Council Member Washington Discusses Economic Development

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By Dave Freneaux was able to sit with Council Member Washington this week and discuss the comments made by Economic Development Foundation President Wade Giles in last week's newspaper.  Mr. Washington agrees that the City has been supportive of Economic Development initiatives prior to this fiscal year, but asserts that the new Council is supportive as well.  Washington readily acknowledges that the Foundation is made up entirely of volunteers and he recognizes the need to have a motivated group spearheading this effort in Central.  His disagreement with Mr. Giles is that Washington feels that the $150,000 City of Central budget for economic development expenditures is a show of support for the Foundation.  The funds are not donated to the Foundation, rather they are authorized to be spent by the Mayor in behalf of the City for purposes related to Development.
The major difference between Mr. Washington and Mr. Giles seems to come down to the definition of "support".  Mr. Washington maintains that a City budget, including funds to hire an Economic Development Consultant to work directly for the Mayor, and a willingness for Council members to attend Foundation meetings is a show of support.  Mr. Giles indicated that "support" has little to do with money and much to do with the negative reaction of the Council and the efforts of the Council to influence policy within the Foundation.  Mr. Washington, recognizing the differing views of the two parties, has committed to working with Mayor Watts and the Council to come up with an approach to bring the parties back together and resume Economic Development efforts in Central.


  1. Monica Thompson

    November 24, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Many, many cities go through minor and major conflicts between the city government itself and an economic development entity. Ideally they work in tandem without much regard for who gets the credit, and for who has to pay more money or do more work. But sometimes when the government wants to seize back control of what happens to its own financial contribution, it’s for good reason. Let the financial part play out.

    The part that should concern the community is any attitude on the part of the government that their “support” for economic development is adequate if they attend meetings only. It takes a big push from both the private and public sectors to make anything happen in this economy.

  2. Mike Mannino

    November 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I have a question for anyone that can give me an answer. What are we trying to develop and why ? What do we not have that you want that this would bring and if its not here already, why did you move here in the first place ? “Development” brings a whole set of problems that we moved out here to get away from. Why do you want to bring here what you moved to get away from in the first place ? This makes no sense at all to me. The more you build, the more infrastructure you need which creates more tax needs. At the end of the day, you have a congested mess like South BR, the developers get rich, and the quality of life drops. People start to move further out to get away from it. So whats the point ? Huh ? Please enlighten me.

  3. Ray

    November 24, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    First of all, I was born here, 1964. My father was born here in 1939. Secondly who are you speaking for when you say “we”? Central already has a congested mess because Livingston Parish crosses Magnolia Bridge mornings and evenings. The majority of Central has been leaving the city and driving to Baton Rouge for shopping, entertainment and restaurants for all of my years of existence. I would be thrilled to never have to cross the comite river into Baton Rouge again for need. Mike read your post again. You sound like a grumpy old retired man, something I strive to be. LOL

  4. Mike Mannino

    November 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Not retired yet Ray but I’m getting close ! LOL.

    Ive only been in Central since the late 70’s but I did choose to move here when I purchased my first home and for the reasons already stated. Many others, and I certainly cant speak for everyone, moved here or are lifelong residents and feel the same. But Ray you still didnt answer my questions. Why have you pt up with this all these years and what is the end game ? What benefit is there to growth if you already are content with the way things are and if not, what specifically would you change, and how do you stop things once you get to the point you would like to see ? This is an honest set of questions that i have never had anyone answer in a sensible way. If someone could, they may sway me a bit.

  5. Ray

    November 25, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Mike I am a very content person, maybe to a fault. I never wanted city government and dealt with the parish school system by enrolling my children in private schools at specific times depending on their needs. The Central school system is a great move for the children of our city. I can do without both city government and school board politics. It seemed so distant when we had city/parish government because most decisions didn’t seem to have a profound affect on our area other than busing and M to M transfers. But now politics seems to get personal because it involves people who are friends and neighbors or acquaintances. Nothing angers me more than when people think they know what is best for me and my family. Thats what government brings and its here. I chose to stay in Central because my parents and in-laws reside here and I really enjoy my time with them. When I think about it, this area has remained unchanged, with the exception of a slow but steady housing growth, for many years. I guess thats why i’m comfortable here. Once the thruway is finished I feel dramatic changes are inevitable. Some growth will bring convenience, but once it starts I’m afraid the momentum will build. I did see were the council is trying to contain this growth to certain area’s of the city. In the long run, money will probably rule most decisions because thats what history tells us. I’m more of a roll with the changes and don’t rock the boat type of person unless I get involved. Then things become personal to me and I can’t communicate without emotion. Not a good recipe for getting your point across. I’m not a big fan of change, but why should my wants take priority over someone else’s. If the change that comes makes a negative impact on life for me, I can always leave. I guess to answer your question,LOL, the benefit would be minimal.

  6. Donna Dufour

    November 26, 2010 at 12:08 am

    When I first started visiting Central it was because I had friends who moved to Morgan Place, I was only 18 and still lived at home. Home was Forest Oaks located at Sherwood Forest Blvd & Fla. Blvd. I would pack a bag and spend the night because it was so far or so it seemed 37 years ago. My mother still lives in the same house & I go to her house almost everyday & sometimes twice a day now, not thinking twice about the distance because it is only 10 minutes away. Central was a secluded paradise, that is all changing and will continue to change. It is almost like a run away train. I supported and voted for incorporation and I still think it was the right thing to do. I just wish there was a way to financially support it without all of the business growth we are going to see. It’s nice to have the Walmart,restaurants and other businesses.I just don’t like what we are having to sacrifice to get it.

  7. Mike Mannino

    November 26, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Thats the way I see it too buddy. I’m a practical kind of guy and look at issues like this from the aspect of what is the goal, what is the benefit, and what will it cost ? In this case, it just doesnt seem to be well thought out and the cost and I dont just mean financial, is not worth it.

    Several terms back in New Jersey, there was a governor that ran on a platform of not encouraging more growth in the State as it was a zero sum game. In our case, it will inevitably be a net loss.

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