30 November, 2013

A week of English language movies at the Les 400 Coups from December 4th

The Les 400 Coups cinema in partnership with the English Language Library in Angers schedules a week of English language movies from December 4th to 10th. Ten movies, most of them American, and three evenings are on the programme. These last events consist in screenings of movies all of them introduced by a critic.

The last one will be dedicated to the famous "Of mice and men", English Language Library in Angers which has just celebrated in 2013 its 20th anniversary. The other movies (Mud, Moonrise Kingdom, Atonement, Matilda, Hunger Games, Princess Bride and An Education) are screened at 1.45 and 6.00 pm while the evenings start at 6.00 or 8.15 pm.
rolled in 1992, from the masterwork written by John Steinbeck, and played by John Malkovitch, Gary Sinise and Alexis Arquette. The movie and the book will be analysed by a cinema critic and the manager of the

That theater is the last in down town Angers since the closing, a few weeks ago of Les Variétés on Foch boulevard. The Les 400 Coups displays movies in original version having a social and aesthétic interest. That's why the Angers public may see there movies which are not largely distributed. Regularly, the theatre offers an European programming. Others weeks of movies in German, Spanish and Italian are already planned on 2014.

Two Angers companies rewarded at national level

Two little Angers companies have recently been awarded at national level by economic observers for their successes. Novea Energie and Mca Finance, both of them located in Angers, are in completely different sectors but have in common their involment in very specific fields. 

Credit Picture : Mca Finance
Mca Finance, founded in 1987 by Patrick Creuzé, still in charge, is a portfolio management company. The Agefi, an electronic daily news website gave it its grand prix in assets mana-gement through the Mca's funds Mca Gestoblig. That fund has got the best performances on the 3 last years and been ranked with the highest grade by Europerformance, a rating agency. On one year, the funds recorded 4,49% in profitability. Mca Finance's offices are in Paul Bert street.

Credit Picture : Novea Energies
Novea Energies, founded in 2007, manu-factures - in Angers - self-sufficient ligh-ting systems. It has been , awarded by Deloitte In Extenso, an accountancy and management services company, for its growth during the last five years : 401%. The Novea's customers are local authorities and companies looking for lighting devices fit-ted to off-grid areas which wish to focus on renewable solutions and energy savings.

These two rewards should stimulate the will of candidates to An-gers municipal elections to give to local companies the most favou-rable environment for their growth and jobs creation. After all, every major company has been small one day.

29 November, 2013

The Eire lands in Angers

Will the Roë street find again its hustle and bustle it had lost the last years? May be. And thanks to the opening, on November 30th, of a "Comptoir Irlandais". That establishment is part of a national chain born 26 years ago in Brest, the most Western town of France, located in a region, Brittany, close to Irland through its traditions and climate. The Comptoir Irlandais includes 42 stores and the Angers one is the latest.

Each of them offers an invitation to travel, through food and beverages as well as clothes, in Ireland. The most well-stocked section of the stores displays beverages : beers (the famous O'Hara's and the mythic Guiness) and whiskies. These are the core of Le Comptoir Irlandais : Irish single mats like The Conemara, pure pot still whiskeys, like Jameson or blended Irish whiskeys like Bushmills, all of them brands loved by Angers connoisseurs. But many others products kids and adults know are also there : biscuits, teas (with scones hmm!), marmalades or typical sauces. A lot of others items are available in the stores : wool pullovers, cardigans, plaids and of course rugby kits!

The Comptoir Irlandais has not yet completed its interior installation and the store fronts are not yet set up. Located at the cross-roads of Roë and Saint-Laud streets, that new shop, which already attracted the Angers consumers on its inaugural day, is close of an Irish tea room  in  L'Espine street, "My Favourite Place". Shamrock grow in downton. That's why that part of the city is turning green.

28 November, 2013

Art-club at the museum

On November 28th from 7.00 pm, the main hall of the Angers museum of fine arts had an atmos-phere of night club, with hostes-ses, drinks, music, blue and red psychelelic lights on the ceilings of that place which usually impress because of their height and force silence people who come there to pay tribute to the heroes of arts. But one of the Angers temple of arts reversed the deal, making the visitors the heroes of the evening. "Yes, we can be heroes" answered the students who were invited by the museum to fit it to their wishes. So the place was entirely revisited by them.

