Annie Rose: Most people know you as the head of Fire Department in Santa Ramona. What they don't know about Dimitri Rousseau as a man?
Dimitri Rousseau:I love challenges, life a lot more exciting when you're being kept on your toes. I'm also somebody who ain like to be put in a box. I believe I'm versatile and wear lot of different hats. I like getting into different things and ideas, creating opportunities for myself and others. Another thing might be that I will never forfeit on a dare. If I lost a bet? I will be carryin out my side of the bargain, fair is fair eh.
AR: We were talking about the contingency plan and you've been for a long time a member of city council. What have you achieved in this time there?
DR:Every FD Chief as an experienced Incident Commander needs to put together a plan of action upon arriving on the scene of a fire or big EMS scenario. Organization and effective communication can save lives.
The city was lacking a clear and coherent plan of action--- a contingency plan in expectation of a natural disaster. After collaborating with the Chief of Staff Dr Stone of the hospital to throw a fund raiser, we were able to raise the sum of $3000 dollars for the natural disaster and emergency funds in City Hall.
I put together a proposal for a Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery HQ and supplies warehouse as well as a contingency plan with simulation drills for the city. It passed successfully on all points in City Hall.
Governor Stone was able, at my request, to pursue a Federal Grant which allocated a farther $50,000 to the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Agency to be used on site and on training and a supplies warehouse. I have just recently delivered to City Hall all requisite documents and map for the Contingency plan. This came in the form of a folder and includes: A clear and cohesive Contingency plan for the city, with guidelines for the FD and PD to put into gear under emergency disasters. Also, a map of the city with highlighted routes to clearly mark out relevant roads in order to better establish access and supply flows. I have also worked with the PD to secure their logistical data--and those of the Hospital and Clinic and worked on providing the FD's own logistical data myself. We now have all inventory listed such as equipment and vehicles available and things such as medication and comfort supplies among other items. All departments, PD/FD, Hospital and Clinic now have this as well as Governor Stone and the current Mayor. A relocation assignation in event of emergencies has been decided upon---people will now know where to go in the event of a natural disaster for aid and relief and shelter. This will soon be released to the city along with a standard protocol procedure in emergencies and map. My construction company has finished work on the underground silo, improving ventilation, drainage and lighting. It will store emergency supplies. We also finished work on the City Services building which will house a few City Hall offices as well as that Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery HQ. Steps for recovery have also been outlined in the contingency plan. So now all that remains is to provide the citizens with the relevant information and guidelines and simulate a drill. Another proposal that passed successfully was one I pitched for the future of the City and it's economic benefit. This city provides excellent entertainment and I proposed taking that to another level with a Race Track course, paid for by private investors with good return and benefit economically to all local businesses. Businesses who would like to sell beverages and food and provide entertainment and merchandise are going to be involved as well as garages and mechanics, not to mention the beach will host a glorious after party to celebrate winners with live music provided by local talent. I'm excited about this proposal and have been in talks with a City council member over land allocation. It will happen soon, I hope and will be a huge draw to the city and boost it's appeal with visitors and residents alike.
AR: I wonder about your life before to become a fire fighter and to run for election. Tell me about your background?
DR:I was born in a small town out on the Bayou and grew up later in an impoverished part of New Orleans. I witnessed first hand what natural disasters such as flooding and hurricanes can do to a city. I joined a Louisianan Fire Department and became a Firefighter and Paramedic. I was inspired by my father, he's no longer alive but he was an FD Chief in New Orleans. Seeing him work and the impact he had on civilians and the community stuck with me. In my past, in another city I ran a support group for drug and substance abusers in collaboration between that FD where I was Captain and the hospital there. We applied holistic approach-- helping people with social networks, employment and medication to ease withdrawal. Holistic approaches tend to do well altogether. I also had set up an urban allotment with the help of a private citizen to help aid therapy and rehabilitation for residents of that city. I went on to propose and run a Coast Guard Agency out by the Louisiana coast. We intercepted contraband, cleaned chemical spills and pulled up a few dead bodies. Exciting work! I guess I'm no stranger to adversity and poverty. I fought hard in life for what successes I have and I would like to continue that fight but on behalf of the city---and it's residents. I aim to bring this city and it's inhabitants economic success, stability and new and interesting opportunities to get into.
