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Questions for the Candidates

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The following was submitted by a CentralSpeaks subscriber. We ask that the Comments section below this article be left open for the candidates to submit their answers to these questions in a positive manner.

Today I ran across a group of friends discussing the up coming elections and after several minutes of hearing; someone told me this about that one, that’s nothing I heard this about that one and my neighbors cousin told her that this one called her names when they were in elementary school, the issues finally came up. (Boy, I can’t wait for the School Board elections in the fall.) Anyway, the one point that everyone could agree on no matter who they were supporting was the fact that we all, along with all of the candidates, agree on the major issues (Contracting city services, growing our tax base by recruiting new businesses, controlling the rate of growth…).
 The discussion then turned to how we usually judge candidates on how they voted and acted in the past more so than what was said on the campaign trail. This is when the question of ‘How do you compare someone that has a voting record to someone that does not’ came up.
After much thought, along with a few unnecessary but humorous comments, we finally agreed this could be accomplished by asking four questions; two for those seeking reelection and two for the challengers. The questions are simple, but we think the answers will help reveal the candidates’ character, dedication and love of Central.
Therefore, we would like CentralSpeaks.com to pose the following questions to the candidates and post the answers on the web site.

The questions we would like to ask those seeking reelection are;
1.      Other than serving on the City Council or as Mayor, what have you done to benefit the Central Community?
2.      How much time did you spend doing the things you listed to the above question?

  For those seeking an elected office for the first time, please answer the following questions;
1.      What have you done to benefit the Central Community?
2.      How much time did you spend doing the things you listed to the above question?

 We think the answers will help people decide more on character rather than rumor.

8 Comments

  1. Aaron Moak

    March 21, 2010 at 12:49 am

    1. Other than serving on the City Council or as Mayor, what have you done to benefit the Central Community?

    Served as a Volunteer Firefighter from the age of 13 till I was 24 with the Central Fire Department (13 to 18 Jr Firefighter)

    Started Business in Central at 24 joined Central Area Business Association (now Chamber of Commerce) became member if the board one year later. I started working on every committee they had to help the community. On Golf committee that helped raise 38,000 dollars for the central school system. Myself, Bill Porche (Chief Central Fire Department) and a few others started the committee that came up with the idea to do the Central Student Prayer Banquet (held every year now) after a run of suicides by our school children. Central Christmas Parade now Central Christmas Festival took over this as Chairman 13 years ago and still run today. I work on this from Aug – December which includes the Parade, Community Tree, Community Light Display, Christmas Banners, Craft Fair and Carnival. Cooking for our kids I handle the medical, safety and security part of this event. Central Kawinas Club to help the kids and schools in our community. Working with the Pastors association like today with the event at Central Woods Park to serve food (elected or not I would have been there today) Founder of the Central Business Leaders Group to promote business to business leads and referals of Central Businesses. Chaired Committee to do Coupon book for Central Businesses so they could advertise for free and reach all the citizens we could get to. Helped organise, setup, and cook for our students we just lost in central with there fund raiser. God only knows what else i’v been involved in OUTSIDE THE CITY COUNCIL I cant keep up with everything.

    As for part 2 to the question, I dont keep up with the time spent and really don’t care to, its done because of Central what ever time is needed ME and my FAMILY will be here to do it. I have been here doing all this before I was elected and will be doing this even if I am not re-elected. My grandfather told me one day after I questioned him on why he gave all his fruits and vegtables he grew in his gardens away to people passing down sullivan road or families he would call to come pick some up. He told me pretty much just to help someone, give what you can.

    I know some of what I said may not be politically correct but again sorry for grammer, spelling and ranting but someone asked and at 1:00am it just comes out.

    Aaron Moak at your service (elected or not)

  2. Lucky Ross

    March 21, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Per your request, the following is a summary of things that I have done or accomplished outside the realm of serving as Your Councilman.
    All of the following were/are most rewarding and accentuate my love for our city.

