Meeting Of The Mayors: A Special Edition Of
I’m taking the liberty of sending out this special edition because it’s not every day a girl like me gets to rub elbows with two mayors, an ambassador and several council members from both Paris and Washington, DC. I was one of only three journalists in the Mayor’s office today, a grand and elegant room on the upper level of the Hôtel de Ville where Bertrand Delanoë gathered with Mayor Anthony Williams and a small entourage, including DC Council Members Vince Orange and Sandy Allen, Ambassador Constance Morella of the U.S. for the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and of course, an interpreter.
News like this simply shouldn’t wait until Monday’s newsletter. Having just come from Washington, DC, where we held the Living and Investing in France Conference, the meeting of the heads of these sister-cities was of major interest to me, particularly in the scheme of U.S./France relations, so strained this past year and a half.
Mayor Williams opened the dialog with the pronouncement, “I love your city” and went on to compliment Mayor Delanoë on having brought it to a new much higher level. He responded in appreciation and explained his goals to do the maximum to improve it culturally, ecologically and economically.
Williams declared his number one goal was to educate the kids — that they were the most important investment Washington, DC could make. He further explained that 40% of his community couldn’t read beyond the third grade level, a shocking statistic, if it’s true! They proposed instituting exchange programs so that the children of DC could experience the French culture and French children could have a taste of U.S. life in the capital.
Everyone chuckled at Williams’ joke about how American cities are run by professional managers, but some people question how professional! And Delanoë offered to exchange training between the two cities’ schools of engineering. Whoa — I saw the cultural difference in broad daylight — Americans thinking business while the French are thinking logic!
They both agreed that through their Web sites, they could further their cause to show solidarity. Williams is proud of his redeveloped site that has more than one million visitors a day and the vast number of pages on the site in French. Delanoë smiled and teased him, “We can visit your site and pick up ideas!” Then he himself questioned how many pages in his city site were in English. That’s when I laughed out loud — I wanted to say, “not enough!” (but I didn’t).
They compared notes on how often they meet with their constituents and Delanoë pointed out a new launching of regular meetings at every one of the twenty arrondissements with him present. He likes to meet directly with the people, he explained, and is continuing to reach out more to public opinion, evidenced by the poll I wrote about earlier today. Williams says he shakes lots of hands. Delanoë said he kisses lots of cheeks. Williams concurred that was a good technique, but Delanoë disagreed — “it wasn’t a technique, it is sentimental” and that he “particularly likes to kiss beautiful young women!”
That’s when they all adjourned to a large glass table, signed official proclamations, exchanged gifts and shook hands. Delanoë was ecstatic (as much as any Frenchman can be) over his new desk pen and Williams loved the crystal carafe, a perfect gift for the wine lover he is.
There was a true sense of amity between the parties and as an American living in Paris, I felt an immense wave of pride and contentment that perhaps they would accomplish their goals to bring the world more together, even on this small scale.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. Well-known syndicated astrologer Eric Francis who’s spending some time in Paris this season read part of my astrological chart in front of a group of people at Paris Network Wednesday night, but the final outcome will be realized this weekend, so stay tuned…the question isn’t so much how the planets are affecting my life — but how what’s in store for me affects what’s in store for you, my readers! Librans and all the rest of you, catch up on his predictions by visiting http://www.planetwaves.net