[StBernard] Meraux lawmaker files measure to help paper get journal contract
westley at da-parish.com
Wed Mar 21 08:39:06 EDT 2012
I stand affirmed in my earlier statement below. The admissions from today's
council meeting serve as proof.
The news story is accurate in that the proposed bill was entirely conceived
and requested of Ray by members of the Parish Council and the
Administration. This is because at the time the request was made no
newspaper met all the current requirement per state law since the St.
Bernard Voice is currently operating and being published out of Plaquemines
parish. This is what Ray was informed of.
The notion that Ray was doing this just to help only one newspaper is
ridiculous since the proposed law could open up the process to anyone who
would start to operate a newspaper out of St. Bernard parish. And as of
very recently, the owners of the Voice in Plaquemines have been rushing to
get the old Arabi office back open again - which is a good thing and
confirms they were not operating in St. Bernard. Now under the proposed
bill, the parish would potentially have two newspapers complete to become
the official journal of the parish. This competition is a good thing
because it forces bids and prices to be lower which saves the parish money.
But what needs to be stressed here (that the news story did not do so well)
is the tenant currently renting from Ray (the St. Bernard Parish Post) would
only have the "opportunity" to bid - it is in no way a certainty they would
be awarded the contract. That is left up to the Parish President's office
and the Parish Council - who requested all this to begin with.
There is still some question as to whether or not Ray actually committed any
wrongdoing, but whatever he did was done without any prior knowledge and he
would have never done it if not for the request from parish leaders.
Personally, I think Ray's actions were an example of his clear support of
"local businesses" in St. Bernard parish and his willingness to work with
parish government leaders with their request. This is something he
campaigned heavily on last Fall.
There's absolutely nothing to hide in this matter - that's why Ray did
everything with total transparency and let everyone know up front what was
going on in regards to his relationship with Kenny Zulli, which I might add
is purely business. They did not have any personal relationship prior to
Mr. Zulli seeking to rent Ray's building to establish the St. Bernard Parish
Post. Ray's only intention was to help a local business get started that
promised to hire only St. Bernard residents as its employees. So far it
appears both businessmen have kept their word.
As far as I'm concerned, Ray took the high road on this and I'm confident
people in the district will agree with him.
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