Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I Wrote Too Soon – New Orleans WILL Take Down The Monuments



Unlike Jefferson Parish’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni, I’m a big enough person to admit when I’ve made a mistake.

Thankfully, it doesn’t happen that often.

In my last post, I wrote about Yale University renaming Calhoun College and the parallel with New Orleans attempting to remove historic monuments and rewrite history.

I noted that a Judge had stopped the attempt.

Yesterday, a different Judge overruled the second Judge’s ruling and will allow three of the four monuments in question to be removed.

So, while I wasn’t really wrong, I did write too soon.

Kind of like the blogging equivalent of a premature ejaculation.

Hey, there’s no shame in that. Many of us have been there before at one time or another.

The three are all Civil War related and have stood prominently in New Orleans for over a decade. The fourth, a plaque that commemorates a white supremacist group that led an uprising against Louisiana’s post-Civil War reconstruction government, is involved in separate litigation.

Soon the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis will be removed and placed in a less conspicuous area TBD.

I understand how some might find the monuments offensive – to some,  they represent a commemoration of slavery and oppression. Slavery should not be revered.

But the Civil War was about more than slavery and, in this overly sensitive PC world we must navigate through, anyone can find fault with anything.

Don’t believe me – take a look at Facebook on any given day.

For the past 8 years, if you were against former President Obama, you were considered a racist. If you were against ObamaCare, you were a racist and against the poor.

Now, if you are for President Trump, you’re a white supremacist. If you’re for a border wall and immigration reform, you’re anti-Hispanic.

When is this nonsense going to end?

If you examine the history of any country or any ethnic group, you can find things to not be proud of.

However Lee, Beauregard and Davis did not invent slavery.

Black slaves were brought to America by European slave traders and slavery, in some form, has been around almost since the beginning of time.

The Code of Hammurabi (c. 1750 B.C.) mentions slavery.

“Law #15: "If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.”

Ancient Greeks, Romans and Eqyptians were all involved in the different variations of slavery using captured war prisoners as slaves, using slaves as personal servants and you could even be enslaved if you had too much debt.

Better pay off those credit cards.  

Are we going to boycott Italian Restaurants, stop visiting Greece and Egypt and cut up our Visa Cards?

America didn’t invent slavery and slavery didn’t end with the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation.

In fact, in 1930’s Ethiopia, there were an estimated 2 Million slaves.

If you don’t know, Ethiopia is in Africa.

In addition to Ethiopia, which abolished slavery for good in 1942 (although occupying Italian forces in 1935 abolished it first), Nigeria was a major slave country until 1936.

Nigeria is also in Africa.

Last year, we celebrated the Olympics in Rio. Did you know that slavery wasn’t abolished in Brazil until 1888?

Better tell our guys to give back all those medals. 

The fact is, you would be hard pressed to find a country or a culture that didn’t have slavery in some form.Even some religions have slavery in their history.

No, America didn’t invent slavery and I’m clearly not advocating for a return to slavery. What I am saying is, slavery is a part of American history whether you or I like it or not. We cannot rewrite history or only teach the history that makes us look good and feel proud.


“The white man did not introduce slavery to Africa . . . . And by the fifteenth century, men with dark skin had become quite comfortable with the concept of man as property . . . . Long before the arrival of Europeans on West Africa’s coast, the two continents shared a common acceptance of slavery as an unavoidable and necessary—perhaps even desirable—fact of existence. The commerce between the two continents, as tragic as it would become, developed upon familiar territory. Slavery was not a twisted European manipulation, although Europe capitalized on a mutual understanding and greedily expanded the slave trade into what would become a horrific enterprise . . . . It was a thunder that had no sound. Tribe stalked tribe, and eventually more than 20 million Africans would be kidnapped in their own homeland.”

So, if even the Left-leaning PBS doesn’t blame white America for slavery, why are we taking down monuments of white men and with all of the problems facing New Orleans why is Mitch Landrieu pushing for the monument removal?

Politics.

Clearly fixing the horrendous condition of New Orleans’ streets,  reducing crime, or providing a corruption-free government doesn’t rally your base and increase your notoriety.
Those are things that an elected official should be expected to do.

But, they don’t generate votes.

And, that’s sad.

