Attack on Chamber & Unjustified: Just the Facts

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By Dave Freneaux

    The Central City News today dedicated three full pages of its newspaper to an article in an apparent attempt to sabotage a project has launched to produce the 2011 City of Central Chamber of Commerce Directory. brought the Chamber a progressive and innovative concept that serves as a marketing tool, fundraiser and membership drive for the Chamber, all rolled into one turnkey project which will be mailed directly to virtually all homes and businesses in Central.

    Now the Central City News is attempting to turn public sentiment against both the Chamber and, characterizing the publishing of the Chamber Directory as an attack on the Central City News.  That, and not the Central City News, was the first to conceive and promote such a project is simply creative and progressive marketing.  Being the first to do something is not “unfair competition”, it is innovation and free enterprise at its best. is proud to have conceived this project and successfully proposed it to the Chamber Board which voted unanimously to approve the project.  It will increase Chamber membership, strengthen the effectiveness of the Chamber Directory, raise funds for the continued operation of the Chamber, and provide real benefits to Chamber members including discounted advertising which gives Chamber members a 100% return on their Chamber dues. 

    The Chamber has produced a number of Directories, the last being in 2010.  The “Little Red Phone Book” has been produced in Central for over 30 years.  The Central City News can claim no “ownership” of either the Chamber Directory or the local phone book.  Let’s be honest here and examine the claims of the Central City News.  Here are “Just The Facts”:

Claim:The CCN claims that the Chamber Chairman proposed the Directory project.

Fact:Dave Freneaux of conceived and proposed the project.

Claim:The CCN claims the project is to publish a telephone directory.

Fact:The project is to produce a Chamber of Commerce Directory which will also include a local phone book in order to keep the Chamber’s name in the public’s eye all year long.

Claim:The CCN claims this project is “Tax Exempt” competition. is giving up much of the potential profit of this project in order to support the Chamber.  If makes a profit on this project that profit will be taxable.  The real difference between this project and the CCN Phone Book is that the CCN does not donate ANY of its profits to the Central Chamber.

Claim: The CCN makes a broad assertion that this project somehow violates the non-profit status of the Chamber.

Fact:Chambers of Commerce all across the country publish Chamber Directories and sell advertising in these directories as a fundraiser and there are companies who engage in the business of producing Chamber Directories.

Claim:The CCN claims that the Chamber could have its tax-exempt status revoked.

Fact:An asteroid could crush the Chamber office in the middle of the night, which is to say that sought the advice of two attorneys and three CPA’s, one of whom is an expert in the area of non-profit organizations, and the unanimous informal opinion of these professionals was that this project in no way should jeopardize the tax exempt status of the Chamber.

Claim:The CCN claims this project places the Chamber in an adversarial role, favoring one business over another. brought this innovative project to the Chamber, which the Central City News had failed to do for five years.  The Chamber’s choice to accept this project from is no more adversarial than the decisions made by the Chamber to purchase insurance from one member over another, to rent a building through one member over another, or to hold its meetings in the facility of one member over another.  The fact is, despite being a non-profit organization, the Chamber makes business decisions every day, and on this day made the best, most innovative and in fact the ONLY proposal to produce a 2011 Chamber Directory.

Claim: The CCN claims that to follow through with this project with “is just plain wrong.”

Fact:  For the CCN to attempt to prevent from engaging in its primary business of creating publications and selling advertising, THAT “is just plain wrong.”

Claim:The CCN claims that Russell Starns is trying to “put this newspaper out of business”.

Fact: According to the CCN in its 9/16/10 edition, Mr. Starns has “spent over $60,000 advertising his own business” in the Central City News. WISHES we had received that kind of support from ANY advertiser.

Claim:  The CCN claims in its article that CH2M HILL “runs city government in Central.”

Fact:  Someone needs to read the Lawrason Act.  Mayor Mac Watts runs city government in Central.  Oh, and what in the world does that have to do with a Chamber Directory anyway?

    The Central City News has published the telephone numbers of all Chamber Board members and asked readers to contact these Board Members.  Out of respect for the Chamber Board, would like for readers to express their support for the Chamber Board’s decision by sending emails rather than calling.  Email and we will forward your comments to the Chamber.