    1. Before serving on the City Council I worked hard for the incorporation of our city. I attended legislative hearings at the capital. I worked many hours securing signatures on TWO petitions. I stood on street corners on election day encouraging citizens to vote for incorporation. I attended many meetings at DEMCO when we were trying to organize our city offices.
    2. Served on the board of directors for CABA (Central Area Business Association).
    3. Serve on the Board of Directors for the Central Chamber of Commerce.
    4. Held the office of President and currently serve as Treasurer for the Central Chamber of Commerce.
    5. Participate in the Annual Christmas Parade.
    6. Chairman of the Krewe de Centrale’ Mardi Gras Ball which has done much to foster friendships and camaraderie among Central residents.
    7. Participate in and work on the committee that facilitates the annual golf tournament that raises money to support the Chamber and raised tens of thousands of dollars for our school system.
    8. Work with new businesses moving into Central and participated in their Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings.
    9. As a member of the Chamber, I facilitated the publication of the first commercial map of our city.
    10. Served on the board of directors of both the Morgan Place and Bellingrath Lakes Homeowners Associations.
    11. Worked tirelessly for the Cooking In Central fund raising event that has benefited our community and others greatly.
    12. Worked for the development and establishment of the Central Community School District.
    13. Sponsor the “Reading Coach” program at Central High since its inception.
    14. Participated in and sponsor the “Student of The Year” program for the Central Community School System.
    15. Participated in and sponsor the “Teacher of The Year” program for the Central Community School System.
    16. Participate in and purchase Academic Letterman jackets for students yearly.
    17. Sponsored numerous year books, sports program and other publications in Central Schools.
    18. Participate in the Annual Dr. Seuss Birthday Party readings at Tanglewood Elementary.
    19. Served on the stakeholder interview team for the accreditation review at Central High School.
    20. Work with the “Pre GED” program at Central High School
    21. Assisted in the distribution of supplies and commodities following the hurricane.
    22. Helped promote the Central economy through my participation in Entergy’s “Team City” conferences.
    23. Serve on the Central Economic Development Foundation.
    24. Helped sponsor the Traveling Viet Nam Memorial Wall when it came to Central.
    25. Participate in many beneficial activities through my church by my participation in the Men’s Club and The Knights of Columbus.
    26. Serve on the BREC Planning and Park Resources Advisory Committee.
    27. Charter Member and Officer of The Central Rotary Club.
    28. Have participated in the “Clean-Up Day In Central” event.

    I have listed the above 28 items not to be braggadocios, but to demonstrate my keen interest in our growing city and the well being of its citizens, my friends and neighbors.

    As far as the second part of your request ( How much time did you spend doing the things you listed to the above question? ) I have no answer. Firstly, I do what I do not for recognitiion nor reward. Secondly, only the results of my activities are important to me, not the time spent.

    Thanks for your interest in focusing this election on facts and character not simply campaign rhetoric.

    Your Councilman
    Lucky Ross

  3. Mike Mannino

    March 21, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Dear Editor,
    Thank you for the questions.

    I must correct the assumptions that all the candidates agree on the major issues though. There are distint differences between the candidates that I will attempt to cover here:

    1- AT LARGE vs. ELECTED DISTRCTS- Almost all the incumbents favor at large or divisions for representatives. Divisions are nothing more than at large with assigned divisions and does not address the current debate of someone in the geographical area for you to go to. It would still be possible to have several representatives living on the same street in the same subdivision as we have today. All the challengers and 1 incumbent favor single member districts.

    2- TERM LIMITS- There is a fairly even mix from the candidates on this one. Check out the Central News to make sure your candidate is aligned with your beliefs.

    3- ELECTED OR APPOINTED POLICE CHIEF- Again, all but one of the current administration want the Police Chief to be appointed, while all the challengers want this office to be elected. This is a critcial issue as a police cheif controlled by the Mayor is potentially a problem.

    4- LAW ENFORCEMENT – Evenly mixed. I believe that crime is becoming an issue and we need more Police presence. I would like to see a municipal force to supplement the Sheriff. Status quo is not acceptable.

    5- MASTER PLAN/PlANNING and ZONING- again, a mix. This one item will have the biggest impact on the future of Central. after watching years of teh Hozizon Plan being trampled by developers in EBR, including the Walmart in Central, a Master Plan is only as good as the council and P&Z members that have to enforce it. You need to make sure the person you vote for is strong enough to stand up to the pressure of developers. I can assure you, I am firm on this one, I want to protect the property owners.

    6- SCHOOL CAPACITY AS PART OF MASTER PLAN- IF anyone tells you that this has been a consideration, you need to ask why the new schools being built will be over capacity when finished and that does not consider teh 1200 homes currently being built. Assuming that they are considered are a part of the master plan,does that now mean we cant allow any more housing ? Have someone in the current administration answer that one for you.