The event year after year gains in success. "Last year we recorded 1 000 students", remembers Amélie Fabien, assignment manager at Angers museums who hopes "the 2013 attendance will go over that threshold". The topic of the heroes was choosen because it's in the air and because it allows interpretations from students who were invited to submit projects of animation. "Twenty were introduced and 15 have been implemented", says Mrs. Fabien. The event is not only nice for students, it is also useful for the museum : "It allows us to see new approaches and to test ideas we couldn't try on the Heritage Day", points out Amélie Fabien who reminds that "students may easily discover Angers museums because their entrance is free all year long for people under 26".

Radio Campus and even a disc-jockey were there to give to the event the lively atmosphere students apparently love.

Alain Ducasse opens a new hotel in Foch boulevard on December.

The chain Chateaux et Hotels Collection has announced on its website the opening of a new establishment in Angers from the next month. Located on 21 Foch boulevard in a former mansion built in the XIXth century which had sheltered an Angers management holdings company, the hotel includes 14 rooms which have been arranged by a local set-designer and are available for booking since last October. The place is opened 24 hours a day and is fitted with lift, cable television, strong-box, room service, wifi, internet terminal and high-flow in rooms.

For a long time abandoned, the mansion came back to life with the arrival of a restaurant VF (Version Française) managed by Pascal Favre d'Anne more than two years ago which largely revisited the way food is fastly cooked and eaten. The chef, a Marc Veyrat's pupil, will also be entrusted with the lunches the "21, Foch" will daily serve. The hotel is clearly directed at customers looking for "diversity and authenticity".

Credit : Chateaux et Hôtels Collection
The brand Chateaux et Hotels Collection was founded in 1975 and wants to be a referent of "charming hotels and gourmet restaurants". The chain, managed by Alain Ducasse since 1999, "brings together 700 establishments in 16 countries, the majority based in France and Italy". The choice of the location has nothing to do with chance : "Chateaux et Hotel Collection 'hunts out' rare pearls, eclectic locations inhabited and steeped in history where cuisine and the 'crafters of enjoyment' who bring the place to life play an essential role".

The arrival will surely give confidence to store owners, customers and local representatives who were disappointed after the closure of the Gaumont Variétés a few weeks ago. The"21, Foch" will also help to liven up the boulevard. And, of course, in the establishment, English will be spoken.

The electoral campaign between main candidates livens up through their supporters

The debate between two of the candidates to the 2014 Angers municipal elections still livens up. One of the closest supporters of Christophe Béchu, the Avrillé mayor, Marc Laffineur, criticized yesterday Angers Loire Métropole, the authority gathering more than 30 towns and villages around Angers and presided by Jean-Claude Antonini, about its partisan nature. A few days ago, Anthony Taillefait, one of the supporters of Christophe Béatse, current mayor, had  blamed Christophe Béchu, president of  the Maine-et-Loire general council for his financial management of the structure.

The Biopole, a facility for the up-grading of households' wastes, focuses the critics of Mr. Laffineur. According to that one, the structure which cost € 65 millions, doesn't run appropriately. "One made us believe that it was the best technic for the processing of wastes. All the experiences in France ended in a failure", comments Mr. Laffineur who suspect the former Angers mayor to have set up that facility "in order to get the support of ecologists [today Frédéric Béatse's allies]. This is obviously a partisan behaviour". That led Jean-Claude Antonini to remind that Marc Laffineur, vice-president of Angers Loire Métropole, "has voted in favour of all the decisions of Alm regarding the Biopole facility" adding that Alm is "a target which allows the Avrillé mayor to exist at low costs".

Until now, the candidates to Angers mayor office avoided oppor-tunities for a direct quarrel even if, from times to times, critics agains their adversary appear. But these are more orientated towards the past than the future.