  1. Concerned Citizen

    October 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Central City News does not need any help getting put out of business. Seems like CCN aka Woody Jenkins is doing a good job of that on his own. As ususal, if it does not go his way, he cries foul. Get over it. And…..if you don’t like it, leave!

  2. Sherry

    October 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    One question? Does Woody do all this in the towns of Baker and Zachary? Constant stirring of mess,,and forcing his opinion on the people throough his newspaper.I personally have a mind of my own and can take in things just fine without his news paper which by the way i quit reading .

  3. dmlwgl

    October 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Dave. Did not know you could jump that high for such a grand
    “SLAM DUNK”.

    • dave

      October 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      It is unfortunate that this has become such an issue. I have no desire to argue over this, but this is a solid, innovative and very beneficial opportunity for the Chamber and I will obviously defend the presentation I made and the decision the Chamber made.

  4. BMG

    October 14, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Sherry – Woody is no longer affiliated with any other papers except for CCN. I’ve heard various rumors as to why, but none that I care to repeat in that I don’t care to waste my time tracking down the validity of the rumors. All I do know for fact is that he is no longer affiliated with the other papers. (and if you look at a copy of the Zachary Post, you can tell… it is no longer in-your-face opinions and personal interpretations for 75% or more of the pages). I personally flip through to the very back of CCN to look at the weddings and births, then I throw the copy (along with the dozen or so extras that I picked up from Walmart) straight into the recycling bin.

    Dave — You are doing a wonderful job of providing fact based reporting, and keeping us up-to-date on the goings on around Central. I check your site multiple times throughout the day to see what has been posted. I appreciate the fact that you provide coverage to ANYONE that submits information…not just the groups you like. I also appreciate the fact that you provide excellent coverage to ALL of our schools. Keep doing what you are doing…

  5. kyle

    October 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Dave: Excellent job! For Woody to have the audacity to tell anyone else not to compete with him is sickening and exposes him for who he is! Thank you Dave for reporting “THE FACTS”. First Woody cries foul over CH2M advertising in another paper, and now he’s mad at the chamber for advertising businesses in Central. Concerned Citizen is correct…if Woody doesn’t get his way, he cries foul and makes PERSONAL ATTACKS on people and businesses. I hope this exposes Woody for who is and what he’s trying to do to keep divisions alive in this city! He can pack his bags anytime and go cry somewhere else!

  6. Dee

    October 15, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Dave, would you please explain what you are trying to do for the Chamber of Commerce with this proposal, how it will benefit them? Maybe then others will get over the idea that this is a “put CCN out of business” project. Or maybe not, I’ve always heard that you can explain but you can’t make others understand!

    • dave

      October 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      Dee and Captain: This began with my realization that there would likely be a Chamber Directory printed for 2011. I am new to the publishing world, having gone to print with only 6 months ago. Seeing an opportunity to both connect in an advertising relationship with Chamber members and to take on a project benefitting the Chamber, for profit, that otherwise someone else would have done, I set out to formulate my plans and approach the Chamber. As I looked at the 2010 Chamber Directory it was obvious to me that it may have been a good marketing tool for the Chamber, but it was only a modest advertising value for those who bought ads. I believe that very few people outside of Chamber members probably could locate the Chamber Directory in their homes, if they had not thrown it away a week or so after receiving it in the mail. It was a good, honorable and generous thing for the Chamber Members to support the 2010 Chamber Directory with their advertising dollars, but the resulting advertising exposure was not overly strong.

      The challenge became how to give legitimate advertising exposure and longevity to the dollars spent to advertise in the Chamber Directory, while still clearly marketing the Chamber in the process. The idea of adding a Central Phone Book behind the Chamber Directory and Marketing Pages came to me as a way to cause every household to have a reason to hold on to the Chamber Directory and put it on the counter next to the phone. Voila! The Chamber Directory now has “staying power”. Then, again, looking at the 2010 Chamber Directory, I noted that if a Chamber Member who owns a hair salon advertised in the 2010 Chamber Directory, their ad may be placed next to an informational piece about Central Government. With a combined Chamber Directory and Phone Book that same hair salon’s ad will be placed where people looking for a hair salon, in the “Hair Salon” section of the yellow pages. In effect, the combined directory now gives the Chamber Member who in 2010 supported the Chamber by purchasing an ad so that the Chamber could be promoted, a better advertising return for their investment.