At some point, we need to start holding our elected officials to a higher standard and stop electing, re-electing and promoting politicians that are only interested in keeping their jobs and eyeing their next job.

We need to hold our elected officials accountable and not let them duck, dodge, deflect, rewrite and reframe the issues.

Yes, Robert E. Lee owned slaves. He never purchased them, they were inherited. While that doesn’t make things better, it is important to note that Lee freed his slaves in 1862, BEFORE the Civil War ended and BEFORE Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

In fact, after the South’s defeat, Lee supported President Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan.

Lee did the right thing, albeit belatedly. But, he did the right thing.

What did Robert E. Lee think about slavery? In an 1856 letter, Lee wrote:

“There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil.”  

One can certainly debate Lee, Beauregard (a New Orleans resident) and Davis’ influence on New Orleans and their “worthiness” to be commemorated with monuments.

But, that’s another discussion.

In a statement after the court ruling allowing the monument removal, Landrieu said,

"This win today will allow us to begin to turn a page on our divisive past and chart the course for a more inclusive future."

Excuse me?

How does taking down monuments  from the late 1800’s dedicated to one of America’s greatest military generals (Lee); a New Orleans resident nicknamed “Little Creole” who commanded the attack at  Ft. Sumter and officially began the Civil War (Beauregard); and a former Mississippi Congressman and Senator, Secretary of War, and the first (and only) President of the Confederate States, make New Orleans more inclusive?

Now, if you want to take down Beauregard’s monument because he was a major promoter of the Louisiana Lottery (from 1877 until it was closed in 1892 when the people of Louisiana’s opposition to government sponsored gambling grew), I may support you but the inclusive claim is nonsense.

Our history is our history, the good and the bad, and we must own it.

It is only by knowing our history that we can better prepare for our future.

When we can stop talking about race/gender/ethnicity/sexual orientation and all of the other garbage that drives division in our communities, then we can "chart the course for a more inclusive future". 

Until that day comes, fix the damn potholes Mitch.

Do YOUR job and let history speak for itself.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yale, Like New Orleans, Tries To Rewrite History


“Your ordinary run-of-the mill historian will tell you that John C. Calhoun, having defended the bad and lost causes of state rights and slavery, deserves to rest forever in the dustbin of history. Nothing could be further from the truth. No American public figure after the generation of the Founding Fathers has more to say to later times than Calhoun.”

-          Clyde Wilson

 When I was a young boy, many aspired to attend an Ivy League school like Yale or Harvard. If you were lucky enough to get accepted into one of these prestigious universities, you were essentially set for life.

Now, Yale University finds itself in the crosshairs of the racial divide that our country is mired in.

And all because of a building.

After saying it wouldn’t rename Calhoun College, Yale officials capitulated to a growing clamor from misguided students protesting a policy that hasn’t existed in over 150 years – slavery.

Now, none of these students or their parents endured slavery, yet they are outraged by it nonetheless.

To be fair, I’ve never endured slavery either and, while I deplore the concept of slavery, I can’t pretend that it didn’t exist.

Yale University’s Calhoun College was named after John C. Calhoun, a Vice President under two administrations (one of only two Vice Presidents in our country’s history to do so), a Secretary of War and State, a Representative and Senator from South Carolina.

And, oh yeah, he was a slave owner in the late 1700s until his death in 1850.

“The danger in our system is that the general government, which represents the interests of the whole, may encroach on the states, which represent the peculiar and local interests, or that the latter may encroach on the former.

John C. Calhoun

As a Senator from a slave state, Calhoun vigorously fought for slavery and for state’s rights as did many Southerners (and some Northerners too) during that time. If you were a Senator from South Carolina (or any Southern state including Louisiana), that’s what you did in pre-Civil War America.

The Union next to our liberties the most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States, and distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union.”

John C. Calhoun


In fact, 12 of our Presidents including Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson and even Civil War hero U.S. Grant owned slaves.

In addition to Calhoun College, 7 other Yale colleges are also named after slave owners.

No reasonable person in this day and age would argue for slavery, but, simply because we are disgusted by something now doesn’t mean that we can ignore that it occurred or attempt to rewrite history.

We aren’t a perfect country. We’ve made mistakes along the way. But, let’s acknowledge and learn from our mistakes without desecrating and attempting to rewrite the story that is the United States of America.

It is harder to preserve than to obtain liberty.”

