31 October, 2011

AutoCité + : an additionnal car for less starts up on november 2

A new mode of transport appears on november 2nd in Angers : the car sharing. Called Autocité+, it makes accessible to subscribers 15 cars, private and commercial vehicles, available in six stations of Angers downtown : Poissonerie, Imbach, Saint-Serge, Sainte-Croix squares but also in Chevreul and May 8 streets. To beneficit of Autocité +, the subscriber must pay 15 € per month, during three months at least. To book a car, the subscriber may use internet, phone or a smartphone app. If a car is available in the nearest station, the Autocité+ 's user gets the car within a few minutes. The service is accessible to private persons as well as professionnals.

The showing to AutoCité+, at Imbach square (Credit : Angers city)
According to the manager of the company implementing the service on behalf Angers, the Société d'aménagement de la région angevine (Sara), Laurent Fouillet, "it costs 2,60 € per hour plus 0,36 € per km covered". And "till 10 000 kms per year, to use Autocité+ is cheaper than using his own car". All is included in the price, the gasoline, the maintenance, the washing and an assistance 24 hours a day. Moreover, a card is in the car if the user has to gas up.

The promotor of Autocité+ points out that, according to the Agence de l'environnement et de la maîtrise de l'énergie (Ademe) the property of a car in town is very costly : 4 500 € per year for a small urban model. Autocité+ is part of the development of "soft transport modes" along with buses, tramway, bicycle and walking. It could be fitted to a new consumption trend whichwould consist in the use of a product or a service without its possession what is true in the co-renting of flats or the carpool. But it also be suited to the economic circumstances weighting on the budget of Angers households.

30 October, 2011

The left wing of Angers continues criticizing the opening of superstores on sunday mornings

The future Atoll commercial center due to open in 2012
After the mayors of cities and villages members of Angers Loire Métropole and the political movement Europe Ecologie Les Verts, it was to the left group's turn at the Conseil général of Maine et Loire to criticize the opening of food superstores on Sunday mornings. These responsibles did so through to Jean-Luc Rotureau's voice, deputy-mayor of Angers, who upheld that "the opening of superstores on sundays endangers the food retail stores and makes compulsory to employees to work during that specific day of the week, dedicated to rest and family life". Mr Rotureau added that the accessibility to the superstores on sundays "didn't match any vital need of the population".

Crédit pictures : Angers city
Many of these food retailers have, unfortunately, already disappeared from the different districts of Angers and those who were able to resist must, most of the time, be opened practically days and nights all year long. These kinds of stores were already the target of a fierce competition from superstores. Many of the retailers of Angers center are complaining of the difficult access for cars downtown and those of Avrillé are afraid of the escape of their customers to Angers thanks the tramway. And, within a few months, a giant center (Atoll) will open in Beaucouzé.

Regarding the weekly rest of employees, which is a "vital need", the opening of stores on Sunday mornings, even in Angers down town, could interest students eager to earn money freeing time for the "family life" of traditionnal employees. Unfortunately, the "family life" in France (as in many countries) has been weakened along the last decades. And nothing, in the economic circumstances France will face next year, allows to foresee that the families' finances will be reinforced. In a consumption society, what is able to fuel economic growth and jobs must be considered. The social parameters are important but not the only ones. But, what do the representatives of the right think?

29 October, 2011

Welcome of immigrants : Angers at the crossroads between pride and realism

News analysis. - An Angers representative and several responsibles of associations complained yesterday about the difficulties they are facing for the welcome of immigrants coming from East Africa. Rose-Marie Véron, town councillor, reminded that "the welcoming of these refugies is a state competence". All the responsibles pointed out that African immigrants arrived a few months ago in Angers were still there because their situation had not been regularized. These statements raise several questions.

