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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Rendell Without Cheek

Gov Gives Philly 'Salut'
to French Biz Ops

Junto Photo.Richard Carreno
By Richard Carreno
Junto Staff Writer
I ran into Ed Rendell in University City just before lunch today, and I discovered that his newly-announced, much-touted weight reduction programme (hold the cheese steaks!) has kicked in -- really kicked in. In fact, the governor looked downright gaunt. But, as someone observed when I mentioned this, it's often the case that when you lose in the cheeks (derriere department), you also lose in the cheeks (face department).
No matter. Rendell was still his usual cheeky self when he introduced a contingent of businessmen from France's Rhone-Alpes region who opened a one-woman promotion office here, located in West Philly's expanding University City Science Center. (This particular venue is located at 3711 Market Street).
Ed got a laugh, OK, a chuckle when he noted that he had to run before lunch because he was the only US governor without a annual budget. 'I have to go work the phones,' he said. In English. Rendell ne parle pas francais.
Rendell's premature departure, given his new diet, was just as well, I suppose. Lunch was good enough. Dessert, a caloric array of petits four, was the best. I doubt that this stuff came from Lyon, Rhone-Alpes' culinary mecca; but who could fault me for dreaming?
The ERAI (Enterprise Rhone-Alpes International) office is headed by Philadelphia Branch
manager Blandine Chantepie, a dynamic Frenchwoman who today who was already in high-smooze mode, and aims to connect Pennsylvania business and industry with brethen outfits in Rhone-Alpes. 
Not surprisingly, what was on display today wasn't wing nuts or hubcaps, but rather the region's best-known commodity -- a full-bodied, red substance known as Cote de Rhone. Gallons of the wine accompanied ERAI's noon-time luncheon.
Besides Rendall and flock of Science Center businessmen, many of the usual suspects in Philadelphia's French community were there, including two of the most prominent, vigourous advocates French affairs locally, Michael E. Scullin, Philly's French consul; and Daniele Thomas Easton, head of France-Philadelphie.
ERAI has another US office in Atlanta.