John C. Calhoun

Was John C. Calhoun a bad person? He was clearly wrong for supporting slavery but does being a slave owner automatically disqualify a person or cause us to want to strike that person’s name from the history books?

Then a member of Congress, Calhoun was instrumental in rallying support for the War of 1812 which made a hero of Andrew Jackson and memorialized the Battle of New Orleans.

In 1824, Calhoun created the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He signed 40 treaties with Indian nations and was instrumental in the Western migration of Indians as America grew. While many at the time would have been happy to annihilate the Indians or forcefully remove them, Calhoun signed trade agreements with them.

In 1957, knowing Calhoun’s history, a Senate Committee headed by John F. Kennedy named Calhoun one of the five greatest U.S. Senators of all time.

“The Government of the absolute majority instead of the Government of the people is but the Government of the strongest interests; and when not efficiently checked, it is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised.”
John C. Calhoun

The purpose of this post isn’t to give you a history lesson about John C. Calhoun but to show the misguided thinking of some in our society who believe that they can rename buildings, streets and schools and tear down monuments because they don’t agree with the history that these things represent.

There are towns and cities, schools and streets across the country named after John C. Calhoun.  In fact, there’s a “Calhoun Street” in New Orleans.

I probably shouldn’t have written that. Now some yahoo will want to change the street’s name just as the New Orleans City Council voted last year and Mayor Mitch Landrieu approved the removal of four historical monuments, including three that commemorated Confederate Civil War leaders.

Yeah, trying to run from and rewrite history will ease racial tensions.  

There is often, in the affairs of government, more efficiency and wisdom in non-action than in
action.”

John C. Calhoun


Let me show how you can take rewriting history to a whole new level.

The Western Hemisphere was named America by a German cartographer, Martin Waldseemuller, to honor Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci.

Now, I’m sure we can all agree that the Holocaust (instigated by a German) was wrong.

We can probably also agree that early Romans used slaves as gladiators and made them fight to the death as entertainment. Using anyone to kill someone for amusement is wrong.

So, since the Germans and Italians did bad things, let’s rename America, right?

Ok, here’s another example, closer to home:

The City of Kenner was once three plantations owned by the Kenner family. The plantations had slaves; thus, expect protestors soon to demand that the City change its name.

As I mentioned, Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. I guess we can also expect protestors to demand that we change the name of Jefferson Parish.

Look, we can all agree that slavery and racism, bigotry in any form whether it’s based upon gender, ethnicity, race, religion or any factor is wrong, but we can’t deny that they existed and still exist.

We ought not to forget that the government, through all its departments, judicial as well as others, is administered by delegated and responsible agents; and that the power which really controls, ultimately, all the movements, is not in the agents, but those who elect or appoint them.”

John C. Calhoun

Did you read that Mike Yenni?

Slavery was evil. The Indian massacres and forced relocation was horrific. The Japanese internment during World War II was clearly flawed (oops, there goes Roosevelt Blvd. in Kenner). Denying voting rights to anyone that was not a white male landowner goes against the fundamental core values that our country was founded upon. Racism and gender inequality remain huge issues for our country.

The U.S. is a flawed country. We’re a work-in-progress. But, even with our flaws, we are still the most diverse country in the history of world and still the Land of Opportunity.

While a judge stepped in to stop Mitch Landrieu and then-Council President Jason Williams from removing the statues in New Orleans, no one can stop Yale from renaming Calhoun College.

The bottom line is – while we can abhor history, we must learn from it. We can’t rewrite it.

Yale University should be smart enough to know that even if the leaders in New Orleans aren’t.  


Friday, February 3, 2017

Kenner Pays Almost $450k To Buisson’s JCVB To Do What It Should Do For Free


Now I will admit that, unlike Jefferson Parish’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni (at least in his own warped, perverted mind), I’m not always the smartest guy in the room.

Sometimes, I’m not even the smartest guy in the room when I’m sitting alone.

But, I can read a map and the last time I looked, Kenner was firmly ensconced in Jefferson Parish.

Thus, you would think that groups like the Jefferson Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (JCVB) and JEDCO, Jefferson Parish’s Economic Development arm, that receive tax dollars from Jefferson Parish (including tax dollars from Kenner), would perform the functions of marketing and promoting Kenner without receiving additional compensation from the City.

