31 January, 2013

The minority launches the Angers municipal polls of 2014

Nothing works any longer between majority and minority inside the Angers town council. On February 1st, the minority will publish a manifesto against its "opposition". "Angers, danger, the other assessment of the majority 2008-2012" where several aspects of the management of Jean-Claude Antonini, then Frédéric Beatse team are questionned : economy, employment, districts and political governance of the town.
The critics have not, apparently, been disclosed to the public so, the minority succeeded to create a buzz around its initiative. 

The left majority is angry. On behalf Frédéric Béatse, mayor, several deputy-mayors stepped up to the plate and accused the minority of a sabotage of the last city council meetings. These "have been the place of sad politician moves of the minority. Openly contradictory with the political balanced history of our territory, the behaviour of the minority is outrageous and disrespectful". The majority leaders point out that t"he title of the manifesto is disgraceful and warn they will not give way to provocations".

The publication of the booklet indicates that the minority group has now started the reconquest of town hall.  That initiative predicts a long and hash campaign. With the economic problems France presently face, the way to keep the power in Angers is not yet won for Mr Beatse and his team.

30 January, 2013

The Angers Tuareg reappears by the sides of a liberation movement of Northern Mali

Credit Angers city
A Malian, former Angers inhabitant up to January 2012, whom it was believed he joined islamists fighting African and French armies in the Northern Mali, is, in fact the spokesperson in Europe of the liberation national movement of Azawad (Mnla), according to the interview he granted to Le Figaro. The Mnla is an armed and "secularist" Tuareg group which aims to get the independance of Azawad, a region which covers the Northern part of Mali. Moussa Ag Assarid, who had settled in Angers as writer and storyteller, vanished at the beginning of last year.

Credit Wikipedia
His sudden departure caused a huge emotion in the Malian community of Angers which  believed he was in fact an Islamist. And it is possible that Mr Ag Assarid is still in France, but not in Angers. The surprise and the disppointment of the Malian community of that city was due to the fact that the Mnla was at the origin of the uprising of 2012 in the Northern Mali. But its members were, later, toppled by jihadists coming from abroad, but also from the Tuareg population. Moreover, Azawad has its own islamist movement.

If Mr Ag Assarid is not critical about the French army intervention in Mali which was threatened by an islamist coup d'Etat, he nervertheless condemned the fact France brought back in Norhern Mali the Malian army he accuses of exactions. In Mali, recent reports notice a resentment between Black and Tuaregs Malians.

29 January, 2013

The university enters in permanent expenses while some allocations are no renewable

The Angers University has just got a deferment thanks to Angers Loire Métropole which granted a "one-time" allocation. After a new round of talks between its president, Jean-Paul Saint-André, and the Higher education and research ministry, the 2013 budget of the university will be less in the red than foreseen. A month ago, the deficit was estimated at € 4 millions. But after new allocations from the ministry (a supplement of € 350 000), from others departments of the state (€ 500 000) and also from Angers Loire Métropole (€ 200 000) on one side, and savings of the Angers university on the other side, the deficit will be lowered at € 1,5 million.

Credit Picture Angers University
But Mr Saint-André looks incurable. After he stated that the staff expenses counted for more than 80% of the budget of the university, the president has announced the appointment of 67 persons in 2013 and 24 others in 2014! But these will undoubtedly make the expenses more difficult to reduce if ever the allocations from the state, or others partners, were do disminish. 

But how, Mr can Saint-André recognize that some buildings of the humanities college need desperately works (while students are working in unendurable conditions) and, at the same time recruit new employees ? Angers Loire Métropole said its help exceptional, i.e. no renewable. So Mr Saint-André should consider that he can't finance supplementary expenses with a grant which can never come back.

28 January, 2013

Wastes sorting : Angers Loire Métropole takes positions...

It is not sure all Angers students will like the advertising campaign of Angers Loire Métropole about the Kamasutri. The Kamasutri is a sum-up of gestures and movements students must adopt about the selective sorting of wastes.

