government is not open to outside ideas.” I’m real curious, how many council meetings do you reckon Mr. LeClercq has attended over the past 5 years? I would imagine it’s about the same as Jr. Shelton, Tony Lobue, Mike Mannino, and Charles Hinton. They all are reportedly concerned with how our current government has been run, but yet up until this election, I have never seen any of them at a council meeting or master plan meeting.…..WOW!!! Thank goodness our city isn’t in ruins!!!!

    As far as the mean spirited actions; just ask Municipal Services and I’m sure they’ll agree in every aspect….Look at what Councilman Washington has done to them for past 2 years….Oh Wait! LeClercq, Shelton, Lobue, Mannino, and Hinton weren’t even there to see it….My apologies….

  6. Mike Mannino

    March 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    First, let me clear something up. I am not part of any group, I am an independent thinker who does not agree with the opinion of some of the challengers or the incumbents on certain issues. I am a very long time observer of politics at the local, state, and federal level and consider myself well informed on issues. Opinions you hear me voice are mine and mine alone without anyone suggesting what I should stand for. If you know me, you know I stand steadfast on my beliefs and principles. I have clearly stated my position on issues here in Central for all to chose my position or that of the current administration. Obviously , some of this is hitting home because some of the current council is starting to soften their position on these items because its what the people want. Sometimes, our representatives forget that they should be listening to their people. Let me further state that I believe that we are a very lucky city to have so many people that are passionate about Central and dedicated to its success and this includes all the current officials. I have not met a better group of people than these fine public servants.
    However, after years of sitting back and seeing things in government that I know we can do better, I am in a position to offer my skills and time to give back to a community that has given me such a high quailty of life. I feel it is my duty to help improve things if possible and if people think I have a message that fits what they believe, I will serve them to the best of my ability bringing my years of experience and all that I have heard on the campaign trail to the job.
    During this campaign, I have not said a negative word about any of the candidates because this is about ideas and not people. What is very troubling to me is that instead of being commended by some people, I along with other candidates, are being put down because we dare to bring up concerns we have heard while talking to our citizens or dare to challenge an incumbent.
    I at one time early on, went to many of the council meetings along with my fellow citizens. They used to be packed. Has anyone asked themselves why people dont come anymore ? For the same reason I dont attend anymore, the way people are treated. To MR or Mrs. My opinion, as far as your comments about Mr. Washington, the very reason I finally decided to run over a year ago was because of the way he was treated when he asked legitimate questions at one of the meetings I attended. The disdain, sarcasm , and disrespect disgusted me. That is not Central.
    I realize that I cannot change some peoples opinion nor will I try. Thats why we live in the greatest country in the world and Central is as great a city as anyone can ask for. We can all develop our own opinions and vote for the people who share our beliefs. When this is all over, we all win no matter the outcome because all the candidates are good people. We just have different ideas. I will gladly discuss any concerns you have at any time. I can be reached at 278-6087.

  7. Robby

    March 17, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    “A special interest group trying to take over the city”. HA! What a joke! Are you serious?? It is a group of individuals willing to think with their own minds and not just continue this “Follow the Leader” show that has gone on for the last 5 years. They are concerned with the way things are going, just as I am.

    We need to shake things up a bit in this city, you know, spice things up a little bit. Like adding some Slap Ya Mama to some popcorn.

  8. Debbie

    March 18, 2010 at 6:43 am

    I am sorry you find a humorous slant to this situation. A small faction of our wonderful community is trying desperately to split Central right down the middle.
    I am a 57 year resident of this community. I have been a part of and witnessed more campaigns than I care to remember. I have watched as actions such as the ones being deployed in this campaign have basically destroyed a community. Folks, we need to rememnber,
    March 28th will dawn the day after March 27th. We will all still live in Central. We will all still be neighbors. Life will still go on.
    The very analogy you use, “We need to shake things up a bit in this city, you know, spice things up a little bit. Like adding some Slap Ya Mama to some popcorn” is extremely offensive to many Central residents. We don’t want to be “SHAKEN UP” we do not want to be
    “SPICED UP” and I won’t even address your invitation to “slap ya Mama”. This is not the mentality we need running a city.

  9. Robby

    March 18, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Geez, relax a bit will you?

    The mentality I am referring to is one of Independent thinking. People who are willing to think outside the box and people who are willing to listen to the people of Central. Not just “follow the leader” and all think the same way.

    I’m a 34 yr resident of Central and I’m sick and tired of seeing my city begin to look more and more like the OVERCROWDED, ridiculously CONGESTED, parishes of Ascension and Livingston. This Master Plan does nothing but promote the selling of property and its like waving money in front of the eyes of greedy contractors and land developers. It makes me SICK! Country Living in the City? WHAT COUNTRY? At this pace, there will be none in a few years!!!!

  10. Debbie

    March 18, 2010 at 8:27 am


    Please, Please go to a council meeting and then go to a city planning meeting. See for yourself the truth of the master plan.
    Ask questions there. Study the plans.
    Growth in Central began long before we were a city.
    Now we must CONTROL the growth. That is what this administrations City Plan does. CONTROL what is going on. There has been no approval of subdivision development since 2007 while we were enthralled in a ridiculous lawsuit. The new development comes from that time before this administration took over.
    Or better yet, make an appointment with your mayor. Go sit down with Mac and ask these questions, one on one. You have the right and deserve the true picture.
    Never assume.

  11. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Robby – your last post is exactly the kind of misinformation that I wish people would stop spreading. Please do some independent research on the art of planning before you bash the process. The Master Plan will promote the opposite of the sprawl you see in Livingston and Ascension. Last I checked, Ascension and Livingston don’t have Master Plans yet, though Ascension is in the process.
    More importantly, the Mayor and Council have passed several regulations over the years in their attempt to control unwelcome growth. And, it seems to be working since there hasn’t been a major subdivision approved out here since 2007.
    Look at the ordinances posted on and you will see (1) a moritorium on trailer parks, (2) a provision that all developments must be some form of planned unit development; and most discouraging of all to a would-be developer (3) a mandate that the new development MUST connect to the public sewer system (which is actually at capacity and won’t be available throughout most of the city until 2014 or therafter, if at all.) The above are just examples of their efforts and are not intended to be an all-inclusive list.
    No one in Central is pandering to greedy contractors and developers at this time, nor have they in the past 5 years but I am not sure if that will be the case in a few years if we abandon the track we have been following in favor of “shaking things up.”

  12. My Opinion

    March 18, 2010 at 9:01 am


    Let me ask you two questions:

    How do you suppose the City of Central will continue to survive fiscally?

    How do you suppose Livingston Parish and Ascension Parish have turned out the way they are?

    It’s pretty simple…Without businesses you have no sales tax. Without sales tax you have no tax base. Without a tax base our Leaders and citizens would have no other option but to impose increased property and mil tax…I’m not sure about you but as a citizen of Central I think we have been taxed to death…

    The reason Livingston and Ascension has grown the way they have is because there was no Master Plan in place. Without one, I can guarantee that our country setting would look like downtown Baton Rouge. The plan will insure that we don’t end up “OVERCROWDED and ridiculously CONGESTED”…Just “My Opinion”

  13. April

    March 18, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I am so sick of some of the people in the community of Central ranting and raving about how long they have been a resident of Central. Am I less of a person or do I have less of a voice because I am not a “life long” resident. Does my 22 years as a resident mean nothing compared to your tenure here. Do you still believe that you are the majority in this city?? I would not dismiss the so called “outsiders” any longer. They are growing and you should respect their vote and opinions. STOP acting like we are invaders of this idyllic utopia. As for you Sophia, I suggest you go to the Louisiana Ethics website and check out who is receiving contributions from whom and then rethink your position. While your at it you might want to check and see who is pulling all the construction permits in this great city.

  14. Honey

    March 18, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Wow, what an interesting thread!!! I’m with April, DITTO!!! I think I will take you up on your advice and do that candidate research today!! I hope that the Permit Office will be willing to give out that information, that is an excellent idea!!! Lets all become more informed before we cast our vote!!! It is our moral obligation to do just that! I too have only been here 22 of my 44 years. I have been a volunteer in the schools, at my house of worship and care greatly about the city that I choose to live in with my family. I’m not any less of a citizen because I am not a life long resident of Central. In fact I think I am fully capable of stepping out of the river of life and looking in to see what is going on around me. Are the life residents capable of doing the same, I challenge them to do just that.

  15. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 10:21 am

    April — that is a bold statement. You should not make accusations of unethical behavior without being willing to name specific infractions and follow that up with facts.
    I do know how permits are issued and have access to “to whom” they are issued. And, I assure you, they are absolutely NOT tied to any political agenda, nor is one contractor treated differently than any other.

  16. April

    March 18, 2010 at 11:10 am

    You are putting words in my mouth. I didn’t make any such accusation about anyone doing anything unethical. I merely suggested you go to a website to view the financial campaign records which each individual candidate turns in to the ethics board (which I might ad is public record) reporting who has contributed to their campaign and check out the information for you to draw your own conclusions. If you know nothing about the way permits are issued then how can you assure me or anyone else there is no political or any other agenda attached to them??

  17. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

    April — you shouldn’t make accusations of unethical behavior without being willing to cite specific known violations and then follow that up with facts. I happen to know how permits are issued and to whom they are issued; and I assure you there is no favoritism, neither politically motivated nor otherwise, in the issuance of construction permits in this “great city.”

  18. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Oops — I think I posted twice. Sorry all. I’m new to the site.

  19. Mike Mannino

    March 18, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Mr/Mrs, My. Opinion,

    Can you explain to me because I must not understand, if the Master plan is going to save Central, then why did it not consider the infrastructure that must be in place before developing these areas and did not consider school capacity ? Are you aware that the schools that everyone supports and was the reason for becoming a city,will be over capacity when completed and thats not even factoring in the 1200 homes approved to be built?

    As a long time watcher of EBR politics and the ‘Horizon Plan”, I can tell you the Master plan is only as good as the people we elect to enforce it as the Planning and Zoning Committee and the City Council can override it anytime they get enough pressure from the professionals that the big box stores and developers hire. I have been to many EBR council meetings including the one where the Central Walmart was approved, and seen our representatives make terrible decisions that were not consistent with the horizon plan and severely impacted homeowners. I have my opinion of why but you draw your own conclusions. These developers hire there own engineers to do impact studies on traffic and drainage. Its the fox guarding the henhouse. Do you think that Perkins at College can stand another 500 homes dumping traffic onto it ? Yet Rouzon was approved and it will make a terrible situation worse. I dont need an engineer to know that the Wax/Sullivan corrider is overloaded and not another stick of construction should occur until it is relieved. I sit in that traffic for a ridiculous amount of time every day and we are going to make it worse. Widening Sullivan wont help except to stack traffic side by side instead of one behind the other. You have got to go to the choke point to relieve this and nobody gets it.
    As far the schools, we have done a great thing by focusing on our kids and the facilities they spend their day in. What are we going to do to keep from overloading them ? The Master Plan makes no reference to the schools. By the way, the site that has been chosen is outstanding. Problem is, access and traffic will be an issue that we have to address. Do you have the answers ? I know what I would do……

  20. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Mike – the Master Plan does not relieve the developer from complying with all regulations tied to protecting the health, safety and welfare of the City. The developer will still have to submit Traffic, Drainage, and Water Quality Impact studies as well as Sewer Capacity Analyses; and make any improvements to the infrastructure warranted by those studies.
    The school board is in the process of completing a Traffic Study and will most likely be required to improve access to that site accordingly.

