Just the Facts

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By Dave Freneaux

In 2010 instant and constant communication has become the norm.  Between E-mails, Text Messages, printed and on-line Newspapers, Cell Phones, Facebook, Internet Blogs and even in actual Conversations there are numerous opportunities to receive information each day.  Unfortunately, there are an equal number of opportunities to receive misinformation.  Misinformation is generally unintentional, arising out of a lack of information, an assumption or a misinterpretation.  Misinformation is sometimes intentional, distributed to further an agenda. remains committed to the concept that the people of Central, when they are given the truth about an issue, can make up their own minds as to what to think.  We maintain that the duty of a newspaper is to report the truth without bias.  As such, this column, “Just the Facts”, will be a recurring item as often as we find misinformation being communicated and are able to discover and print the truth of the matter. recognizes that we have no monopoly on the truth and therefore welcomes all input which is true and responsible to print.  We also recognize the possibility that we may err and contribute to the misinformation from time to time and we will print a correction if our error is identified and the truth supplied.

Finally, it is without apology that we set out to print the truth in this column as often as necessary so that the energies of the people of Central can be expended on real issues and so that valuable community resources are not wasted discussing, arguing and debating based on misinformation.

Fact: The appearance on Central roads of a “speed van” owned by Redflex was a sales demonstration by Redflex.  Police Chief Browning, Sheriff Substation Captain Strickland and the Mayor’s Administrative assistant David Barrow attended a demonstration of the vans in Baker earlier this year.  Mr. Barrow authorized Redflex to gather data for a sales presentation to the Central City Council by placing a van on Central streets with no authority to issue tickets.  Speed vans cannot be used for law enforcement unless approved by a majority of the City Council.
Mr. Barrow sent an e-mail to each Council Member the Thursday prior to the van deployment stating:  “Council members:  Redflex is working with me on deploying the speed van around Central in various locations as a test trial on certain streets where we are experiencing a lot of speeding problems to collect data.  The speed van will be in various locations through next Friday, July 2.   It is anticipated that we will bring this ordinance, which was postponed late last year, back before the council in August for consideration now that the legislature did not ban the speed enforcement this session.”

Fact: There are no red light cameras in Central.  These cameras are typically pole-mounted and can be seen in Baton Rouge, but not in Central.  Their use could only be authorized by a majority of the Central City Council.

Fact:  The permit fees in the City of Central are set by the Central City Council.  Central signed a three year contract with CH2M HILL to provide permitting and inspection services which was based on the permit fees as set by the Central City Council.  Central has asked for CH2M HILL to agree to permit fee reductions on two occasions and CH2M HILL agreed both times.


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