It's true that there is nothing less sexy than sorting the wastes. "Many students do not stay in Angers more than a few months" and don't care about the cleanliness of the city, explains Gilles Mahé, deputy-president of Alm in charge of environment. He hopes through the distribution of a leaflet on "the pleasures of sorting without complexes", Alm will touch the target. 

Here the territorial authority has been less ambitious than the 64 positions of the original Kamasutra... not very appropriate to deal with the problem. Alm will teach the students boys how not to be troubled by wastes just a little bit and explains to the student girls simple positions to adopt in front of a bin.

27 January, 2013

The Malian community of Angers and city representatives side by side in the Mali crisis

Credit Pictures : facebook angersbamako
The Malian community of Angers pointed out on January 26th its frontal opposition to the Angers committee of the Mouvement pour la paix which, a few days ago, critized the involvement of France in the war against the terrorism of islamists in Mali. Malians living in Angers accompanied by the mayor of Angers, Frédéric Béatse, and the president of the Conseil général, Christophe Béchu, demonstrated side by side in Angers streets to support Malian population, victim of a conflict between its armed forces and islamist terrorists.

"The Malian community living in Angers launches an appeal for peace, for national integrity of [the country], secularism, tolerance, unity, security and democratic stability", said Lanse Coulibaly, president of the Malian community of Angers. A company of the 6th engineering regiment located in Angers has recently been sent to Mali to bring technical support to other French armed forces involved in the fight againts the islamists.

Another Malian association of Angers, Devoir de génération, pointed out that it was the the Malian people itself which asked the intervention of France "against terrorists". From the references to Malian unity of the two movements, it's cleart that those do not support the idea of independance claimed by a Malian  writer settled in Angers, Moussa Ag Assarid, whom it was said that he may have joined armed rebels forces in Mali a few months ago. Angers city brought aid to the capital of Mali, Bamako, a city the town of Anjou is twinned with.

26 January, 2013

The Angevins are able to be counted during the discount days

A quick walk in the Angers streets on Saturday 26th gives to the pedestrians the city has not yet completely recovered after the end of year 2012 holidays and no working days. In spite of the sunny weather that made disappear the nightly snowfall, and the absence of closing order to the weekly open air market, purchasers were not so numerous on the main ways of the city. The mobile store retailers themselves were not as numerous as previously : many locations usually occupied by various stalls were free.

In the downtown streets, the mood was not busy. Of course, couples were there to take benefit of the discount days : shoes and clothes were the most frequent items purchased that morning. But a glance in the stores, small and big, allows to notice that the sales have not been (yet?) very intense. Many items of good qualities at discounted prices (-30 or 40%) have not yet met their owner. The sales employees are not overloaded by shoppers.

As many French, Angers inhabitants looks cautious, even worried, about the evolution of their purchasing power, recently decreased by the first third of income tax. National medias have just reported bad trend of the unemployement rate whose increase was almost 12% in 2012 while the rate is at 9,7% was now very close to the French one (9,9%). This could explain that.

25 January, 2013

The Angers court will "now" seize the dealers' money

The magistrates of the Angers correctional court warned the offenders convinced of drug trafic. "From now", indicated the deputy public prosecutor, they will take money in the wallet of culprits. A 28 years old Angers inhabitant who sold drug has been sentenced to two years in jail with even for one of those two years a deferment. But the court that time ordered the "savings" he had in his parents' home and on a life insurance (both equal to 8 300 €) be taken. 

That is fair because the man sold drug for money, with of course, a little margin. To take the profit of this deadly trade is appropriate because these persons didn't had the least interest for the health or the lives of their customers nor the fate of their families. Because of the drugs they sold them, some consumers, mostly youngs, have became mentally or/and physically ill. Others are even dead. And their families endure a ordeal for life. A sentence they didn't deserve. But the dealers don't care.  

What is the most surprising in that case is the fact the magistrates only will start now to implement such sentences. Why they haven't done it before? That should have been done for long! The money, the sport cars, the luxury clothes and so, all should have been taken off for long. And that will not refund their victims or the families" victims. "Ill got, ill spent".