The local representatives and associations notice the problem comes from the fact the new immigrants add up to those who came in the past and are still in Angers because their situation would not have been yet regularized by the administration. It means these people had landed in Angers without fullfilling the legal procedures. One may ask if it was sensible to welcome these foreign families before the state authorities gave their authorization? Moreover, all these responsibles demand supplementary aid and a agreement to bear the costs from Europe, France, other cities and territories. If they were funded by public authorities, these associations should remind that their goal is to adjust their care to their material means and not to go beyond.

In mainy of the statements, the reference to France as " the country of human rights" appears. It sounds like if these authorities wanted to look more generous than others, ignoring if the necessary resources are sufficient to deal with the problem. While more and more Angevins are impoverished byt the crisis, would it be wiser to act according to the popular sentence "Charity begins at home"?

28 October, 2011

Angers city wants to tackle the night unrest in downtown

The Noxambules help students (Credit Angers City)
Enough is enough. Angers townhall has decided to act against the night bustle generated by some bars regarding the alcoholization of their customers and the fact these last stand during the evenings on the pavements and the streets. A letter to six of these bars wil be sent by the mayor of Angers urging them  to reconsider their part in the night nuisances. "This letter is part of the series of measures introduced to regulate the angevins evenings, above all those of the wednesdays, thursdays and fridays night", said Jean-Pierre Chauvelon, in charge of security issues at townhall.

Bressigny street at night
 But cityhall doesn't want to dedicate itself to a policy only repressive. So Rose-Marie Veron is in charge of a more preventive aspect of the municipal policy through the sensibilization of students to the dangers of alcoholization, drugs and risky sexuality. If some of these students are guilty of inappropriate behaviour, they could be sanctioned. This is of course useful but it will not be sufficient if drug dealers are not neutralized. The city mentions in a press release that "hundreds of youngs squatter pavements, block the traffic, make noise and commit damages". If an appeal has been expressed, the city is showing his muscles.

27 October, 2011

Angers wants to welcome the influx of inmigrants fittingly and demands solidarity

Several political representatives of Angers Loire Métropole and persons in charge of caritative communities in this region wrote a letter to the prefects of Maine et Loire and Pays de la Loire to raise the alarm regarding the arrival of asylum seekers in Angers and surroundings. "We wish to alert the authorities about the overcrowding of all the structures due to the uninterrupted arrival of men, women and children", they say. The phenomenon is not new. During the winter 2010-2011, many communities in charge of the welcome of inmigrants in Angers sounded the alarm because their staffs were yet overburdened and their material resources (including food) unsufficient. 

In their letter, these representatives do not demand the end of these arrivals but new resources allowing them to continue the welcome of these (most of the time) East African populations. "Because we want to welcome fittingly... we reassert the necessity to link housing and social attendant measures and to have the necessary resources". And the signatories to demand the "solidarity of the department, the region and the state" pointing out the risk of triggering in Angers "an explosive situation" due to the presence of an increasing number of individuals victims of the economic crisis "homeless and roaming people".

Even if the political representatives and staffs of associations warn about the fact "the limits of [their] work has been reached because of the concentration of the answers on our territory", such a letter will have no effect on immigrants and even less on the rings which drive them to Angers. The "solidarity" they should demand is the monitoring of these people before their entrance in France instead of resources to help them once they are arrived because the influx will be endless. A few weeks ago, the Council for the citizenship of Angevins foreigners claimed that "diversity is a wealth", maybe on the long run, but in short-run it's new costs Angers doesn't know how to pay.

26 October, 2011

Crisis : the Angers Council for development focuses on its consequences instead of its origins

"The Council for development must reconsider everything". That's one of the conclusions 400 persons heard from the chairman of this authority gathered for its 10th anniversary on october 17th. That would be useful regarding the challenges Angers Loire Métropole's inhabitants face since the economic crisis erupted in 2008. The council, constituted by representatives of the "civil society", published last month a survey entitled "Economic crisis. Endure and anticipate on Angevin territory". So the document could faithfully reflect the worries of the Angers inhabitants in front of the crisis and the medecines to overcome it.

