The 'Fake Voters,' Part II

photo: bistrot vivienne

A popular bistro in the city's business centre.

Joblessness Breaks 10% Barrier

Paris:- Sunday, 4. June 2000:- Last week's item here about election fraud in Paris blasted off during the week, going into action quite a bit sooner than its expected begin 'before summer.'

At the beginning of the week, 15 personages where placed under suspicion of having participated in electoral fraud, as a result of an investigation launched by an ancient complaint lodged by the Greens party.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Greens member of the Assembly National, denounced leadingphoto: resto paris hanoi, rue charonne politicians holding high offices by name, and was immediately sanctioned for inadmissable statements by the Socialist President of the Assembly.

A more modest bistro in Paris, east of Bastille.

Besides the forceful put-down, he lost a quarter of his parliamentary salary for a period of a month. Right-wing deputies applauded the penalty, as did a few Socialists - while outside the chamber, the Greens deputy was unrepentant.

Who Profits From Falling Unemployment?

As unemployment officially fell below the magic ten-percent barrier in France for the first time since 1991 last week, this is exactly the question posed by Le Parisien.

'Women, men, the young, the long-time unemployed,' all, in one manner or another, benefit, according to the paper. In fact, the paper noted, everybody benefitted - everybody except the 9.8 percent of the working population which is still unemployed - which the paper neglected to mention as beneficiaries.

The next goal - dream - of the present government, which has seen unemployment drop fromphoto: fete lutte ouviere 12.6 percent to its present rate, is to get the number of unemployed to below the two million barrier by 2002.

I should not mock the success the government is having with this problem, but I can't help remembering that about two million people have been out of work for nine years. This is a long time to sit around.

The unemployment-rate drop was general throughout France. But there are areas in the extreme north and in a band that covers the whole south of the country, where unemployment is above the national average.

Thus, in Languedoc-Roussillon the rate fell to 14.5 percent from 15.6 percent in the period between September 1999 and March of this year.

Paris' Cadillac Toilets

An independent Greens member of the Paris city council thought there was some funny business going on when an 800,000-franc item of the budget turned out to be for a public toilet in the Parc de Bagatelle.

There was another interesting bid for a public works project, for re-equipping seven Paris cemeteries with toilets, for the globalphoto: trash can railing amount of 1.8 million francs.

The city council member also pointed out that the sums for the toilets in the cemeteries were not for new toilets, but for the renovation of the old ones.

While toilets get upgraded, Paris seems to lack enough trash cans.

The answer from the parks and gardens department was agreement with the high cost, but it pointed out that there are two reasons - sanitary standards are more draconian, but most of the apparent extra cost is for making the toilets accessible for the handicapped.

"It doubles the price," they said, adding that moms with baby poussettes appreciated the enhanced ease of use features as well.

Paris 'Rolls' No More

The popular newspaper Le Parisien was very upset last week, on behalf of the city's motorists, on account of all the road works that are going on simultaneously in the city.

Between new corridors for buses and urban heating systems, half of the big roads circling just inside the Perifreak! are out of action. Then, if motorists can reach to the city's centre, they run into more major public works.

Normally these types of projects are carried out during the summer, as anybody who thought driving was going to be easy during July and August has found out.

On top of it, much of the 'road' works have the goal of reducing the road surfaces for cars and trucks and increasing themphoto: resto st trop, cocktails for buses, bicyclists and pedestrians - which means that when they are finished, engine-powered traffic will have less instead of more.

This has been going on since April. This means that Paris traffic jams have been occurring in epic proportions since then. The laudable goal is to reduce the traffic surface by five percent, while increasing the exclusive surface for public transport by two percent.

Another east Paris watering hole; this time with 'cocktails.'

The way the works have been planned, has been to deliberately annoy motorists according to the paper. Drivers are supposed to get so fed up that they will switch to public transport.

The Automobile Club calls it discrimination. Reducing the traffic lanes on the Left Bank quays from three or four lanes to two, 'because it will speed up traffic' is considered ridiculous.

The public transport user's association sees it through different colored glasses. They are not going to cry over the plight of motorists because they've been 'kings of the road' for years. They also remark that the city is supposed to be for all users, not just those who feel it necessary to move around on four wheels.

In a recent development, corridors reserved for buses only have been opened to bicyclists, which has been much applauded by the two-wheel operators, if not the bus drivers.

Only 23 Days Until...

The summer sales begin on Tuesday, 27. June according to what Printemps told Metropole reader Brigitte. Since last week this has made me look at the calendar yet again. Luckily as it turns out, because I had my departure day wrong. Now I can look forward to two days of hectic shopping before I go - in my new duds!

Multi-Continental Web Life:

For technical reasons - which roughly translated mean I don't know why - thus 'technical' - I haven't seen any new Web URLs in the places I usually find them. I did look for them too.

Two of last week's were special requests, and the 'Peace Wall' seems to be well-meaning, so here they are again. For next week, which isn't long from now, I will try to do better - not that there's anything wrong with the ones below.

Vedettes, Choo-choos and Montmartre

In October of 1997 John McCulloch wrote to Metropole about his pal Emile, who foundedphoto: resto turk, main d'or the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf. Now the 'Vedettes' have their own Web site and it may be worth a look.

After hanging out in the casinos of Las Vegas for a very long time, John is now snooping around in Death Valley and the Amargosa Desert and digging up their abandoned Railroads.

The Main d'Or corner in the interesting 'east.'

Recently he was contacted by the Montmartre photography association, so you may also be able to find some of John's photos on its Web site too.

Learn Spanish In Spain

Don Quixote, Spain's largest language school, is running a writing competition which involves prize scholarships, accommodations and a bit of cash. Every six months, the three best essays in Spanish or English will be selected by vote via the Web. Candidates need to explain why learning Spanish is a good idea and why they should win the scholarship. Voters can win prizes too. On top of it, Don Quixote wishes all participants 'Buena Suerte!'

Paris' Peace Wall, Forever

This leaves the URL for Paris' Peace Wall which is still on the Champ de Mars. This 'Mur Pour la Paix' - which is a Dot-Com and not a Dot-Org - continues to survive. Peace lives on! You can also learn how to read the word 'peace' in 31 languages, including Spanish.

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