  21. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 11:57 am

    BTW — the City of Central and East Baton Rouge Parish DO have engineers who review the studies submitted along with the applications — they do not simply accept what is submitted without scrutiny.

  22. Mike Mannino

    March 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I am very familiar with the process but you made my point. The Master Plan, just like the Horizon Plan, is going to be fluid. It is not binding and zoning changes can be made with the right (or wrong) influence. Thats why it is important that you elect people that will stand firm on the plan. As far as the review process by City engineers, its a joke. Not only do they rarely override the recommendation, they frequently allow on the run changes during the development and do not adequetely enforce the design requirements. This one is not hear say, I have personally fought this battle next to one of my rentals and am still trying to get something enforced today but backed off for the time being due to this election. Absolutely inexcusable.

  23. Honey

    March 18, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I am at work and unable to get to the permits office, but I was able to find the website April spoke about, with each candidates ethics reports in report # 10001667 I see that Mayor Watts received $500.00 from CH2MHILL, hmmm… and someone named ############# from Alexandria, LA wonder if he is affiliated with the Moore Group that is doing the master plan for Central, hmmmm…. Sophia if you have inside info on permits can you tell me how many permits ############## received in 2009, I think I remember reading in the Central News that he has received the most and he has contributed to Mayor Watts too, hmmm… Just a little something to think about.

  24. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Honey – Mr. ######## does do alot of work in Central and he did build alot of homes during 2009. If he also contributes to the Mayor, that is his prerogative. I fail to see how one necessarily has anything to do with the other. I think jumping to the conclusion that his permits are tied to political favors says more about you than it does about the Mayor or Mr. ########.
    If you had been involved over the past 5 years and before, you would have been proud of how everyone worked together for the good of Central with no thought of personal gain. That people are accusing those same good folks of wrong-doing now, without any justification, just because there is an election, is dis-heartening to me.
    That’s not to say there aren’t improvements to be made and things we can do better. I don’t think even the incumbents would argue that all is perfect in Central.
    I’m just saying — let’s not make it so personal and in the process impugn the reputations of our fellow Centralites.

  25. Robby

    March 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    In my mere 34 years of life and mere 34 years of life in Central, the politics will always be politics. As long as money is involved, there will always be questionable behavior and wondering who is getting the “kickbacks” and money under the table.

    The love of money is the root of all evil. PERIOD.

    I’m already hearing rumors about there being a lawsuit that has to deal with the signing of the contract of who will build the new school complex. Again, I’ve only heard rumors that it centers around the fact that it was illegally signed and not all intrested contractors were given an opportunity to place a bid.

    Hmmm, favoritism, shady business ethics?

    Its all over the world, not just Washington. I’m sick of it.

    Oh, and about the Central Citizens for Good Government being a “special interest group”, I have to agree. They are ESPECIALLY INTERESTED in the past, present, and future of this great city. They are concerned with the way things are being done and the direction of this great city.

    Its amazing how someone who is not in the “Good Ole Boys” club is automatically viewed as an “enemy” and trying to split Central in half. AMAZING!!

  26. Sophia

    March 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Well … I respectfully disagree totally with you, Robby — not about politics in general, but about politics in Central. If you would get involved personally and stop simply listening to “rumors” you might be less skeptical as well. Central doesn’t operate under the “good ole boys” mentality and never has.

  27. Debbie

    March 18, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Robby L., have you ever been to a council meeting?
    a City planning meeting, sat down with the mayor one on one, stopped by CH2MHILL and asked a question?

    I can tell you personally, I have never been and probably will never be accused of being a “good ole boy.” I don’t associate with anyone considered a “good ole boy.” Could you give me your definition of exactly what a “good Ole boy” is please.

    I am still waiting for Mr.LeClercq to send me a list of CCGG officers and an organizational chart for the group.

    Since you spoke first hand of CCGG perhaps you would have that informaiton to share with me.

    Thanking you in advance.

  28. Robby

    March 18, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Debbie, you used the first initial of my last name like you know me. Do you? Do I know you?

  29. Mike LeClercq

    March 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    What a day!! I don”t think anyone in LA has had this much POLITICAL fun in over 200 years.
    Congratulations Robby, for taking fire from those sweet ladies.
    Debbie, My phone number is listed above and I do not have your phone number so please call me for the information you requested.
    I feel like that guy on the Glen Beck show sitting by the phone dressed like that Chinese GUY waiting for the phone to ring.
    Thanks April for that comment on how long you have to live here in order to be a GOOD CENTRAL CITIZEN.
    And to put the question of what THE GOOD OLE BOY NATION IS, let’s just call it a CLICK~~


    Mike LeClercq

  30. Robby

    March 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Debbie, I’m exactly sure what the CCGG is or who all is in it, but I can tell you I like what they are doing and I appreciate what they stand for.

    What I would like to know is who is behind the “Friends for Mac Watts” and where I can find a copy of their organizational charter.

  31. dave

    March 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    This is Dave, the moderator.

    I work very hard to keep unbiased, so I hesitate to interfere with the exchange of ideas, even if I disagree with the ideas. However, at the risk of compromising my standard (and I really don’t think this does constitute a compromise) I am making a rule for the site comments.

    Those who have chosen to be in the public eye, such as candidates and others who IDENTIFY THEMSLEVES. and those whose involvement in the political/governmental process, such as CH2MHILL and the Moore Group, are fair game to be respectfully called into question. However, the general private citizen who is playing by the rules (even if you don’t agree with the rules) is not eligible to be brought into these discussions by name. I want us all to remember that free speech does not exempt us (and maybe especially me) from just accusations of libel, defamation or slander.

    Thanks for playing nicely.


  32. Debbie

    March 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Robby L,
    I am sure you can contact Mayor Mac Watts for all the information you need regarding his campaign. His name is on everything he distributes, there are no initials or second guessing who is distributing his literature.
    All of this anger over a simple question:
    Who is CCGG, and who are the officers?

    Mr. Leclercq,
    I also need to know has the ethics board been notified about the suggested ballots. Technically, this is a donation and each amount donated to each candidate on the ballot has to be reported on their campaign financial reports.
    I have no need to speak to you on the phone sir, I am simply asking that you post the name of the people who hold a position of authority in this organization. Not a complicated request. Simply post.


  33. Donna

    March 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    On the subject of no permits for development since 2007. What about Woodstock on Plaunchet? Does anyone know when they got their permit? That is a new subdivision.
    Also, on the subject of CCGG. Their original push card (flier) listed Tony Lobue. I heard he caught so much flack from the present elected officials that he asked for his name to be removed from any future publications. Low and behold this weeks edition of Central City News has an ad from CCGG and Tony’s name is not on there. I do not want someone representing me that cannot stand on his own two feet and bows down to pressure from others.

  34. Mike Mannino

    March 19, 2010 at 12:09 am

    The only anger I sense here is from you and I dont quite understand it. People have politely and professionally stated their opinions as we are all free to do. What are you so worked up about ? Maybe I can explain or do something to assure you that all of us are in our hearts and minds, trying to do what we thnk is best for Central. Because people on this site happen to share opinions, they are being accused of being part of some great conspiracy. I dont believe I know any of the posters from what I can tell except Mr. Lequerc whom I had not talked to for almost a year before I contacted him to let him know I had put in my paperwork to run for council. At that time, he told me that there was a new group forming and they were going to endorse candidates and asked if I would like to talk to them to lay out my platform. I gladly accepted as I had no support organization at the time, have never done this before, and was looking for contacts. If there is anything sinister about that, I would like to know what it is. I doubt if I would have gone to the incumbents for support, that they would have said ” come on in Mike, take one of our seats”. As far as an “endorsement” being claimed on my disclosure forms, I will be glad to claim the 1.00 or so for the few fliers I have seen but I generally round off so it probably wont matter. Given the fact I havent taken donations to amount to anything, ( less than $300) and I am paying for this out of my pocket so there are no favors owed to anybody, its really insignificant but if you think its an issue, I’ll contact Mr. Lequerc and ask him to send me a receipt. By the way, Mr lequerc is legally blind and it probably took him an hour to respond to your post. I’m sure thats why he asked you to call.
    One last question or comment. With all the anger in this country over the way government is operating, why do you find it so hard to believe a lot of people in Central are not satisfied with whats going on here ? I have talked to many people over the past 2 months, the large majority of which have contacted me ( some of the names may surprise you) and I can tell you, that is the case whether you want it to be true or not. There input needs to be considered no matter what candidates win this election because they ain’t going away……..

  35. Donna

    March 19, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Does anyone remember Mayor Watts saying (after being appointed Mayor) that he would not seek election to that seat after his appointment was up. What else has he reneged on? Why do politicians make this kind of statement? Why not say “I would like to leave that option open”. This is America and we have the right to a choice. Thank you Mr. Shelton for giving us a choice.

  36. Debbie

    March 19, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Mr. Mannino,

    Thank you for enlightening me as to how your name came to be placed on this endorsement ballot.

    I appreciate that. Basically that is what I am asking, really not a complicated question. I am a Central Citizen who
    is very concerned about good government, yet as I stated before, there was never a public notification of this group interviewing candidates for endorsement. I can assure you there would have been many more Central Citizens that would have attended to see if this is something we might like to be a part of. We were never extended the opportunity to take part in these endorsements.
    If there is to be a fair playing field in this as it should be,
    These meetings should be made public like candidate rallys OR
    Do not use an all inclusive name such as “Central Citizens” etc.
    Do you understand my point? I have absolutely no problem with every candidate speaking their beliefs, their history and their vision. Transparency is an absolute MUST in a political campaign.
    If we allow that to be overlooked in this campaign there will be a presidence set that would be devastating. Do you agree? I am an observer. I have been at every forum. I disregard nerves, that is to be expected when speaking before a crowd on unknown questions.
    I have seen qualities in some candidates that are absolutely not appealing to me. But there in lies the solution. I was afforded the ability to choose to attend or not. CCGG never afforded me that opportunity.

  37. Donna

    March 19, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Would someone send her a personal invitation, please? If you would call Mr.Leclercq I’m sure he will tell when and where. But I really don’t think that is what you really want.

  38. Mike Mannino

    March 19, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Thank you Debbie. I believe Mr. Lequerc invited you to a function on Saturday. I plan to attend that and the Mayors meet the kids. i would like to meet you not to solicit your vote but so you can see that Im not a bad person and really do have the best interest of Central in mind. I appreciate the opportunity to answer your concerns and address some of your questions. Please get out and vote !!

  39. Debbie

    March 19, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Mr. LeClercq,

    One more quick question, is Central Citizens for Good Government registered as a Political Action Committee (PAC) with the Board of Ethics. When a group organizes and takes a stand collectively in any political arena, there is a criterior to be met for the board to keep everything aboveboard.

