Friday, September 30, 2016

WWL-TV to Mike Yenni: “You’re Out”



WWL-TV has confirmed what many in Kenner have long whispered about: former Kenner Mayor and current Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni has had several illicit relationships with men, including sexting, propositioning and kissing a 17-year-old high school boy.

In 2009 and 2010, Yenni, then Kenner’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), sent sexual text messages on a City-reimbursed cell phone account tied to City of Kenner servers, to at least 8 males. Yenni was elected Kenner Mayor in 2010 and later married that same year. He and his wife have a 3-year-old daughter.

The emails were copied off the city server and given to a-then political opponent of Yenni, former Mayor and Jefferson Parish Councilman Louis Congemi. Congemi endorsed Yenni in his 2014 reelection and was defeated in his bid for Jefferson Parish Council-At-Large in 2015, losing to incumbent Chris Roberts.

It was alleged that Yenni was the target of attempted extortion. The FBI investigated but no charges were filed.

Now the FBI is investigating Yenni over an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old during the Summer of 2015.

Yenni was introduced to the teen by another, older teen after Yenni saw the boy at a high school function.

Yenni sent the boy several explicit text messages suggesting the two have sex together and with the older teen.

In addition, Yenni met the boy at his job in a mall food court. Yenni bought the boy designer underwear and went with the boy into a public restroom where the two kissed.

The boy broke off the relationship when he became uncomfortable with Yenni’s text messages and the two did not have sex. In Louisiana, the age of sexual consent is 17. However, since Yenni sent text messages, the FBI is investigating if Yenni broke Federal law regarding using telecommunications in explicit messages to someone under 18-years-old.

It is particularly troubling that, in a message, Yenni suggested that the teen become one of Yenni’s Assistants or Secretaries so the boy could be with Yenni and not arouse suspicion.

Rumors of Yenni’s sexual proclivities appeared to die down after his marriage. It was just a temporary respite however and even more rumors of explicit text and email messages, clandestine meetings in New Orleans, and even photos of Yenni  were mentioned.

When I ran against Yenni in 2014, many wanted me to use Yenni’s sexual antics against him.  I refused.

To be honest, I could care less who Mike Yenni sleeps with. That is, if they are consenting adults. I don’t care if he’s gay, bisexual, or likes dressing up in clown clothes (although I would object to him wearing his Navy Reserve uniform – an enlistment that was also a farce). But, whatever Mike Yenni is (and whatever he wears while trying to impress his sexual partners) just be honest about it.

Oh, and keep it between adults.

What I did object to was the hypocrisy of Mike Yenni continuing to trot out his wife and child for political purposes. As I’ve mentioned many times, Mike Yenni’s entire life has been contrived. He is not, and has not been, what he appears to portray.

Anc, while the media has known everything that I, and others have known for years, they failed to disclose it or chose to ignore the carefully crafted Yenni fa├žade.

The media, particularly the Times-Picayune/Nola.com, continued to feed the public the image of Mike Yenni – Mr. Family Values. All the while, the TP knew it was a lie.

Months before his 2014 reelection, Yenni trotted out his wife and baby for Thanksgiving and Christmas video messages on Nola.com.

When I asked an Editor for Nola.com, he said he thought it was proper and appropriate to give Yenni the platform to promote himself and Yenni’s contrived image,

The Times-Picayune/Nola.com and the electronic media did a disservice to the people of Kenner and Jefferson Parish by not investigating the rumors and exposing Mike Yenni for the sexual predator that he is sooner.

How many other children has Mike Yenni propositioned? How many people has he used his elected or appointed positions ro coerce? How many other job offers has Mike Yenni made in exchange for sexual favors with adults or minors?

In addition to the “Family Values” hypocrisy, I am also troubled by Yenni choosing high school functions to scope out his next sexual conquests.

A 40-year-old married man seeking introductions to high school boys and suggesting sexual relations between them, is a sexual predator. If it were any other man, the media would already be calling Yenni that.

If you are a Jefferson Parish resident, how does it make you feel that your Parish President is a sexual predator?

Again, if this were any other man, he would have already been fired from his job and potentially charged and arrested and, if Mike Yenni actually cared about Jefferson Parish he would have already resigned.

