Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kenner Councilman Carroll Pushes Back At Yenni’s District 1 Shakedown

At Thursday’s Kenner City Council meeting, the Council will vote on a plan proposed by Quigley, and approved by Mayor Yenni, to build a new Kenner Food Bank to replace the current Food Bank after Yenni approved selling the land and certain District 1 streets to the East Jefferson Levee District. The EJLD is proposing a new headquarters in South Kenner to consolidate operations.

The EJLD proposal has met with strong community opposition after the EJLD tried to purchase streets that would severely limit access to historic cemeteries and discussed a plan to force residents from their homes if buyout negotiations were not consummated to the satisfaction of the EJLD.

In the letter, Carroll also takes aim at Quigley’s condescending tone.            

“And while you believe it may be somewhat complex for some of my new council colleagues, who are a novice to this projects it’s not that from my vantage point. Not only have I been involved in (the buy-out/new food bank) during my entire tenure on the Council, I have also lived within the vacant properties and the conditions endured by not only me but also my fellow constituents,” Carroll wrote.

“While the good people of District 1 and myself are supportive of the EJLD project and the new Food Bank we are not supportive at any cost ($$$).”

Carroll then goes on to specify funds that were dedicated to District 1 but will now be used to construct the new Food Bank, including
-          $64k that would have been used to purchase the Annie Washington Center
-          $42k from the CDBG budget Neighborhood Revitalization and Rental Housing Improvements
-          $60k from CDBG Regular Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Program
-          $14k from CDBG First-Time Homebuyers Program
-          $84k from the sale of the Worth St. Food Bank
-          $180k from the sale of the Toy Train Museum
-          For a Grand total of: $444,000.00

Councilman Carroll rightly asks, “HOW MUCH MORE ARE WE REQUIRED TO GIVE?”

In addition, Quigley also proposed the sale of more streets in District 1 to fund the new Food Bank, whether it’s a Chevy or a Cadillac.

Councilman Carroll also reiterates his positions on the continued sale of streets and use of District 1 funds.

“While I have discussed this with you, the Mayor and the EJLD on more than one occasion, I think it is only fair to state to my fellow council members two (2) of the paramount positions of the people of District 1 as it pertains to the Food Bank and EJLD project.
            We are not supportive of selling any streets (Alton, Warren and 4th) that are adjacent to the Historic African American Belle Grove and Love and Charity Cemeteries.

-          Any proceeds from the sale of ANY streets that are sold that are not adjacent to the aforementioned properties are to be used for the sole purpose of improving infrastructure, drainage or other projects that will improve the Quality of Life in District 1.

In closing, I will not be supportive of any additional funds coming from any projects, programs or coffers of the People of District 1. The proposed new Food Bank is a “City of Kenner” food bank and not a District 1 Food Bank and should be supported by all.”

Carroll’s point is well-founded: the new Kenner Food Bank should be paid for through City of Kenner funds – not just District 1 funds. In fact, whatever the cost of the new Food Bank, whether it’s a Chevy or a Cadillac, if Mayor Yenni can’t find the funds in his borrowed stash of 2030 Plan money, District 1 should be obligated for 1/5th of the cost. The remaining funds arbitrarily obligated by Quigley (like it’s “His” money) should be used on District 1 projects.

But, that probably makes too much sense.

We are talking about Kenna after all.

The Kenner City Council will discuss Yenni's plan to fund the new Food Bank's construction at Thursday night's meeting. The meeting begins at 5pm in the Council Chambers.