  40. Troy

    March 19, 2010 at 8:50 am

    If you feel like there is something unethical going on with the CCGG (which by the way I appreciate the opportunity to give me as a voter more choices to protect the future of Central for my family and I) then please attend the Family Fun Day so you can personally inquire about your concerns. Your ethics question could be applied to any person or group that is involved in any government elections. I am sure there are many people wondering the same thing about existing governmental officials!

  41. Debbie

    March 19, 2010 at 9:06 am

    That is exactly my point. Ethics questions apply to ALL political groups and candidates and is the Law in the state of Louisiana.
    My questions are legitimate questions, and deserve an unbiased, unemotional answer. This whole run of email conversation began with a perfectly legitimate question and request.

    Who is CCGG? Could I please have the names of the people who
    organized this group and sit on the board.

    I have received several answers that have danced around the answer.
    The only person who has come forward is Mr. LeClercq and I did not get a straight answer from him.

    I would not equate this to asking for your Social security number
    or bank account number or should I?

  42. Robby

    March 19, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Debbie, are you the hired legal moderator for this forum? JEEEESUS! I have never seen someone so pre-occupied and concerned if every i is dotted and if every t is crossed.

    You NEED to know if the CCGG is registered with the PAC?
    You NEED to know if the ethics board has been notified of the suggested ballots?
    You NEED to know about their campaign finacial reports?


  43. Robby

    March 19, 2010 at 10:03 am

    You must be an attorney or an accountant for the City of Central making sure Central has received their permit fees and taxes for the above!

  44. Jeremy

    March 19, 2010 at 10:28 am


    You say that Ethics apply to all political groups and candidates and I totally agree, but let me ask you, Is it Ethical for the Mayor to accept campaign contributions from a company that employs his assistants and whom he help put in place in Central? Is it ethical to take contributions from P&Z board members that he possibly appointed? The Mayor is also listed as one of three persons that Cooking for Central is registered to, do you know why they changed the name from Cooking for the Kids to Cooking for Central and also why each individual school is only receiving the contributions it takes, nothing more.

  45. Debbie

    March 19, 2010 at 10:30 am


    The CENTRAL CITIZEN have the RIGHT to know this not the Need


    Gang, I am signing off this post. I have not fully satisfied my question, but I guess that is to be the answer.

    Central is and always has been a family oriented loving community.
    I have no doubt that if any candidate needed any type help, every other candidate would reach out and do their best to assist them.
    This is the Central we need to maintain. To all that posted here
    I appreciate your views and thank God that we have this forum and the right to voice our views.


  46. Nikki

    March 19, 2010 at 10:47 am

    In my personal opinion, Debbie’s initial question was valid, and I do commend Mr. LeClercq for coming forward as ONE board member. One of how many? If this IS an organized board and not just a few people trying to serve their own special interests, why has it become such a problem to just post a simple list of board members’ names? Is that really THAT difficult of a task? Yes, Mr. LeClercq did provide Debbie with a phone number, but is there some reason that those other names could not be posted here? If this simple question had been answered in the first place, this discussion would not have exploded into what it has become. I for one would like to be able to see the names of those who are asking me to blindly vote for this particular slate of candidates.

    I personally am less concerned with the organizational charter and PAC status of this group and other such issues as I am with the following statements from Mr. LeClercq’s letter:

    “We are an up front and open group of Citizens. . . Everyone in the community is invited to join the CCGG, and we invite you to our meetings.”

    Thank you for inviting us to your meetings, but could you provide information as to when and where these meetings are? Yes, I know you are having a “fun day” this weekend, but I do not consider this to be a “meeting.”

    Could you tell me what form of communication you used to publicly announce your previous meetings? I like to consider myself an informed and some-what educated citizen of Central. I’m not going to list off how long I have or have not lived here because frankly, as long as you’ve lived here long enough to register to vote in THIS election, it really doesn’t matter how long you have lived here. I consider myself informed in that I make the personal effort to find out what is going on. I check, Central City News, and The Advocate (as well as other media such as Facebook) to find out what meetings will be going on each week and what the agendas/topics will be. Do I attend every meeting of every organization in Central? NO…but do I find out when they will be and what the agenda for the evening is? YES. I have attended council meetings, p&z meetings, and meetings of the Central Community Alliance. I have been invited to meetings for the Republican Women of Central, but have unfortunately been unable to attend thus far due to sechedule conflicts. I hold myself (and no one else) responsible for finding out what is on the agenda for each of these meetings and then determining whether or not I choose to attend that night.

    My point in this is, you claim that this has been open, upfront, and we are all welcome to attend. Other than the “invitations” issued in the last 36-48 hours since this entire mess started, by what means have you invited the public to be a part of your meetings?

    I am all for weighing the opinions of other people. My opinions of some people (from BOTH sides) have greatly changed in this election process. It has been disheartening to watch the way that some of the men and women in this campaign have acted towards their fellow Centralite. All the same, if you are going to suggest to me that I should vote for YOUR slate of candidates, I would at least like to know who YOU are so that I can make an informed decission as to whether or not your opinion is one that I value.

  47. Mike LeClercq

    March 19, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Thanks,Nikki, for your intellectual approach to this Forum.
    I am personally limited in this type of communication and because of this limitation et is very difficult to say all that needs to be said on the issues.
    I challenge you to call me for more info on all of the questions on the issues raised here
    in this Fourum
    I challenge you to communicate your new understanding to this Forum

    Mike 636-5425

  48. Mike Mannino

    March 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Please see my original post. An endorsement by a group, does not mean the candidates are a part of it and that certainly applies in this case. I barely know the other candidates, just met them during this campaign, and have my own ideas that I have posted. I’m sure this applies to them also. Efforts to find out information about this group should not be linked to the candidates. I do know Mr.Lequerc and as I stated, he is legally blind, and since I had last seen him over a year ago until recently, I noticed it had become worse and its quite an effort for him to type. I see he did offer his phone number and I’m sure he would be glad to talk to you. Please take the time to give him a call and you can share the information on here. I certainly dont think they are purposely hiding anything or none of us would have associated with them.

  49. Nikki

    March 19, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Mr. Mannino – If I implied that I felt those who had been endorsed were also members of CCGG, I apologize. That was not my intention. My intention was simply to explain why I would want to know who the people heading up CCGG are. I fully understand that just because a candidate is endorsed by a group does not mean that he or she is a member of that group. Likewise, it does not mean that he or she necessarily agrees with that group on all matters. My point was just that when I am considering other people’s or groups’ opinions, I like to know who those people are.

    As for contacting Mr. LeQuercq, I will make an effort to contact him at some point this weekend. My work schedule and conditions do not afford me the opportunity to get into what could become lengthy phone conversations, thus the reason that I rely on Central Speaks, the Central News, and the official city website to find out meeting agendas. Online is much easier for me to manage in my current position. I do empathise with Mr. LeQuercq in that I do have vision problems myself, and I do thank him for taking the time to respond to my post.

  50. Mike Mannino

    March 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks Nikki, Please read my previous posts for information and please call me anytime if you have questions.(278-6087) You sound like a person who likes to get their information first hand and I commend that. Please make sure you vote!!!

  51. Nikki

    March 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Trust me, I will! I was always taught that if you do not vote, you have absolutely no right to complain…so if you plan on complaining, you better vote!

  52. Robby

    March 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    By the way, I just got back from voting absentee. Just wanted to let you people know.

    Why sit on my hands and wait until the 27th when I can go and vote today and let my voice be heard!

    My 3 year old son even knew which buttons to push! What a smart and wise little lad he is. It is great to be raised on strong Christian and Conservative values!

  53. John

    March 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I don’t think CCGG started out as anything but a group of citizens wanting to discuss their issues with the city government.

    But, I would like to know something. Cooking for Kids or Cooking for Central is coded as a business entity. If I am undertanding this correctly the board members are entitled to a paycheck. Does anyone know if the Watts, Russell Starns or Louis DeJohn recieve a paycheck? Is there a financial disclosure for this organization? How are the procedes counted and validated from the day of the event and where is the money counted? Just curious!

  54. John

    March 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm


    Do you remember the name of the first Cook Off we had in Central? It was called Cookin for Our Neighbors. All of the money (100%) went to St. Bernard Parish to buy bus’s after the hurricane. It was to help someone in need. It didn’t go to Central. The next year all of the money went to our school board so that we wouldn’t start our schools in debt. Then it was called Cooking for Our Kids. The money went to our schools for tangible things i.e. technology and the library. Some of the money was also donated to St. Helena Parish because part of their school burned down. It was to help someone in need. It has always had our Neighbors in mind. Mr. Dejohn did a Cook Off the year before Central’s first cookin and the money was all donated to the NYFD after 911. Now there are complaints about not all of the money being spent on kids in Central. Now some of the money is going to be spent on Blue Star Moms who sends things to our soldiers overseas.How selfish.

    The name was changed from Cooking for Our Kids to Cooking in Central so that it could become tax exempt. Does it matter who Cooking is registered to. I’m sure the Mayor would relinquish his spot on that line willingly. He receives nothing from Cooking except the satisfaction that he is helping someone. I’ve known Coach Watts most of my life and I would trust him with every dime I own. How many public servants can you say that about?

  55. Johnt

    March 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    The second John post should have been Johnt. To answer John’s question. Not one of those individuals receive any form of payment from Cooking in Central. The boooks are open to the public and if you want, go to a meeting for Cooking and ask to see the financials. As a matter of fact, the Watts’, Starns’ and DeJohn’s donate quite a bit of time and money (THEIR OWN HARD EARNED MONEY) to Cooking. It sickens me that anyone would question these people. Do you have an ulterior motive? Are you trying to stir something up for the election? It’s ashame the character of good people who have done and donated so much to Central would be questioned. As I stated, go to a meeting and ask, and while you are their how about you volunteer your time.

  56. johnt

    March 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Well unlike some uninformed citizens in our community, I went and asked these questions. Here is what the notarized Articles of Incorporation states.

    This organization is organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of secton 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    Unless and until otherwise provided by the By-Laws, all of the corporate affairs and powers of this corporation shall be vested in and the business an affairs of this incorporation shall be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of no fewer than three(3) members.

    The three individual names are:
    Louis DeJohn, Cooking in Central, Director
    Shelton “Mac” Watts, Mayor
    Russell M. Starns, Central Community Schools School Board Chairman

    Should this corporation ever be dissolved, or should its existence terminate, all the assets of the corporation shall be distributed only to organizations exempt from income tax under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or to the federal government or to the state or local government for a public purpose. No part of the assets of the corporation shall ever be distributed to or used for the benefit of any member, director or officer of the corporation, or any private individuals or corporations.

    This was done February 28, 2007

    One thing that amazes me is that all this comes out at the time of an important election. Are we sinking low enough to trash honest citizens to be elected to an office of service. The timing of this stinks. How many times have you seen this done on a state or national level and were appalled? Now we have this happening in OUR CITY. How low will these people go before it ends?

    All I can say is WOW!!!