It is ironic that when I ran against Yenni in 2014, one of the few groups that actually endorsed me was the LGBT community. Perhaps Yenni tried too hard to appear straight or the group preferred my answers on Gay Adoption to Yenni’s otherwise why would they endorse a straight guy over one of their own.

For the record, as someone that was adopted himself, I know there are many children in foster homes or waiting to be adopted. If two consenting adults feel that they can provide the love, support and nurturing that a child needs, it doesn’t matter to me what sex they are = adopting and loving a child is a wonderful thing.

As for Mike Yenni, he doesn’t deserve our support or even our pity. Mike Yenni is a sexual predator who used his positions and city resources to lead a double life and attempt to have sexual relations with children who aren’t even old enough to vote.

The evidence is out there and the FBI needs to move forward with charges and the media needs to stop sweeping this under the rug. Thankfully, David Hammer and WWL-TV mustered the courage to expose the fraud Yenni has perpetrated on the people of Kenner and Jefferson Parish.
.
Yenni  needs to resign or be removed from office. Sexual predators should appear on postcards when they move into a neighborhood not be representing Jefferson Parish.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Greg Carroll Makes His Move



The last in our series of Kenner Mayoral candidate profiles.

Kenner District 1 Councilman Gregory Carroll is an interesting guy.

A lifelong resident of District 1, the soft-spoken Carroll has an inate ability to rally his constituents on issues that will impact them.

While other elected officials hold sporadic community meetings, if at all, and struggle for attendance, Carroll can easily fill a room. He has frequent formal and informal meetings with his constituents, listens to their concerns, and fights for them.

He doesn’t let partisan politics or campaign contributors dictate how he serves his district.

While I am not a resident of District 1, I have attended several community meetings held by Carroll. I have seen firsthand his ability to command a room, his ability to listen to residents concerns, and then vote and act accordingly.

When Mike Yenni wanted to close playgrounds that impacted the residents of his district, Carroll rallied his constituents and successfully fought the playground closures.

When Yenni wanted to sell streets to the Levee Authority that would restrict access to historic cemetaries, Carroll again successfully rallied the troops, went before the Levee Authority, made his case and limited te Levee Authority’s impact on his constituents.

When residents voiced their concerns regarding Yenni’s plan to sell airport buyout property, Carroll held several community meetings and ensured that his constituents were heard.

The Most Conservative Member of the City Council

As the only Democrat on the 7 person Kenner City Council, and the only Democratic Mayoral candidate, Carroll is easily the most fiscally Conservative member of either group.

Carroll was against Yenni’s plan to double property taxes. He was also against Yenni’s 2030 Plan, not the concept of beautifying Kenner, but against the significant debt that was incurred and some of the projects involved.

Councilman Carroll has worked with our youth on Kenner playgrounds. He understands the vital role that Recreation plays in our community.

He has worked diligently to provide funding for badly needed police and fire equipment.

Honesty, Integrity, Responsiveness, Vision

Those are some of the primary character traits I look for in an elected official and on these Greg Carroll excels.

When discussing issues, even when we’ve disagreed, and we have disagreed, Councilman Carroll has always been honest and straightforward. He has listened to my, and other, opinions. When his position and mine were different, he has told me why he feels his position is better for the City of Kenner or his district. I have never been surprised by Councilman Carroll’s vote on an issue and I feel he has always voted for what is right for his district and the city..

As I mentined, while I am not in his district, I do have some pretty strong opinions on issues. When I’ve called, texted or emailed Councilman Carroll, he has always promptly replied. The same cannot be said for thie other elected officials seeking the Mayor slot.

Councilman Carroll wants a better Kenner. He doesn’t feel entitled to be Mayor and he’s not out to personally enrich himself or feed his ego. Again, the same cannot be said of the other elected officials seeking the Mayor slot.






Thursday, September 22, 2016

Al Morella Tries Again



The fourth in our series of Kenner Mayoral candidate profiles.

Alright, I confess – I like Al Morella.

Even when Al didn’t have all the facts or trusted what he read in the newspaper and publicly criticized me, I still like Al.