Probably because the unemployment is legitimetaly the main worry of the population, the Council for development  only considers the crisis from the angle of the unemployment. This shows goodwill but only focuses on the consequences of the crisis instead of its origins : the slow of the economic growth. Where it would be necessary to explore the means to accelerate growth, the belief of the Council is the ability of the public sector to help the region to overcome its unemployment. "Only education, health and social activity still generates jobs", write the Council, forgetting these are financed by the private sector.

 Regarding the medecines the authority advises, all of them reflect a series of cliches and even naiveties like the establishment of a "Week of economic solidarity" and the signature of a "civic pact" (no defined). The Council is worried only about the future of the services sector but not pay attention to industry which feeds the tertiairy sector. One idea reflects the fact the inquiry of the Council only considered not the roots of the economic crisis but its secondary aspects : if "the access to nurseries during the working time" is an easiness (even if the authority doesn't look about the way the nurses are going to take care of their own children), it's nevertheless necessary to have a job. The fine sentiments of the Council could be the most worrying aspect of the ability of Angers Loire Métropole to solve its difficulties.

25 October, 2011

A recent survey on revenues in Angers demonstrates the homogeneity of the inhabitants

An unexpected observation of a survey realized by the Agence d'urbanisme de la région angevine is that "between 2001 and 2008, the [monthly median revenue] in Angers Loire Métropole [Alm] has increased by 3,1% per year" during seven years. More surprising, another belief widespread over the city (the Angers inhabitants earn less than the French), is contradicted : "The monthly median revenue declared by inhabitants of the Angers agglomeration (1 518 €) is comparable to the revenue of the whole French households (1 511 €)". 

 In comparison with datas of Loire Valley cities having a similar size, the increase in Angers is higher than Tours or Orléans but the amount ot the monthly median revenue is more important in these towns. The survey also lets the reader glimpse that if, in Angers, the gap between the lowest and the highest revenues is widening (as in France), the trend is neverthess reduced in comparison with Nantes, Orléans, Tours and above all Le Mans. Only Saint-Nazaire is more homogeneous over the 2001-2008 period. The study recalls that about 45% of the Angers inhabitants do not pay income tax.
If the survey doesn't bring something new about the distribution of poor and wealthy cities in Alm, it points out an important difference of revenue between owners and leaseholders. In Angers Loire Métropole, the monthly median revenue of owners of their homes is 1 865 € against 1 365 € for leaseholders and 978 € for leaseholders in social housing. This should stimulate some of these people not to stay leaseholders all their lifetime. In the long term, it is not inevitably the most effective way to save money.

24 October, 2011

The politicization of the superstores sunday openings couldn't help to objectivize the issue

News Analysis. - After the appeal to the prefet of Maine-et-Loire launched, a few days ago, by the mayors of towns constituting Angers Loire Métropole about the opening of food superstores on sunday mornings, the issue become politicized with the involment, on mayors' side, of Europe Ecologie Les Verts. According to Eelv, in a press release published by Angers Mag on october 22, "reassert its stance agains the work on sundays for the employees of major outlets".

In its statement, Eelv adds : "This domino effect may grow with the opening of other superstores that would lead at the end of the sunday rest for the whole economic chain linked to major outlets, i.e. road haulier and day nurseries". From that point of view, the employees of the University Center Hospital (Chu) support their argument. While they have just got a day nursery, they uphold the opening schedules are not sufficient and want it open on... sundays, reports Angers Angers Villactcu

40 hours 

The openings on sundays decided by superstores managers from Leclerc of more recently Super U and the demand of hospital employees to get a nursery opened on sunday could mean that work on sunday is anymore a taboo in active population while it is still a taboo in political circles. 

The intervention of these could not make the analysis of the issue more objective. In France, growth, whose prevision for 2012 will be lowered (from 1,75% to less than 1,50%),  is hampered by a too short weekly worktime, unique in the world. Rather than work on sunday to fuel growth and jobs, wouldn't it be more effective to come back to the weekly 40 hours of work? Like most of countries.