      Now came the question of how to give further value to the project in order to make it even more attractive to the Chamber. I have had numerous discussions with Chamber leaders over the past six months in which they stressed the need to position the Chamber to give real value back to its members. My project gives a $175 Chamber Member discount to all advertisers in the combined Chamber Directory. This means that anyone who IS a member receives a benefit equal to the cost of their Chamber Membership annual dues. In addition, anyone who is NOT a Chamber Member and decides to place an ad in the Combined Directory is given the opportunity to first JOIN the Chamber, writing a $175 check to the Chamber and immediately receiving a $175 discount on the ad they are placing. In essence, there will be no reason to advertise in the Combined Directory without joining the chamber. Again, we will have both given true value to existing Chamber Members AND increased Chamber membership.

      The final value to the Chamber is as a fundraiser to support the ongoing expenses of the Chamber organization. New member dues and a portion of advertising sales will belong to the Chamber.

      Dee, I hope this better explains the project so that people can see the innovative benefits being offered to the Chamber at no cost and involving no Chamber effort.
      Captain, You are right. My proposal DOES go deeper than just trying to provide an opportunity for the Chamber. I am in the business of producing publications and selling advertising in those publications to make a profit. It is my intention to make a profit on this project. My effort to make this as attractive as I can from the Chamber’s point of view is simply good marketing on my part. Every week companies make the decision to advertise in the CCN who refuse to favor me with their business. Every week the reverse is true as well. The true beauty of the Free Market is that consumers have the right to determine what product they feel is of better quality and offers better value for their advertising dollar. The businesses that you referred to in your post have spent many times more money advertising in the CCN over the years than they likely will with me any time soon.

      This project, in the informal opinion of 3 CPA’s and two attorneys, in no way jeopardizes the Chamber’s non-profit status and it is an innovative and creative project. The proposing and accepting of this project was not divisive, it was a healty, reasonable and unanimous business decision on the part of both parties. I believe that if you read my explanation above you will see why the Chamber saw this as a great effort. One of the most troubling issues in what has become a controversy in the eyes of a few is that the CCN is making large claims that the Chamber all of a sudden decided to print a phone book. Not True and Not True. It was NOT the Chamber’s idea, it was MINE. AND, there is no mention being made that this is first and foremost a piece of Marketing Literature to promote the purposes of the Chamber. There will be some 20 plus pages of Chamber information as the first section of the publication. This is a fact that is being completely and intentionally omitted from the sensationalistic coverage being given to this issue.

      Just my opinion, since you asked.


  7. Captain Obvious

    October 15, 2010 at 10:18 am

    To me this sounds like a way for Ross Tire, Chase Health and other companies that all of a sudden have a problem with Mr. Jenkins to feel better about paying for the advertisement in a different Central Directory. The current Directory seems very sufficient for the needs it provides to this community.

    Not trying to knock your proposal but it appears this goes deeper than just trying to provide an opportunity for the chamber.

    To me this seems as another way to divide the business community in Central. Some businesses can not afford to spend advertisement in both. Depending on which directory they decide to advertise in could be construed as to what media forum they support: CCN or CS.

  8. Concerned Citizen

    October 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Why does this need to be about Woody and CCN? It seems to me that Central Speaks made a legitimate proposal to the Chamber of Commerce Board which they accepted. . Anyone in Central could have made the same proposal. It seems to me that Dave presented an innovative way to raise money for the Chamber, create value for Chamber Members and perhaps make a profit for himself. This seems like free enterprise at work. After all isn’t this what our country was build on? I do not believe that the Chamber had anything to do with the directory published by CCN nor did the Chamber receive any proceeds from this publication. CCN can absolutely continue to publish their directory; the action by the Chamber Board has nothing to do with the CNN directory. Certainly Mr. Jenkins can’t expect the Chamber of Commerce to hinder those who wish to enter into business in our community just because they create completion

  9. BMG

    October 15, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I was perfectly happy (and still am) with the little red Central phonebook that we have received for years. This phonebook lists every number in Central that has a 261 or a 262 prefix (clearly IDed as Central numbers) instead of just those that live in the 70818 or 70739 zip codes (as does the CCN book). I didn’t hear the folks with the red book ‘crying foul’ when CCN decided to start putting together their own version 2 years ago.