24 January, 2013

The "Long walk" of China in Angers

Angers already had, for years, numerous chinese restaurants. Since 2000, the city hosts more and more chinese students mainly trough the Centre international d'études françaises of the Université catholique de l'Ouest. And, since 2009, a Confucius institute settled in Angers in order to make the town more familiar with the chinese language and culture. On February 2nd, the Chinese New Year event will parade in down town.
A giant snake made of plastic bottles will animate stretts of down town and especially on Ralliement square on Saturday. The place will display several animations on the Chinese historic myths and environmental stakes (event if China is not the most worried country by ecological issues).

The Angers inhabitants are already used to meet Chinese students who, in the city, are great users of the free bike service, a transport mean still very common in that country. But in Angers, the Chinese community seems to be a world apart which doesn't mix with other categories of inhabitants. But not a single problem has ever been reported. As if a mental "great wall"  had been erected between them and other people.

23 January, 2013

Angers companies are not always "maids in Angers"

"Made in Angers" is back. From February 18th to March 15th, the thirteenth edition of the event tries to reinvent itself through a focus on the jobs which raise work to art forms and another one about innovation. Innovation, incidentally, would be appropriate to give a new look to the event. That one gives more and more the feeling that Angers is indulging in navel-gazing. Would it be possible to open the scheme to somebody else than Angers inhabitants?

The mood of Angevins towards companies doesn't appear to have change funda-mentaly over the years. Even the authorities consider the entre-preneurs only through what these can offer : jobs, well before growth. And in Angers Loire Métropole, the website introduces the event through the phrase "100 boîtes" to visit, what looks a little bit nasty... ("boîte" has no equivalent in English). The job dating which is planned at the end of the event is praiseworthy, but is it efficient? And the president of Angers Loire Métropole in the leaflet detailing Made in Angers aknowledges that Made in Angers is the opportunity for companies to enforce their links with the territory. And what about the opposite?

Other perspective would be possible. The first one would be to give a wider fame to the event by inviting neighbours of other western cities to come. And why not from Paris, with tours around Angers? A second way could consist in turning Made in Angers towards professionnal circles : investors, managers from France or abroad. It's not good to walk round and round. Made in Angers could become mad. Some managers would probably think that their companies are sometimes considered as important, because most of the year, they are considered, through fiscal pressure, as "maids in Angers".

22 January, 2013

The 2014 municipal polls, first serial of the new Angers télé

Olivier Hamon, manager Angers télé (Credit Angers city)
Is it a coincidence? Just two days after the end of the 25th European first films festival, Angers télé will say "action". And the city will be able to look itself on the cathodic mirror. The absence of a local channel could not go on, writes Angers town hall on its website, pointing out the gap of the state channel : "Angers was never provided with a local editorial board of France 3"...

But on February 29th, serious things are starting. If Angers tele starts, rightly, at low scale, the first time schedule is not very convincing : sports on Monday, economy on Tuesday, associations on Wednesday, soccer on Thursday (what are sports on Monday?) and culture on Friday. On Saturday and Monday, news are in weekend... It sounds like fish and ships on Sunday, roasted pork on Monday... Twice a month, Angers télé will dedicate a programm to one of the districts of the city : they are twelve. What it will cover after?

Hopefully, the starting will concide with the municipal campaign of 2014 and that is a good serial. The debate between left and right and inside left and right should ensure long hours of programs. Those circumstances will also allow the viewers to check the independance of the editorial line. The first shots will be a festival. Good luck!

21 January, 2013

Snowballs fight in Angers town council over the Saturday open air market

The cancellation of the open air market of Saturday triggered critics of the minority Angers representatives and beyond that municipal circle. After the mobile stores owners expressed their sorrow for that measure and the financial loss it involves, the opposition town councillors choose a more sarcastic mood. "Do we have to give a barometer to Frédéric Béatse, the only mayor of the Maine-et-Loire who didn't forecast the snowfalls of last year, nor the mild spell of Saturday. Last year, he sinned by carelessness. That year, because of an excess of zeal", they wrote in a press release. 