23 October, 2011

A new arrival at the Angers hospital considered as attacked "below" the belt

Yann Bubien
The new manager of the University Hospital Center (Chu), Yann Bubien, appointed on mid october by the Health ministry may not understand the inflamed debate that he is at the core. This young civil servant till now assistant of Roselyne Bachelot, ministry of Health, saw his appointment violently criticized last wednesday by Luc Belot, secretary of the Socialist Party for Angers, deputy mayor in charge of early childhood, education and computing.

Luc Belot
According to Mr Belot, "Friends of Nicolas Sarkozy are imported in Angers... The Angers right party intends a takeover bid on the Chu before the next ballots. Rather than to take a new look at itself, [the right party] choose to bolt all the key positions by appointing its close friends". But, Mr. Belot doesn't explain how Mr Bubien could, from the head of the hospital, stop the "profound urge of change among voters"... Paul Jeanneteau, right member of Parliament, former deputy of Roselyne Bachelot, got angry, considering such a "diatribe" "is relevant to systematic denigration of persons". 

Paul Jeanneteau
 Mr Belot, till now quite low profile, is, since a few months, considered among the possible candidates of Jean-Claude Antonini, mayor of Angers,who could resign before the end of his office (2014) with Frédéric Beatse and Jean-Luc Rotureau, themselves deputies-mayor. So it is not impossible that, with this attack against the new arrival, Mr Belot aims, in fact, to get a licence of left "right-thinking".  

Pictures Credit : Angers Chu, Angers city, National Assembly

22 October, 2011

In Angers, the "gold old days" are coming back

Indication of gold as a safe value, new stores dedicated to the purchases of that precious metal are now operating in Angers. One is located on Alsace street and the other in Toussaint street. The Comptoir national de l'or and the Comptoir d'achat d'or et d'argent are companies dedicated to the trade of gold and other precious metals with private individuals or professionnals. During times of economic difficulties, gold has always been more searched out.

When some families experience difficulties, there is no other choice to sell their own goods and gold is presently the most valuable of them. The quantities bought out are often melted for others uses than jewellery or dentures because the world production of gold is fifty less important than the quantities private individuals own. But, apart the economic question, the selling of family gold may lead to the disappearance of ancient jewelleries, and so, the disapperance of artistic signs of the past.

The front sides of these two stores are far from sparkling maybe because, what is differentiating them from jewellery shops is people are coming in to sell and not to buy. 

21 October, 2011

Angers city promotes (unintentionally?) the voter-consumer

Angers city started a campaign urging young inhabitants to get themselves put on the electoral roll. In order to increase Angers youth to the awareness of that issue, the townhall began a poster campaign all over the city. The next elections on France agenda will take place on april 22nd of 2012 and they will be the most important political event in France : the presidential elections.

But the pictures of these posters are ambiguous, so the message delivered is ambiguous too. The posters show a young woman hesitating between a pair of shoes and a young man choosing in a lot of ties. Both of them are pouting in front of the objects they are comparing. It seems the products do not  satisfy none of them. Probably unintentionaly, Angers townhall makes understand that a elector is just a consumer and the political plans are nothing more than a product.There is no difference between voting or buying something and an political plan is nothing more than ads. 

The Angers city website is much more classical and even conventional : "To vote is a right, it's also a civic duty", it says, making the people who don't vote feel guilty.  But in France, as in many other countries, if to vote is a right, it's possible, as for every right, not to exercise it. Moreover, if the vote were a duty, the refusal to vote could be fined but it's not the case so... And finally, to force people to vote may lead to destabilizing consequences (blank votes, spoiled votes...). So may the posters are only a Freudian slip : are the politicians ties sellers?