    I have also received copies of the last two Chamber directories. These have been very nice books that are not intended as a phone book. Instead they are a listing of the businesses who ARE members of the Chamber. The listings of members provides each business’s address, phone number, and owners’ name. Members have the option (but are not required) to place a nicer ad in the directory for a $$. The Chamber then provides these directories for free to anyone who wants one. I enjoy being able to see which Central businesses are taking time to invest as members of the Chamber, and I’ve learned about some business out there that I never knew existed.

    Dave, correct me if I’m wrong please. The way I read this, you are going to produce the Chamber’s directory (that they were already doing) and just add a residential phone index to the back of it. Am I correct with this? If I am correct, I think it will be nice to have that all in one book.

  10. Captain Obvious

    October 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm


    It doesn’t mater who creates a Central Directory and puts it out. It doesn’t make a difference if it is CCN, CS, Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.

    If people don’t think this is a way to get rid of CCN/Woody than everyone is just kidding themselves. It started with certain individuals pulling their ads. When that didn’t work than the school board ads cost was next. Slowly that group is trying to find what will be the dagger that will get rid of him and now they are focused with this directory because now it is known that this is what really keeps CCN going.

    With the way things are going between CCN and CS, I wish someone else would come in and get rid of both. In the last 3 weeks both papers are writing articles about what the other is saying and it really is getting tiresome.

    It will always be about Woody/CCN or Dave/CS until one day when one of those publications are gone or either of them stop worrying about what might have written about the other.

    • dave

      October 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Captain Obvious:

      I will stand by your right to Free Speech which encourages me to allow you to post a comment on my site wishing that someone would “come in and get rid of ” me. I would challenge you, however, to find anything I have published in in which I write “about what the other is saying” unless it was to correct the inaccurate reporting of a fact or to provide all of the facts on an issue where only selective facts were presented to the readers. I will also point out that when I address issues such as these I generally make a blanket call for anyone to correct my presentation of facts if anything I say is untrue or incomplete. It is either apathy or accuracy that has resulted in no one ever submitting a material correction in these cases. I am imperfect, everyone has ingrained biases which they cannot even see in themselves, and I am not too proud to admit my errors. Please feel free to offer constructive and supportable criticisms.


  11. kyle

    October 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Well said, Dave.

  12. Howard Arceneaux

    October 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    As the publisher of the 2010 Central Chamber of Commerce membership directory, please allow me to clear up some of your misconceptions and inaccuracies which I will attribute to your admitted limited journalistic skills. Your potshots at my company will not be ignored and this has nothing to do with Woody Jenkins or you personally, because I have never met you nor talked with you.

    First of all, Arceneaux Communications is a member of the Central Chamber of Commerce, the Zachary Chamber of Commerce and the Livingston Chamber of Commerce. Secondly, we distribute approximately 600 copies of our business journal each month in the city of Central. We also have a regional chamber roundup which includes stories of relevance to members of the Central Chamber of Commerce. We cover business in the Livingston, Central, Zachary and Feliciana markets. We work in all these areas. Our monthly circulation is 15,000. Please visit or to see PDF versions of our magazines and archives of past issues. You can also learn more about our company.

    The Central Chamber board of directors never re-bid the 2011 directory to anyone other than you. You attribute it to your innovative concept, but you have no track record delivering anything close to what you have proposed. Why would the Central chamber risk its reputation on a totally unproven and inexperienced publisher such as yourself?

    You missed a lot of the facts of what happened and how my company has been dealt with by the Central Chamber, going back long before you published your first issue of Central Speaks. It goes back to former Chamber president/ceo Bob Breaux submitting a bid request more than a year ago. My company subsequently delivered everything we promised and more. We are proud of the 2010 Central Chamber membership directory and we stand behind our work. We were complimented by board members, chamber members and advertisers for the quality of the publication.

