Thursday, June 27, 2013

JP’s One Woman Judge, Jury and Executioner

In Jefferson Parish, there are a handful of people that you don’t want to cross. Since her return just in time for her first election, District 5 Councilwoman Cynthia Sheng has been one of those people.

Under the guise of “redeveloping” Fat City, Sheng, with the help and support of her mentor, Newell Normand, took it upon herself to rewrite the zoning rules for a neighborhood placing the first ever alcohol sales limitations imposed on a neighborhood in the state.
The onerous Fat City Rezoning Ordinance systematically drove businesses out of Fat City, caused several owners to close businesses that were Metairie institutions, reduced property values (the site housing the former Salvatore’s restaurant was valued at $1 Million. It sold for $510,000 after Salvatore’s closed), and led to minimal development almost three years after it was enacted.

After claiming that there would be “no exceptions” to the Fat City ordinance, Sheng just happened to include exceptions for several favored businesses and political contributors.
In addition, after driving out several restaurants, Sheng managed to persuade the JP Council to allow banned food trucks imported from New Orleans to congregate monthly in a Fat City parking lot owned by Tommy Cvitanovich, the owner of Drago’s Restaurant and a Sheng supporter, to hold the “Cynthia Sheng Food Truck Festival”.

Ok, so that’s not really the name but, it might as well be.
Councilwoman Sheng then set her sights on “improving” Jefferson Parish Mardi Gras parades.

Again, she imposed more onerous rules regarding the number of marching bands each parade should have as well as the number of floats and riders and also put in stiff penalties for non-compliance.
Not content with those improvements, Sheng has now taken it a step further by banishing a parade completely.

At yesterday’s JP Council Meeting, Sheng handed out a death sentence to the fledgling Krewe of Hera.
Hera, a woman-only Krewe that was formed and expected to hold its first parade last year, was cancelled by Sheng after allegations of mismanagement and financial difficulties. It was replaced by the new Krewe of Atlantis.

There was some controversy after Hera cancelled their one and only parade due to bad weather one day before the parade was scheduled to roll.
A couple of former Hera members complained about a lack of communication and the Krewe’s management structure.

Sheng wasn’t buying the excuse of growing pains for a new Krewe and refused to give Hera a second chance.
“When we give a permit, it gives a stamp of approval that helps you recruit members,” Sheng said. “I just can’t let more women be in the same situation.” 

So, after “fixing” Fat City, launching a festival, “improving” JP Mardi Gras Parades, Sheng is now taking on the noble cause of standing up for all Women against the evil oppressors lording over a woman-only Mardi Gras Krewe.
What’s next for Councilwoman Sheng?

Global warming?

World Peace?

How about drainage on Metairie Road? Now that would be something relevant to her district.
As for Hera, Sheng put the hangman’s noose around the parade and did it with glee.

“The accusations rise to the level where I do question the legitimacy of your organization,” Sheng said.
Of course it doesn't matters that many Jefferson Parish residents question Sheng’s legitimacy.