  57. jeremy

    March 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm


    The article you refer to mentions that assests of the corporation cannot be distributed to or used for the benefit of any member, director or officer of the corporation upon DISSOLUTION, its in the article title DISTRIBUTION OF ASSESTS ON DISSOLUTION. IF you read further into the laws governing tax exempt charitable companies you will find that they can pay their Board of Directors whatever they choose to pay them.Im not questioning the integrity or desire of these people to help the city of central, i commend it and respect it, All i questioned is why the money donated is now being redirected to other projects? Im asking for my own knowledge not to attack anyone. I take personal offense to the comment “how low will these people go” Once again someone is being attacked for thinking outside the box and asking questions.You think that federal laws prevent charitable organizations from being corrupt(and before you run with that, im not calling cooking for central corrupt), but you are incorrect. Did you realize that the state of lousianna does not have an office of charitable organizations, that they are only watched by the federal government and only have to file detailed tax reports if they take in more than $250,000.00. I also don’t think the Mayor would appreciate you volunteering him to resign his position, but if you have that kind of influence over him, fell free to have him publicly do so!

  58. jeremy

    March 19, 2010 at 10:44 pm


    I have to mention that you only chose to respond to a portion of my question, I also questioned if it was ethical for the mayor to take campaign money from CH2MHILL and P&Z Commission Board Members.One last thing i have to mention is your comment on the books of cooking for central being open to the public, It is a federal law that the books of any charitiable organization have to be given to anyone who request them.

  59. Donna

    March 20, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Jeremy, think John T is going to answer you. I find that very interesting. I’ll say what a good job CH2MHILL is doing if they give me money. I am not saying they aren’t doing a good job, it’s just that I can always use the extra cash.

  60. Mike LeClercq

    March 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I have a question. Who counts all that CASH at these cook offs and who whitnesses this event?

  61. John

    March 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  62. cd

    March 20, 2010 at 9:34 am

    If anyone has any questions or concerns about Cooking for Central, attend a meeting or volunteer your time. The people involved will gladly give you information. This topic is about the election, how about sticking to it, and quit making statements or comments about something you know nothing about, and has nothing to do with this election.

    Once again we have a group complaining about the current elected officials yet they offer no substance about what changes need to be made, just a bunch of whiners who do not get involved with this city.

  63. John

    March 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Actually the topic was about CCGG. however two elected officials that are on the Cookin Board are up for re-election. So all this controversy does have something to do with the election. I wonder if they are looking for volunteers to help count the money. I think these questions are arising due to what they want to spend it on this time. Just like Meet the Mayor Day for kids. This is the first time Mayor Watts has had an opponent and this is the first year for an annual Meet the Mayor Day. He has had five years to do this and he chooses now. Talk about an ulterior motive. It was like a campaign rally. I wonder who paid for this. If the city did then I have a problem with that (timing) if Mac’s campaign chest did then that proves this was about politics not kids. I could’ve have supported this gathering under the pretense it was for the kids if it had been held previously at this time of year or after the election.

  64. dave

    March 20, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    OK gang, time for me to chime in. I never want to be put in the position of limiting your right to voice your opinion, that is one of the reasons I have invested so much of my personal time and money in creating and maintaining However, as the old saying goes, Free Speech does not give you the right to stand up in a crowded theater and yell FIRE!!!

    I do not support or criticize any candidate through, and if anyone can show me a post or comment made by me that seems otherwise, please do so.

    Cookin’ by whatever permutation of the name and destination of the funds, is not the issue in this election. I support your right to raise the question of financial disclosure of the group, but once that was raised the answer was given. Go do your research. If you find an unwillingness on the part of Cookin’ to satisfy your questions, THEN come back and make remarks about the integrity of the group and suggest that there are unsavory things afoot.

    I am drawing a line here and asking that this forum not be used for the purpose of raising sensational questions about which no research has been done, and especially continuing to suggest improprieties even after being told that the information would be given to you if you would make the effort to go and see it. I actaully do not know what condition the books of Cookin’ are in, but I am betting that they are well kept. If Cookin’ is not as clean as I think it is, I will post your article exposing them. Otherwise, lets stop the trashing. If my defense of Cookin’s reputation constitutes favoritism, I will just have to take the hit for that.

    On what I will now claim as a separate subject: Often when people use negative politics in an effort to gain support for their candidate, it backfires. The quickest way to lose MY vote is to tell me how bad your opponent is instead of telling me how qualified you are and what a good job you will do if elected. I am beginning to have true concerns about our City’s ability to heal the division that is being created (and note I say created) by this election. Tell me what your candidate can do, has done, or will do. Point out what your opponent has failed to do, can’t do or won’t do. Stop short of presenting things as “possible facts” unless you are willing to research and find the truth.

    Let’s have honest, well-researched and semi-polite disagreement from here on out.


  65. John

    March 20, 2010 at 4:31 pm


  66. johnt

    March 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks Dave. Donna, I am just now looking at the post. I am a busy person and can’t sit at a computer that often. I will respect Daves wishes. I will say one thing, the next cooking meeting is at Elegant Memories the Tuesday after next at noon. I suggest all of you who have questions about the money for Cooking go and ask questions. If you have questions of who counts the money and where it goes go and ask questions. Don’t attack people without all of the facts. It is PUBLIC record. And it would be nice if any of you would volunteer your time.

  67. Donna

    March 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    johnt, I think you are confused. Other than the comment “Inquiring minds want to know” in response to Mike LeClercq’s post,the only other post about money was to Jeremy:
    “Jeremy, think John T is going to answer you. I find that very interesting. I’ll say what a good job CH2MHILL is doing if they give me money. I am not saying they aren’t doing a good job, it’s just that I can always use the extra cash.”

  68. jeremy

    March 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm


    No I dont think johnt will respond to the questions i presented, And I will add to my question after what i saw today.Meet the Mayor was presented as a chance for kids of central to meet Mac Watts, take pictures with him etc..(I didnt realize he is so famous) It was advertised on the central community website and also central city news as such, when i arrived i found the central fire dept. the central reserve police dept. and also various other candidates for public office, this is once again an obvious ethics issue,you cannot use your position of power to influence your political campaign. None of this is rumor, it is all fact. Now Johnt since you are so close to Mr. Watts and would trust him with your last dime, please ask him to explain these things and how they are OK. By the why im still waiting on his resignation that you were sure he would be willing to commit to.

  69. Citizen

    March 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    How was what Mayor Watts did today any diffrent than what the CCGG did today ?????????? And I went to both. Just think if u guys got off your computers and went out gave of your time for the City that means so much to you maybe just maybe some know-it-all can say bad things about you some day. Back off, get your own life, and stop saying bad things about good people !!!!!!! GOD BLESS the people that give so much of themselves just to get treated like this.

  70. Sophia

    March 21, 2010 at 9:51 am

    AMEN Citizen! As for the conspiracists and malcontents who keep posting half-truths and downright lies aimed at discrediting the current administration — I hope Mr. Shelton and the other contenders soon realize what a pack of mangy dogs they are running with. Remember the old saying “If you sleep with dogs, you WILL get fleas.”

  71. Citizen 2

    March 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I think just from viewing the two comments is who paid for the public service organizations such as the fire department and other services to be at the event for the Mayor and were tax dollars used to pay for the equipment getting to the event and the firefighters that got it there? Were tax dollars used to fund the other event that took place? I’m trying to get more involved in politics and the path the city is taken. I don’t know much about either event and I don’t know much about who pays for what. If tax dollars were used in either case then wouldn’t that be illegal or something along those lines for either event?

  72. citizen 3

    March 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

    In response to Sophia’s comment: Remember the old saying “If you sleep with dogs, you WILL get fleas.

    Remeber this one: “where there smoke there is fire”

    Mayor Watts and Jr. Shelton are both good people, not all good people are good representatives of the people, all of the people. I have found if you don’t agree with a certain person’s agenda (no one in particular) you get less cooperation from them on matters you might need their help with.

  73. Sophia

    March 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    How do I delete my previous post? In re-reading it, I realize it was harsh and uncalled for. My apologies to all.

  74. dave

    March 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm


    I have removed a couple of posts and asked that the writers re-write the posts and avoid name-calling. I have no issue with the political messages but we have to remain civil.


  75. Mike Mannino

    March 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    To clarify a couple of things; I could not attend the mayors event due to the CCGG event. I do not have any details about what resources were used or whether it was a campaign event in disguise. However, if there were taxpayer resources used and campaign signs displayed, it is certainly un-ethical but maybe not illegal. I just dont know but its a question that should be answered for all to hear.

    The CCGG event was fully funded by members of the CCGG and I know because I asked before I would participate. It was open to anyone that wished to come. I saw several people with Mac Watts shirts. Mr. Moak and his family and Mrs. Lansing also came by. I welcomed them with open arms and did my best to make them feel at home because I think they are wonderful people. Both have treated me wonderfully throughout this campaign even though I am running against them. I cant say enough about the class of these two citizens.

    In the effort to keep this campaign clean, lots of questions our citizens are asking are going unasked and unanswered. Thats too bad because there are a lot of questions out there that the answers to could change the face of this election……….

  76. T

    March 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    sry Dave 🙁

  77. dave

    March 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    No problem (he says as he deletes impolite post containing no actual opinion). Thanks for thinking of me. 🙂

  78. ward

    March 23, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Mr. Mannino,
    I was on Devall Road yesterday around 3pm and saw someone get out of a DPW truck to install a yard sign. Is this un-ethical? This is my tax dollars working for you!

  79. ward

    March 23, 2010 at 10:01 am

    For those of you that question the integrity of those associated with “Cookin”, you OBVIOUSLY do not support this effort and nor have you attended an auction! If you still don’t know what I’m talking about…ask. I think you are grossly misled!
    This is just another smear tactic those “campaign devils” use to persuade the uninformed.

  80. Mike Mannino

    March 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    What is your question? Was it an EBR truck that someone takes home ?Possibly, they may have but I am certainly not aware of it nor would I condone. Maybe they got a sign from me somewhere but if they did, they were not in a city truck. Was it Central ? I can assure you, I certainly don’t have the connections to get City workers to put up signs for me if thats what you are implying. Certainly not Central as they would like to hang me in efigy. What are you asking in plain words and maybe I can answer. It is ridiculous to even make a statement that I would have any such ability to get either EBR or Central workers to perform campaign work for me. Where is the possible link. Its not like I have 100’s of signs out there. I’m man enough to take any questions you have, are you man or woman enough to ask ? I really think some people out there are loosing it because some of us dared to run in this election. Sir or Mam, I am free as is every citizen, to offer my services and you as a voter are free to choose as you please. Please avoid making ridiculous claims that cant possibly reach any level of credibility since dig as you might, you will find I dont know any city workers or administrators. By the way, its illegal for government employees to campaign…………

  81. Citizen 2

    March 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I saw the same truck, only it wasn’t Mannino signs. It was Mac Watts signs and Lucky Ross sign’s. Ward didn’t say whose signs. Maybe he saw the same thing I did.