But the most intriguing statement was those of Christophe Béchu, which can't be explained other than he will be candidate to the next municipal polls (2014). According to the president of the Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire, the Angers mayor's decision was "sudden" and let foresee that "he didn't estimated all the consequences for the mobile store owners".

The deputy mayor, Jacques Motteau, is also blamed by the storekeepers who said they were not warned of the Angers town hall decision. The weather conditions will be carefully examined both by the minority and majority sides of Angers council next Saturday, and maybe next year. With such a weather, the chances of snow is uncertain, but the snowballs fights are sure!

20 January, 2013

European first films festival : Angers supporters behind the screen

Angers city has got an award for hosting the European first films festival for 25 years. That award, a little specific, was granted to the city by Claude-Eric Poiroux, managing director of the even, by a tribute. "If the festival broke through, it is because a cinematographic culture has rooted here. That, thanks to a work along the year with the Premiers plans team", he said on the Angers city website. "The festival has developed actions qwith about sixty local parters, associations, authorities, schools...". 

Who are they? Regarding the public authorities, the festival got the support of Angers city and the Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire (their union is not very frequent...). More than 30 local companies from very different horizons help the event to go on : finance (Crédit Mutuel d'Anjou, Harmonie Anjou), public buildings and works sector (Coignard, Comec, Maleinge), communication (Andégave communication), associations (Adrama-Chabada, Mécène et Loire, Cci de Maine-et-Loire), industry (Eolane, Scania), stores (Abg, La Sadel), wines (Bouvet) as well as brands of the culture sector : cinemas (Gaumont Angers, Le Quai, Les 400 Coups), tourism (Angers parc Expo Congrès) and Angers university.

But British organizations granted their support like the Bristish Council which promotes cultural relations with Uk and the Institut français in London which encourages cross-cultural exchange and presents the best of French culture.

19 January, 2013

The adjournment of Angers open air market has not been sold to mobile store owners

The decision of Angers townhall to prohibit the opening of the Saturday open air market fueled lack of understanding among mobile store owners. While the major part of the Leclerc square, usually dedicated to that weekly activity, was, on January 18th, empty of stalls... and cars, a few mobile store owners selling fruits and vegetables nervertheless decided to confront the cold. A few dozens of meters further down, fishshops and others food mobile stores were working as usual.

That scene reminds another issue largely discussed by the Angers retail and large trade owners : the prohibition to open on Sundays, even the Sundays before the end of year holidays. That decision of Angers Loire Métropole authority was widely criticized because that period of Christmas and End of year day is usually very profitable for their sales.

The weather conditions are the obvious reasons which made the Angers city to decide the closing that Saturday of the the open air market. But, were the temperature and wind in Angers so hard to justify the stop of trade activity? Are not the mobile store owners the best entitled to decide what is best for their job?

Pasteur crime scene stays with the knock of the fright

Eight days ago, Nicole Châtelain had her throat cut by a man she helped a few years before through the caritative community she managed in Angers. Since that ugly day, the blood of the woman has been swept. The glasses of the entrance door of her building smashed by bullets and hammer knocks has been replaced. And the few humble bouquets of flowers put by neighbours on the steps have been removed.

All the marks of the horrible, and beyond understanding, death of that peaceful woman who, a week ago came back home from her market, have vanished. Probably the rememberance of the woman, few by few, will disappear except for her former neighbours. Their goings and comings by the entrance of their common building will always meet the shadow of the victim. In the Angers community Promojeunes, where she dedicated her time, probably the souvenir of her actions will be kept as a model to follow. While people walking along the scene crime may think : "Is that so sure?".

But what this "news item" will suggest to Angers city responsable in charge of the hosting of displaced populations? Is it possible to welcome people unprepared for such a change of universe without giving them the intellectual tools to melt in Angers and among its inhabitants? Are they sure they can behave as if they were God?

18 January, 2013

Angers inhabitants civic mindedness frosted

The snow which felt over Angers city in the early morning of January 17th had nothing to see with the snowfalls of February 2012. But, its predictable arrival was an opportunity for Angers city to deal with the difficulties triggered by such meteorological conditions for inhabitants, drivers and mainly pedestrians. If, generally, the situation today has improved in comparison with those of 2012 for trafic, the state of Angers pavements were far from safe for people.