27 November, 2013

Angevins make a strong case for care

The philosopher and budhist monk Matthieu Ricard, who has just published a book about the altruism was in Angers on November 27th for a session of dedications organized by the Richer bookshop but also for a conference which took place the same day at the Université catholique de l'Ouest. If the audience predicts the fate of the book, that one should be a hit because the largest lecture hall of the "Catho" was full as well as its entrances. The crowd had to sit in the hall of the building and its stairs where a giant screen was set up. Auditors, youngs and adults, were apparently eager to listen to the analysis of Matthieu Ricard "Plea for the altruism" while, according to the questions of the audience, nothing indicates that the world is going to a better understanding.

It is nevertheless what said the budhist monk, taking examples of a larger place for altruism nowadays than formerly. According to the author, there are at least three dimensions of our collective existence where altruism and goodwill are more visible. The violence, inside households or between states, is in regular recoil : the number of homicides decreases as well as the number of victims of wars. And, even if the medias grant a larger interest to bad news than good news, the recent climatic catastrophies in Japan or Philipines were the theatre of numerous acts of generosity which were not reported. The progress of democracy, gender equality and education give, according to the philsopher, hope for a pacific and altruist society.

The new technologies are one of the fields where altruism appears. The social networks, even if they are "a window for narcisism", help to go over state authorities especially when those are dictatorships. The economic crisis itself made appear some initiatives rather reassuring. For Mr Ricard, "the maximisation of personal interests" is not the only law which rules economy : ethical funds, crow-fundings and fair trade are the most visible aspects of a "positive economy" motivated by something else than personal interest. The author also pointed out that linguistic globalisation had not only bad virtues given that in France the "care economy", so qualified in French and by French, is trendy.

That interest for altruism and its possible consequences may predict that the message delivered by some of the candidates about "another way of doing politics" may meet a favourable echo in Angers.

26 November, 2013

Rivalvry around the river

The spar between the main candidates to the Angers municipal elections, Frédéric Béatse, current mayor and
his challenger, Christophe Béchu, president of the Maine-et-Loire general council, livens up. The budgetary debate about the resources an expenses of that territorial authority for 2014 gave to a member of Mr. Béatse's list, Anthony Taillefait, former dean of the Angers law school, to criticize Mr. Béchu's management.

A few days before, the news magazine L'Express had published an article about the Maine bank scheme which illustrates the difficulty the city will face to strenghen its assets while the resouces will be stable. For Frédéric Béatse, the project is a major asset of Angers city and is largely endorsed by inhabitants even if its implementation has just began.  According to Christo-phe Béchu, who does not attack head-on the project, that one has some good ideas but its achievement is not realistic in financial, technical and calendar reasons.

The project will be one of the issues of the campaign but it will also mix budgetary arguments for or against its feasability. Beyond those technical arguments, it is clear that the financial management of the territorial authorities, general council or cities, will be one of the topics of the next municipal campaign. The task of the future Angers mayor will be very complicated because of the tensions on the resources and the requirement to give Angers more attractiveness.

25 November, 2013

Angers students : heroes of the museum next Thursday

The Angers museum of fine arts opens its doors to students on November 28th for a special evening which give to that public an opportunity to configure the place according to their wishes. The topic of the event is titled "We can be heroes", a sentence which is now visible on posters arranged all over the city. The evening, free for students, transforms the fine arts musem in a festive place masterworks and historical items are displayed under an original aspect, removed from the traditonal one, by professionals of museography, artists of the street performance and the students themselves.

So the Angers museum invited students coming from all disciplines taught at the university to be the actors of that 9th edition and a Facebook page gives an idea the ways how the masterworks have been revisited. In order to make the event more lively, disguises will be available and students have been invited to wear fancy dresses. The event starts ar 7.00 pm and ends at midnight.

It is already unwaited that an official event, sponsored by public authorities, be titled in english. Given the pride French resent for their language, that's heroic.

The Ardoisières d'Angers closure, a new trauma for the region

A chapter of the economic history of Angers, and probably, of plain history, is closing. One of its most symbolic companies, the Ardoisières d'Angers, is about to close. The mining site, which gave job to thousands and thousands of persons for a thousand years, will close for ever, leaving 160 employees out ot of job. The company, which lost € 12 millions during the last four years and was unsuccessful to discover new slate deposits, had no other choice, said its management. Worrying signals had been visible last summer and predicted the current epilogue. The Angers slate site was maybe the ultimate mining site still alive in France.