Al religiously attends Kenner and JP Council meetings and speaks out on issues. We need more citizens becoming active and speaking out like Al Morella.

Unfortunately, that isn’t enough warrant election as Mayor.

But, I still like Al and I’m glad he’s trying again.

The Nola.com Mayoral Debate

I have always felt that, even if he is sometimes misguided and doesn’t have all the facts or information, Al Morella’s heart is in the right place.

And, he has a very big heart.

In 2014, Al and I ran against Mike Yenni. Knowing that Yenni, as an incumbent, had a huge leg up, I challenged Yenni to a series of debates. He refused.

Then Drew Broach at Nola.com decided that they would hold a videotaped debate and post it on their web site.

The only problem was the date.

Before the debate, after months of delays, I was finally cleared to have hardware implanted into my foot to fuse my heel, ankle and tibia together. The operation was scheduled about 10 days before the debate.

Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a one-day surgery was a bit more complicated and I ended up spending 8 days in the hospital.

I was released two days before the debate and, while I was still in considerable pain and on crutches, I wasn’t about to miss the chance to debate Yenni.

So, I shrugged off the warnings on my pain meds to not drive or operate heavy machinery, and drove down to the Nola.com offices.

With a bunch of pain meds in my stomach, I was nauseated leaving Kenner. By the time I made it to the parking garage of the office building housing Nola.com, I was fighting the urge to vomit.

After snaking through the parking garage and finally finding a spot, I couldn’t fight it any longer and vomited as soon as I got out of my car.

I found a restroom inside and tried to clean myself up. When I made it to the Nola.com office, I was sweating profusely.

Watching the video of the debate, I look distracted and unable to focus. Now, you know why.

I still think I did ok but I didn’t do as good as I could have.

After the debate, Yenni (along with the Puppetmaster Greg Buisson) immediately left. Being on crutches, It took me a little while longer to get going (and I really didn’t want to ride in the same elevator with them anyway).  I chatted with Al for a few minutes and made my way out.

Al and I rode the elevator together and he could see that I was struggling. I was sweating, dizzy, nauseaus and unsteady. Hobbling around on crutches didn’t make it any easier.

Anyway, even though he was parked on a different floor, Al walked with me to my car. I didn’t need his help but I appreciated him being there.

Al went out of his way to make sure that I was ok and I will always remember that and be grateful.

That being said, I don’t think Al is qualified to be Mayor.

Al has nothing in his background that would how that he is qualified to run a City like Kenner. He doesn’t use a computer or email. He is not a team builder and would have difficulty forming a team of folks to work with him and help him operate the City.

So, while I love Al Morella as a person and a civic activist, I cannot support him in his candidacy.

But, I will continue to tell everyone I know that Kenner and Jefferson Parish needs more folks like Al Morella.

Just not as Mayor.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Maria DeFrancesch Is NOT Part of the Machine. Really…



Third in our series of Kenner Mayoral candidate profiles.

If you are like me, and God help you and Mike Yenni if you are, you really want to like Kenner Councilman-At-Large Maria DeFrancesch.

She reminds me of a Grandmother, or, more appropriately, a slightly senile Grandmother.

When you talk to DeFrancesch, she seems empathetic. She asks how you are feeling but, deep down, you know that she really could care less.

She attends every civic meeting possible (and, why wouldn’t she? She’s retired) and never fails to let everyone know that she was there to hear your issues.

But, she never fixes anything.

Perhaps it’s the senility or the Adult ADD, but DeFrancesch just moves along to the next group and the next issue. It doesn’t matter to her that the issue wasn’t resolved in your favor – all that matters is that she can say that she was there and tried to help you but someone (or something) stood in the way.

Case in point, when she was narrowly reelected to her then-District 4 Council seat in 2010, at the last moment, DeFrancesch (along with then-Mayor Mike Yenni) dropped the bombshell that the department store Kohl’s was coming to Kenner.

Of course, DeFrancesch was front and center in leading the charge for Kenner.

As you already know, Kohl’s still hasn’t come to Kenner and may never.

DeFrancesch blamed a “management shakeup” at Kohl’s for them not opening a store in Kenner.