In a city which is looking to promote walking instead of driving the first advice to inhabitants or store owners had neverthless sense of timing. "Angers city recalls that everybody is due to clear the snow from the pavement along one's home or store", indicated the city website. But apparently, the warning has been far from recorded.

That time Angers townhall took care of detailing on its internet page all the measures of caution it implemented regarding trafic, cancellation of events or clorure of public places. But the worst is maybe to come : the night from Friday to Saturday will be icy. So trafic will be hazardous till Sunday. Townhall which ordered a few days ago to close the ski-trail should order to reopen it.

17 January, 2013

Letter from the editor

Dear Mr. Lewis,
Thank you for your kind messages. How do I do? I don't know but I would like to do more and better.
Best regards.

Avalanche of bad news on Angers students

If snowfalls are predicted on Thursday to Friday night, it's an avalanche of bad news which stormed over Angers students on January 17th. They had been informed that the dean, Jean-Paul Saint-André, didn't got a single euro more for the management of his university current fiscal year, that one being already considered by hom as "under provided" in allocations by the ministry of higher education and research. The second news came from Angers city itself who announced (what was predicted on December 19th by Angers Daily News) that the Saint-Serge parking lot, where students of the law university park their cars, will be from now charged (while it was free).

The origins of such a decision could come from the wish of Angers city to deter inhabitants to use their cars and lead them to choose the tramway, their bikes or their feet... According to town hall, facilities to park the cars are too much important in Angers compared to other cities. So the "incentive" consists in the reduction of those facilities. The second element would be the need of Angers to get more resources. A few months ago, fares of other car parks of down town had been dramatically increased what infuriated retail store owners.

That policy doesn't fit with the attempt to bring back in down town student population which is an important leverage of consumption nor the claim to revitalize the core of the city. The money they will pour in new ticket machines will not go elswhere.  If the policy is to oust cars from town, a simple prohibition would have been more effective.

16 January, 2013

The Angers universtiy didn't got additionnal money for the current year

The president of Angers university, Jean-Paul Saint-André didn't got, from the French ministry of higher education and research, the additionnal allocation he asked during an appointment on January 16th. The Angers university said Mr. Saint-André was "very resentful" when he left the ministry without a single euro more. That will not allow to the Angers University to recruit new teachers or employees in 2013, a situation Mr Saint-André considers it is "unacceptable". But given the explanations detailed on January 8th during a public conference, it is difficult to opt for another way.
During that conference, the president recalled the origins of the "critical situation" of Angers University. While 80% of the expenses of the university were already related to wages, between 2009 and 2011, the board give tenure to 100 persons, depriving itself of all possibilities of a regress in case of financial difficulties. "That reccruitment of an important number of persons had a direct impact on the payroll", said Mr Saint-André. That one recognized that the 2012 budget was moreover built on "unrealistic hypothesis" : under valuation of expenses and over valuation of receipts which triggered a savings plan last year which reduced the deficit.

Credit pictures Angers university
But apparently, the university shoud have considered cautiously a ministry hypothesis. After a meeting with the French minister on December 14th, who told to Mr Saint-André that the 2013 allocation would be "between 1,5 and 3% above that of 2012", the university considered it will be 3%. Moreover, the Angers university board refused the "freeze" of recruitments. A new information conference is planned for January 28th.

15 January, 2013

The financial problems of Angers university didn't rallied Angers students

About 1 000 students were in the streets of Angers on January 15th demonstrating against the insufficient allocation their university has received from the French ministry of higher education and research. One thousand persons is not a very important figure compared to the importance of the situation and compared to the number of students of Angers university, more than 20 000... Moreover, there were not only students who demonstrated in down town, but also teachers and trade unions representatives of the campus.

That proportion could have many meanings. January is generally a period dedicated by students to work on mid-year exams. So some of them were not available that day. But some demonstrators could have the same constraint. More generally, that week involvement may indicate a focusing on one's inner self in spite of an accumulation of short and long term difficulties for young people today : work, housing, money...