But, since both are associated with Jefferson Parish’s Minister of Propaganda Greg Buisson, who happens to be the campaign manager for Yenni and Kenner’s new Mayor Lyin’ Ben Zahn (among others), each group is paid significantly for work that should be done for free.

Several years back, on the heels of a scandal involving the misappropriation of funding, Yenni disbanded the Kenner Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (KCVB).

In addition to membership fees (Lyin’ Ben was a member of the Board while a Councilmember appropriating funds to the KCVB), the group also received a percentage of Kenner’s Hotel/Motel tax.

Fine.

If the group wasn’t properly spending Kenner tax dollars, they shouldn’t receive them.

However, instead of forming  or finding another Kenner-centric group dedicated to promoting and marketing Kenner, Yenni ceded Kenner’s Hotel/Motel tax dollars to the JCVB, a group that has a significant relationship with the aforementioned Minister of Propaganda Buisson (and, remember, Yenni’s campaign manager).

From January 2015-December 2016, Kenner paid the JCVB $448,030.57 for the privilege of promoting Kenner, a role that they should do for ZERO dollars as part of their mission.

During the same period, the JCVB received over $2.8 Million from Jefferson Parish to promote and market Jefferson Parish, including the City of Kenner.

That $448k represents a significant increase over what the City of Kenner was paying the KCVB and will only continue to increase as more hotels are put online as part of the Armstrong Airport Expansion.

For its part, the JCVB has not offered the people of Kenner an accurate accounting of what exactly it spent the $448k on and how exactly it marketed/promoted Kenner tourism.

A rational mind, and, again, as I sit alone typing this, I’m probably not the most rational mind in this room either, would expect that, given the $448k that the JCVB received and is supposed to be spending to market Kenner AND the additional marketing dollars that were included when Yenni unilaterally extended the SMG contract to manage the Pontchartrain Center, that Kenner would be flush with conventioneers  and the Pontchartrain Center would be filled consistently with out-of-town visitors spending money in Kenner retail shops, restaurants, gas stations, etc.

That however, is clearly not the case.

Aside from a blip in November, Kenner’s sales tax revenue has consistently declined.

Yet, the City of Kenner continues to pay more and more to Buisson’s JCVB with little in quantifiable results.

During the same 2015-2016 time period, the JCVB paid Buisson Creative Strategies almost $164,000 in addition to the commissions Buisson received on the almost $27k in media ad spending placed through Buisson. Commissions paid to agencies like Buisson’s are typically in the 5-15% range.

Buisson earned additional money through his booking of acts for Family Gras and for services to other events related to Jefferson Parish Tourism or associated with the JCVB.

Clearly, Kenner could easily promote and market itself for less money (and more accountability) than it allocates to the JCVB.

Yes, the JCVB already has the infrastructure and manpower to promote Kenner, but, are they giving Kenner our fair share of time, money and resources or is a portion of our tax dollars just siphoned off the top and ending up in Greg Buisson’s money-grubbing pockets?

Like I said, it doesn’t take the smartest guy in the room, or even a Sexual Predator like Mike Yenni, to know the answer to that question.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fox 8 – Greg Buisson’s Mouthpiece


When you watch TV news, you normally know what you’re going to get.

If you’re a fan of CNN, MSNBC or any of the Big 3 networks, you probably lean to the Left.

If you’re a fan of Fox News Channel, you probably lean to the Right.

However, when you watch Local TV News, you don’t expect to get someone’s agenda jammed down your throat. If you’re like me, you want FACTS and, if opinions are involved, you want to hear both sides.

Not so with WVUE Fox 8 News.

It’s become apparent to me over the past several years, and particularly the past several months, that Fox 8 gives preferential news coverage to JP’s Minister of Propaganda Greg Buisson, and his clients like JP’s Sexual Predator-in-Chief Mike Yenni and Lyin’ Ben Zahn.

To prove my point, let me cite several examples.

A few months back, Fox 8 heavily promoted a Lee Zurik exclusive interview with Mike Yenni.

The “interview” was a snore fest staged by Buisson.

Zurik repeatedly threw Yenni softball questions about Yenni’s sexting escapade with a 17-year-old boy. Yenni dodged, deflected, and basically didn’t answer even Zurik’s soft questions and Zurik let Yenni off the hook.