    Then, Lucky Ross recently asked my associate publisher Margot May, who was the project manager for the Central directory, for a copy of last year’s agreement and intimated to her that new bids would be solicited for work on a new directory and we would be included in the process.

    Imagine my shock when Ron Erickson sent out the announcement in his Central Chamber e-newsletter announcing that your company was producing the chamber directory/phone book. You have no experience producing such a publication and you were the only person who was allowed to submit a bid by the Chamber board? Is your membership in the chamber better than my membership? Is your body of work better than my body of work? Was your bid better than the bid we would have submitted? And you don’t think this is fishy?

    Furthermore, contrary to your above information, we presented the Central chamber with two checks totalling $10,000 as its share for the last directory, twice as much as they received from the previous directory. This total is also $1,500 more than we were obligated to present to the Chamber based on the contractual agreement. We did this because we were trying to create a relationship with the Chamber through the transition of directors, board members, etc. Contrary to your misinformation, the Central board had final say on every article, picture, layout and content that was included in the 2010 directory and signed off on everything we did before it was sent to the printer. I published it with their blessing.

    Arceneaux Communications works very closely with many of the advertisers in the directory and they advertised because of our relationships with them. We got at least half a dozen to join the Central chamber who were not members because of our relationships with them. Do you think they will retain their membership, or advertise with you after they see how we’ve been treated by the Central Chamber? Margot has repeatedly called Ron and Lucky for an explanation, but they don’t have the guts to return her calls.

    In addition, we have produced the Chamber guides for the Zachary Chamber and Livingston Chambers for three years, and two years, respectively and we have NEVER had a problem with these chambers. In fact, they have recommended us to other chambers to produce their membership directories. We have again been awarded the bids in Zachary and Livingston to produce their guides for 2011 as well.

    Quite frankly, judging by the quality of your work with CentralSpeaks, I have some serious concerns about your ability to produce a decent membership directory/phone book. Especially since one of my former students from LSU was approached by you for guidance on your directory/phone book and for your print publication. You told her you have no experience, a fact which you readily admit. Based on my 30-plus years in journalism, in my humble opinion, it shows in the quality of your work. So how can you pull off producing a chamber directory/phone book when you have no experience doing so? And this doesn’t seem fishy to you? Come on…

    And I will leave you with one last fact: All of the information, cover to cover, in the 2010 Central Chamber directory is copyrighted (refer to legal language on page 4 and to my signed agreement with the Central Chamber). This includes every story, every picture and every advertisement, the overall concepts, the designs and the presentation of the directory listings. I own the copyright, not the Central Chamber of Commerce. I do so to prevent yahoos from taking my work, repackaging it and pushing it off as their own.

    Any attempt by you to reproduce anything in the 2010 directory will violate this copyright and will result in legal action by Arceneaux Communications against you, the chamber and its board of directors. If you wish to discuss this further with me, my contact information is on page 4 of the Central directory or the mastheads of my magazines. My attorney, Bryan Abels, will be sending the Central chamber a letter reiterating this fact next week.

    Good luck.

  13. Dee

    October 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you for this explanation, Dave. It amazes me (though I shouldn’t be surprised anymore) that once again something positive could be misconstrued and slanted and cause so much controversy!! Some will never understand and will always be convinced that this is “just plain wrong” but it sound to me that this is a win/win situation for your business and for the Chamber. Good luck and I will be contacting the Chamber to express my support for this project!! Central Chamber of Commerce doing business with a member who lives and works in Central!!! Sounds to me like “Shop Central First”!! GREAT CONCEPT!!

  14. KARMA

    October 16, 2010 at 12:47 am

    I would just like to state how happy I was when I first saw another publication (CS) being produced in Central. I became even over joyous when I saw that this new publication gave reference to a VARIETY of topics within the Central community, instead of focusing on the “same ole, same ole.” I have had the opportunity to read (or more accurately: look at the same pictures) for about 3-4 years now until I just had enough. I don’t waste my time with the CCN any longer, and haven’t for over a year now. It seems that it’s “information” is one-sided, very selective, and only focuses on what Mr. Jenkins feels is relevant to the community (and himself). The name should really be changed to “Central Woody News” instead of “Central City News” because it truly does NOT address the NEWS of the Central community.