  82. Mike Mannino

    March 23, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I think I was right in assuming Ward was referring to me especially if you read the follow-up post by him/her. I would say the same for whomever the signs were for. Lets make sure we get the facts. Certainly, no one would be brazen enough to use City resources to put up campaign signs. If you think that is the case, please take a picture, bring it to the ethics board, and let them handle because that is certainly a violation. I can tell you, with the number of signs I and all the other candidates have lost, maybe they were taking signs down. I wouldnt, and I’m sure the others, would not tolerate behavior that could bring bad publicity to our campaigns.

  83. Jeremy

    March 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    You call questioning of Cooking in Central and campaign finance ethics (which still have not been answered) “smear tactics” from “campaign devils” right after you accused Mr. Mannino of using your tax money and the DPW to put his campaign signs out.WOW, you just mananged to throw yourself into both these groups without any assistance from anyone else. congrats. I would be inclined to think that the DPW was removing signs that were in servitudes improperly.

  84. Kim DeJohn Vince

    March 24, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Cooking in Central – there are a handful of you out there, from what I understand, that are questioning the appropriation of funds received from this event. I will begin at the inception of “Cooking” because I, unlike most of you, was there. This will be long, but some of you need to know it, obviously.

    Right after 9-11, my father, Louis DeJohn, gathered Louis Mechanical’s plumbing foremen, who really felt a need to “DO SOMETHING” to help. So the “Greater Baton Rouge Plumbing Industry United Disaster Relief Effort” was born. We began weekly meetings and invited plumbing suppliers and our competitors to join us in raising money to help the citizens of NY. It was decided that we would have a cook-off at Lamar Dixon in Gonzales. We had a cook-off, auction, kids fun, etc. Every penny (I think it was around $81,000.00) of the money raised went to then Governor Foster’s “Bucks for Trucks” which was established to raise money to help the NY firefighters replace their damaged trucks. The money raised by the GBR Plumbing Industry United Disaster Relief Effort helped buy the “Spirit of Louisiana,” one of the firetrucks purchased during the “Bucks for Trucks” campaign. Thus “Cooking” was born. Grass roots as you can imagine, but we still to this day have people who cook in Central’s fundraiser because they are in the plumbing business and have been involved in this effort since its inception.

    A few years later, disaster again strikes the United States when Hurricane Katrina hits. Once again, my father wants to “do something.” When he suggests involving the City of Central, I ask him, “Why not the plumbers again?” He explains to me that he feels we can reach so many more people if we involve the citizens of the newly incorporated City of Central. Again, I was at the first meeting at the new City Hall on Sullivan Road. The people involved at the meeting seemed to like the idea. After much discussion, it was decided that since Central was so “school oriented,” we needed to raise money to help a ravaged school system. Thus, “Cookin’ for Our Neighbors” was born. Once again, every penny went to the St. Bernard Parish School System, this time to purchase school buses which were properly named “The Spirit of Central.”

    Just as my father thought, the City of Central embraced the “Cookin” fundraiser. The involvement of the people was more than I ever imagined. So now we have major corporate sponsors and lots more people and ideas involved. It was suggested by corporate sponsors that “Cookin” become an annual event and that the next year we use proceeds to help our new Central School System. I believe most of you know how successful that event was. Once again, every penny went to the schools of Central.

    So now, from the growth of the original “Cooking,” the City of Central has an annual fundraiser that it is known for. Of course, with growth comes growing pains. So the committee is even trying to put a portion of the money earned now toward a future land purchase for the annual event. And they are being questioned and ridiculed by some for this!

    No one can even begin to imagine the amount of time (not to mention money) that the principals of this event spend. I’m not just talking their personal time. I mean their family’s involvement and, for many, their employees’ involvement. It takes a TREMENDOUS amount of time to prepare for something of this magnitude. Many of you have been involved in working on the Friday and/or the Saturday of the event, but unless you involve yourself MUCH earlier than just the weekend, you have no idea how much work it is. I know first hand, so I am utterly disgusted that anyone would even suggest that funds have not been distributed properly. Of course, I notice that I’ve never heard any questions raised until just days before Saturday’s election.

    Many of the people who have given their time so freely to this effort are the same ones that have donated much money to this effort. To suggest that they may gain something financially from “Cooking in Central” is insane. The books are open. They always have been.

    Now that you know a little more about “Cooking’s” inception and its development through the years, perhaps you can understand why I take such offense to anyone who can raise ethical questions about “Cooking.” You should be proud to have this great cause in your “back yard,” and you should help support it with whatever time and money you can afford.

  85. Donna

    March 24, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Kim, I can see that you are very proud of your father and the Cooking events that started out with him. I think you should be. I also think it is human nature (not necessarily a good thing) to be suspicious especially when certain facts come out. The fact that the board members can receive a paycheck. I know from this forum that is on the minds of many. For some it may seem too be unbelievable that someone would give as much time to something like Cooking with out something (other than the satisfaction you are helping someone) in return. Your father stated no one does, I have no reason not to believe him.
    I know the financial records are available for anyone to look at, but again if there was something fishy going on it could be covered up and not come to light for years. Just look at all the financial advisors stealing from their clients. Before they were caught they were considered good and honest men. Again I want to say I am not accusing anyone, nor do I believe this is the case with Cooking. Louisiana, along with politicians, in general is known for corruption and just like crime Central is not immune to these things. Do I think those involved with Cooking are corrupt, personally no. However I have had a small dealing with 2 of the board members (I know there are only 3) that left me with a less than a warm and fuzzy feeling. It was probably minor issues to them, but not me. They didn’t lie to me, but wasn’t above board and honest with me either. Ever since I have had my doubts. Another fact I think people are concerned with is the land issue. If one of the board members were to pass away, who replaces him? Is he or she appointed by the remaining 2 or elected? If Cooking dissolves what happens to the land? Maybe if they donated the land to the City with a legal and binding agreement that the land use will always be available for the use of Cooking, maybe that would calm some of this chatter down. I don’t think the few thousand they are giving to other organizations is the problem. You wonder why all this just before an election. Maybe the Cooking board’s timing is a little off also, maybe they should’ve have waited till next year when there wasn’t an election to buy land. Best of luck to everyone in this election and as they say “May the best man win”.

  86. Mike Mannino

    March 24, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I applaud you for putting your name on your post. If people have something to say, they shouldnt have a problem putting their name on it. I am awed by the job Cookin for whatever has done. They have taken heat for giving money to other areas but as I stated in an earlier post, we are bigger than Central and they should be commended.

    This is not meant to be critical but a suggestion for all business in Central that involves public funds. We need to have a way to have full disclosure and communication. I dont know if a community news bulletin or some kind of monthly article in the Central news is the answer but perception is a killer. As an example, the City Council last night voted on a road overlay program that sounds great to me but if the details of how this is going to work dont get out in a clear, concise form, they are going to take some heat because people wont understand. To say the books are open, or they can attend the Council meetings is not getting it done. Its going to take some proactive work and PR to get the information to everyone to avoid these type problems.

  87. Lucky Ross

    March 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I don’t know who Citizen 2 is
    I do know that no DPW truck has done anything for my campaign including placing signs
    I do know that Johnny and my son Lynn are the only individuals that are placing signs besides myself
    I do know that if Citizen 2 is willing to make such ludicrous (that means ridiculous)statements he or she should have the decency to sign their name
    I do know that many accusations have been made in this campaign by individuals that want to stay anonymous
    I do know that such accusations are unfounded if the individual refuses to be identified
    I do know that this is “SO UN-CENTRAL LIKE” shame on you!

  88. Citizen 2

    March 24, 2010 at 9:06 am

    You are right, but did notice you didn’t make any reference to Ward’s comment, which spawned mine. So I am asking that Dave remove my comment. I would if I had that option. Thanks!

  89. ward

    March 24, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Mr. Mannino,
    My question was merely in reference to one of your previous post…
    “I do not have any details about what resources were used or whether it was a campaign event in disguise. However, if there were taxpayer resources used and campaign signs displayed, it is certainly un-ethical but maybe not illegal. I just dont know but its a question that should be answered for all to hear.”

    I just found it appropriate to bring this up and I’m glad so many has taken offense to my so-called acquisition. This was to make a very important point to everyone. Please remember, everything you see, everything you read, and everything you hear may not be the truth and can be taken out of context or misconstrued. What I or someone else would have perceived as a DPW truck driving around putting up campaign signs for whoever, (in my case it was one of your signs), could have been a guy on his way home from work, in his own driveway, putting a sign in his front yard. I apologize if I offended you, Mr. Mannino or Mr. Ross, but I did this for the sole purpose to drive home a point. I know everyone that throws their name in the political arena has good intentions…at least I hope so…but I will say one thing, no one likes to be falsely accused of anything…this includes stealing, lying, and cheating. All of which I have seen during election time in Central. We are driving a wedge in our community with this bitter animosity. It has to stop for us to be successful. As a voter, your responsibility it to do your own homework based of facts. This does not include the local Central paper. In my opinion, it is not news, but the publisher’s opinion.

  90. Mike Mannino

    March 24, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Thank you Ward for responding. Your point is taken.

    I can assure you if there is one thing you dont have to question with me is ethics or the appearance of an inpropriety. I work at Exxon and for my entire career, I have to go through Business ethics training and Conflict of Interest training each year. When finished, I sign a statement that I understand. I cant even have the appearance of a conflict. It is so strict that if my next door neighbor works for a company we deal with, and has a barbeque that he invites me to, I have to get permission and it is documented. Because of the level of management I am in, I had to report that I was running for this office and received specific directions on conflicts from Houston, TX and Fairfax, Va on expectations so that I would not do anything to give the company a bad name. So I am in the position where the citizens can fire me if I’m elected and I could lose my job if I did anything that even appears unethical. I have taken only $320 in Campaign donations,from people I know don’t expect anything in return except good government, spending nearly $4000 of my own money to run just so nobody can say anything about any decisions I make. NOBODY but the citizens will affect my decisions. If I sounded aggressive on this subject, I apologize but as you can see, this was not a decision I took lightly given the fact that my Company is very unforgiving when it comes to ethics and I intend to carry that over to the council. An ethical lapse is not something you will ever be able to accuse me of and have any basis and when you have ethical people, the rest will take care of itself. Wish our leaders in Washington understood that !!

  91. Mike LeClercq

    March 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you Mr Ward and Mr. Mannino for handeling your disagreement or misunderstanding, nr misinformation, or just plain ignorance in a respectful manner.
    This Mean Spirited behavior is also shared by the present City Government and is one of the root causes for the low citizen turnout and participation at Council Meetings.

    Thanks again Mr. Ward and Mr. Mannino for showing us how to Question and have an exchange of opinions. I hope this is a sign of a new respect for one another.

    Thanks Once More,

    Mike LeClercq

  92. ward

    March 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    My comments were not “Mean Spirited”! Is this a term used to mean something special, you know, from one CCGG brother to another? I have heard this tern once too many.

  93. Dusty Havens

    March 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Mr. Mannino,

    I commend you on your views on ethics. I respect a man that holds himself to a higher standard
    and strives to achieve that standard on a daily basis.