20 October, 2011

Sunday mournings in Angers

 The call of the mayors of Angers Loire Métropole regarding the respect of sunday as a no working day has not been heard. The chaiman of System U, Serge Papin, announced on october 18th in Saint-Barthélémy d'Anjou, near Angers, that the stores of his brand will, from now on, open on sunday morning. "According to the law, every food store may open on sunday morning. In Angers, an agreement about the no-opening of stores was broken off", said Mr Papin adding "We are not going to let somedy to suck up the market. We had to react", after the E. Leclerc store of Saint-Jean-de-Linières had decided to open on sunday morning.

This is may be a turning point in local trade uses because, in spite of protests coming from officials or associations, Angers customers already came in superstores even on public day (Armistice Day on november 11th). So the point of view the mayor expressed (the opening of stores on sunday morning is not a expectation of the inhabitants) could not be agreed.

But this situation points out a change in the habits of inhabitants with time. Some of them complains the city is deserted on sunday because stores are closed. The change is tangible as soon as Christmas animations are set up in the streets. People are enjoying and store owners too. For others, sunday morning will be mourned.

19 October, 2011

Saint-Serge district becomes studious from dawn to nightfall

In spite of their classes all day long and the homework the have to do at night, students attend regularly special tuitions delivered by private companies in Angers. Many companies appeared in the city and, among them, Completude, Acadomia or KeepSchool which teach to primary and secondary school pupils or students of different universitarian fields. 

Apparently these schools meet an important success due to the evolution of the French educational system often criticized by "consumers" and teachers and because of the very difficult selection process students face at the end of the first year of their studies. At 7.30 pm on the Defi classes on Ayrault boulevard a lot of students were working with a teacher as young as they are.

Located in Saint-Serge square, these classes give to the district a student touch. Universities of law and medecine are not far and an student residence has been erected on the same place. Students are coming and going in the square from dawn to nightfall. With the project of a new congress center near the Le Quai theater, it is said that the present congress center could leave room for another university. the Saint-Serge district hasn't yet finished to change.

18 October, 2011

Bike speeds things up in Angers

The use of bike could be in appreciable increase in Angers Loire Métropole. According to the managers of the Decathlon superstore of Les Ponts de Cé, the last Trocathlon edition, which took place from the 15th to the 23rd october woulhd have been caracterized by an important barter regarding bikes. On 17th october, the store had no second-hand bikes to sell. The reasons to such a passion are, for some of them, local and , for others, common to France as a whole.

On a local level, Angers city realizes an important promotion of that mean of transport. More and more public bikes are rented (mostly to students) for free while others are paying (beyond understanding) for people coming in the city for leisure or work. At the same time, Angers has built and still plans numerous cyclable lanes (83 km long) and more than 1 200 cycle racks all over the city have been fit up. Of course, the set may be improved but the aid is unquestionable.

Credit Angers city
In order to promote the use of bike in town, groundbreaking solutions could be implemented. One of these would be to prohibit the use of cars in an area larger than the pedestrian downtown, and during all the weekends long. That would be make the involvment of the city, which will soon introduce a climate plan, in the sustainable development.

17 October, 2011

The interference of mayors on sunday superstore opening doesn't convince customers

In spite of the critics expressed on october 14th by the representatives of Angers Loire Métropole, i.e. the mayors of the towns members of that authority, on the next sunday morning, the parking lot of the Leclerc superstore of Saint-Jean-de-Linières was rather occupied. If Jean-Claude Antonini and his colleages have an opinion about the effects of the sunday opening of stores, the consumers have their own they expressed with their cars and their wallets. 

All the shops of the commercial gallery ot the Leclerc were closed so the customers, and in among them many young families, could only buy food products. At the same time, the open-air market of Monplaisir was certainly crowded and, because of its size, looks like a giant superstore by itself and is free from critics coming from local authorities.

If Angers and its surroundings benefited of a mild and sunny weather, the families apparently considers nobody is entitled to say them what it'good or bad for them and what they have to do. And if many persons support Mr Antonini's opinion, others think he has no right to infere in such a matter. Should people unique responsible to decide how to sped their free time, especially since the reduction of working time which does Angers inhabitants have time to spend a money they haven't?