    7- ORDINANCE ENFORCEMENT- Again a mix. However, there is a strong lean towards a mayors court. I looked up Mayors Court on the internet and the majority of the hits that came up involved corruption. Lets See, we want and appointed Police Chief, with a Mayors Court. I dont know about you but I would be leary of the power this creates. A person could be wrongly accused of a crime, arrested by an appointed Chief, and tried in a court that the Mayor appointed. LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS. How about ABSOLUTELY NOT !!!!! With the people we have now, it may be OK but you have to look to the future and what could happen. There is a reason that this is addressed in the Constitution and its called separtion between the Judicial and Execuctive branch.

    -CH2MHILL CONTRACT- This has turned into teh biggest issue in this campaign. While all agree contracting was the right decision, I happen to think our permit fees are too high and can be addressed without burdening the Citizens and increased stewardship of services will result in more productivity. Nobody is perfect and having been over many of these type contracts at Exxon, they wont work unless both parties are committed to improving. Its not reasonable to assume we got it right in teh beginning and nothing can be done better.

    Now to your original question;

  4. Mike Mannino

    March 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    CONTINUED:
    As much as we would like to think we can protect Central by focusing our efforts here, the real world is creeping towards us. Its a relentless march and if we don’t help the bigger “Community” which is Baton Rouge, Louisiana , the United States, our employers and it goes on, we will be swallowed up. I have always been a quiet person, with strong convictions, and let my actions speak for themselves. My parents always demonstrated by their actions that we must give back to the community to those that are less fortunate. From an early age, again not by them drilling it in my head but by example, my parents always donated to the community for special events, participated in Church fundraisers, adopted a family or several for that matter, every Christmas. Before Welfare, by parents owned a grocery store and gave away thousands of dollars in food to those in need around the grocery store we owned. I know because I grew up there from the time I was 6 months old. I worked from the time I could open cases of groceries and stack them on the shelf in one of the poorest parts of Baton Rouge. I observed first hand what it means to give back to the community and where the true needs are. Though the Cookin For the Kids is being critized because all the money is not going to Central area, I commend them because they get it. Its much bigger than us here in Central. Compared to most areas, we live like kings.
    My personal contributions started long before Central became a city, before anyone even thought about becoming a city. I attended every city council meeting in EBR where Central issues were at stake, including rezoning issues. Many of the people involved today were not even living here yet. I was the 3rd member of TAXBUSTERS and fought extremely hard to defeat the 3.2 billion tax the EBR school system was trying to pass back in the late 90’s. Do you know where we would be today if that had passed ? I call my Representatives and Senators almost weekly on issues that affect the large ” Community” to voice strong conservative values. I was a member of the Exxon VOLUNTEER fire squad for 15 years and fought the 4 biggest fires this city had ever seen, protecting the COMMUNITY and in the process, risking my life. On Christmas Eve 1989, I was in the explosion took place. My family did not hear from me for 26 hours after that, not knowing if I was dead or alive nor did I know if I would ever survive it. It was that bad. I will never forget my family, grandparents, aunts, uncles are breaking down when I showed up late Christmas day for our Christmas celebration.

    I can go on and on about the tradition of adopting a family for Christmas and other things like donating a motorcycle to be raffled for Hurricane relief after New Orleans was destroyed but I will stop now. Suffice it to say these values have been taught by example to my children like I was and they continue this heritage of giving back.

    I continue to say “mam” or ‘Sir” as a term of respect, I open doors for ladies and older citizens, stop to help people when they break down on the road.

    Can I measure this to compare to others ? Why would I ? Its what we as responsible human beings are supposed to do and I don’t want any credit for it.

    Thank You for the opportunity to address these questions.