    You have stated numerous times that your employment with ExxonMobil is utmost in your life.
    We have heard repeatedly of your ability to consult on multi-million dollar contracts. I commend you on this also.

    I however have noticed on numerous occasions that you have posted to Central during daytime company hours at Exxon.

    Strictly on an ethics level, because as you stated in your last post, Exxon pays for your education in this field every year and you must sign off on this,
    Is running a political campaign on Exxon’s time and with their equipment ethical?

    Has the plant manager been made aware of this and signed off on this activity?

    I have read all of your post and they cover the 24 hour clock as far as time posted. At some point you must be at Exxon running a political campaign.

    Help me understand this.

  94. dave

    March 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    A reader used the “submit article” link to ask me a question about the “Mayors Day with the Kids”. I would like to respond but they failed to include their e-mail address. Please e-mail me at and I will answer your question as I am able.


  95. donna

    March 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Ever think he might be on vacation?

  96. Mike Mannino

    March 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    No Donna , glad to answer any questions. First I have a Blackberry that I can post from mobile. The job I am in right now is a large project with able time between operations to keep up with this while I wait in the field. Secondly, I work for a great company that encourages community involvement and actually gives us time to do this sort of thing. We have an adopt a school program, mentor programs, etc, that the company gives us time off for to volunteer time. I am also a member of the Citizens Action Comittee at Exxon which is involved with contacting our representatives on issues that affect industry. We have actually had several school board members, state representatives, and a state senator employed here while in office. Many officials have been our guest including the governor, and vice president. So no Dusty, no conflict here, we consider public service a good thing at Exxon. Glad to answer any questions you have……

  97. Jeremy

    March 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Do you know Mr.Mannino’s work schedule? Is he a salaried employee? There are other questions you could ask before you accuse Mr.Mannino of running a political campaign at his place of employment. It also sounds to me like you are making a threat to his job by mentioning the plant manager and the assumption he is doing something improper.A comment that can be perceived as Threatning a mans employment is something that should be taken very seriously.

  98. Mike Mannino

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I appreciate your comments but I am more than willing to answer any questions, anytime, from anybody. I would rather cover here than rumors floating around. As far as threatening my job, no worries there either. I will be glad to hold a conference call with Dusty while I am sitting in the plant managers office and he can ask any questions he would like. He only needs to ask.

  99. Mike Mannino

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    By the way. Thanks for noticing how hard I am working on this election. I didnt realize I was staying up that late working but I guess you are right,I have been since the posts show it. Demonstrates how hard I’m willing to work for Central !

  100. Donna Dufour

    March 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I have just been informed of a fact about the election I did not know. This should be able to be verified with Doug Welborn’s office. It is my understanding because our members are at large instead of single districts that there is formula to decide the winners or the top winners that would be in a run off. Now it makes even more sense why the current council members don’t want single districts. I thought the top five with the most votes win. Actually due to this formula you have a better chance of your candidate or candidates winning if you only vote for the ones you truly want. I knew I was going to vote for two, and then had to decide on the others. I decided on two more due to process of elimination. But I still had that fifth one to decide on. Wrong, my original two have a better chance of winning if I only vote for them, as far as the others, let the chips fall where they may. I have verified this with a few other candidates and they said what I heard was correct.

    Another thing I’m concerned about is the Police Chief position. That concern Mayor Watts being in favor of Mayoral appointment with the City Council Members approval, his current council members wants this also. This is not a new fact. Do you really think the current council would not approve who Mayor Watts wants?

    I am using my name, not to be attacked, but so you can correctly
    identify the source incase I am wrong. I

  101. Citizen 2

    March 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I just want to clarify that someone is using Citizen 2 after the fact of me using it. I posted on March 21 asking a question about the previous sat. events. Someone else has been posting comments since then signed in with the same name. I would ask them to please use a different name or number as to where there is no confusion between my comments and yours.

  102. Donna Dufour

    March 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Just a little humor:

    Sign sign everywhere a sign,
    Blocking out the scenery, crowding my mind.
    Sign’s saying vote for you, but where did you buy the sign?

  103. Donna Dufour

    March 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I need to add something. There are some running for council that didn’t get their signs in Central. They simply didn’t consider the issues with buying from businesses located in Central. Once they were approached it was too late for the signs, so they bought their t shirts in Central. Others used a Central sign company to begin with. But several went outside Central for both, because they were friends with the supplier. I say to them take down your yard sign that says “Buy in Central”.

  104. Mike Mannino

    March 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    If you look back on my previous posts, you will see that I have come out strongly against an appointed Cheif along with a “Mayors Court” This is asking for trouble no matter who the Mayor is or who we have on the council. The large majority of “hits” on the internet for mayors court involve corruption or legal issues. Combine this with the power to appoint a chief and you are opening the city up to all kind of favoritsm accusations. Before anyone tries to say this is ‘dirty politics” I am not saying this would be a problem with this administration but we have to look at what could happen down the road. All our decisions need to be based on what could happen, not what would happen in our current situation. Thanks for an issues based question. I encourage everyone to submit questions on this site. Only 2 days to go and not much time to get them answered.

  105. Donna Dufour

    March 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Just had an interesting experience. I was looking at Mayor Watts facebook, I had posted the council voting info above on his and Jr Shelton’s facebook. Just the 1st paragraph. Now I am now longer one of his friends (which means I can no longer post comments to him) and he removed the info about how the votes for the council race are counted. What else doesn’t he want the public to know?

  106. cd

    March 24, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Donna, could you please explain this formula about who wins this election in more detail. I would love to hear it.

  107. Donna Dufour

    March 24, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    No, I really can’t. I barely understood it when it was explained to me. I was hoping to have more input so I could quote the formula. I wasn’t where I could write it down, but I did check with a few other candidates and they confirmed what I was told was true. I will be checking with the clerk of court in the morning. I can’t believe this hasn’t come out before now.I know it has changed how I will vote.

  108. cd

    March 24, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Here is your formula: There are nine candidates, there are five positions, the five candidates that receive the most votes win. It’s really not that complicated.

  109. Donna Dufour

    March 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Looked up “at large voting system” in yahoo.It has a lot on it. Still don’t understand it, but is is different than reqular voting. I emailed the Secretary of State.

  110. Donna Dufour

    March 25, 2010 at 12:01 am

    That’s not how it was explained to me. But I will find out.

  111. Sophia

    March 25, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Y’all correct me if I’m wrong .. But, I believe the at-large-voting issue Donna is talking about is just simple math — example: Say there are 100 voters and 50 vote for Candidate #1 and only Candidate #1; the other 50 voters split their votes among Candidates #1 – #9; obviously, Candidate #1 has the advantage. If we go to council districts, I think each voter would only be able to vote for one candidate from his/her own district.

  112. Donna Dufour

    March 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

    CD, you are wrong. That’s what I thought also. But by all means vote for five. That will make my vote for my two stronger. I now have that formula. You take the total # of votes and divide that by 5, take that # divide it by two, add 1 and anyone with that # or higher wins. If we end up with more than 5 in the 1st primary there will be a runoff. This can be verified with the Clerk of Court’s office, 295-4765. Don’t waste your vote unless you are absolutely certain you want those five. If you have one, two or three you favor vote for them only. It will make their chance of winning better. But CD you were right about one thing it’s not that complicated after all. Now I see why Mac doesn’t want you to know and why he wants to keep the representation “at large”. Something else I’ve noticed, he has never answered anything questionable about him or his stand on issues on any of the Central Speaks forums. The only thing he participated in was the Central Speaks Hosting “Virtual” Mayoral Debate. After this formula and my comment being stricken for his facebook that brings me back to “What else does he not want us to know?” I posted the voting issue on both mayoral candidates’ facebooks, only Mac removed it from his.


  113. dave

    March 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

    There is an article today under Election 2020 section with this same information. Remember, it will take 10 unused votes to reduce the number of votes your candidate needs by one vote. Whether that is a god tradeoff for not getting to have a say on the other candidates is a personal preference.

  114. Donna Dufour

    March 25, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for that confirmation Dave. I felt like it wasn’t in the best interest for the current council since Mac removed it & my ability to post to his facebook.

  115. dave

    March 25, 2010 at 9:04 am

    In thinking about this, if I support a candidate and do not use several of my votes in order to lower slightly the vote count my candidate needs to get elected, I have also lowered the vote count the opponent needs. In that light, I am even less sure that withholding your votes actaully helps your candidate. I believe the actual effect is to make it possible for a candidate who received votes from less than 50% of the voters to still be elected on the first ballot. It is like a an endless loop of possible scenarios, all depending on how the opponents did.

  116. Mike LeClercq

    March 25, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Please excuse my sentance structure. You and Mike handled yourselves well and it should be a model for others. The Mean Spirited comment was directed to the posting that started this whole communication and the City Administration.

  117. mgardner

    March 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Donna if you talk about buying Central ETC. Why don’t you support Central? You sell shirts etc with the Central logo, Central Football, Central Basketball etc on it which May be legal but I do believe that is unethical, because your profiting off of OUR kids hard work. But your opinion is that it is not and that is fine. But when you were asked to purchase a $150 sign for the baseball team you refused, why? Why cant you support central, I am sure you have made at least $150 off the shirts you have sold that represent the school you refuse to support. So then you come on here and bash the public servants that have help create this city that you try to make a living in. They are the reason you came here and opened a business, maybe you just don’t realize it yet, would you have opened a business if Central was not its own city? Would the football and basketball teams have the success this year and the last few years if we weren’t our own system? A system that these public servants created. The success of the athletics etc in this city has made you money, so you are profiting on the hard work of OUR student athletes and OUR public servants, but again you come on here and bash them.

  118. Kyle

    March 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Is this the same Donna that spoke at the Greenwell Springs Baptist forum on Monday night? If so, this lady needs serious therapy and help! Any candidate that she is voting for will NOT get my vote!

  119. Mike LeClercq

    March 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    In response to Lucky Ross post on March 24.
    I do know that there are a number of reasons (other than indecency) why someone would want to stay anonymous. One’s “comment” is the important stuff, not necessarily the commenter’s name. (why do you want so much to know the name? )
    I do know that this nation was founded with an important right and I believe it is not just a right but our responsibility to speak. Isn’t the name of this site “Central Speaks”??
    Mike LeClercq
    I do know that it is like a good American to comment on an issue if there is any question of proper behavior.
    I do know that it is a good thing that a change is coming and that these things you call “un-central like” are becoming “Central-like”.
    This is the same Mean Spirited and Rude Tone you guys have perpetuated at the Council Meetings for years.
    Calm down Lucky. It will be over in a few days then we can hug and get on with our lives.


  120. Donna Dufour

    March 25, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Unethical would be looking at this website & writing this on school time and tax payers money. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt though and say you were not. As for Kyle you weren’t voting for anyone other tha Mac to begin with. Ah, freedom of choice.