16 October, 2011

The tricolour flag exposes itself on october... 15

The fact is unusual in the Angers streets when it's not a legal holiday. On october 15th, a red, white and blue French flag flied smoothly in the front window of the Serge Blanco store, in Saint-Laud street. A few meters lower than the My favourite place tea shop (full that afternoon), the sportswear store celebrated the (small) victory of France over Wales in the semi-final rugby world cup. 

In England, and particularly in USA, the presence of the Union Jack or The Star Spangled Banner, is much more frequent and not only on front sides of buildings or at the top of monuments. In a city representational of France, the tricolor flag is not as visible as in the countries above. Its presence in the street made a colourful point in a busy place where by-passers and customers were taking advantages of the last rays of sunlight. 

It was also an clever way to attract consumers toward rugby-styled garnments which will be at the credit of France for the days to come. Within a week, France will face to (probably) New-Zeland for the final rugby world cup. And if all goes well, the Serge Blanco flag will not be "all black".

14 October, 2011

With 31 000 travellers per day, the Angers tramway traffic may not be a record

During its first months of running the Angers tramway has transported 31 000 travellers per day. Is that figure, announced by Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, the indication of a success or not? The answer to that question depends on the affluence recorded in cities having the same size of Angers (148 000 inhabitants). Clermont-Ferrand, Le Mans, Nancy, or Valenciennes are points of comparison because they only have one line of tramway.

In Le Mans (143 000 inhabitants) for example, the tramway transports around 45 000 passengers per day on a larger line, 15 km (Angers line is 12 km) with 30 stations (25 at Angers). In Clermont-Ferrand (148 000 inhabitants), the tramway transports 45 000 persons a day while in Valenciennes, a Northern city smaller than Angers, the unique line tranports 29 000 passengers a day. In Nancy (106 000 inhabitants), the average number of travellers is 50 000 persons daily.

So its not sure the Angers tramway does better than the others. But it's not sure the traffic will not increase. On some part of the line, especially between Avrillé and Angers, the wagons are quite empty. The affluence is more important inside the Angers town itself. According to some business man and inhabitants, a route linking the industrial zones of Beaucouzé and Saint-Barthélémy, through the Belle-Beille and Saint-Serge campus wouold have been more buoyant. Suggested by the economic authorities of Angers, it could never take place.

Real restate : scheming schemes in Angers

An observation common to many inhabitants is the pace of construction of buildings and the number of projects in Angers city. On october 10th, townhall showed a new district which will take place with hotel, housing, stores and appartments, all near the Saint-Laud railways station. The following day, the Angers representatives announced their intention to build a new congress center. 

Regarding these two schemes, the city want to go fast : "I want the Congress center started in 2012 and opened in 2016", said Jean-Claude Antonini, mayor.

 Regarding the future Gare + district, the works will start next year. The reconquest of Maine banks and more than 2 500 new homes per year during ten years are some of a "bulimia" of buildings in Angers.

Many observers, professional or not, are puzzled in front of such projects. And the strategy of townhall looks unclear. It is like a bet on the growing difficulties of housing (in Paris for example) the employees will face to find a home not too expensive and not too far from their jobs. Maybe the Angers townhall thinks the enterprises will come in the region because there is housing capacities in Angers. 

From a cultural point of view, the public authority wants to wake up the city too often compared to a lethargic place and even victim of the sweet life praised a long time ago by Joachim du Bellay, a symbol still vivid in minds. Instead of turning its back to the globalization time, Angers want to dive in it, convinced there is no other choice.

