The Town Talk from Alexandria, Louisiana on March 29, 1977 · Page 57
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The Town Talk from Alexandria, Louisiana · Page 57

Alexandria, Louisiana
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 29, 1977
Page 57
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D-11 City Charter Product of Hours of Planning Town Talk, Alexandria-Pineville, La., Tuesday, March 29, 1977 By Billy Hathom Town Talk Staff Writer On Aug. 17, 1974, Alexandria voters adopted a mayor-council home-rule charter. By early summer, the charter will finally become the municipal governing authority. A mayor and seven council members will be elected, beginning with the primary this Saturday, under terms of the document. The charter, the product of about two years of planning and composition and countless public meetings, was handily approved by voters, 5,032 to 2,393. Of the three outgoing council members, only Finance and Utilities Commissioner Arnold Jack Rosenthal actively supported the charter. Mayor John K. Snyder and Streets and Parks Commissioner Malcolm P. Hebert remained neutral. Hebert noted he had no plans to even vote in the charter election. The 1974 vote was in sharp contrast to an earlier referendum held about six years ago on a proposed city-manager charter. That proposal was defeated by 143 votes, largely because two then commissioners, Carroll E. Lanier and the late O'Hearn L. Mathews, campaigned against it. Mayor C. Edward (Ed) Karst supported the city manager proposal. Lanier was defeated in his reelection bid by Rosenthal in 1973. Karst has never again sought public office. Lanier and Rosenthal are among six candidates challenging Snyder in the primary Saturday. the charter was drafted by a five-member commission appointed during the waning days of the Karst administration. Third Circuit Court of Appeal Judge William A. Culpepper was named chairman of the charter panel. Culpepper's son, Lamar Polk Culpepper, is a District V council candidate in the primary. Other members were John Cockrell, an Alexandria Senior High School teacher who represented black interests; F.G. To-oley of South Central Bell Telephone, the organized labor spokesman; Charles S. Bollinger, a savings and loan official, the business representative, and Mrs. Edward G. (Ned) Randolph Jr. of Alexandria, a civic leader here. Bollinger is a candidate for councilman at-large in the primary. Assisting the commission in drafting the charter was the Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) in Baton Rouge, which handled the technical drafting of the measure. During a series of public meetings on the charter, those in at tendance expressed support for a "mayor-council" government and serious reservations about the existing commission plan, in which .three councilmen assume joint legislative and executive responsibilities. Under the charter, the mayor will exercise strictly executive responsibilities; the part-time council, legislative type functions. Few conflicts erupted during the charter hearings. In only one instance, a dispute over civil service, did strong differences appear. Since representatives of both labor and civil service asked the commission not to alter those laws, no changes were made in the system. A group formed to promote charter ratification was "People for a Better Government" (PBG), headed by Alexandria stockbroker Robert C. (Bob) Upton Jr., who is chairman of the Municipal Democrat Executive Committee. Snyder at first criticized the charter, issued a strong attack on PBG and accused Upton of having "political ambitions." By July, 1974, however, Snyder relented from his earlier opposition and decided to staty out of the election contest. In adopting the charter, Alexandria became the only Louisiana city to elect council members on a staggered basis under a system like that used by the U.S. Senate. Members will serve four-year terms, but three or four (depending on the year) will be elected every two years. After its adoption, a redisricting plan designed to include council representation for areas annexed since the original charter was drafted was approved by the U.S. Justice Department in Washington. Remember: Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. for Saturday's primary. All city residents who were registered by March 2 are eligible to vote, regardless of party affiliation. The mayor will be the administrative officer of the city under the new charter; the council will be the legislative body. . All voters in the city vote for a mayoral candidate. All voters in the city vote for two council at-large candidates. All voters in the city vote for one council candidate from the district in which they reside. aiiiiiiiiiiiHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiitiiiiiiiiniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Picking the Winner Persons wanting to keep up with who is leading the at-large council races as returns come in from Saturday's primary can do so by using the following formula for determining the majority in a multiple office race. Determine the total number of votes cast for all candidates in the at-large contest. Divide that total by two, the number of seats to be filled in the at-large contest. Then divide the resulting number by two. Any candidate having a number of votes in excess of the resulting number will have a majority and be elected. If more candidates receive a majority than there are offices to be filled, offices are filled from the candidates having the largest number of votes. 