    First of all I don’t own the shop I am only an employee. I do not make the decision such as buying signs from any organization. What Dale does do though is give a discount to any Central School organization. But we were never contacted in person before I received several border line harassment & slanderous emails from you. Coach Sid didn’t have a problem with us selling the t shirts. Why didn’t you come in person and talk to Dale? You took a hot headed approach. I never thanked you though you for the advertisement when you emailed, pardon me, had a parent email every one on your distribution list bashing us which only increased our sales. Did you send that email to the parent on a school computer? Most responses were “consider the source”. Thanks for the distribution list also. We had very few ask to be removed. We have a sign up sheet for email addresses in the store and we get a great response from our customers. Our customer base is growing. Maybe one day the athletic department can support the store; hence Dale would be able to afford to buy a sign from every athletic program in Central. Dale has bought advertisement from a few organizations @ CHS. Just because he didn’t buy the Baseball Teams sign he is made to look like the bad guy. Dale has been in business in Central for several years, just not a retail environment. He did not just move or just open here in Central. Athletics @ CHS had 8 months to use us before we printed any Central t shirts. For 8 months we referred people to the PTO & the Athletic department. Customers kept coming to the store because they couldn’t get them at school or they didn’t want what was offered. So we asked what they wanted and we printed it. During the fall on one Friday I was in the school office and a gentleman walked in and asked to buy a t shirt for that night’s game. He was told by the front office that they didn’t have any, only a PE t shirt. The man left right ahead of me. I stopped him and asked what he needed and he asked what color they were wearing that night. I didn’t know, but I did tell him to check with the athletic department and that the PTO would be selling them at the game. I went back to the store and told Dale, and the printing began. We are not a fly by night vender on a street corner and we pay business taxes. He is also working on a website where parents can order uniforms and other Central items, in which a portion of those sales go back to the appropriate school as a fund raiser. I’m glad I am a resident of the City of Central, La. USA, freedom! Have you ever heard of it? Dale also donates to who ever comes in to do gift baskets for the teachers @CHS. Maybe you’ll get one with one of our shirts and it will soften your heart a little. I pray it does.

  121. Robby

    March 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Mr. Mike Mannino,

    Thank you for funding your campaign out of your own pocket and being forward and honest with us.

    It really makes me wonder why people, instead of focusing on the issue at hand, have nothing better to do but wonder about what time of the day you are posting your comments and what maybe you “SHOULD” be doing instead.

    Really, are people that shallow? Are people that obtuse?

    Gee, let me attack this person because he is posting on here on Exxon’s time. Oh wait, he posted at 1425 pm, HE MUST BE AT WORK!!!!!!
    Knowing all along this person has NO IDEA of your work schedule, vacation schedule, and if this person does, needs to find something else to do, and I will say that for you.

    Thank you again for running a clean campaign and using this format along with another one to bring subjects to light and to clear up any muddy water.

    You have my full support! Oh, and my VOTE too, since I didn’t sit around on my duff and wait for this Saturday!

    Since I read your letter that was published in the CCN about a year ago, I was praying you would throw your name in the hat!

  122. Mike Mannino

    March 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you Robby and to anyone else that supports me. I have done everything I can to demonstrate to those that dont know me, what I stand for, I mean what I say, and will do what I promise. Those of you that do know me, already are aware that I will follow through with my commitments If you dont agree with me, that is what elections are for. I purposely turned down many campaign donations because I didnt want even a hint of any kind of expected favors. I will not be influenced by any special interests, only the voters.

    I certainly hope for the future of Central, people will honestly and objectively, look at the options we have this election and truly vote for the most qualified candidate. I can say without hesitation, that I think I have the skills, the ideas, and the passion to help Central, and will keep the best interest of the average home owner first.

    But this is up to you the voters, whether you really think we are doing our best or have you heard some things from me that could improve Central. As this campaign draws to a close, please remember, this is about a future that many of us will not see and what we leave for the next generations is our legacy.

  123. Just Brenda

    March 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    This site and is getting too funny, I can just see it being a play at the high school, 20 years from now- with our kids making fun of us. However that being said- I have noticed that a few are silent- I figure if they dont address people concerns now when it is election time, I doubt they will address them after election. I tested them also, put a phone call it, wrote a email, just to see what kind of response I would get. I was amazed at the few people that called back or answered the email. Or rather the ones that didnt bother. I pretty much know who I am NOT voting for-lol. My last final question, what can we do for the older kids, where they can hang out and not be hasseled by the police, where they are feel welcomed and safe, and we as parents feel safe them being there??? Does anybody have any ideas? Could thunderbird beach be open up again, with local bands playing- this would bring in alot of money and could be run in away where the older kids learn that the police our/can be their friends- we need a place where a teenager can enjoy being a teenager and have wonderful memories of central and their favorite pastime. I know it late asking this question, but this is a important decision for me since I have a teenager. When I grew up, we just hung out at highland road park or the lavey. As long as we wasnt drinking the police where fine with it. Can we reopen Thunderbird beach???

  124. Mike Mannino

    March 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Refreshing to see a legitimate question on here that is not politically motivated.

    Unfortuately, places like Thunderbird Beach are probably a thing of the past due to our litigous society. Very few small business’s can afford the liability insurance. I know the owner of Blue Bayou on Highland; he was once the owner of Fun Fair Park. Some of the stories I heard about lawsuits would amaze you.

    That leaves the City. I have proposed that we pull out of BREC, possibly with Baker and Zachary and start our own park system. We currently pay over a million dollars a year to BREC and dont receive a fraction of that in services. We could easily take a million dollars a year over several years and build a fine facility. I have other ideas such as utilizing some part of the Comite river for something similar to Thunderbird Beach but it going to take some involved citizens to help to get traction with the City. The current administration is not receptive to this.

    Thats my take on it but all of the challengers agree that we need to tap the resources we have in Central to submit ideas for items like this and to help us execute them. By the way, I have a facebook page and you can call me anytime at 261-8346.

  125. BMG

    March 25, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

  126. Mike Mannino

    March 25, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Thats very intelligent BMG. Did you think that up on your own or do you know someone in kindergarten ? I am amazed at how many people will say things when they can hide that they dont have enough gumption to say in person. I think thats called a coward, at least in my book.

  127. Kyle

    March 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Just Brenda: You are right, this site is really getting comical. I don’t know whether posts are here are serious or just put for entertainment. Ms Dufour, yes, I have known Mac Watts from Central Private. He’s a fine guy and has my vote. At least he didn’t almost run Central Private into closing a couple of years ago (like someone running for mayor who was on the board of directors). At least he hasn’t run his own company into closing (like someone else running for mayor). I will vote for the best candidate who has shown fiscal reponsibility to our city. By the way, I asked someone in Baton Rouge about you and they told me that you would blast the Baton Rouge council members about things in the past and that you would write off-the-wall letters to the Advocate every now and then. Looks like some things never change!

  128. ward

    March 25, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Thunderbird Beach……It’s a subdivision now. They filled in the pond and built some cabins…I mean some nice cabins. I dont think our teens should hang out over there. The locals will call the po po.

  129. Donna Dufour

    March 25, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    When it is an issue I am concerned with, yes I get active. Like the Central Thruway or when Taxbusters beat the big school tax. Maybe when I spoke out against Mayor Holden’s last attempt to tax us for ALIVE, or maybe when our 25 kids down Frenchtown Rd were being shipped from Bellingrath to Greenbriar. Better yet this one, when Mac and half of Central got a laugh because of Mr. Greco’s stupid comment about 2 women being insecure (me being one) because we didn’t want the thruway in our back yard. Central anti Greco citizens loved it. Maybe when I stood in front of the Super Fresh with my son while he sold mistletoe so he could buy his own Christmas presents, giving half to a needy family or to a Redemptorist teacher who’s house burned the week before Christmas. But now that I don’t support their agenda you’re going around polling people to discredit me. Isn’t that what some of the gripe was, people only getting involved when there is an election. Well you’ve done your home work and you can see I have been involved all along. Are you going to criticize me for getting involved? What’s your full name? I could probably get the low down on you also. I can just imagine who got your information from. As far as the allegations about Mr.Shelton, where’s your proof. The black and white kind. As for Mayor Watts, there was a time when he wasn’t honest and above board with me. That is what I am basing my choice on, facts, my facts.

  130. Donna Dufour

    March 25, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Kyle, I really hope that is your real name and your initials aren’t GS. I would be so dissapointed. No, it couldn’t be.

  131. Donna Dufour

    March 26, 2010 at 9:15 am

    To start, I remind you that the title of this posting is citizen Responds to Central Citizens for Good Government. To summarize, many of the posts blasted this group for daring to challenge the incumbents, saying why would we change, we have good ethical people in office now and they are doing a great job.

    To those of you that have taken that position, I would like you to explain to me how you can make those kind of statements with some of the information coming out toward the end of this campaign.

    We have a councilman that has raised 20,000 for a CENTRAL city council seat. Many of the contributors are builders and some are in the current administration. He took donations from the same family Mac did that is opening a Daquari shop that we dont need in Central. Donations from a large dirt contractor that keeps getting jobs in Central because he shuts down contractors that dont live in Central for petty things. ( Dont believe this one, go to to GSBC, maybe you will believe them) Do you honestly think that someone take that kind of money and not feel some obligation towards the donors?

    We have a mayor that sheepishly gave back campaign donations this week that he received from the major contractors the city deals with, explaining that he was not aware and his policy is to not accept donations from anyone dealing with the city. Do you really believe that ? He held a Meet the Mayor Day, using city resources and was nothing more than a campaign ralleye. Don’t you find it odd that in 5 years, nothing like this has been held until a week before the election? He took large donations from the family of the person that is opening a Daquari shop when nobody has been able to get this kind of bar approved in years.

    I could go on but if the above is not enough, you are partisan and the facts wouldn’t matter anyway. You would vote for these people at the expense of bringing Central down instead of doing whats best for everyone.

    To those that accused CCGG of “purportly’ being for good government, please explain to me how all the ethical lapses we are seeing and some we wont find out about till latter, fit into YOUR idea of a good, honest government. Can you explain that Debbie Dougherty ?

  132. BMG

    March 26, 2010 at 9:48 am

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

    You should research this statement and see that it is an “old English proverb” and has been long used to describe people who do not think before they speak (or in this case think before they post/print).

    Just to prove this point – Mr. Shelton claims he is better qualified to run our City and has pretty much based his whole campaign on permit fees, yet all you need to look at is his full page ad in yesterday’s CCN. Mr. Shelton’s highlighted comments:

    “Jr. Shelton — Building business-related campaign contributions $1,250 as of 03/20/10

    My opponent — Building business-related campaign contributions over $7,000 as of 03/20/10”

    It does not take a “rocket scientist” to figure out that this is definitely a point in favor of the City of Central system of permitting and inspections. If the builders support the Mayor 7 to 1 against Mr. Shelton, they must like the way the City is operating.

    ***Also, be sure to check out the back page of the “We are Central” insert in The Advocate today.***

  133. Mike Mannino

    March 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Actually, people attribute it to the Chinese but the most common author cited is Abraham Lincoln

    I think you missed the whole point. I dont know Mr Shelton that well and dont want to put words in his mouth, but I took it more to mean who is beholding to who. Everyone needs to be scrutinized about their campaign contributions.
    It really bothers me to see the kind of money that is being thrown around across the board for a Central political campaign. Do we want our City to be bought and paid for ? I dont believe that is what we profess to be. Sooner or later, if this keeps up, the golden Mayberry image we have will be exposed as nothing more than another small town. Think abouut it people. We complain about this on a national level but we are condoning at the basic, local level. What do we expect the result to be. Different than nationally ? I absolutely know people in Central are smarter than this or at least I hope we send a message of what we are willing to put up with.