AR: Let's talk about your electoral program. What do you want for Santa Ramona and what do you think the city needs?
DR: Opportunity, Investment, Community. These things sum up it up in brief but let me elaborate. With the already proposed and approved Race Track proposal, I plan to provide economic benefits to the city as well as first class entertainment. Opportunities for other businesses involving racing merchandise and customization of race cars are in the works but local businesses such as garages, mechanics, bars, restaurants, modeling agencies and live talent will all benefit. The race track can also host music concerts, car and truck, bike conventions, demolition derbies and other fun events which will all bring in steady revenue. Walk In Welcomes- Every and any local business would under my scheme, be invited to host a regular meeting session for new residents and old alike as well as visitors, building on community spirit. The benefits of this would be the meeting spots change so the citizens discover new businesses and locations around the city, getting to explore it and meet new people. The local businesses would also be able to promote themselves and offer up any career opportunities to those interested. It can be held monthly. Another scheme I'd like to implement would be to propose regeneration of the Wharf and Dock area in the South side. The proposed scheme I've called 'Art At The Docks', a city funded initiative which will be a collaborative project with South side residents. They can create and produce their own art in this space and events will be hosted whereby the city can view and purchase the art. This would provide opportunity and be an investment in the community. I would also like to focus on building up others in the community. Currently there are shortages in medical staff and I plan to introduce a subsidized housing grant for medical staff which will hopefully boost their numbers and attract potential employees. Doctors, nurses, technicians might be able to live in an alloted accommodation together, closer to work, saving them expenses in this expensive city of ours. Rent cap will stop greedy landlords from exploiting the civilians and ensure more affordable housing is on offer---for everyone. Community events to be held in the South side by both FD and PD members together with residents and business owners there will hopefully build better relations and stop any feeling of isolation for the South side. These events will be things such as regular BBQs and Basketball or other recreational activities between South side and FD/PD depts. I also plan to have mine and my wife's construction company donate paint and wood in a Beautify the Neighborhood scheme which will see civilians in South side helping PD and FD members to improve derelict areas. A sponsored run is another scheme I would put forward, to help reclaim South side's streets as everyones streets. All who love to run will be able to join others in a weekly running circuit in the South side, improving safety and physical presence and integration efforts with other civilians in a healthy and active activity that benefits all. One thing I would like to also do for the city is to have the cities water resources undergo water treatment. This would benefit the city by fresher, cleaner drinking and bathing water and we would be better able to identify sink holes perhaps in future, an issue that might impact by the breaking of the Dam awhile ago.
AR: The situation in South side is always a little worrying. Do you have any plan to help to ease the situation there or have more control on the area?
DR: Community: When a part of the city feels isolated or neglected, not listened to, there bound to be tensions. As mentioned in my platform, community a big part of it.
Regular PD/FD community events inside of the South side will help build bridges with the South side community. This will be through regular monthly BBQs or ball games and recreational activities for both to participate in.
Also planned would be a race on foot--- through the streets of the South side. A regular weekly run for those who love to run as a way of reclaiming streets, providing more of a mixed presence and giving safety to families who live there.
Beautifying the South side could be a project that both the PD and South side could participate in. My construction company is willing to donate paint and wood for this scheme. It would encourage civilians to see the PD in a better light if they are working hand in hand to help improve their streets---alongside the residents of the South side. As far as control---the South side would probably benefit from more beat patrols out and about in the city as well as everywhere else to be honest. It's not just the South side but the entire city that could see increased patrol units from SRPD. As mentioned, revitalization also helps to encourage employment. So work on the Wharf/Dock area, the new Disaster Agency and City Services will create jobs and will hopefully give residents a chance to improve their lives.
AR: What local businesses should expect from your management?:
DR: I promise to bring opportunity and investment to local businesses. This race track will provide a good boost as mentioned but I will also be looking to create more opportunities. Walk In Welcomes will provide steady visitors in an equitable manner to all businesses who sign up for the scheme. The Walk In Welcomes will see new and old residents being able to hang out at the allocated business on the day, with the meeting places changing from business to business. It also provides a chance for businesses to promote themselves and potentially recruit. I have in mind as mentioned an 'Art At The Docks' scheme which is to revitalize the dock and wharf area in the South side. These schemes I believe are solid means of engaging local businesses and creating revenue.