  5. Louis DeJohn

    March 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

    To the subscriber to Central Speaks, let me say thanks for your request of responses to two very important issues in our City. They both center on service, and I’m a firm believer that Central needs more public “servants” not politicians.
    In response to the first question:
    1) I coached girls’ softball (CAYL) from 1976 through 1989.
    2) I coached youth league football from 1977 through 1986. St. Alphonsus School sponsored these teams but because the enrollment was so small at that time, we accepted boys that lived in the area no matter what school or church they attended.
    3) I served on the Christian Elementary Football league board (CEFL) for five years.
    4) I served on the CAYL Board for 8 years and I was Chairman for 2 years.
    5) I’ve served one term on the St. Alphonsus Parish Council.
    6) I’ve served two terms on the St. Alphonsus Building Committee.
    7) I’m presently serving on the St. Alphonsus Maintenance Committee and I will continue to serve if they will change their meeting nights so as not to conflict with those of the Central City Council.
    8) I gave eight months of my life to the incorporation of the “City of Central.”
    9) After the incorporation election, I served on the transition team as Chairman on the Department of Public Works committee which was given the task of studying the benefits of privatizing our DPW services. The results of these studies were given to the Mayor and the Council and they chose to privatize all City services.
    10) I fostered and chaired “Cookin’ for our Neighbors” which brought the City of Central together in a unified and unselfish effort to help our fellow man. “We” were successful in raising $191,000 for the Katrina-ravished St. Bernard Parish School system. With this money we purchased 3 desperately needed school buses for them which bare the name “Spirit of the City of Central” on them today.
    11) I fostered and chair “Cooking in Central,” our City’s annual festival. Over the last three years, Cooking in Central has sponsored “Cookin’ for our Kids,” and we have raised in excess of $800,000. These funds were used to buy much needed technology equipment and library books for all schools (public, private, and parochial) in the City of Central. In “Cookin for our Neighbors” and “Cooking in Central,” 100% of the proceeds go to the intended causes. Everyone on the committee give their time and effort for the annual cause. There are no paid employees.
    12) I worked from inception on the team that established the Central Community School District.
    13) I served on the steering committee appointed by the School Board to first determine, and then inform our citizens of the needs in our public schools.
    14) I presently serve on the Master Plan Committee.
    15) For the past three years I have served on the committee formed by Mayor Mac Watts to negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract with our city services partner (CH2MHILL).
    16) Through the suggestion of a friend of mine Buddy Ragland, I applied for and we received a grant from the AIA for assistance from their SDAT program that according to our City Master Planner saved Central in excess of $100,000 in city planning.
    As for the second question I don’t have any idea how much time I’ve spent. What I do know is that these community efforts are very important to me so I have and will continue to spend whatever time it takes.
    Please understand that this is my response to your request. I do what I do in service of this great City and the visionaries that brought us together. My God has blessed me with a great family, fantastic friends, and a community I’m proud to call home. I feel the least I can do is serve my fellow man.

    Thanking you again I am,

    LouisDeJohn, Councilman, City of Central

  6. Joan Lansing

    March 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for the questions asked and the opportunity for others to get to know more about me.

    Long before Central became a city, serving the families of Central was always my goal. Even as early as 1973 while serving as Director of Zoar Baptist Preschool and Child Care meeting the needs of moms and dads by supplying a safe and positive place to leave their children. That love and care cared over into 1985 when my family and I opened Central Child Care Center, a privately owned licensed child care center, where we provided a learning center with Christian principles and family values.

  7. Joan Lansing

    March 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    continued.
    While providing tender loving care to the children in a positive atmosphere we taught them about giving back to their community through organizations like the Central Food Bank, St. Jude, and also going to sing to senior adults or providing for needs of others as they arose.
    As seeing a need of bringing the Central businesses together, the Central Area Business Association was established where I served as Board of Directors as well as president for three terms. During this time of service the Prayer Breakfast that is now known as the Prayer Banquet was started. I have been involved in the preparations for the Central Parade, Business Expo and Festival. All of which trying to bring our community together. CABA now known as Central Chamber of Commerce, I am a member of and serve on several communities.
    While serving as president of CABA and with the help of the citizens of Central the vision and awareness of the incorporation of Central became a possibility. However this was not the right time,so when I later heard a group organizing to incorporate Central I joined them. As you know we worked diligently and all the hard work paid off.
    I served in helping to secure the Central Community School System. I participated at Tanglewood in reading to the children for Dr. Suess’ birthday.
    I now serve on the committee of Central Families In Transition.
    I serve as board member of Central Community Alliance- a Citizens Association.
    I chair the Census 2010 count committee.
    I serve as the President of the Republican Women of Central.
    I attend the Mayor’s Ministerial Prayer Alliance of Central each month, where we have pastors and visiting guest who provide
    devotions and words of encouragement.
    I help sponsor the Mayor’s Youth Council.
    In serving our community I have participated in distributing hurricane supplies and I worked with the veteran of Central, when they brought the Veteran Memorial Wall to our city.
    I am a member of Chapeau Chicks Red Hatters, a service and social organization.
    In my church I help with the Senior Adult Ministry in provided activities to all senior adults.
    As of October 2009 I serve as a board member for Lane Regional Medical Center.
    While all these things take time and energy I have not kept a running tally. I do all these things because Central is my home and I love our community and want to see it grow, prosper and I want to help make it a place where it’s citizens, young and old call it home.
    Thank you for letting me serve you the people of Central.

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