Zurik even allowed part of the interview to include Yenni’s wife and almost gleefully noted that she was standing by her man (It does beg the question, unfortunately not asked by Zurik, how many men and underage boys have called Yenni “Their Man”?).

The “interview” was a complete waste of time that had no real news value other than a Public Relations vehicle for Buisson’s client.

Tuesday, there were two pieces of interesting Jefferson Parish News: a letter from JP Council President Chris Roberts discussing some of Yenni’s explicit sexts and the disclosure that Roberts had been dropped from a lawsuit that Buisson filed against Roberts and Jefferson Parish over an ordinance banning political consultants like Buisson from receiving Parish contracts.

Fox 8 covered neither instead offering up a piece describing a series of texts last week between Roberts and Council member Jennifer Van Vrancken where Roberts asked the Councilwoman if she was ok with the Parish President suggesting explicit sex acts with a teenage boy.

In the letter from Roberts to his fellow councilmembers, which Fox 8 did not report on, Roberts also paraphrased Yenni’s text to the 17-year-old in graphic detail.

In the Fox 8 piece, Van Vrancken acted mortified that Roberts would send her such a graphic text. Unfortunately, she was not just as mortified that Yenni would send such a text to a teenage boy.

Kind of a double standard, don’t you think?

And, once again, Fox 8 buries a story that could paint Yenni in a bad light and focuses on casting a political critic of Yenni (and a vocal critic of Buisson), in a negative light.

For the record, WWL-TV and WDSU-TV both reported on the Roberts letter and neither covered the sham Van Vrancken story.

To be fair, I didn’t watch WGNO’s “News With A Twist” because, in my opinion, it’s neither news or an interesting show (although I’ve always like Susan Roesgen and I firmly believe that she deserves much better).

Wednesday night, Fox 8 had a piece about the dustup at the JP Council meeting between Roberts and Yenni.

Fine. WWL and WDSU covered it as well.

However, Fox 8 took the additional step of adding comments from former JP Councilman and current Kenner Mayor Lyin’ Ben Zahn (also a Buisson client) that were extremely critical of Roberts.

At a press conference to announce that Lyin’ Ben was endorsing Larry Katz for the interim Council seat that Zahn vacated when he became Mayor, Lyin’ Ben said, "I would be remiss, though, if I did not question Chris Roberts motive for today's actions."

At the Council meeting, when the Council was discussing and voting on the interim seat, Roberts noted that he met with his nominee, Jack Rizzuto, at the urging of Zahn.

Three council members (Van Vrancken, Spears and Johnston) voted FOR Katz, while the remaining three (Roberts, Lee-Sheng and Templet), voted AGAINST Katz. 

The opposite 3-3 vote occurred for Rizzuto.

Was the personal shot questioning Roberts’ integrity by Lyin’ Ben necessary?

And, really, how can Lyin’ Ben question anyone’s integrity with a straight face?

Why wasn’t Lyin’ Ben critical of the other council members that voted Against Katz?

But, the point of all of this is, Lyin’ Ben’s comments are irrelevant. His opinion of Chris Roberts and his endorsement of an interim councilmember mean nothing. In fact, the Council should completely disregard Lyin’ Ben’s thoughts on the matter and choose the candidate that will best represent the interests of the District 4, not the one that Lyin’ Ben wants in office.

And Lyin’ Ben’s opinions should not be part of a Fox 8 news story.

But, of course, since Lyin’ Ben is a client of Greg Buisson and Buisson has a vendetta against Roberts (and some say that Roberts has a vendetta against Buisson), Lyin’ Ben’s comments criticizing Roberts were included.

Again, completely irrelevant to the story and another example of Fox 8’s Pro-Buisson stance.

I know many of the folks at Fox 8. I’ve appeared on air there and in news stories (probably won’t again after they read this but, oh well). I like Fox 8 and I appreciate the amount of local news they air, as I appreciate WWL and WDSU and, yes, even WGNO (when they’re not running “News With a Twist”).

But, when the opinions of some override the coverage of “news”, we all lose.

No offense Fox 8, but I don’t want Greg Buisson’s or Lyin’ Ben’s opinion on anything.

Just give me the facts. I have my own opinions and can make up my own mind.

I think I deserve at least that from you.






Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Roberts Says Yenni Sexting Far From “Innocent”


In a note to his fellow JP Councilmembers, Council President Chris Roberts has called on the council to further investigate Yenni and his texts to a then 17-year-old boy.  

Roberts makes it clear in his memo that the texts are much more graphic than Yenni would like the public to believe.

“Additionally, I have been told by multiple sources that the text messages exchanged between the Parish President and the young man included solicitation to perform oral sex by the desire to place his tongue into the young man’s rectum. This to me is far more extreme than the portrayal to date that has been brushed off as innocent communication that went astray or simply were misunderstood.”

“I urge all of you,” Roberts continued, “to further investigate the content of the messages and determine for yourself whether this is how we want the face of our parish to be represented.”

To date, Yenni has simply called the texts “inappropriate”. He has not directly denied many of the allegations set forth by the boy including a proposed homosexual threesome involving Yenni, the boy and another 19-year-old male; Yenni’s suggestion that he and the boy cross state lines to engage in sex; Yenni’s pursuit of the boy and their kiss in a public restroom; and Yenni’s suggestion that he would give the boy a job as an aide to Yenni so the two could be close and not arouse suspicion, among other allegations.

At the time, Yenni was the 39-year-old Mayor of Kenner, a husband and father. The sexting occurred while Yenni was campaigning for Parish President.

Yenni was also involved in another batch of inappropriate communications with 8 adult males while he was the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Kenner. Multiple emails were sent and received by Yenni on City of Kenner equipment. Those emails were also sexually explicit in nature. When the emails were disclosed, Yenni claimed that he was being extorted by political rivals and the FBI embargoed the emails, although many in Kenner had already read the emails or had copies of them.

Yenni has maintained that those emails from 2009-2010 were fabricated.


Monday, January 30, 2017

The Sexual Predator-In-Chief Takes On Education And The JP School Board That Banished Him


When Jefferson Parish’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni named former Jefferson Parish School Superintendent Dianne Roussel as one of his top aides, I scoffed.

What was a former School Superintendent who failed miserably and was vilified by parents, teachers, administrators and School Board Members going to do in Parish Government? The Parish and School Board are completely separate entities and the Parish President has nothing to do with Education.

But, when you consider the stellar Leadership Team that Yenni has surrounded himself with, the selection of Roussel is really not surprising.

Yenni’s top 4 aides include:

-          The aforementioned Roussel.



-          A drunk former Police Chief, despite the Parish President also having no jurisdiction over the JPSO.



-          A bankrupt attorney and former JPSO Officer who left the force in a cloud of controversy surrounding an allegation of a cover up involving police brutality at a Mardi Gras Parade.



-          A former secretary turned uncertified City Auditor who rose swiftly to become Deputy CAO for Louisiana’s 6th largest city despite having no municipal government experience (perhaps she has photos of Yenni with farm animals – young, male farm animals)

And, they are led by a Sexual Predator who has been banned from setting foot on any Catholic or Public School property or attending any school events.

Nice.

I’m sure we all sleep better at night knowing that Jefferson Parish is in such great hands.

While I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact that he is banned from schools and can’t troll for sexual conquests, but Yenni has found something for Roussel to get involved in: offering ideas to fix the public school system that she left in tatters.

When Roussel left the school system in 2011 citing a need to “rest”, JP schools were ranked 52nd out of 70 Louisiana school systems.

I know what you’re thinking: she needed rest after getting us to a whopping 52nd place?

And that 52nd place finish came after the JP School Board was stacked with pro-business members and Roussel had virtual carte blanche to increase the bloated school bureaucracy with her highly-paid cronies at the expense of educating children.

Now, JP’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief has named Roussel to Chair a new Education Task Force.

And what exactly will this Task Force do?

Make suggestions that they can’t enforce or quantify.

Didn’t Roussel have 8 years as Superintendent with a supportive pro-business School Board to enact her “suggestions”?

Yep, and it got us all the way to 52nd place!

Woo Hoo.

Can’t wait to hear her new suggestions now that she’s “rested”.

So, now that the people of Jefferson Parish have kicked out the failed pro-business majority on the School Board and Roussel has “rested”, what does Mike Yenni do?

He forms a Task Force filled with pro-business folks.