    I could say soo much more but I think I’ll save it for when the time is right.

    CS–PLEASE keep doing what you’re doing because there are so many readers (including myself especially) who truly appreciate the honest work and level of quality it produces.

    CCN–if the term “unfair competition” was used to try to belittle CS and its strategies taken as a business, then the CCN staff needs a reality check. YOUR publication has been delivering unfair biases AND unfortunately, creating unnecessary competition among various groups within the schools, student body, and in the community. Due to YOUR unfairness and REPEATED “market” selectiveness, CCN has ultimately failed itself and its market because it simply ignored the needs and wants of its’ consumer….

    You Reap What you Sow

    -Everything that you do has repercussions. It comes back to you one way or another
    -You cannot escape the consequences of your actions. What you do comes back to you
    -You will see the long-term effects of your actions

    KARMA – The total effect of a person’s actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person’s existence, regarded as determining the person’s destiny, especially, in his next incarnation
    -What goes around comes around
    -Your actions all have consequences. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that your actions don’t have consequences.

    You Reap What You Sow

  15. Paul

    October 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    The consipiracy theories abound in Central! This divide just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it? I think it’s kind of comical myself. It’s as simple as this…if you like CS read it. If you like CCN read it. If you don’t like one or the other than don’t read it. Seems to me there is a core group on each side that are content at throwing stones at each other. Pretty sad for grown folks, don’t ya think? What a soap opera Central has become.

  16. kyle

    October 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    And the soap opera is all written by Woody Jenkins! People are coming back together and working together, but good ole Woody has to keep the pot stirred! KARMA – good explanation! Seems that whoever gets in Woody’s way, he makes personal attacks against and tries to ruin their name. That’s not what a newspaper should be used for. Just look at Dave’s latest newspaper vs. the latest CCN. Look how many more stories Dave has from local businesses and churches about events in the community. Then look at’s mostly editorials and Woody’s personal opinion. It’s pretty obvious who cares about the community vs. who cares about himself. Look at where Woody put the School Board investigation…on the BACK PAGE, and he only printed the superintendent’s response and basically NOTHING about the citizen’s (Mr. Kepper’s) own investigation into over $1 million being spent without going out for public bid!!! Anyone can see that Woody wants to protect his holier-than-thou superintendent and his “Person of the Year” (school board president).

    Thank you, Dave for your “JUST THE FACTS” this week. I hope you are very successful with the chamber’s new phone book!!!

  17. kyle

    October 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Dave: As a matter of fairness since CCN printed the superintendent’s response to the audit, could you also print Mr. Kepper’s statements that were read at the school board meeting? I know that you have them online in the video, but a lot of people would probably prefer to see it in print. You could also print the superintendent’s statement as well as a matter of fairness. I think people need to read both sides, and not just one side as printed in CCN.

    • dave

      October 16, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      Opted to post entire video online. I think it tells a story the print can’t completely tell.

  18. Howard Arceneaux

    October 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I enjoyed talking with you today and I encourage you to keep up the hard work on your newspaper endeavor. I wish you and the Central Chamber of Commerce good luck on your phone book/directory. If I can be of help, please don’t hesitate to call. I look forward to meeting you in the future.
    Howard Arceneaux

    • dave

      October 16, 2010 at 7:04 pm


      Thanks for the encouragement and for the conversation. The 2010 Chamber directory is a very well done publication. I hope our effort compares favorably.


  19. Liz

    October 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm


    You took the thoughts right out of my head. With the exception of, I might think it comical if I didn’t find it so very troubling. That we have gone to great lengths to become our own city and create our own school system only to have it torn apart by the few who insist on playing this power game. Hope they take their marbles and go home soon before too much damage is done.

  20. Mike Mannino

    October 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    After reading all of this, I dont see one post concerning the real issue: the Chamber, which is supposed to represnt all business’s in Central, going into competition with a business they should represent. Dave if you were doing this on your own, no problem. But the Chamber being involved is a no no and a poor business decision by those that participate in this. You have no idea of the dynamics you are setting in motion. Lets be honest. Though we have made some progress in healing the divide with some key people like Debbie, Keith, Kandi, and Mr. Polumbo reaching out to some of us, this sets us back tremendously. And if as a business owner this wont affect you, think again. If I were you, I would weigh the pros and cons and I dont know what you will do but I can tell you if I was in business out here, I’d stay out of the politics. Its not good for business. As i have said before, this is not about Dave or Woody as I consider both friends, its about a perception of the Chamber getting into something they have no business being involved in that makes it look political. Better to stick with what you have done for the last 3 years than take this on. But hey, its your business not mine.