5niiiiiiiiiHiimiiiiiiiiHiniiminmiiiiiiiiiiiiiinfiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiiiiiiiMiHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiMiiiiiiiiiiiHiiiiiiiiiiHiMiii(I 27 Persons Have Served as Mayor Here By Billy Hathom Town Talk Staff Writer Alexandria voters Saturday will take the initial steps toward selection of the 28th mayor, or retain the services of the 27th top municipal official, for a new four and a half-year administration. Mayor John Kenneth Snyder faces six fellow Democrats in the primary. If no candidate obtains an outright majority the top two votegetters will meet in a run-off contest June 4. Snyder's opposition consists of former Finance and Utilities Commissioner Carroll E. Lanier, 50, Finance and Utilities Commissioner Arnold Jack Rosenthal, 53, Champ Leroy Baker, 58, the former executive director of the Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning and Development District Inc., former State Rep. Larry Parker, 54, Dr. Judy Ward-Steinman Karst, 36, and real estate businessman Charles E. (Charlie) Hickman, 43. Besides the mayoral contests, seven city council seats, five by districts, will be filled in the municipal elections. No Republicans are seeking the mayoral post. In fact, the weak GOP organization here has never even fielded a candidate for any municipal office in modern Alexandria history. Former Mayor C. Edward (Ed) Karst (1969-73) was elected as a Democrat but switched his registration to Republican during his single term. His wife, who seeks the job in the Saturday primary, is running as a Democrat. Snyder, 54, was elected mayor in a bitter 1973 run-off with former Democrat State Rep. R.W. (Buzzy) Graham, 6,904 to 4,814. Karst did not to seek re-election in 1973. The last Snyder triumph was in contrast to the 1969 run-off contest in which Karst emerged victorious, 5,961 to 5,134. Between his mayoral campaigns, Snyder failed in bids to unseat former Rep. Speedy 0. Long, D-La., and Rapides Parish Sheriff Marshall T. Cappel. Rosenthal, who is completing a four-year term as finance-utilities commissioner, unseated Lanier in the 1973 runoff, 6,705 to 5,029. The job will become non-existent when the mayor-council home-rule charter becomes effective. Streets and Parks Commissioner Malcolm P. Hebert, who at 50 is retiring from city politics, is the only council member not seeking a post in the April election. Hebert won his job in the 1973 run-off, defeating the late Streets and Parks Commissioner O'Hearn L Mathews (1969-73), 6,795 to 4,943. Mathews, who earlier had served as Alexandria city marshal, died in 1975. In 1969 Lanier and Mathews had unseated veteran commissioners Leroy Wilson and William H. (Bill) Lambdin, respectively. Karst and Snyder edged out two other 1969 mayoral candidates, former Mayor W. George Bowdon Jr. and Parker. While Parker is in the mayoral sweepstakes again this year, Bowdon is seeking one of the two at-large council seats. After leaving office, Bowdon, also a former state representative here, was convicted in 1971 of theft of $6,641 in city funds. He served almost a year of a five-year sentence in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola before being paroled in 1972. Dr. Karst and Hickman are the only candidate making their first elective race. Baker was defeated in a state representative race here about 20 years ago. He became the first K-D director in 1967. Rosenthal, prior to winning the city post, failed in a bid to unseat former State Sen. Cecil R. Blair in the 1971 primary. Blair was subsequently defeated in 1975 by Sen. Edward G. (Ned) Randolph Jr. Bowdon, Wilson and Lambdin served for the 16-year period from 1953-69, until their triple defeats in the latter year. Bowdon's late father, W. George Bowdon Sr., also served as mayor. The Bow-dons hence are the only father-son combination who have held the top City Hall post here. In addition to Karst and Bowdon, Alexandria has one other living ex-mayor, Carl B. Close. Here is a listing of all 27 city mayors to date: E.R. Biossat, 1868; William F. Mclean, 1868-69; James W. Osborn, 1869-71; R.M. Kilpatrick, 1871-79; Samuel Fellows, 1879-81; James Andrews Jr., 1881-82; W.C. McGimsey, 1882-85; Thomas Crawley, 1885-91 and 1893-99 and 1903-05; I.L. McGinnis, 1891-93; Henry S. Gos-sens, 1899-1901; Frank M. Welch, 1901-03, Also, W.B. Turner, 1905-09; Jules I Turregano, 1909-11; F.C. Wheadon, 1911-14; J.E. Gibson, 1914; Joseph Bordes, 1914-16; A. Mutti, 191617; W.W. Whit-tington, 1917-18; C.N. Adams, 1918-21; J.F. Foisy, 1921-41; V.V. Lamkin, 1929-41, Bowdon Sr., 1941-45; J. A. Blackman 1945-47; Close, 1947-53; Bowdon Jr., 1953-69; Karst, 1969-73; Snyder (1973 to date). s a

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