The reactions of political represen-tatives reflect that these are aware of the difficulties the emplo-yees will face  soon. But, above all, they look to be conscious about the emotional burden the Angers region will have to support and to overcome. "This is a very important period in the Trélazé men's and women's history but also in the history of all the agglomeration, because the Ardoisières is a specific part of our human and industrial inheritance. This is tragic", said Frédéric Béatse, Angers mayor. His challenger in the municipal elections, Christophe Béchu, spoke of "a considerable fright. These moments are very tough to live. This is a depressing news". For Jean-Claude Antonini, Angers Loire Métropole chairman, "The history of our territory is intimately linked to the slate activity. It shaped our landscapes as well as our minds. This is a day of great sadness for the Angers agglomeration". 

All the public decision-makers pointed out they will be watchful about the duties of the Imerys group, owner of the Ardoisières d'Angers, which will have to be fulfilled. But, beyond the help to employees and Trélazé city where the Ardoisières were located, the ways and resources of an industrial conversion are not clear. And this is probably the most worrying for the future. [Credit pictures : Conseil général, Angers Loire Tourisme, Ardoisières d'Angers]

24 November, 2013

Angers, among the most "business friendly" towns

Several times rewarded regarding its quality of life, Angers has been recently ranked among the ten first business friendly French cities, according to a survey published by L'Entreprise-L'Expansion. The infrastructures, the education and the ecosystem were the main criterias of the ranking and Angers was 9th among the cities having between 200 000 and 500 000 inhabitants. Given the economic atmosphere of the town and its area, rather depressed by the increase of the unemployment rate above the level of the national rate, that news is rather encouraging.

Education is the most important asset of Angers whose rank is number 6, followed by the ecosytem elements (number 9) then the infrastructures (the town is 19th). The details about the third criteria include the time of the travel by train between Angers and Paris. The current developments on the line at Sablé, aimed at shortening the trip (today 90 mn), should improve the ranking of the town.

"More than a satisfaction, that ranking is a support and strenghens the curent dynamic which aims to make of our assets a leverage for the influence of Angers, a city which is becoming more and more important in the national and international landscape", said the Angers mayor, Frédéric Béatse. Caen and Nancy are the only towns, with a smaller population, better classified in the national ranking.

The Valdemaine synagogue fate looks unclear

Located on Valdemaine street, the Angers synagogue looks to be abandoned since a new religious place has been dedicated in April 2013 to the Angers regular goers of the hebrew cult. Former centre of the religious events of that little community, the Valdemaine synagogue hosted a few years ago a tribute with Angers officials and inhabitants to Ivan Halimi, a young French abducted, tortured then murdered because he was Jew. That drama unleashed a considerable emotion all over the country and that day, the synagogue was the theatre of an intense sharing of grief and sorrow.

Years before, the synagogue had to be monitored by the police after other bloody attacks against jewish
restaurant owners took place in Rosiers street in Paris. By fear of a similar assault, the religious place was protected by a larger pavement with iron fences preventing the parking of a vehicle carrying explosives.

The new Angers synagogue has been set up in the La Doutre distric in an historical building, the Saint-Laurent church dedicated formerly to the catholic, then protestant cults. The project was realized with the help of Angers city hall and the Maine-et-Loire general council. At that time, nothing was said about the fate of the Valdemaine synagogue.

23 November, 2013

Laurent Gérault introduces ethic in Angers electoral campaign and restarts his candidacy

credit picture : Servir Angers website
It is not an alliance but at the minimum a similarity of stances. Laurent Gérault, minority town councillor, and Angers delegate of Union des démocrates indépendants, recently abandoned by two of his supporters before the start of his campaign to Angers mayor office, unveiled on November 22nd the first names of his list, but, above all, introduced some of new rules regarding the way the city will be managed once elected. That ethical code looks to be very similar to the way another candidate, Jean-Luc Rotureau, promises to refer regarding the position and the role of future Angers town councillors. Both say they want to bring back together inhabitants with policy.