    • dave

      October 17, 2010 at 12:21 am

      Mike, I brought a unique marketing and fundraising concept to the chamber which also generated additional member benefits and makes the Directory a better marketing tool. No one else conceived or proposed this to the Chamber. I built a better mousetrap and am marketing that concept. So let’s say the Chamber has decided that the unique concept I formulated and brought to them is a good idea and that they want to do it. Does the Chamber then auction off my idea to the lowest bidder? What kind of message does that send to any fair-minded entrepreneur? This is also a fund-raiser requiring zero dollars and zero effort on the part of the chamber.

      Then consider that, to my knowledge, there was no plan for an updated 2011 Directory. That means that absent my effort, there would have been no fundraiser, no additional memberships from this concept, no enhanced directory and no additional benefits to members.

      If a clever real estate agent finds a great location for the chamber to move its office to, does the Chamber have to refuse to move just to be fair to all of the other real estate agents?

      Frankly, I agree with you one one thing. This is not about one vendor or another, it is about whether creative and progressive ideas which fuel free enterprise and our economy are to be suppressed. I built a better mousetrap, marketed it well, showed the customer the benefits, and closed the sale. Why is this most basic of American economic principles being questioned? The chamber is a private organization who gets to make it’s own decisions. The membership elected a board to make these decisions and they voted unanimously to approve the project.

      This is not an organization funded by tax dollars and these are not publicly elected officials. Chamber members are welcome to express their opinions to their board members.

  21. Howard Arceneaux

    October 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Allow me to correct some of your inaccuracies: Lucky Ross contacted my associate publisher for a copy of the 2010 membership directory contract and intimated we would be included when the chamber was soliciting bids. We had every intention to bid on the directory again, but it’s the chambers’ responsibility to establish the timetable, not the publisher.
    While I applaud you for your “entrepreneurial” efforts, I do have serious reservations that Central needs another phone book, that a phone book is an effective economic development/newcomer recruiting tool, that inferior newsprint paper is more effective than a slick magazine and most importantly, that your company has the experience to produce a superior product to the 2010 directory.
    Again, nothing personal against you, but why were you allowed to present an idea to the chamber board and not other companies who are also chamber members? Especially after my company was told by a board member that we bids would be sought for a new directory?
    As I told you in our phone conversation Saturday, which I enjoyed very much, my concerns are with the chamber board and the process of making this decision. Does another phone book in Central truly serve the members of the chamber as the most effective economic development tool? Are you going to be able to deliver on all the promises that you’ve made to the board? Seems like a big risk by the board on behalf of the members with very little input.
    Frankly, I have serious doubts. But the board didn’t ask me or anyone associated with my company for our opinions. I will not be renewing my chamber membership and I will be sure to tell every businessperson I know how unprofessional the Central chamber board was in dealing with us throughout the entire process of the 2010 directory. Bush league would better describe it. Like I said, good luck to you, the Central Chamber members and we will see in January if you can deliver what you’ve promised and if it will be superior to the 2010 directory.

    Howard Arceneaux
    Publisher, 2010 Central Chamber Membership Directory
    Arceneaux Communications

  22. Howard Arceneaux

    October 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Why do you not allow my letters that are critical of the chamber board to appear on your website? That is censorship and shows that your support of the First Amendment only works when people agree with you. Since you won’t allow my point of view to be expressed, I will go straight to the Chamber board and other publications that serve Central.

    Howard Arceneaux

  23. Howard Arceneaux

    October 18, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you for allowing me to post my opinion. As I’ve said consistently from the outset, good luck to you.

    • dave

      October 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm


      Please read your e-mail or give me a call.