The Angers mayor, Frédéric Béatse, and the university president, Jean-Paul Saint-André, were in the cortege; That last havd an appointment the same evening at Paris to get supplementary resources (€ 4 millions are needed to balance the 2013 budget). According to M. Saint-André who considers Angers is one the most poorest universities of France, the financial situation is "critical".

14 January, 2013

Angers university : the state allocations didn't increased as quick as the number of students

January 12th will be an important day for the Angers university. Its president, Jean-Paul Saint-André, will be received at the ministry of higher education and research in order to get some supplementary credits. "The Angers university faces a critical situation. That doesn't come from a bad management but to a transfer on universities resources of expenses they don't master", mentions the Angers university on the front page of its website which, moreover, displays a video about its finances.

That was not the case a few weeks ago while the financial deterioration was already official. The Angers university would be unable to balance expenses and receipts for the third successive year. "€ 4 millions are lacking", indicates the website "and the allocation granted by the ministry doesn't allow to Angers university to run normally". The situation worries not only teachers but also students : more than 1 100 of them have launched an appeal to demonstrate in Angers streets the same January 12th. Classes and exams will be interrupted a part of that day

That situation led the board of the university to refuse to pass a 2013 budget in the loss. In 10 years the number of students rose from 15 500 in 2001 to 20 200 in 2011, an increase of 30%. On the last fiscal year, the number increased by 9% against 1,5% ten years ago. According to figures disclosed by local medias, the number of foreign students has tripled between 1988 and 2008 to about 2 300 persons, about 11% of the total of Angers students.

13 January, 2013

Angers economic policy should not only give way to "facilities"

News analysis. - The two main representatives in charge of Angers and its surroundings, Frédéric Béatse, Angers mayor, and Jean-Claude Antonini, president of Angers Loire Métropole, have openly expressed on Janueary 8th that the present year would be "complicated" because of the continuation of the economic crisis. The most evident result of that situation is the increase of the unemployment rate in Alm, which, soon, will be equal to the France rate : about 10%.

It is maybe under that aspect that their greetings pledges could felt short of the Angevins' expectations. Of course, large part of what they said was related to the improvement of the inhabitants daily way of life : a new tv channel, the re-development of the Maine banks, a new swimming pool, a second tramway line but also new accommodations for young and low income households who want to live in the city, because of the increase of the energy costs. But is that dimension of people, as beneficiaries of facilities, the only one to be considered?

People have another dimension. They are, and want to be, for themselves and for the society, economical agents. And the first way to get such a status is the work. In that sense, the aim of such territorial authorities would be to gather within their territory the best conditions for companies to create value, to be profitable and, maybe, to recruit. The fiscal pressure is part of the problem. That was not clearly disclosed a week ago by the two representatives. These projects regarding territory private companies' competitiveness are not the most visible but they are not the less necessary.

A horrible news item may raise questions on mutual abilities of Angers and displaced individuals to match

The horrible murder occured on Saturday around 11 am in front of a building located Pasteur avenue in Angers suspects a 29 years old Sudanese, until now unknown from the police department. The man is suspected to have cut a 60 years woman's throat on the outside steps of the building where the victim lived. According to some witnesses, "the man looked mad and threatened the other pedestrians with a knife" before the arrival of the police forces. When these were on the scene, the man attempted to grasp a semi-automatic gun just before he was wounded by a shot of the police.

The Angers mayor, Frédéric Béatse, was on the scene crime and, "horrified and affected by this news item" expressed "his compassion and solidarity to the victim's family". He ordered that a psychological assistance be given to witnesses of the murder and neighbours of the victim themselves upset (some of these saw the victim "laying on the ground in a pool of blood").

Such a disaster - if the suspect is convicted - may raise questions within Angers population and its representatives about the ability of the city to host people without giving them the sufficient assistance to adapt to a new way of life and without monitoring they have the abilities to do so : knowledge of the society they are in, professionnal qualifications and, above all, the wish to integrate themselves to their new environment. Most of them have been "landed" in Angers by people smugglers only interested by money. A fact Angers city should not be ignorant.