Six principles constitute the basis of the code of conduct. One consists in the limit of the number of mandates of the mayor and the deputy mayors : two is a maximum what implies that a person reelected one time will be automatically dismissed. Such a measure would give more independance to the mayor and the deputy mayors and will help new generations of Angers representatives to prepare for responsabilities. Another measure will prevent the same to get other political mandates (specifically member of parliament).  It would also become compulsory to live in Angers before entering in the city council. The wages of town councillors will be lowered by 10%.

Laurent Gérault
Every capital expense above € 10 millions will be automatically submitted to the votes of inhabitants. Through that measures, Laurent Gérault weakened by the withdrawal of two possibles running mates, hopes to be back in the tracks and has recently opened a new website Servir Angers. It is not impossible that Angers voters will be attentive to the political behaviours of candidates first, and later by their platforms.

21 November, 2013

The English-Language Library in Angers celebrates its 20 years

The English Language Library in Angers will celebrate "twenty years of library services" with a series of events taking place from November 26th to December 1st. The facility looks to be astonished to be still there after two decades. "How extraordinary it is to think that the library is now celebrating its 20th anniversary and over 2 000 members" the community indicates on its website. The most important achievement of a few volunteers and employees is not the library by itself, even if that one "is holding one of the largest collections of books in English in France" but its attractiveness : "the library is full of people finding books, friendship and cultural exchanges. The library is a vibrant institution", its team proudly notices.

During the next days, a dozen of events have been planned which illustrate the attachment of Angers inhabitants to that little facility founded in 1993 : photo exhibit of the history of the library, electronic slideshow of photos from the past 20 years, videos in which members express why they love their library, a "best tasting cake contest" with twenty candles (who will blow them out?), a signing and presentation of a book written by Philip Séjourné, founding president of the library, titled "L'écrivain du phare Saint-Yves" which is a personal tribute to his experience in several English speaking countries (Nov 29th at 11.am). Opportunely, that will end with a "Semaine de la cinéma en langue anglaise", at the Les 400 Coups.

The English-Language Library is original because its first collections went to Angers from Nantes (generally it's the opposite). When the American Library of Paris withdrew its financial support, the Angers facility choose its current title, in part because its "public came to include more and more English-speaking people, residents of the city or of the department and many of them British origin". The facility is located at 60 Boisnet street and is funded by the Conseil général of Maine-et-Loire, the city of Angers, the Angers university and the Western Catholic University.

20 November, 2013

The Angers unemployment rate, for the first time, above the French one

The news will probably harden the exchanges between candidates to the electoral campaign but, above all, worry the inhabitants who have a job or are looking for a job, the companies which have local consumers and the territorial authorities whose revenues are threatened by the economic crisis. Apparently, that one is far from being over in the Angers region. According to the last survey of the Maison de l'emploi d'Angers, the unemployment figures have severely worsened in the area. For the first time, the unemployment rate exceeded the national rate : while the French rate was 10.5% in the second trimester, the Angers rate was 10.6%.

But that news is maybe not the most worrying. During the twelve months before July 2013, the number of unemployed persons increased in the Angers Loire Métropole area by 10.8%. At that period, more than 16 500 persons were out of job in the Angers territory.

Of course, such a trend should trigger debates and accusations among candidates to the municipal elections and their assistants as the late exchange between Daniel Loiseau (supporter of Frédéric Béatse) and Emmanuel Capus (supporter of Christophe Béchu). The unemployment issue, because it has moreover a national extent, could weigh heavily in the outcome of local elections, even if mayors are far from having the power and the resources to fight the plague of unemployment.

Laurent Gérault's candidacy weakened by the withdrawal of two important supporters

Laurent Gérault
Things are getting much more complicated than predicted for Laurent Gérault, town councillor excluded by the minority side of the city council, who, as delegate of the Union des démocrates indépendants (Udi), is candidate to the Angers municipal elections. Two of his most important supporters, Dominique Richard, former member of parliament and Jeanne Robinson-Behre, first deputy mayor of Avrillé and regional councillor, have decided to withdraw from the list Mr. Gérault is about to constitute. The first had already announced his decision ten days ago, the second has just made up her mind.