AR: Many voters still care and are interested about religion in political elections. Are you religious?
DR:My Maman was mixed race- of French and Haitian blood and she practiced Vodou while also being brought up Catholic. The two don't contradict each other. She brought me up around Vodou but my father who comes from Sicilian stock were staunch Catholic and that has influenced me, in terms of service to others but my background means I don't limit myself in my scope. Faith and beliefs be like climbin a mountain---there many ways to get to the top but only one destination. I respect all religions and faiths as well as the right to hold secular convictions.
AR: Being head of FD you have to check balance and plan the city safety . Do you think it will give you some sort of skill that could be useful for a Mayor?
DR:I believe that the preparation and organization and attention to detail that goes into being an FD Chief and also leading Incident Commander on scenes has some benefit to translating into the position of Mayor. I can look out for weaknesses and determine how best to prepare for them--- it's part of my mentality and training to do so but I can also apply it on a local scale to the city because as a citizen and a member of the City Council, I'm in great position to be exposed to all issues affecting citizens. I've also managed to glean valuable experience by being City council member. I'm no City Hall virgin, other candidates are perhaps running with no relevant experience or exposure or even former proposals. The city needs somebody calm and determined and ready to take on challenges who won't crack under pressure. My entire career has been all about working under pressure, finding solutions to challenges as well as literally having peoples lives in my hands. I've successfully passed two proposals---one for the safety of citizens and another for their economic benefit as well as driving forward entertainment and engaging cross sections of the city. I've raised money for the city and had a Federal Grant awarded to it's safety. I do have what it takes.
AR: Are you satisfied about the job of Mayor Brucato during her first mandate?
DR: I have had good and positive experiences of Mayor Brucato. Like with most things, there's always some bad mixed with the good but for me personally, she was ready to take on board my proposal for Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery from the get go and encouraged the idea to build the HQ in the South side to increase jobs. I believe the PD and Mayor Brucato had an unfortunate falling out and the situation was exacerbated by hostility and aggression on both parties side, it seemed. These type things should be handled firmly but with diplomacy. Tact can go a long way to improvin relations between people and with that--situations. Unfortunately, I do see that the PD conflict might be what Mayor Brucato will be remembered for whereas I would let the South side recall she proposed the HQ site to be placed there with my full support. It will open up jobs and improve things there.
AR: What about your family? People knows you are married, how's your better half? Does she like and support your campaign?
DR:My wife Alexia who co-owns the construction company we run and the supplies store along with it out on Shady Street, is wonderful woman and full of drive and charisma. She do support me 100%. She what we like to call from where I'm at, my ride and die. She beside me on most things but never afraid to let me know her mind.So far, so good!
AR:As a Mayor you are probably going to have some degree of control on local taxes, what do you intend to do with them? Do we have to expect higher one, lower one, something progressive on the richest?
DR:I am proposing a Rent Cap scheme which will ensure residents will not be charged extortionate pricing for housing. Combined with a subsidized housing scheme for the city's valiant Hospital medical staff, I would like to think if there is a slight hike in tax that would offset it. But then I also aim to increase tax for the more wealthier citizens by a 2% increase. They will get some benefit if they invest in the city but only if they hold and own businesses here, employing local people.
AR: Mayor Brucato run for the People Party identifying her self more or less as a leftist. What's your political color instead?
DR:Center- I ain firmly left or firmly right. I like balance eh. I would say I lean left but there good things to take from both left and right.
AR: Do you have some words about the other possible candidates here in town?
DR: Well not specifically no. I do think that an experienced person who has seen the inside of City Hall, passed proposals for the benefit of the city and is innovative and dynamic will be good for the city in short. I believe I fit that mold and I am also a neutral face. I ain law enforcement. I am the head of a department that solely caters to saving lives--whoever you are-- and healing people, putting out fires. I can put out fires---in a metaphorical and literal sense. I also plan to build this city up---with viable and practical investment and opportunity and community schemes.
AR: Have you some last word to give to the readers? DR: If the city would like to see somebody capable, competent and with practical schemes that will truly benefit their city and provide new and exciting opportunities for all---you'll be voting for me.