13 October, 2011

The Angers Municipal Institute will deliver conferences in English

A few months after the publication, in English, of two flyers dedicated to the stories of the Saint-John's Hospital and the Barrault mansion, the city of Angers is going into conferences delivered at the Municipal Institute, in English. The speaker will be Roy Fuller, a professor of the Western Catholic University. Mr Fuller will intervene between december and april on the "Early British History". The choice of English appears to be an originality and may a first in the range of conferences offered by the institute.

Hastings (Credit Wikipedia)
This cycle of four conferences is suitable for persons "of all ages (?) having a medium or higher level in English", warns (in French) the authority and will deal with the history of England from the Ice Age to the Norman conquest and by the way Stonehenge, the arrival of Christianity....

Many other conferences could be delivered in English because the teaching of that language is an old story at the Municipal institute : the first classes were delivered in 1879. And one of his former manager, Michel Leterme, an Anglicist, suggested the twinning of Angers with Wigan. It could be useful to enlarge the English spoken conferences to contemporary issues. That could help to bring cultures together and improve the vocabulary of the members.

12 October, 2011

Letter from the editor

Thank you Damien & World Traveller for your appreciation to that blog, but above all for promoting Angers city abroad. No, Angers Daily News is completely independant from the townhall of your native land. Furthermore, we don't have the slightest idea about the ranking of this blog on Google. If the rank is good, that's for us big news. But how do you see that?
Warmest regards

Abstract words of welcome

Angers city seems eager to integrate its new duties in language in the same way of its brand "Angers Loire Valley". On october 8th, a gathering of foreign inhabitants was set up at the initiative of the Council for the citizenship of angevins foreigners. That organization was created by townhall in order to be "a place of expression, dialogue, listening between the municipal team and foreigners" along with "an instance of consulting, driver of proposals and actions regarding all issues which impact foreign residents in the city".

Credit Angers city and Angers Municipal Institute
In order to inform people about that meeting, a flyer was published in several languages, one of whom was English. Unfortunately, the editorial article of the document, written by the mayor, which, in simple words, explains what the Council is, wasn't translated. So the foreign readers had to cope with series of abbreviations and abstract words like "harsh social context", "local networks" or others "possible levels" all very difficult to understand especially by those coming from developping countries.

In fact, even with open-minded persons, local authorities seems a little bit reluctant to use the international language English is. At the Municipal Institute, classes of basic French are provided to foreign people but the flyers detailing theirs pratical details are written in French. Come on! Let's get over with.

10 October, 2011

La Rochefoucauld : a risky parking lot

News analysis. - The idea of Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, former deputy-mayor of Angers and now simple assistant, to make the La Rochefoucauld parking lot coin-operated instead of free, could not let the mayor, Jean-Claude Antonini, indifferent. The place is distant from the first employer of the city, the University Hospital Center (Chu), from two hundreds meters. The Chu employs about 4 900 persons and 1 000 praticioners. Probably a part of them park their car in the La Rochefoucauld facility, for free. 

It could be obviously difficult for these persons, without consequences on their productivity in the hospital and above all the safety of their patients, to put coins in the ticket machines of the parking lot several times a day, especially when they are assigned in an emergency unit. Such an evolution would have, certainly, lead the hospital employees to complain to their employer, whose chairman is... the mayor of Angers, Jean-Claude Antonini, himself patient of the hospital a few months ago and happy with the cares he received there.

The dangers of such a risky conflict were not only actual for the persons under treatment in the hospital, they could have been damaging for Mr. Antonini's team in townhall (even if, the La Rochefoucauld parking lot fitting deserves to be reconsidered). Maybe Mrs Caillard-Humeau is wounded, but the self-esteem wounds are curable. The mayor knows it, he was general practicioner...

Gulps and puffes, back and forward, along Bressigny street to cope with double regulation

Many students and young people use to have fun two or three days per week in the bars located in Angers downtown most of the time between thursdays and saturdays, given that they are at the end of a week or on the eve of a weekend. For them, have fun means very often enjoy a drink (sometimes it's more than one drink) and smoke some cigarettes. The problem they face comes from the implementation of two regulations, one local about the consumption of alcools in the streets and another regarding the prohibition to smoke in the bars.