Dominique Richard
Both of them have decided to join Christophe Béchu, the Union pour une majorité populaire candidate and main challenger of Frédéric Béatse, Parti socialiste, current Angers mayor. Mr. Béchu's candidacy is of course strengthened by these two stepping-down which could be changed in an official support, Mrs Robinson-Behre being due to meet soon Ump candidate. The centrist family Mr. Gérault is a member had itself been weakened by the different rallyings decided by the Mouvement democrate (Modem) and the Parti radical, both led by Bernard Dupré and Daniel Dimicoli, minority town councillors, in favor of Mr. Béchu while the Udi was in favor of Mr Gérault.

Jeanne Robinson-Behre
Was that evolution foreseen by Jean-Luc Rotureau, leftist main challenger of Mr. Béatse, when, a few days ago, he $ announced he will gather in his list people having good ideas "wherever they come from". The defections of Mrs Robinson-Behre and Mr Richard could made difficult the presence of Mr. Gérault for the second round of municipal elections for lack of getting more than 10% of voters. A refusal to consider Mr. Rotureau's offer will lead him to surrender to Christophe Béchu.

19 November, 2013

Angers mayor and inhabitants will talk about urban environment

Credit pictures : Angers city
The "participatory democracy", an idea implemented for years in Angers, could meet in the days to come a special interest from the candi-dates to the 2014 muni-cipal elections. On November 26th, the 2nd edition of the annual conference about the "community urban management" will gather inhabitants and associations who, throughout the city, worked during the last 12 months about the ways to improve daily life in its different districts. The results of their meetings will give important indications about the wishes of inhabitants and voters. So the Angers mayor, Frédéric Béatse, will be present.

In each of the 10 Angers districts, people and local town councillors, among other participants, studied projects which had to be implemented and their results. The next meeting will especially look into the speed limit (30 km/h) which is compulsory to respect or the urban cleanliness and maybe the safety in town.

If economy and employment are at the top of priorities for inhabitants and candidates, the improvement of the daily life in town is something people care about. Group of inhabitants, and among them retail stores owners, complained about the conditions of streets and pavements, the nocturnal turmoil in streets of down town or the design of the Ralliement square. The New banks of Maine scheme confirmed the interest of people about their environment. That one is surely one of the assets Angers should rely on in order to increase its attractiveness.

18 November, 2013

The main candidates send their aides to fight on the economy field

The recent proposals of Christophe Béchu about the ways to boost the local economy are the field of a
Credit : Angers Développement
quarrel with the current majority of the Angers Loire Métropole (Alm) and Angers city councils. After the Union pour un mouve-ment populaire (Ump) candidate announced his first ideas from his new committee room located in Voltaire streeet last November 14th, Daniel Loiseau, deputy chairman in charge of economy at Alm, claimed that several of those ideas were already implemented and that nothing was new. Emmanuel Capus, minority town councillor, answered in his turn to Mr. Loiseau who "did with the autosuggestion method an official speech which must not mislead anyone".

Credit : Angers Développement
If the majority doesn't express criticism about Mr. Béchu's proposals to welcome poten-tial investors in Angers and even says there is agreement about the idea to sell regularly part of the Angers real estate assets, it nevertheless points out that many aspects (like the last one) of his platform are not new. "The sponsoring of young project planners by active managers" as well as "the ability of the city to test new products manufactured in Angers" are not something innovative, says Mr Loiseau. The stance of that one led Mr. Capus to react : "If every-thing is already implemented, why the unemployment figures are rising, why youngs are leaving the city to find jobs somewhere else, why down town store owners complain about the lack of support of the city council".

Emmanuel Capus
Daniel Loiseau
Beyond the mutual accusations, it is clear that investments, attracti-veness, economy and employment are key questions for candidates as for many inhabitants. But the com-mon risk to such politician exchan-ges is to locate the candidates programs below the Angevins' expectations and the necessities of the circumstances. There are many ideas but, until now, few come from the people, as economic agents. 