12 January, 2013

The twinning Angers-Bamako could be the hostage of the Malian conflict

The conflict between Mali's armed forces to islamist rebels could stop the projects developped in the twinning of Angers and Bamako. Next week in Angers, a meeting was planned to register candidacies for a staying in the Malian capital in 2014. The object is an exchange of youngs of Angers and Bamako in 2013 and 2014. the Angevins are due to go there in 2014. 

The twining between the two cities was launched in 1974. In 1985, Angers decided to dedicate 0,5% of its resources to cooperation and a house for the partnership house was opened in Bamako in 1997. The main fields of Angers cooperation are related to culture, health, water and waste treatment throughout non profitable organizations.

Given the security problems for Western citizens and among them French people, the imple-mentation of the project could be postponed if the Malian conflict was due to go on. But it could also re-direct in in unforeseen fields like the assistance of Angers to possible Bamakians victims of the conflict. 

The situation of the country will surely have echo in Angers who hosts a Malian community. That one was badly surprised laearning that a Malian writer, Moussa Ag Assarid, may have joined rebels forces in the Northern Mali suspected to have links with islamists warriors.

11 January, 2013

2014 : the invisible adversary of the Angers left majority

Reading the statistics of the Angers bankrupcy court, the city mayor, Frédéric Béatse, as well as its left contender, Jean-Luc Rotureau, may discover the name, or rather, the nature of their most fierce opponent to the municipal polls of 2014 : the economic crisis. According to Hervé Tréhard, the president of the bankrupcy court, the "balance sheet" of 2012 is quite worrying. 

More and more big companies face difficulties and the number of employees hit by the trouble of their employers, increased from 1 886 in 2011 to 3 292 last year, a sky-rocketing trend of 75%. These figures do not come from Angers only but have an echo with the economic situation of the city. Nation wide, the figures are not very different and the Angers city council as well as Angers Loire Métropole will be challenged by the loss of confidence of voters for their future

Between October 2011 and October 2012, the number of persons without job went over the 15 000, i.e. about 15% in Angers Loire Métropole territory. And few by few the local unemployment rate comes close to the national one. Probably Mr Béatse is aware of that, pointing out during his greetings pledge that he will monitor the usefulness of every euro spent or invested. But that will not eliminate the temptation of Angers (and France) voters to sanction the representatives in office at local level.

09 January, 2013

Angers "tuned" to English

"Angers and Angers Loire Métropole are proud of their talents" said the little text stuck on a dvd distributed at the end ot the 2013 greetings ceremony which took place last Monday. That gift illustrated one of the issues developped during his pledge by Frédéric Béatse, Angers mayor, about the ability of the city to face the "complicated year" which has just started now. 

If in the artistic field, the city hosts a lot of skilled persons, it must be noted that all of these are deeply steeped in English culture. Angers didn't missed the point. The opuscule inserted in the dvd includes a little text in English signed by Angers city and Angers Loire Métropole about the contents of the gift : "tracks of the currently most popular bands in Angers. They have a point in common, a deep commitment and sense of belonging to our territory of Angers". All the bands have also many connections with English universe, according the little texts introducing each of them. 

In spite of their names and the titles of their songs, they are Angers made : The Dancers (A french trio who settled in Brighton), The Lemon Queen, Humanist, My Sweet October (with its hit "6 feet under"), Djak ("On the radio" or "Dust in the Brainstorm"), Daria ("For it, the English language is never an excuse for say nothing", writes the leaflet) and Pony Pony Run Run ("Hey you"). Throught this best of, Angers looks eager to contradict its fame of mildness and indolence. "Angers is not just a sweet music", concludes the leaflet above the signature... Angers Loire Valley. 

The only "false note" Angers and Angers Loire Métropole did with their gift was a grammatical mistake (in French) in the little introduction joined to the dvd. It was written "La Ville d'Angers et son agglomération sont fiers de leurs talents!". Was not the adjective "fières" more appropriate? Probably that is due to the fact the two authorities are already very englicized!

