Wednesday, July 16, 2014

T-P Reports On Williams Blvd. Project – As Usual, Yenni Tries To Claim Credit For Everything

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
-          Nazi Propagandist Joseph Goebbels

I know that he won the election but really, how long are we going to have to put up with Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni patting himself on the back for everything that is happening in Kenner and lying to make himself look important?

Cutting 135 positions – FALSE (34 full-time equivalent positions have been eliminated in Yenni’s first 4 years).

Reducing Kenner’s budget by $8.5 Million – FALSE (Kenner’s budget has grown under Yenni).

All of the road work done on the “Paths To Progress” Program – FALSE (the money came from the Regional Planning Commission).

And now, improving pedestrian traffic on Williams Blvd. and attempting to claim that it’s his idea and part of Yenni’s Grand 2030 Plan – FALSE, FALSE, FALSE.

In an article on that reads like the City of Kenner’s Press Release (written by ex-newspaper reporter and new Public Information Officer Bob Ross), the implication is that, making Williams Blvd. more “pedestrian-friendly” (a concept that I’m not sure can be done regardless of how much money is thrown at the problem), is Yenni’s brainchild and integral to Yenni’s 2030 Plan to “revitalize” Kenner.

Corridor redevelopment is one aspect of "Kenner 2030," which is Yenni's $37 million capital improvement plan. 

The original version of the article, which was later modified, also alluded to Yenni’s inauguration speech.

Here’s a link to the City of Kenner’s Press Release.I for one, thank God that Kenner has a new Public Information Officer. How did we ever get along without one?

The facts are that the bulk of the money for this project is coming from the State and Federal Governments – not the $42 Million that Yenni borrowed without voter approval. Yenni “budgeted” over $12 Million of the original amount for Williams Blvd. improvements BEFORE seeking additional State and Federal monies. Williams Blvd., after all, is a state highway.

In addition to the bulk of the money coming from the State and Federal Governments, and not from Yenni's borrowed stash, the first phase of the project was contracted by the State DOTD, and not Kenner.

So, since the money is coming from the State and Federal Governments, where is that $12 Million that was budgeted going Mayor Yenni? Was that all just a ruse played on unsuspecting Kenner residents to garner support for your flawed 2030 Plan?

Second, the original impetus for improving Williams Blvd. came about through then District 2 Councilman Joe Stagni after he took office in 2006 (4 years BEFORE Yenni took office as Mayor).

Stagni actually went to then-Parish President and currently inmate #2234-034 Aaron Broussard and then-JP Council President Tom Capella, to seek funding for the 2008 study of Williams Blvd.

You’ll remember that Stagni, along with former District 5 Councilman Kent Denapolis, were excluded from Kenner’s Inauguration Ceremony where Yenni publicly lauded other outgoing elected officials while not mentioning Denapolis’ 10 years of official service to the City and Stagni’s 8 years.

Of course, at his inauguration Yenni did find the time to parade former Assessor-Turned-Blogger Lawrence Chehardy, Registrar of Voters Dennis DeMarco, and former Orleans Parish Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson across the stage and dote on them like a fawning schoolgirl. Clarkson, it should be noted, while a Democrat, shared something with Yenni that Stagni and Denapolis didn’t – the desire to continue burdening the people with the extension of the Crescent City Connection toll for another 20 years. 

Yenni obviously never learned that Leadership 101 demands that you share credit, especially with your enemies.

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” Don Corleone said in The Godfather. Of course, Mario Puzo stole that line from Machiavelli who stole it from Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’, which dates back to around 500 BC.

Yenni, who fancies himself a history buff, obviously never learned some fundamental lessons of Leadership or Statesmanship.

And then there’s the question of redundant studies and the need to make Williams Blvd. pedestrian-friendly at all.

Even T-P Columnist Jim Varney wrote about the multiple studies undertaken on Williams Blvd. dating back to 2008, which predated Yenni as Mayor.

One of the latest focal points in the ongoing feud is $420,000 going to "a study on ways to make a busy stretch of Williams Boulevard safer for pedestrians and traffic." At first blush, that seems like a pricey study, the cost of which will be eaten by state taxpayers (Williams Boulevard is a state road).

For one thing, the study will cover only 2.5 miles and even that distance is exaggerated because Williams Boulevard doesn't have much of a problem heading toward the river from Veterans Boulevard and really no problem at all once traffic thins out and a generous grassy median emerges at West Metairie Avenue.

For another thing, some of the area under review - running from Airline Drive to 33rd Street - has already been studied. That work, which Kenner's transportation consultant Sharon Leader said was completed in 2008, cost $80,000.

The money for that 2008 study came from the efforts of then-Councilman Stagni - Mike Yenni had NOTHING to do with it.

Varney went on to question the validity of spending ANY money to “study” pedestrian improvements on Williams Blvd.

Then, too, there is the question of just how many people are foolhardy or unlucky enough to have to cross Williams Boulevard on foot, especially in that congested stretch from Veterans Boulevard to 33rd Street.

At lunch time one day this week, a grand total of five pedestrians were spotted in that corridor.

Now, to be fair, The Advocate, Kenner’s “Official Journal”,did nothing to correct or elaborate on the situation, and they also didn’t note Stagni’s involvement in the process.

I guess Yenni has learned another lesson from Joseph Goebbels:

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

Glad that I’m just a lowly Blogger.

You know what they say Mayor Yenni: You’re going to break your arm if you keep patting yourself on the back.

And, unlike your bout of stress-induced binge eating, you can’t blame that one on me.

But, I'm sure you'll try.