Jean-Luc Rotureau's campaign livens up and leaves room for alliances

Jean-Luc Rotureau doesn't want to be outdistanced in the electoral campaign for the municipal elections due to take place at the end of March 2014. In the next days, 80 000 copies of a letter he wrote to the Angevins will be distributed. The text is at the same time a critic against candidates who consider policy is a way of carreer and an openess to possible alliances with candidates whose opinions and projects match his own ones. And Laurent Gérault could be the main addressee of such a letter.

" My sensitivity and my itinerary are leftist. Nevertheless, my thoughtful belief is that the management of a city needs to look for good ideas wherever they come from, with pragmatism and common sense, without sectarism", writes Mr. Rotureau who plans to unveil a list "in the months to come" probably because he knows very well that the electoral campaign is far from being over. Some of the opinions the candidate develops look to be close of those of Mr. Gérault regarding, specifically, the promise he will not increase local taxes which could restrain the households' resources.

If Jean-Luc Rotureau doesn't detail what includes the words "by other means" ("autrement") which were the headline of his campaign, he comes back once again about the way "the Angers mayor office and the city have been kidnapped". Well aware about the polarizatrion of the campaign in favour of Frédéric Béatse and Christophe Béchu, Mr. Rotureau would gain weight through an alliance with Mr Gérault. That one could be a way to weigh "by other means"' on the outcome of the elections.

16 November, 2013

A former Angers decision center "in the corner"

It looks like a joke but it wasn't. An Angers real estate agency, Rousseau Immobilière Comine, has just published on the website Le bon coin an offer about the sale of the former headquarter of the Banque populaire Anjou-Vendée (Bpav). That bank, famous in Maine-et-Loire for its involvement in the financing of little and medium private companies, and the first Banque populaire ever created in France (1878), has been merged about 15 years ago with another subisidiary of the group Banque populaire established in Nantes. The two subsidiaries of Angers and Nantes gave way to the Banque populaire Atlantique whose headquarter is in Nantes. So 7 600 m2 of offices are useless in Angers. Formerly full of employees, the building is for sale. 

That news illustrates once again the leak of headquarters from Angers and the concentration of places of decisions and power outside the city and specifically in Nantes, the capital of the Pays de la Loire region, what indicates that the cooperation between cities for a balanced development has progress to achieve. But it is above all the topic of the decrease in attrac-tiveness of the town which could so resurface during the electoral campaign. 

The case of the former Bpav is not isolated. A lot of industrial and commercial surfaces are currently unoccupied in Angers like the Technicolor one. But, while Technicolor was part of the industry, the Banque populaire is part of the services. That sector gives jobs to a lot of people in the city and is not sheltered from relocation. Recently, it was feared that Stream, a call center, was on the verge to close his offices in Angers and to transfer them abroad. The issue of economy and unemployment, which is already at the top of the concerns of Angers inhabitants, and candidates, will be dealt through a lot of approaches : transports, housings for workers but also favourable conditions, both fiscal and administrative, for companies. Apparently, even regional institutions are not convinced of the interest to keep a high profile in Angers. 

15 November, 2013

Angers centrists at the core of divisions

Laurent Gérault, the centrist candidate to the 2014 municipal elections doesn't give up. After he was criticized last week by the Angers sections of the Mouvement démocrate (Modem) and the Parti radical which both choose to join Christophe Béchu, Union pour un mouvement populaire (Ump), Mr Gérault nevertheless got the support of several, but rather little centrist movements. The Alliance centriste, the Convention démocrate, the Fédération européenne démocrate, the Nouveau centre and the Parti libéral démocrate, all of them are members of the Union des démocrates indépendants (Udi), the parti Mr. Gérault is the delegate in Maine-et-Loire.

For the centrists, the main problem is the division of their family. That one is illustrated in Angers by the respective choices of the Modem and the Udi regarding the municipal elections, the first supporting Christophe Béchu and the second having choosen Laurent Gérault as candidate. Even if Mr Gérault unveiled some of the main principals of his municipal policy if he is elected, these difficult conditions could make difficult the writing of detailed proposals something more complicated.

