2008-01-11

 It was reported on this date that the mayor of Paris, BERTRAND DELANOE, had been given increased police protection after US security services informed their French counterparts that he might be attacked by terrorists.  While monitoring internet traffic related to Al-Qaeda the CIA discovered that Delanoe was listed as a target.  As mayor of France’s biggest city, he was the most prominent Gay politician in the country.

Delanoë was one of the first major French politicians to announce that he was gay, during a 1998 television interview (before being elected mayor). Although a long-time politician, Delanoë is visible at cultural affairs. He attends film festivals, and he is sometimes quoted in the media or appears on television to speak about his friendship with the late French superstar entertainer, Dalida.

As mayor, Delanoë’s goals were to improve the quaiity of life, reduce pollution, and cut down on vehicle traffic within the city (including a plan for a non-polluting tramway to ease Parisian traffic) and pedestrian malls. He helped introduce a program called Velib’ (a portmanteau of “vélo” and “libre” meaning “free bicycles”) which gave Parisians access to inexpensive rental bicycles available in stations all around Paris. The program has been enormously successful despite the fact that it still has a few logistical problems to be worked out. He has outlined a plan for an autolib, whereby small cars would be shared. He was re-elected in 2008 for a new six-year-term (2008–2014).