A year ago, Angers representatives prohibited to consume alcoolic beverages on the streets after 10.00 pm because of numerous complains from neighbours of bars (and maybe townhall staff who has to clean up the mess after evenings washed down with beers), the consumers have to take their drinks inside the "cafés". But, at the same time, they love to smoke. Unfortunately (for them) it's now forbidden to smoke inside the pubs. So how to manage to be in and out at the same time?

Some of the consumers found a trick to overcome the case. Along Bressigny streets, they stay at the entrance of the bars, step back to swallow a gulp and step beyond to have a puff, as long as the evening lasts... The scene, quite original, could become risky as the weather is getting colder. Bad colds aren't far. They will be cured by rums and inhalations... at home!

09 October, 2011

From a crack to a fracture in townhall majority coalition

The crack in the unity inside the majority of  the Angers town council is now a compound fracture. After she was reframed by the mayor of Angers, Jean-Claude Antonini, last week for an anouncement judged wrong about the free access of the La Rochefoucauld parking lot (see a former article "Crack in townhall on La Rochefoucauld parking lot" in this blog), Bernardette Caillard-Humeau has been deprived of the powers she had up to october 7th : the streets, the traffic and the mobility.

 That decision may have two consequences : first the start of a process aiming at the succession of Mr Antonini who could resign before the official end of his office and give way to his political heir, even if that man - or that woman - is not  yet known. If Mrs Caillard-Humeau had planned to be that person, she was wrong and the La Rochefoucault case would have only been an excuse. 

The mayor and his former deputy-mayor (Credit Angers city)
But the second consequence could be more important and could even be a backlash for the present majority if Mrs Caillard-Humeau and her supports join the minority lead by Laurent Gérault. If this new coalition is formed, the next local polls for Mr Antonini's heirs would be more dificult than the previous, yet won with a small margin.

07 October, 2011

Three Angevins want the Pignerolle's bunkers resist to neglect

A team of three Angevins wants to revive ten bunkers erected by the German army at Pignerolles park, in a neighbouring city of Angers : Saint-Barthélémy d'Anjou. The three men, Steve Doizy, Michel Letertre and Christophe Marquet "hope to promote the historical heritage constituted by the bunkers", indicates the website of their association "Memorial of the bunkers of Pignerolles".

An anti-atomic shelter built for the general de Gaulle but almost the former bunker of the admiral Dönitz where the communications center between his headquater and the u-boot submarines was located, deserve to be restored. In order to realize their projects, contacts have been taken with some of the main representatives of Maine et Loire who, for some of them, think it would be foreseable to imagine in the place a memorial corresponding to the one of Caen where classrooms of Angers and surroundings could be taught about the second world war. 

According to the promoters of the idea, "Pignerolles constitutes a place of privilegied evocation of crucial and painful period of the Angers, French and European history, that numerous witnesses can et wish to recall". 

Credit pictures "Memorial of the bunkers of Pignerolles"

The Angers tramway awarded in London for a Worldwide Project of the year

The Angers tramway received on october 5th in London an award for the "Worldwide project of the year" granted by the Light Rail Awards. This prize is an initiative of an English  magazine "Tramways & Urban Transit", a worldwide publication for the light and urban rail industries. Now in its 74th year, it is unique as a magazine founded on the needs of transport operators, planners, manufacturers and campaigners for better public transport in congested towns and cities
The event took place in a building of the Honourable Artillery Company located in London and Angers tramway was competing with two hundreds projets coming from seven countries. These Light Rail Awards are now in their fifth year. The Uk under-secretary of transport attended the event.

This prize could be helpful for the city to enhance its fame on an international scale (thanks to the new territory brand, Angers Loire Valley) but the news was just indicated in a few lines of Métropole, the magazine of the agglomeration authority and it is not announced the carriages of the Angers tramway will show the UK award.