This division between Modem and Udi in Maine-et-Loire looks to be specific and contrary to the union these two movements recently built at the national level under the title L'alternative. Until now, nothing has been done locally which would allow a better understading between the tow centrist components. But things may change towards improvement or deterioration. Currently, centrists are far from being central in the Angers political landscape.

14 November, 2013

Christophe Béchu stresses his economic commitments

Christophe Béchu's committee room on voltaire street
Few by few, the candi-dates to the Angers mayor office get organized and start to unveil their proposals about the means they would use, once elected, to strenghen the city. After he opened his committee room, on Voltaire street, Christophe Béchu has introduced two of his fellow candidates : Catherine Leblanc and Jean-Pierre Bernheim. The first, dean of the Ecole supérieure des sciences commerciales d'Angers (Essca) would be in charge of the "standing of the city", a kind of foreign affairs secretary. It is likely Mrs Leblanc will implement a "marketing oriented" approach. The second, manager of Vaslin-Bucher until the end of the current year, will bring to Mr. Béchu his knowledge of the private companies and will be entrusted with the economical development of the town.

One of his opponents, Jean-Luc Rotureau, also announced the arrival in his team of a former deputy-mayor,Christian Cazauba, who is in charge of the Madeleine-Saint-Léonard-Justices district and of Philippe Lahournat, town councillor, both of them coming from the town council majority led by Frédéric Béatse. The first will deal with the financial aspects of Mr. Rotureau's campaign.

Catherine Leblanc (credit Essca)
The econo-mical issues will be a top priority of Christophe Béchu who considered on his web-site that Angers city didn't do what had to be done to win competitiveness. In that field, the arrival of Mrs Leblanc could be useful because the candidate wants to boost employment thanks to students already present in town and to help the local companies to go on foreign markets. Through those two nominations, Mr. Béchu introduces economy in the remits of the city itself what was, untli now, an issue implemented by Angers Loire Métropole. So future antagonisms between the two auhorities about economy could surge after the elections.

12 November, 2013

Demonstration against racism and for secularism

More than 1 500 people gathered on November 11th on Leclerc square to express their condemnation of the racist insults pronounced last month against the justice minister, Christiane Taubira, when she visited Angers. If those people, coming from all political horizons, were legitimately affected by the seriousness of that misconduct and the deplorable fame that event gave to Angers, the nightly destruction of a tree of secularism, planted in Lorraine sqaure in 2012, has added to their worries. 

After that symbolic tree, set up there last year, was beheaded, Mr. Béatse, "given the circumstances", had not ruled out that such destruction be the fact of people having "ulterior motives" : i.e. people being hostile to the concept of separation between the state and the religions. Even if respect of races and respect of religious ideas are not the same concepts, two serious offenses have taken place in the city. 

If the refusal of a person, because of what that person is, constitutes an offense, the denial of the right to criticize religious ideas is also a insult. If a new tree is something necessary, seeds of tolerance in minds of people are also essential.

11 November, 2013

The first world war written out in full letters

Hundreds of Angevins gathered on November 11th in Leclerc square to comme-morate the anniversary of the end of the first world war. Under the grey and wet sky, the Angers public communed with soldiers of the conflict, through the letters these sent to their families, letters read by pupils of some of the city schools. One of them, wrote by Jacques Pineau, a corporal of the French army, entrusted with liaisons missions, told about one century later, the horrors of which he was the witness.

Born in La Pommeraye, Jacques Pineau was sent to the front, in the Haute-Marne, from the beginning of the war. There, he wrote to his family dozens of letters about his daily "life". If the reading of a single extract by a child made (unvoluntary) disappear the emotional dimension of the letter (because it's not easy to speak in public), the texts were really for the attendance an historic lecture about the world war because many of the sufferings soldiers endured have, for a long time, disappeared from teaching books.

It is sure through that story, about a soldier and from a soldier, is able to bring closer that generation of 14-18 and their des-cendants. Jacques Pineau's experience is even very contemporay because he tells in his letters how he managed to avoid to watch the execution of two deserters who, in the years to come, could be exculpated from what was, then, a crime. Corporal Jacques Pineau was killed in June 1915.