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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:17 AM   #1
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Bertrand DelanoŽ

The Quality Controller

Posted Sunday, May 8, 2005; 1.15 BST

NO LOUNGE LIZARD: The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand DelanoŽ. Critics snipe that he is more concerned with image than hard policy

In 2002, Bertrand DelanoŽ was stabbed in the stomach by an unemployed man who said he didn't like homosexuals or politicians. DelanoŽ, 54, is ó unapologetically ó both. A protťgť of FranÁois Mitterrand, DelanoŽ has always had a passion for politics, and the zone of his political activity has always been Paris.

Born in Tunisia, DelanoŽ first visited the French capital at the age of 18, and since then has been convinced that "my life could not unfold without this city." When he returned to his office six weeks after the stabbing, DelanoŽ announced that "this house will remain open." He now travels with a bodyguard, but there has been no let-up in his commitment to visibility ó or his determination to make Paris a great place to live as well as work. "I simply don't accept the idea that quality of life isn't compatible with economic vitality," he says from his vast office at the HŰtel de Ville, where a figurine by French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle nestles in neo-Renaissance surroundings. "We see it when companies decide where they want to be: quality of life, quality of the air are factors. Any 21st century mayor has to see that."

DelanoŽ is convinced that in a city like Paris, the mayor's job isn't just making the trains run on time, but improving the environment and giving a spark of panache to civic life. That's what inspired the city's White Night, an annual all-night arts extravaganza during which city hall and other municipal facilities stay open to the public (he was stabbed at the inaugural event). Paris has also become greener since DelanoŽ took office, with bus lanes on many Parisian boulevards and a new tramway under construction. But the best known initiative of DelanoŽ's mayoralty unfolds every July, when sandbags are emptied and umbrellas are planted along the Right Bank of the Seine to form Paris Plage, the impromptu 3-km beach enjoyed for the past couple of years by about 3 million Parisians.

Wiry and wired, DelanoŽ stays on the move and in the public eye. "I can't say I'm a fan of the man," says Augustin Johnson, an engineer who supports the opposition, "but he gets things done." DelanoŽ has devoted a lot of energy to Paris' bid for the 2012 Olympics, and if the French win at the ioc meeting in July, both the city and DelanoŽ will receive an impetus that will last beyond the next elections, which must be held by 2008. But not everyone thinks DelanoŽ's gift for sound and fury amounts to much. "He excels in the operations of charm," snipes opposition Deputy Bernard Debrť. "But behind the spangles, Parisians are discovering that he promises more than he delivers." The mayor's initiative to consider building a few artful skyscrapers foundered after public opposition; small businesses complain his bus lanes choke off trade; and residents of certain quarters grumble that the city could be cleaner. It's just another reminder that a mayor's work is never done.

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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bertrand DelanoŽ by Fabb
The mayor's initiative to consider building a few artful skyscrapers foundered after public opposition
Oui donc Áa dit bien ce que Áa dit 'foundered', son initiative de construire des "gratte-ciel" a sombrť suite ŗ l'opposition des parisiens. Rien de bien neuf donc.
"Il y a une passion franÁaise pour que les choses ne se fassent pas" - Roland Castro (28/09/2013) - Enlarge your Paris!
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