In addition to Roussel and Natalie Newton from his office, Yenni’s Task Force includes many of the usual suspects:

-          Former State Rep. Tony Ligi, an attorney who quit the Legislature to, in his words, spend more time with his family. At least he didn't say that he needed to "rest". Ligi became a lobbyist for business as the head of the Jefferson Business Council. He is also the President of the Elmwood Business Association.



-          Henry Shane who helped elect the failed pro-business School Board and is a political supporter of Yenni and Ligi. Shane is a member of the Jefferson Business Council and heavily involved in the Jefferson Chamber.



-          Dr. Vinicio Madrigal who heads the fake endorsement group HISPAC. Yenni called Madrigal “instrumental” in the formation of the Kenner Discovery and Health Sciences Academy. As an alleged Hispanic leader, perhaps someone should ask Madrigal (who is a Dr. in name only) why Kenner Discovery has such a disproportionately low percentage of Hispanic and Minority students compared to Kenner’s population.



-          Todd Murphy, President of the Jefferson Chamber. The Chamber worked hand-in-hand with Shane and the Jefferson Business Council to propagate the failed pro-business School Board that worked with Roussel and led JP Schools to their amazing 52nd Place.



-          State Senator Conrad Appel, a staunch supporter of Common Core. Appel will act as an “Advisor” to the Task Force.

Look, no one disputes that Education in Jefferson Parish doesn’t need improvement. However, it is NOT the role of Parish Government or the Parish President to intervene in Education.

If Mike Yenni has suggestions to improve public education, other than have more events so he can hookup with students, he should discuss those suggestions with the current School Board and Superintendent.

I predict that this Task Force will work like all of Yenni’s other political committees (The Kenner Streamlining Government Committee; the Kennere Economic Development Committee; the sub-committee on The Esplanade Mall – yeah, how did that work out?): they will meet and talk. There will be a press release from the Minister of Propaganda Greg Buisson and it will accomplish nothing.

For his part, Jefferson Parish Council President Chris Roberts wants no part in Yenni’s Education Task Force.

In a Facebook post, Roberts said, "I want to be clear that I have not submitted a name for this Task Force nor do I plan to do so.”


The other JP Council members should follow Roberts’ lead and steer clear of any involvement in another of Yenni’s shams.


In fact, the best thing that Yenni could do for Education in Jefferson Parish  would be to resign and allow our parish to move forward with a new Parish President.


At least then our children could have a Parish President that they could look up to.







  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

JP Council Denies Lyin’ Ben’s Big Buisson Payoff



Did you ever have one of those days?

You know the one.

You wake up in a fantastic mood knowing that it’s going to be a great day. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping.

Sure, you have to go to work but you know that your day looks great and you will get everything accomplished.

The stars are truly aligned in your favor.
Then, it all turns to mush.

For Lyin’ Ben Zahn, Wednesday was one of THOSE days.

Zahn, who delayed taking the oath of office as Kenner Mayor so that he could have one more JP Council meeting, his last JP Council meeting didn’t quite turn out as he planned.

I’m certain that, being the pompous ass that he is, Lyin’ Ben thought his last JP Council meeting would be a victory lap, an opportunity to funnel even more JP tax dollars to his campaign contributors and, of course, his campaign manager, the Minister of Propaganda Greg Buisson.

But, the best made plans seldom are.

To be fair, Lyin’ Ben did throw a lot of taxpayer money around. In fact, he probably did more for Kenner in one meeting than he has in the past five years on the council (and, I’m sure we will ALL be hearing about it next year when Lyin’ Ben runs for reelection).

Funding for Laketown; for the Italian Heritage Festival (run by his Campaign Manager’s former client Louis Congemi); money for Kenner’s City Park.

But, since the real reason for Lyin’ Ben’s last meeting was to author a big payoff for his campaign manager Greggo, Lyin’ Ben’s day was a failure.

Buisson, the campaign manager for Zahn, JP’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni, and countless other area elected officials, sued Jefferson Parish and Councilman-At-Large Chris Roberts over an ordinance authored by Roberts to ban political operatives from receiving contracts with the parish.

Buisson claimed that the ordinance was targeted at him.

As you probably know, I could care less what Greg Buisson thinks, the Roberts ordinance was good for Jefferson Parish. If it hurt Buisson, that’s a win-win in my book.

