Friday, April 5, 2013

Kenner Mayor Whines About Councilman: “Everything I try to do he tries to fight me on it."

As you probably already know, I’m not a big fan of Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni’s policies. Now, contrary to what you, and Mayor Yenni, may think, I don’t dislike Mayor Yenni. Really.

The fact is, I don’t know Mayor Yenni on that level to determine whether I like or dislike him as a person. And I probably never will know him that way.
No, Mayor Yenni won’t be buying me lunch anytime soon, and, even if he did, I would pay for lunch myself. But, Mayor Yenni, you can stop mailing me invitations to your fundraisers though and save the postage. Don’t know why you took me off the City of Kenner’s Press Release email list (which is free) but you insist on continuing to solicit money from me at every opportunity.

I’ve always tried to be cordial with Mayor Yenni, even when he has not been very cordial with me.
Case in point, the last time I spoke with Mayor Yenni was at a recent Kenner City Council meeting. I was walking (hobbling, actually) to the restroom and the Mayor was walking towards me from the restroom. Our conversation went like this:

ME: “How you doing Mayor Yenni?”
MAYOR YENNI: “Good. Never better.”

And that was it.
The Mayor didn’t ask how my leg was progressing, how my family is, or even take 10 seconds out of his walk back to the Council meeting to make small talk with a Kenner resident.

And, that’s ok. If you know me, you know I’m not really good at small talk anyway.
At last night’s Kenner City Council meeting, Councilmen Joe Stagni and Gregory Carroll offered an amendment to defer a Resolution setting in motion the process for the state to approve almost $47 Million in debt for the City of Kenner. Several citizens, myself included, implored the Council to poll their residents and get more input BEFORE seeking this action. Mayor Yenni was livid and, sadly for the people of Kenner, Councilmen Stagni and Carroll could not get 2 more of their colleagues to see that representing their citizens and getting input from them, was important enough to wait two more council meetings and the Amendment failed by a 5-2 vote.

More on the deferral in my next post.
Given what I know about Mayor Yenni’s temperament, it was not surprising for me to hear him on WRNO 99.5fm this morning, once again blasting people who don’t agree with him.

Like a three-year-old child whose mother won’t give him another cookie, Mayor Yenni always gets defensive and takes things personally, so much so that his voice increases in pitch and he sounds like he’s whining.
Well, on the radio this morning, Mayor Yenni was whining about Councilman Stagni.

Now Councilman Stagni is my councilman and, while we agree on many issues, he will be the first to tell you that we’ve also disagreed on many too. But, we still talk in a courteous manner, Councilman Stagni returns my phone calls and emails when I call/email about an issue, and I think that we have a mutual respect for each other.
I think I have that same give and take relationship with several (although far from all) elected officials.

But, back to Mayor Yenni on the radio.
Lamenting last night’s council meeting and the Amendment offered by Councilman Stagni, Mayor Yenni said, "And everything I try to do he tries to fight me on it.”

So, let’s turn back the clock and look at some of the things recently that Mayor Yenni and Councilman Stagni have disagreed on:

-          Mayor Yenni’s plan to double property taxes. I also disagreed with this as did Councilmen Carroll and Kent Denapolis and 60 – 70% of the voters in Kenner. Sorry Mayor Yenni: Gotta score this one for Councilman Stagni.


-          The Charter Change Banning Yenni’s Political Appointees from participating in political campaigns. Mayor Yenni was against this; the Council voted 7 – 0 to put it on the ballot; I along with 70% of the voters in Kenner approved it. Sorry again Mayor Yenni. Score another for Councilman Stagni.


-          The Charter Change that required Council approval and public input for all contracts valued at over $100,000 per year. Yenni was against this one too; the Council again voted 7 – 0 to put it on the ballot; and, again, I along with 70% of the voters in Kenner approved it. Hate to keep saying it but, score another for Councilman Stagni.


The point of this exercise wasn’t to show that Councilman Stagni is correct on every issue. As I mentioned, Councilman Stagni and I have had some knockdown dragouts over Mayor Yenni’s plan (which Councilman Stagni supported) to give Yenni’s political appointees $200,000 a year in salary increases under the guise of “Auto and Cell Phone Allowances” and several other issues.

Had the Auto/Cell Phone Allowance issue also been put to a vote of the people of Kenner, I’m sure it too would have been defeated by the same 70 – 30% margin, if not more.
No, the point of this exercise is to show that there’s nothing wrong with a Councilman going against the grain and representing the interests of his constituents. Councilmen Stagni and Carroll should be applauded, and the other 5 Councilmembers should look hard in the mirror because not only did they not want to slow this process down and get input from the people, they’ve done little to nothing to inform their constituents about Mayor Yenni’s plan to increase the city’s debt by 32% and approve the largest debt issue in the history of the City of Kenner without a public vote or any public input.

There’s nothing wrong with going against the Mayor when you are on the side of the people you represent. This is America, after all.
You see, when Mayor Yenni puts things to a public vote in Kenner, he loses. A Mayor running for re-election next year can’t keep losing. So, if you can’t win, you change the rules.

Thankfully, since there was public outcry at last night’s council meeting, Mayor Yenni has scheduled a Town Hall meeting to discuss his 2030 Vision on Wednesday night at 7:30pm at the Kenner Pavillion.
Just so you know, I had to get the information from WRNO because the Mayor doesn’t email me anymore. Guess he doesn’t want my readers to attend.

Let’s hope that Mayor Yenni arrives on time for this meeting. If I were you, I would arrive early too. I’m sure that Mayor Yenni will have all of his political appointees and friends there hogging the chairs.