08 January, 2013

Frédéric Béatse's fighting greetings

It sounded like a warning towards all who wish to become Angers mayor, in his own political family or in the opposition one : "To be Angers mayor gives you a sum of energy you can't imagine", said Frédéric Beatse who, for the first time of his mandate, wished a happy new year to the Angers inhabitants gathered in the Lurçat tapestries museum. The register was voluntary that Monday. While Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport opponents displayed panels claiming "NDDL airport = climatic crime", Mr Beatse didn't surrender, continuing his pledge under applauses. And pointing out his will to overcome the predictable, and predicted, difficulties of 2013, he said "That year will not be the year as it is announced, it will be the year as we shall do it".

Throughout his pledge, Frédéric Beatse made numerous announ-cements regarding the launching of projects as the Maine new banks, a festival, in 2014, about new musics, the opening of La Cité, a building dedicated to all the associations of Angers, the new swimming pool, a new centre of congresses and political initiatives like a conference on employment with local businessmen or another about the night disturbances. But, aware of the difficult period the city faces, Mr. Béastse repeated that "not a single euro will be spent or invested without a concern for the economy and the employment and everything will be done to maintain the city debt as low as possible".

Preceded by Jean-Claude Antonini, the former Angers mayor and now president of Angers Loire Métropole authority, Mr.Béatse pledge was rather direct, and even sometimes agressive when, after he recalled one of Mr Antonini favorite words, "To be mayor is always close to get a slap", he recognized that "[he] was sometimes in the mood to give some". 

07 January, 2013

Commercial projects : the Chamber of commerce wants a break

An informed observer had expressed in Le Courrier de l'Ouest a soft warning to Angers city representatives regarding the situation of the trade sector, from the retail trade to the commercial park. The usefullness of a "break", advised by Eric Groud, president of the Maine-et-Loire Industry and Commerce Chamber, is justified because of the change in local consumer behaviour. The first factor comes from internet. "People buy more and more by internet. So the superstores are less visited", notices Mr Groud who predicts that several drive stores are in project in Angers surroundings. The second change comes partly from that increasing use of internet what makes people are less tempted. 

For the president of the Chamber, "the arrival of Atoll makes necessary to do an inventory" while the commercial park has not, up to now, realized the predicted turnover and triggered commercial fields in Grand Maine and Espace Anjou. Regarding the future cultural complex planned at the south of Angers, Mr. Groud looks dumbfounded. In many aspects, what Eric Groud is saying is similar to what Angers real-estate professionnals are claiming : the pace has been a little fast during the last year and now the demand is slowing down. 

And the obsever suggests it should be wiser to modernize Angers down town in the housing and offices fields rather than to export people and activities outside the city limits. But Mr Groud doesn't say all must be stopped. The ideas of technological campus in the Les Hauts de Saint-Aubin district as well as the new local tv channel and the purchase of the industrial tools of Technicolor are good news and symbolize the will of the city to go ahead.

06 January, 2013

Verneau, destination nowhere

A greyish and foggy Sunday will be the last day of the existence of the Verneau district, such as the Angevins knew it since the fifties' when is was necessary to rebuilt new facilities to house inhabitants whose homes were destroyed during the bombardments of the second world war. About 400 flats  in eight old buidlings of three floors each where were sheltered thousands of Angers families, then others coming from abroad when economic growth made necessary to import workforce, will disappear on Monday.

 Nobody, except maybe old people to whom that environment merge with their youth, will miss those buildings which were, year after year, attacked by the pauperization of their inhabitants and became themselves the visible symbol of the empoverishment of the district. Devised at a time of abundant and cheap energy, these buildings were, along the years, more costly to maintain. For their owner, the social housing authority Angers Loire Habitat, it was more approriate to tear them down.

The Verneau district will even be erased. Angers city council want it to be merged with the new and neighbouring Les Hauts de Saint-Aubin district and served by the new tramway. Similar schemes were implemented in other districts of Angers like La Roseraie, Grand Pigeon, Belle-Beille and, recently, Monplaisir. Verneau will be soon nothing more than a souvenir.