Of course, settling or not settling the lawsuit is a crapshoot. JP tax payers may end up on the hook for more than $120k. Since it’s in Federal Court (instead of the 24th JDC), I think JP’s odds of winning are good.

In the end, the Council voted 5-2 against settling the lawsuit. Only fellow Buisson Acolyte Paul Johnston voted with Lyin’ Ben.

BTW, what happened to you, Paul Johnston?

I always thought you were a decent guy, even when we disagreed.

Now, you’re attacking citizens that speak out, going behind the backs of volunteer firefighters, and acting like Lyin’ Ben.

After the Aaron Broussard scandal, there was a groundswell of support for stronger ethics in Jefferson Parish and for all of Louisiana for that matter.

The Republican led state legislature, with the approval of then-Governor Bobby Jindal, offered some mild ethics reforms that they called “The Gold Standard” of governmental ethics.

As you know, they failed miserably.

The Republicans in state government actually weakened ethics for themselves and made the State Ethics Board a group of clerks sending out late notices instead of a strong compliance office.

You still have legislators like Kenner State Senator (and a candidate to replace Lyin’ Ben on the JP Council) Danny Martiny taking excess political contributions from PACs and other legislators and elected officials like Yenni and Zahn using campaign donations to enhance their personal lifestyles while the State Ethics Board gets paid to date and time stamp campaign filing forms rather than issue strong penalties to real violators.

In JP, Roberts and others on the Council, prodded by Margie Seemann and Margaret Baird, put forth some modest ethics proposals but none had the teeth to significantly improve ethics in JP government.

The Parish even brought in an Inspector General to add another layer of protection although the JP IG doesn’t monitor the Parish’s largest city (Kenner) and the Yenni Administration has done it’s best to provide obstacles to the IG.

Regardless of his motivation, the Roberts ordinance was a step in the right direction.

You shouldn’t have the campaign manager of elected officials also receiving parish contracts and using his influence to derive even more tax dollars from NGOs like the Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau, JEDCO, and many others that receive tax payer funding.

I mean really, what Councilman that wants to get reelected can refuse to help his campaign manager?

For the past several weeks, Lyin’ Ben has been working behind the scenes to push his fellow council members to settle the lawsuit with Buisson. The Council already scuttled the Roberts ordinance and backtracked on a Buisson contract for Mardi Gras parade stands.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Zahn offered an ordinance to settle and pay Buisson $120,000 of YOUR tax dollars for “legal fees”.

You don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist, or even an Unlicensed Florist, to know that some, if not all, of that $120k would have wound up in Buisson’s pocket.

Claiming that the Parish had already spent several hundred thousand dollars defending the lawsuit (why can’t our Parish Attorneys litigate again?), Lyin’ Ben claimed that it was a good deal.

Despite calls for those Councilmembers that had a previous relationship with Buisson to recuse themselves, Zahn relied on Parish Attorney Mike Power’s claim that, since Lyin’ Ben didn’t have a “current” contract with Buisson, he could vote on the settlement.

Buisson worked with Zahn during his Kenner Mayoral campaign. Buisson claimed that, despite having meetings with Lyin’ Ben to discuss Zahn’s inauguration and the mayoral transition, his “work” for Zahn ended when Zahn won the runoff.

Buisson claims that he was not paid for his meetings with Zahn after the runoff.

Right.

As everyone knows, whores don’t do anything for free.

And, in Metro New Orleans, there is no bigger whore than Greg Buisson.

When civic activist George Peterson took to the podium to discuss the Zahn conflict of interest, Zahn fired back asking if Peterson was an attorney.

No, George Peterson is not an attorney.

He’s not an Unlicensed Florist either.

Buisson himself took the podium to urge the council to settle.

After he was finished patting himself on the back as a champion of free speech, the man who complained about citizens making Public Records Requests, spoke to WDSU’s Travers Mackel.

“This is all about politics,” Buisson said.

And that’s the problem.

Look, if Greg Buisson wants to be the campaign manager for almost every elected official in Jefferson Parish, fine, go for it.

But, don’t use your relationships as a campaign manager to extract (or extort) tax dollars.

That’s not right.

And, if we had any ethics in Jefferson Parish, we wouldn’t be discussing this.

Of course, we wouldn’t have a Sexual Predator as Parish President and a pathological liar soon to be Kenner’s Mayor either.