  134. Robby

    March 26, 2010 at 11:18 am

    All I can say is “GET OUT AND VOTE PEOPLE!”

    If we have councilmen/women who don’t act on what is needed, much less even care to LISTEN, VOTE THEM OUT!

    I’ve seen it myself first hand at the meetings. I hate it when meetings are adjourned before even asking if anyone has a question or concern, other than what’s on the agenda for the night.

  135. Kyle

    March 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Robby: I asked about your comment about not asking if anyone has a question or concern and was provided with an answer. That is because STATE LAW does not allow any discussion on matters except those that are published on the agenda. If someone has a matter to be discussed, they are to get a council member to place the item on the agenda so that it can be publicly advertised. The same holds true for the school board. The school board does not take questions or concerns from the audience for discussion unless it appears on the agenda. In fact, if you look at the bottom of school board agendas, there is a note about this citing the state law. If you look at EBR council meetings, you will notice the same. Sorry, but it’s just the law and rules of procedure.

  136. Mike Mannino

    March 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I am not defending Mr. Shelton here, I am defending myself because I have also taken the stance that our permit fees are too high. I got a copy of the handout from todays Advocate that Chm2hill put out. I know people in Central can figure this out by themselves but let me break these claims down:

    First, the example is 2 houses of 2090 Sq Ft, one in EBR, One in Central. The flier says valuation for permit purposes only. Trouble is, that is what sets your property taxes which is what you pay EVERY YEAR.

    so: EBR Central
    Value 184,000 226,000 – 420 more a year in property taxes
    Total 743 1827 – This totals all subs, AC,elec,etc.
    Impact 760 0 – Why none in Central ? See below

    Total 1503 1827

    Now, on the surface, this doesnt sound too bad, right? However, who do you think is paying the Traffic Impact Fees ? YOU ARE in the form of a higher price for the house because it is passed on by the developers. The bad thing about that is you will pay for that in the form of higher property taxes till you sell the house because the Taxable Value IS the permit value or the sale price. Also, IF the permit fees were identical, there are savings to be had by contracting directly with Safebuilt. How much I dont know because that is not public record. Finally, Central is only receiving 10% of this. WHY ?????

    Fellow Citizens, we are way smarter than this. Dont be fooled by last minute attempts to convince you that the people running dont know what they are talking about. Dont you find it strange that this came out a day before the election when we couldnt respond ?

  137. Mike Mannino

    March 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    You are right about that. But somehow in Zachary, they have a spot on the agenda at the end for public input ot questions. Sheri should be able to help us get that in place here because I believe she worked with Zachary. Might address some of the complaints we heard and do it in an orderly fashion. I’ll ask one of the council members when we I see them. Many of the complaints I heard are based on lack of communication. I attended the council meeting Tuesday and they approved an excellent road overlay program. But I told David, if you dont get the information out about how they will prioritize, which is a fair system by the way, you will catch some heat.

  138. PBS

    March 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Mr. Mannino

    The valuation of construction is not what the assesor uses for valuation for tax purposes. The assesor uses the living area square footage, and total footage to determine valuation along with location to simular size houses.

  139. Mike Mannino

    March 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Exactly the same thing. Its either based on the permit value if you are building yourself, or the selling price. Built too many houses to not know this is the case. Take a look at any appraisal and its based on square footage times a factor of what the comparable houses in an area have sold for. Any way you want to look at it, still boils down to we are paying substantially more than other areas for permits in the price of the house with impact fees absorbed and direct cost. Part of ours are just hidden.

  140. Just Brenda

    March 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Not really following along with the permit thing???? Does the permit fee being so high- slow down development and discourage building in Central cause it just cost too much here. When you could build a much larger house in Zachary or Denham Spring,( both which has really good school there too!) for the same price??? And do I have to have a premit to inclose my garage? or add a bathroom??

  141. PBS

    March 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Mr Mannino
    The assesor’s office uses it’s own valuation chart, but the construction value has nothing to do with it. If your arguement is that the permit valuation is setting the price of the house, that is incorrect. The permit valuation is lower than what the house is actually selling for. Central permits are valued at $82.00 per foot on total footage, and houses are selling for approximately $100.00 per foot on living area. This is basiclly a wash but when you factor in the lot the house and property are valued at $130.00 per foot. (As reported in Central City News January 28, 2010) That being said the ezample of the 2090 square foot house would sale for $271,700.00. Granted that’s not going to be the assessed value, but an identical house built in Zachary, Livingston Parish, EBR, or Central is going to cost about the same to build where ever it is built. The difference in permit price is small when compared to the fact thet lots are selling for 10 to 15 thousand dollars more in Central. By the way I too have 25 plus year as a residential contractor, so I know a little about the subjet myself.

    Good luck tommorrow.

  142. Mike Mannino

    March 26, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks PBS for being civil. I am saying that the initial tax value is set by the permit value. Again, this is based on what I have personally experienced. But you are correct, if the house sells for the 271,000 that will become the taxable value. The only way you come out ahead is if you build (sub) the house yourself and actually build it for that cost. Using the example in the flyer, you could end up paying 420 more a year in taxes, assuming you pulled the permit in both cases. In addition, the traffic impact fees are rolled into the developer cost in Central, in EBR its a line item. But you are paying in both cases and the flyer does not show that. So we both are saying the same thing basically. The assessor will only come into play on the reassessment cycle but I beleive but am not sure on this, that there is only so much they can increase per cycle.
    To answer your question, when dealing with the cost of the house, permit costs really become a small item in the scheme of things I would agree. If you weigh all things equal, and it comes down to the permit fee being higher, I will in the interest of being objective, say that it probably wont scare anyone away on a home purchase. One of the items that became an issue on the campaign was the number of things that require permits with a $100 minimum on any permit. You definitely have to have one for major additions like you mention because they require inspection. THe biggest complaint though was the requirement to have a permit for changing hot water heaters, building a fence, and any number of other minor jobs that people in Central are capable of doing themselves. People got to where they would not put an old appliance, hot water heater, etc. out for trash for fear of someone knocking on their door to see if they had a permit. Thanks PBS for a good discussion. Like I said, think we are saying the same thing using different scenarios.

  143. Concerned parent

    March 27, 2010 at 7:42 am

    In reference to a comment “These are people our young are to look up to”. Something I never really thought much about till this election that shows by example to our young is the selling of beer at a function to raise money for these young. This is an event our current Mayor is a chairman of the board for. Don’t you think they have enough encouragement to drink without witnessing this at function for them? Which also brings into play that a very politically involved person’s son was given a permit to open a daiquiri shop down the street from our High School. The new owner of this daiquiri shop and his family are big supporters of the current city administration. Then when you look at his parent’s facebook, they exclaim how proud they are and can’t wait to have a daiquiri. (now their page is made private).This is a school board member’s son. Doesn’t look like he always have our young’s best interest at heart either on this issue. Part of this is opinion and part is fact. The facts are:

    1. Beer sold at an event for the young.
    2. Our current Mayor and one current councilman
    chair this event.
    3. A politically connected person’s son was given a permit and is opening a daiquiri down the street from our high school.

  144. Kathi Cowen

    March 27, 2010 at 11:35 am

    To Concerned Parent: The “board member’s son” had to go through every step of the process to rezone just like any other applicant. Check the meeting agendas posted on the wesite and you will see Case #RZ-08-09 was presented in two public hearings, the November 19, 2009 P&Z and the December 8, 2009 Council meeting. Prior to the public hearings, the little yellow sign was posted at the street and all required ads were placed in the paper to notify all who might wish to object. The time for your concerns to be heard and considered is at these public hearings. The ABC board, not the City, approves licenses for sale of liquor.
    I can personally assure all Central residents that no permit is issued (or denied for that matter) based in the applicant’s last name or political affiliation (as implied in an earlier post.)

    Kathi Cowen
    Planning & Zoning Manager
    City of Central

  145. Concerned parent

    March 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    What ever you say!

  146. Concerned parent

    March 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I would like to also state that I would’ve hoped our city officials would’ve been against another drinking establish in Central. I know they were at these meetings. I just believe had it been anyone else they would’ve started a campaign against it and everyone would’ve been aware. I have no doubt he paid and recieved his permits legally. I just feel regular Joe would’ve been fought tooth and nail. This election has opened my eyes & my intent is to start attending these meeting.

  147. Just Brenda

    March 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Too Funny- I have been up late the last few days researching all the pro and cons for this election. Some things were a given on who had my vote but there was quite a few that were just saying the same thing but had a different face- I honestly was at a lost on who the the remaining vote would be for. So I go vote today. Punched in all the one I knew I wanted, then I was down to – ok now who do I NOT WANT IN THERE!!!that left only 2 people-lol so I punched in their name, and those were the very 2 that was iffy to me. So it all turn out!!! Cant wait to see the results- but more exciting, can’t wait to get to work for central!!!! I have a feeling, this election has made a HUGE differance in the people of central, and MORE people will be involved! Good luck to everybody running- I hope this centralspeak will remain active after the easter break and the people elected will continue to respond to this public media. Will the results be on tv tonite? if so what channel? Will centralspeak post the result tonite???

  148. dave

    March 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    We will be at the fire station watching the returns and will publish the results on-line in a post on the front page as soon as we get them. I anticipate between 8:30 and 9:00 PM.

    It has been great to be a part of the liveley (but sometimes strained) discussion on We fully intend to remain active and will be taking steps to make this source of news more available and viewed by the people of Central.


  149. ward

    March 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks Dave for your hard work. I hope this forum stays active and folks can discuss real issues. I will say things have gotten quit nasty and that is terrible…but not supprising. I believe it only comes from a selective few. The majority of Central is steal good folks…and most have no idea what has gone on behind the scene. For those who got offended during these discussions, or strongly disagreed, or even got mad, the end result will cause them to be more involved. Remember the old campaign slogan, “I’M MAD TOO, EDDIE”? Now come Monday, all the complainers should be rolling up their sleeves. We just might have to create more committees just to give everyone something to do.

    Keep up the good work, Dave.

  150. Concerned parent

    March 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Dave, I did what you suggested and made this my home page and I’m glad I did. Since my son graduated I am not up on CHS news anymore. Had it not been for this election I probably would’ve never looked at this website and would not have seen things like where the CHS Soccer team had two members make the All-District team. You hear the buzz around town about football and baseball, but the other sports, if you don’t have a child (relative) involved not as much is said. Thanks!

  151. Mike Mannino

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    I commend all the people that took the time to research the candidates as Brenda did, and get out and vote. From what I’m hearing, its been a poor turnout. What a shame. At least the people on here were actively talking even if I disagreed with some. Hopefully the debate here helped people to know where I stand. Some of you may disagree some may agree, but I hope you voted on issues and not other reasons. God Bless All…

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