A few years later, DeFrancesch claimed that another department store chain, Belk’s, was interested in moving into The Esplanade.

I contacted Belk’s myself and was told that they had no expansion plans for Kenner.

Oops.

I bring up Kohl’s again because DeFrancesch herself brought it up at a recent Kenner City Council meeting.

While discussing the lack of inclusion by acting Mayor Mike Sigur of other councilmen, particularly the At-Large Couuncilmen, in meetings regarding new businesses to Kenner, DeFrancesch again threw Kohl’s up as an example.

“Regarding Kohl’s,” DeFrancesch said, “We did everything right. The Administration and I worked closely with JEDCO on a TIF and incentives. The only reason they didn’t come here was because a big management shakeup. We did everything right.”

Right…Keep telling yourself that Maria and then click your heels three times and you will magically become Mayor.

Of course, DeFrancesch has never explained why Kohl’s bypassed Kenner and opened stores in Houma and Slidell without any TIFs and only state tax exemptions for job creation.

Why would Kohl[s go to two significantly smaller cities, with much more limited incentives?

Obviously, the tag team of DeFrancesch and Yenni DID NOT do everything right.


“I’m Not Part of the Machine”

In a direct mail piece, DeFrancesch goes to great lengths to try to convince us that she’s not part of the Political Machine.

Not now, perhaps, but she was.

Now, with Ben Zahn as THE ANNOINTED ONE, the machine doesn’t need her. They used her during the Yenni Administration, promised her the world for her vote (and for turning her back on the people of Kenner and following Yenni blindly down the Yellow Brick Road), and now that they’ve gotten everything they need, they spit her out like an old piece of chewing gum.

But, you can’t claim to have NEVER been part of the machine when you sucked up to Yenni for years and you’ve used the propaganda firm of Greg Buisson and Associates in the past.

It doesn’t work like that Maria.

When you lie down with dogs, you’re going to get fleas.

Why Mayor When You Just Became Councilman-At-Large?

When I ran for JP Council and Kenner Mayor, I knew why I was running. I had very clear reasons and ideas of what I wanted to accomplish.

I don’t think that DeFrancesch has a clue other than that she feels (like Ben Zahn), that she is entitled to the job.

DeFrancesch was the Distric 4 Councilman for 8 years. When she was term-limited there, she got lucky and ran unopposed for Councilman-At-Large. She got VERY lucky.

Now, about a year and a half after moving up to Council-At-Large, she thinks she deserves to move up again.

But why?

Like her other Republican challengers, Ben Zahn and Keith Reynaud, DeFrancesch has done nothing to make Kenner better. She has no track record of achievement, of standing up for the people of Kenner, of fighing for the little guy.

DeFrancesch, like her former BFF Yenni, has never run a business, never struggled to meet a payroll, never created one job.

She is, however, one of the largest owners of Section 8 properties in Kenner.

In fact, I have labeled DeFrancesch “Kenner’s Slumlord-In-Chief”.

Now, that isn’t exactly fair. There’s nothing particularly wrong with providing affordable housing and receiving government subsidies if you do things properly (screen your tenants, maintain your properties, etc.).

According the a Kenner Housing Authority report, that hasn’t always been the case with DeFrancesch’s properties. Some of her properties weren’t audited by HUD or the KHA for years.

As an elected official seeking our vote to move up and run our city, DeFrancesch should go above and beyond in ensuring her properties not only meet, but exceed the standards expected and she hasn’t.




The Experience Question

DeFrancesch, like the other four candidates seeking the Mayor job, has never run a business or even a government department anywhere near the size of the City of Kenner and its $60 Million budget.

DeFrancesch was a public elementary school teacher and, later, an Assistant Principal.

And that’s great.

If they City of Kenner was comprised of 6-13 year olds, she might qualify.

But, for now, like Zahn and Reynaud, to quote the movie “A Knight’s Tale”, she has been weighed and measured and found lacking.

She will top out at 18% and return to her Council-At-Large seat for the rest of her term.

But, keep looking behind you Maria and save some of your campaign kitty. Lil Ben and Mikey have already cut deals with someone to run against you in thr Spring of 2018.