  24. Concerned Citizen

    October 19, 2010 at 10:03 am

    This would be a non issue if the 2009 and 2010 phone directory would have been published by anyone other than Woody. Most businesses would accept that a competitor came up with a good idea and made adjustments and moved on. However, because Woody owns a news paper he chose to make this both personal and political. That is indeed the reason for much of the division that we face in this City.

  25. mike mannino

    October 19, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I am looking at this from a higher level perspective. As I stated, I like to think that I can call both Dave and Woody friend so its not personal. Just my opinion, but when the Chamber starts to get involved in a project that competes with a member, they have crossed into dangerous territory. All members risk being seen as political and there will be fallout. Already hearing of some members getting out of the Chamber, many will not advertise in the phone book. Smart move on their part to stay nuetral on something the board has pulled them into without their approval. Its a fine line to walk for a business owner to make sure he/she doesnt alienate potential customers. I know many have opinions but they must refrain from appearing to take sides. We can say this shouldnt be political but lets be honest, it has that appearance given some of the actions in the City lately. Nothing we can do about what people think so if a business wants to avoid loosing customers, they should weigh the potential fallout by participating in this. To some, it may be worth the risk to make a statement, others may decide in times like this that they cant afford it. Honestly, I’m kinda of a hard headed guy myself and nobody will force me to do something I dont agree with. But I am not in business. If I were, I might have to look at this in a different way.

    There is a divide in this City and many of us are working to heal it. I’m not stating an opinion on this for any other reason other than to head off more division and avoid escalating an already bad situation. Surely there is something that the Chamber can do to raise funds other than competing with a member ? I dont have the answers but we all need to do what we can to avoid rubbing salt into open wounds. I see many people reaching out to each other, the Mayor has noticeably changed and is responding to concerns. We certainly need our leaders in all our major entities to set the example for all of us. This is a good place to start.

  26. Paul

    October 19, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    We will never all agree on every issue, and opposition and debate is a good thing. I just don’t understand why it always has to be so adverse. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not a pacifist by any stretch of definition and sometimes we need to firmly stand on principle, but it seems that a lot of times in the various forums concerning Central, that mudslinging is the norm. I see a lot of personal attacks where none are warranted. Woody and I have disagreed publicly (through a series of editorials published in CCN) on the issue of a full time police department and I totally disagree with his position, but I have never attacked him personally. I also didnt stop reading his publication because I disagree with him either. I just think some of us need to take a step back and understand that we don’t know it all and not get so defensive when someone disagrees with us. We can stand firm in our beliefs and still be civil to each other. A lot more gets done that way, imho.

  27. CentralResident

    October 20, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I am a business member of the Central Chamber of Commerce. This is a sound marketing proposal for the Chamber members, as well as the Chamber. I don’t know why Chamber members would not think this is a good deal for their businesses. I am dismayed that CCN is causing such a stink, guys this is free enterprise 101! Sorry CCN did not come up with this first, if they did, would they think it’s JUST WRONG? Ha – probably not! It’s a shame that Woody has made this personal and political, and divisive. Woody needs to put his big-boy pants on and quit crying!

  28. Mike Mannino

    October 20, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Once again I will say it matters not to me who the business’s are that are involved in this dispute. I stand by the opinion that this is not about the business owners but more about the Chambers actions. You stated you are a business owner; I’m assuming retail. Are you prepared to take a business hit for getting involved in this ? If you are, my hat off to you as your business must be doing better than most. All i’m saying is that the Chamber has involved themselves in something they should not have and that is the core issue. Some will feel the consequences and cant afford it, others may be able to. If I had a retail business, I can tell you I would stay far, far away from this.


    October 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I believe that the hype over the two media sources is over rated. If I am not mistaken the goal of the residents here is to better our community, not to enter into petty arguments over mundane things. If you believe that your proposal is indeed a better proposal, then produce a quality directory and let others choose for themselves. I feel the amount of time that was (and is) being wasted by responding to all of these accusations (by both parties) is a huge squandering of time. PLEASE use your time and abilities to better our community and not to publicly argue. If you have nothing to hide and all of your bases have been covered then simply do your job and in the end people will see the fruits of your labor.

    On a larger scale I think we all need to be working TOGETHER to move this community FORWARD. At the core, we all want what is best for our community.

    • dave

      October 26, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree.

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